Category Archives: Uncategorized

It’s Balmy Around Here

Courtesy of practicallyprimal.com

Courtesy of practicallyprimal.com

Hi, my name is Mo and I have a lip balm addiction. I’m not really sure when it started. I do remember that it was a slow progression and built up speed. You know, like time. Or that old song “Beep Beep” by The Playmates. If you haven’t heard it, google it. You’ll see what I mean.

I only did it at night, before bed. You know, once in a while when my lips were actually chapped. Hence the words “Chap. Stick.”

Then it eventually turned into an every evening habit. And then after I brushed my teeth. Warning: the act of brushing one’s teeth causes the lips to feel dry. This is something they don’t teach you in middle school health class.

Suddenly, I was a full-blown, out-and-out lip balm addict.

And I’m not picky either. No. I don’t care if it comes in a tube, stick, tub, or barrel. Hell, it could be synthetic car oil, or WD-40. Whatever. As long as it gives me the fix I crave.

Just for the record, I have a large collection and wide range of lip balm.

Lip Balm

This isn’t the half of it

I have three forms of lip balm in my car. One of which is empty but I keep “just in case.” I’m thinking I may be able scrape some off the inside of the tube in case of an emergency. What? It could happen.

I have one in just about every room of my house. Two at work. Five in my pocketbook. In drawers in the kitchen. Drawers in my bedroom and bathroom. I have them in pockets of random articles of clothing. I have lip balm where you wouldn’t even think lip balm would belong. (Yes, I found one in the garage one time. Also, I dropped a stick down my shirt once. Does that count?)

So, this little habit of mine got me to thinking — and I’m wondering if it’s a conspiracy. Do the makers of these tiny little sticks of power add something to make us want more?

I had to find out, so I took to the interwebs. And in approximately eight seconds, I had my answer. Although there isn’t anything “addictive” in them per se (there are products that are drying; therefore, creating a viscous circle), there is such a thing as “compulsive application.”

I’m not sure I am completely satisfied with this answer, but I do know that there should be a picture of me next to that statement. I should be the poster child for Lip Balm Compulsive Applicators.

I slather that stuff on every few minutes at work. I go through a stick of lip balm every couple of weeks. My co-workers for sure think I’m insane, as I can’t get through a conversation without reaching for my stick of lip balm I keep within arms reach next to my computer monitor.

And if we’re at the water cooler or somewhere other than my desk? Well, have you ever had to interrupt your boss for lip balm? Not a good idea.

DH fills my Christmas stocking with these guys. And you wouldn’t believe my excitement over this. I’m like a kid getting a new bicycle except it’s better AND cheaper. It fits in my pocket. Also, I can’t get hurt.

The other day, I needed to run into the store and I didn’t feel like carrying my large bag. So, I grabbed my phone and wallet and started for the door. Then remembered that I might need lip balm.

And Poo Pouri but that’s a story for another time. If you haven’t tried it, you must. It works. I swear. This too, I carry with me everywhere I go. You’re welcome.

Anyway, I backed up and threw my phone and wallet back into my bag and lugged that thing around. I did this for lip balm. Lip balm. Does anyone else besides me see the insanity in this?

Yeah well, it’s too late for me, but please. Save yourselves if you can. Otherwise, I’ll see you at LBA –Lip Balm Anonymous. Surely, they must have a chapter around here somewhere. Right?Lip balm 2

 

Weight For It – A Random Tale of the Girl With More Than One Chin

Courtesy of Pinterest somewhere

Courtesy of Pinterest somewhere (Dobardor.com to be exact)

I am at an all time high in the weight department.

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Me in Florida a few weeks ago. I’m wearing a fat suit on my face. I’m sure of it.

See? I told you.

See? I told you.

Ok, so I was about 24 here. Why can't I look like this again? WHY????

Ok, so I was about twenty-four years old here. But why can’t I look like this again? WHY???? God, if you let me look like this again, I’ll…oh, never mind.

I had never really had a problem with weight. When I was in high school, I could eat my lunch, all my friends’ leftovers, go home and eat Steak-umm sandwiches and Twinkies washed down with cherry Kool-Aid and still only weigh ninety-eight pounds soaking wet.

Well, it seems those days are gone.

I can no longer eat Twinkies — it turns out there isn’t a food group for chemicals anyway.

Why can’t I eat them? You know, aside from the fact that they are made of ingredients that are virtually unpronounceable, and umm, soap?

Because now they just take a detour to sit on my stomach, upper arms, and anywhere else they are not welcome.

Practically everyone I know is on Weight Watchers. I have always avoided the big WW or any other kind of weight loss program. I’ve always been in the camp of “just eat right and exercise” and you will be able to lose weight.

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Smack in the middle of my running days

Just over four years ago I did just that. I lost thirty pounds. I took up running and I journaled every single morsel of anything I put in my mouth.

A chocolate kiss? Twenty-two calories. A single potato chip? Fourteen.

I ran. The one thing I declared that I would never, ever do. Yet, I fell for it. Hard. I loved it. But it didn’t love me back. After a short few months into my new hobby, my meniscus tore in two places.

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Look ma, no Spanx!

After my surgery, I would cry tears of frustration whenever I would pass a runner. Aside from step class in the late eighties, running is the only exercise I actually enjoyed.

Anyway, I was in the best shape of my life. It took me a year to take off the weight, and a mere months to put it all back on, plus an extra five pounds for good measure.

Do you know how hard it is to lose weight once you hit fifty? Also, something happens to your middle. It grows and well, sags. It gets in the way of doing simple daily tasks. You all know what I’m talking about.

I don't know what this is, but be assured I ate it.

I don’t know what this is, but rest assured I ate it.

So, I kind of joined Weight Watchers. No, I do not go to meetings. Meetings have never been my thing. I have the app on my iPhone and I have been following it for almost a month now. They actually have pretty good recipes. DH is also on Weight Watchers, he just doesn’t know it.

And I’m down four pounds.

If I'm at a restaurant and I don't finish it, I always have to take it home. "One doggy bag to go." Except it wasn't for my dog.

Waste not, want not. And I wanted it.

The point of my blog post here is to say that I ate. I ate a lot. I always ate way more than DH does. The way I piled food on my plate, you’d think it was my last meal. Or that food was going to go out of fashion. Or a shortage was coming. Or an apocalyptic event.

I love bread

My love affair with bread.

I’m not talking vegetables and boiled chicken either. If I had a hankering for a plate of nachos, I would make some. I would stop into a McDonald’s on a whim. Not smart for someone who has struggled with genetically high cholesterol since 1986. Don’t lecture me. I know. My doctor is none too thrilled either.

When I started WW four weeks ago, I would bet I cut down my intake of

This was Buffalo Chicken dip. I made it on a whim and ate the entire thing. In one sitting. With tortilla chips.

This was Buffalo Chicken dip. I made it on a whim and ate the entire thing. In one sitting. With tortilla chips. .

food by a pound or two a day. Seriously. If I had a scale and actually weighed what I ate, I would be able to prove it to you.

For now, you’ll have to settle with eye-witnesses who can corroborate my story. And there are a lot of them so take your pick.

Again, my point is this…if I went from eating like a sumo wrestler to eating like a rabbit, why is it I only lost four pounds?

Oh, and I also cut back on my wine intake. Like, A LOT. You’d think I would have lost a ton of weight in the first week just based on the sheer volume of wine I no longer throw back.

I eat so many vegetables now, my nose is starting to twitch. And I haven’t even had so much as

All kinds of fish -- even shellfish -- are zero points. That's right, ZERO!

All kinds of fish — even shellfish — are zero points. That’s right, ZERO!

one ounce of red meat in thirty days.

I’m not saying losing a pound a week is bad. It’s a good and healthy way of losing weight. Slow and steady wins the race, right? I’m just saying, well, you know, I’m just surprised given what I’ve stopped ingesting.

Since I can’t run, I am having a difficult time getting back into the swing of exercising. Because, let’s be honest here. Exercising kind of sucks. I can always find other things that I’d rather be doing with my time.

You know, like swim with piranhas. And I can’t even swim.

The excuses I have for not going to the gym (which is FREE and three floors down from my desk at WORK), would impress even the Generation Z set.

So, I’m going to start up at the gym again. Also, I downloaded an app where they guarantee you will lose weight if you do what they tell you to do for seven minutes a day. So far, I haven’t opened it. Part of me is afraid of what will be required of me. You know, like moving. If apps could collect dust, I fear it most likely would start to resemble the elliptical in the spare room in no time.

So here I am, about day thirty. I’ll keep you posted. Hopefully, you won’t find me binge eating at the local McDonald’s. If you do, look the other way.

 

Boujee is As Boujee Does…Or Not

“Boujee” according to Urban Dictionary:

“An abbreviation of the French “bourgeois.” A critical term used to describe people, things, and places that are definitively high-class. Something that is affected, inauthentic, gentrified, exclusive, and/or otherwise sheltered from the dirt and grime of the real world.”

The Kid and I recently visited a dear friend of mine (DFOM) and her step-daughter (Say-Say) who have a vacation home in Palm Beach, Florida.

We almost didn’t make it as there was a major snow storm (affectionately known as the “Bomb Cyclone”) heading our way the day of our departure. By the hair of our chinny-chin-chins, we were able to get on the last plane out of dodge a day earlier.

I still have anxiety over it.

I can’t say that Florida was much better in the temperature department. I mean, Iguanas falling out of trees because of the cold can’t be a good thing, right?IMG_9372

I’m just glad I’m not an iguana. I’m also glad I didn’t get hit by one.

My DFOM owns a beautiful home amongst the mucky-mucks. Something I am not quite accustomed to. The mucky mucks, I mean.

Well, the beautiful home, too.

Anyone who knows me, knows I am a simple girl with a big mouth and a loud sense of humor who can belch with the best of them, and laughs when someone passes gas.

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Told you so.

I mean, come on! My favorite Christmas gift this year was the Potty Squatty. Need I say more?

In other words, I am not refined. I’m basically a twelve year old boy stuck in a middle aged body.

Irregardless, I took my fake Louise Vuitton bag and Dress Barn clothes and faked it for all it was worth.

And I stood out like a sore thumb.

Nothing against sore thumbs, but somehow these people can spot one a mile away. My Dress Barn special and unrefined attitude just don’t make the cut.

Go figure.

Anyway, enough about me and my uncultured ways. Let’s get on with the fun stuff. So, what did we do for six luxurious days?

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It looks like I ate a sour lemon, which was the look really. Remember Mrs. Howell?

Read it and weep because I made more offenses than if I farted to the tune of “Homage for Satan” in church.

Wednesday: Got into the airport after midnight. Saw DFOM and Say-Say and ran to their car while it was still moving. Was told I didn’t have any common sense by the nice police officer. Offense #1 by internal 12 year old boy even though external middle-aged body knew better.

Thursday: Turned on the news. Laughed at all the northerners who had hell freezing over on them. Made a drink in an adult sippy cup, bundled up in a long sleeved t-shirt, put on head gear so as not to receive brain trauma from falling iguanas, and hung out at the beach. Forgot to “slough” my heels which was Offense #2. Let’s just say, it brings a whole new meaning to the phrase “well-heeled.”

You can get "dry" lemonade, but no wine, at High Tea

You can get “dry” lemonade, but no wine, at High Tea

Friday: Flagler Museum and High Tea. Offense #3: they don’t have wine at High Teas, so don’t ask. Especially when it is clear there is no bar.

Drove down the East coast version of Rodeo Drive called Worth Avenue. Laughed and laughed at all the ladies who spend way too much on face lifts and nail polish.

Oh, went to the Breakers, too. One of The Kid’s bucket list items was visiting the original Lilly Pulitzer store there. She’s boujee. Not sure where she came from.

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There goes my Mrs. Howell face again. I need to work on that. Notice the palm trees in the reflection of my glasses…nice, right? Yes, it was.

Saturday: Took a ride along the coastline in the convertible Bentley with the top down. Drove past all the richy-rich houses with Zillow turned on so we could faint with every price tag. 911 really should have been called.

Sat by the pool/beach (pool to the left of me, beach to the right) at one of the many country clubs DFOM belongs to. Got served by a really cute cabana boy who did pretty much anything we asked.

Tried to get Say-Say to ask him out, but she wouldn’t. Youth is wasted on the young. Offense # 4: Snorting while laughing is not looked upon kindly even though it’s a gift of mine.

Sunday: Spent the day on DFOM’s boat. IMG_9493Got driven around by a captain. Offense #5: saying “OMG YOU HAVE A CAPTAIN???!!!” out loud is not proper.

Monday: We slummed it by shopping at the little outlet center near DFOM’s home. Offense #6: there were no offenses made this day. I was in my element. “Slumming” it is what I do best. That, and snorting while I laugh.

Tuesday (day of departure): DFOM and Say-Say took us for brunch at one of their other country clubs, even though we didn’t bring a fancy hat. Offense #7, but really #6: Do not pile plates on top of each other when you are done eating. Also, do not push your plate to the side. Apparently, the rules here are different than at The Red Lobster.

Random photo of how The Kid's shoes match the comforter at the outlet center.

Random photo of how The Kid’s shoes match the comforter at the outlet center.

It seems I have much to learn.

Although, you know the old adage, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?” In dog years, I am 350 years old. I should be dead, so I get a pass.

To sum things up, we basically spent six days on a Hollywood set, except this was real. Honestly, I kept looking for Alan Funt to tell me to look into the camera.

All in all, it was a great get-away with good friends and a much needed respite. This life may not be for me, but it is fun to visit. I’m not gonna lie.

If we receive an invitation to return next year, I’ll be sure to be more prepared. TJMaxx sells Ralph Lauren.

Is Ralph acceptable in Palm Beach? Asking for a friend.

 

No Hold Barres Ever Again

A few weeks ago I took a Barre class with a good friend of mine. This Barre class really was of no interest to me.

Why not?

Because I’m embarrassed to say that the most exercise I’ve had in the last couple years has been random walks around the block with the dog, and twenty (really fifteen) minutes on the elliptical at the gym during my “I’m going to get healthy” phase that lasted all of two weeks.

So, how did I get roped into this Barre class thing, you ask?

The Kid and I were spending the weekend with a friend and her step-daughter. Every Saturday morning they take a Barre class. Who were we to stand between these ladies and their routine?

Besides, I soon found out that pretty much death is the only thing that could come between my friend and her Barre class.

So we scheduled a class for the next morning. Bright and early.

On a weekend. When I was supposed to be sleeping late, drinking cocktails, catching up with my friend and doing nothing. Let me repeat…doing NOTHING (all caps, bolded and italicized in case you didn’t quite get the gist).

Anyway, when the two young’uns woke up with liquid coming out of both ends due to eating a bowl of bad Acai berries, I thought we would be off the hook. In fact, I was pretty sure we were. You know, off the hook.

Remember I said only death would come between my friend and her Barre class?

It wasn’t a lie.

I supposed if two food poisoned-stricken young ladies could muster up the energy to sit (sit really isn’t the correct word here) through a fifty minute Barre class, then so could I.

I was wrong.

Upon our arrival, I warned the cute little class instructor that I was going to look like a complete jackass to which she replied, “oh, you’ll be fine.”

She soon discovered the joke was on her.

If you have never been to a Barre class (Is this even a proper noun? Is it really deserving of capitalization?), the room looks like a long and narrow torture chamber. With mirrors lining one entire wall so that you can watch yourself looking like the complete jackass you claimed you are (I certainly didn’t want to disappoint anyone).

Oh, and there are bars. Or Barres. Running up and down two walls. The kind of bars you would find in a ballet studio.

Except this was no ballet class. Not that I’m saying ballet is any easier. But I was in a room with ballet bars. I mean, why?

The instructor had us do some stretches. I think. I’ve blocked some of it out. I’m sure my brain went into protection mode.

You may think I’m being a tad dramatic, but I’m not. It was bad. And it hurt. It hurt in places that I didn’t even know existed.

During the first three minutes, I discovered that I could no longer touch my toes. The last time I couldn’t touch my toes, I was nine months pregnant. That should tell you something.

Apparently, the purpose of Barre class (there goes that capitalization again) is, and I quote, “to perform multi-directional dynamic movements to target different muscle groups simultaneously.”

Well, let me assure you that there were muscle groups in my body that were in a deep hibernating state since 2014 and they were none too happy with me.

It brings a whole new meaning to the phrase, “…a long winter’s nap,” don’t ‘cha think?

After correcting me seventeen times in the first twenty minutes, the instructor shrugged her shoulders and gave up.

There was not one move I could accomplish. I stood/sat/died there for most of the class, with my eyes averted. Looking on the ground pretending an earring dropped out of my ear.

And I don’t wear earrings.

I kept peeking around the room to see if I had a partner in crime. Someone I could be in cahoots with. Someone who was struggling like I was because, as the saying goes, “misery loves company,” and that expression could not have been more true during this fifty minutes of hell.

But nope, I was the only jackass in class. Everyone looked like they knew what they were doing and doing it well.

Even the food-poisoned young ladies.

IMG_8375After sweating through class, with my heart pounding so hard I was concerned the paramedics were going to be called, I realized one thing:

I am out of shape.

And not just out of shape. My body is completely deplete of any shape at all.

I am a fifty-year old woman whose body is that of a seventy-year old (I apologize to all you seventy-year old women right now, because you probably still look and feel better than I do but if I put the number any higher, I will most likely drop dead of a stroke from the thought of it).

When I get out of bed in the morning, it takes a good five minutes to warm up. My back hurts, every bone pops, and forget about my knees. Those babies are shot and are in dire need of a repair.

I can no longer sit on the floor. If I do, I resemble one of those baby elephants trying to get a feel for standing except the baby elephant has a higher success rate.

After I prayed hard for the class to end, it finally did. I glared at my friend and pretty much threatened her life. “NEVER AGAIN,” I proclaimed for the entire class to hear.

The instructor actually breathed a big sigh of relief.

There was one benefit to this class. And that is I realized how badly I need to make some changes.

If I don’t start moving my ass, I am not going to be in good shape by the end of the decade. I mean, even worse than I am now. And that scares the hell out of me.

Four years ago...FOUR lousy years ago! It took me over a year to lose 30 pounds, and mere months to put them back on. WHY????

Four years ago…FOUR lousy years ago! It took me over a year to lose 30 pounds, and mere months to put them back on. WHY????

How in the world did I let myself go? Four years ago I was running five miles three to four times a week. I could run circles around most of the young people I knew. I was thirty pounds lighter, fit, tone, and best of all I felt amazing.

Now?

I’m just a fifty-year old woman stuck in a seventy-year old body who can’t do Barre class without looking like a walrus trying to scratch his own back.

I don’t really know what that means, but believe me it can’t be pretty.

Cheers to healthier days. Maybe next time you see me, I will look less like zoo animals, and more like a woman in the prime of her life.

Endocolonoscopy Part II

You all know I had a colonoscopy a couple weeks ago. If you didn’t know, read this.

Everyone from the Pope to the girl at work said the worst part was the prep.

Don’t believe everything you hear. That advice right there is something we were given at a very young age, yet I went against it.

There are maybe two benefits to a colonoscopy:

1) Rapid weight loss within a 24 hour period. I don’t recommend it though because having your insides empty into a toilet bowl at the velocity of a 747 doing a nose dive is probably not so good for you; and 2) A colonoscopy can save your life.

There is something very awkward about meeting the man who will be shoving a 6′ hose where the sun really does not ever shine,\

for the first time on the actual day of said shoving.

Besides the fact that he said he had a hangover, I think it went well. He was joking by the way.

I think.

Not only will he be doing an unmentionable to you, he will be giving you a mind blowing and vomit inducing drug.

I’m pretty sure if this were a blind date, there would not be a second. This guy is everything your mother warned you about. Plus some.

The Pope and the girl at work were right about how you feel like you took a thirty second nap because before I knew it I was lying on a gurney in the recovery room with about a dozen other victims. I mean, people. Also recovering from whatever their procedure of the day was.

They sat me almost immediately in a chair, of which I did not feel ready for. Because I didn’t feel well. I didn’t feel well at all. The room was spinning and before I knew it I was yelling, “I’M GONNA THROW UP!!!”

It sure is amazing how quickly the nursing staff moves when they hear that because within 1.2 seconds I had one of those kidney shaped plastic bowl things shoved under my chin. With a nurse on one side of me and my husband on the other, I vomited who knows what exactly because there literally was nothing in my stomach.

But before that moment I have to tell you, I had a rather large bit of flatulence escape from my underside.

Did I saw large? Yes I did, and I meant it. I looked at DH in surprise and disgust. “Did that just come out of ME??? Please tell me it was the guy next door.”

So, not only did I pass gas in front of a dozen strangers but I vomited as well.

This day is not going as planned. All I had to do was burp and I would have covered all of the unpleasant bodily functions in record  time. In front of strangers. Just so you know, this was NOT on my bucket list.

So, with my head spinning and my breath smelling of vomit, my doctor came in to tell me what he claims he already told me which is weird because I don’t remember at all.

Here’s a question for you — why, if you know there is a pretty high chance that your patient is going to be, well, high, would you try to talk to them so soon?

Anyway, I had a little inflammation in my esophagus, as well as the removal of a Z-Formation. I don’t really know what that is, but he didn’t seem concerned.

During my colonoscopy, he found three polyps. They were benign but polyps can turn into cancer if left to their own devices.

Would I do it again? Of course I would. And I will. In three years. Because they found those polyps, and I not only care about my colon health, but my life.

So, the moral of the story? Go get a colonoscopy. It’s really important, and at the end of the day it wasn’t so bad. Just pretend you didn’t hear that part about the vomit.

 

Can You Say “Endocolonoscopy?”

I’m having an endoscopy and colonoscopy together at the same time tomorrow and I’m a little nervous.

The colonoscopy is for that screening they say you should have when you turn fifty. Because why else would someone go and voluntarily have a hose shoved up the darkest nether regions of your person where no one in their right mind should be?

(Unless there is a real legitimate reason like you have a family history of colon cancer or concerning symptoms, then please go and have that hose shoved up there.)

Can I say I can’t believe I’m “you need to have a colonoscopy for screening purposes” years old?

Moving along.

The endoscopy is because I suffer from really bad, major ugly, reflux. Literally, if I eat pretty much anything that is edible, I end up with my esophagus feeling like it is in a fire.

So basically, in the words of The Bloggess (she’s this super weird and a little nutty but entertaining blogger), I am going to be a “human shish kabob.”

I really wish I had thought of that expression because it’s genius and that is basically what it’s going to feel like.

A stick coming out of both ends.

Just don’t put me on a spit because although my insides are on fire most of the time, fire scares me. I believe I would enjoy that about as much as having a hose shoved into both ends.

So I’m having this procedure and I wasn’t worried at all but suddenly I am.

Because I can tend to be a tad of a hypochondriac, all kinds of scenarios are running around in my head.

Esophageal cancer, stomach cancer, parasites, some weird disease that they will have to name “Mo’s Syndrome” because I will be the first ever person to have it and there will be textbooks written about me.

Maybe they’ll make a movie too. If so, I want Jennifer Aniston to play me because we are look-alikes. It’s true. See?

Told you so

Told you so

I also keep thinking about what happened to Joan Rivers. Yes, I realize she was old and maybe not in as good of health as people thought and her doctors were idiots and totally careless. But it freaks me out nonetheless.

Anyway, I started the prep almost three hours ago and it’s taking that long to get this far in my blog post here because I’m in the damn bathroom every three minutes. No lie.

I need to tell you that I just got back from vacation and was pretty sure I contracted Dengue Fever or e-coli poisoning, or a parasite invasion (blog post in progress because my favorite thing to do is talk about my bodily functions).

In other words, I already emptied an entire third world country from my bottom half. So, to go for a second round so soon is really not very much fun at all.

Here I am. In the middle of my bowel prep. Worried I would be starving to death because my last meal was at noon. But after slamming back 16-ounces of this liquid that tastes like twenty year old 7-Up but not real 7-Up, I’m everything BUT hungry.

I guess there’s one thing I don’t need to worry about now. I should feel grateful, but strangely enough, I do not.

So, wish me luck. I will be sure to post how it went because I know you need to know. Also, take care of yourself and get a hose shoved up your nether area. You may save your life.

The Making of a Blanket. Or How Knit To.

When I was a young girl, my mother taught me how to knit. Or she tried to. There’s only so much you can do when your daughter is a lefty and can’t do so much as wipe her own face with her right hand.

We got as far as the knit stitch. My mom had to cast on and off for every project I did. That is, if you want to call my fifteen 7″ x 1″ Barbie scarves a “project.”

I will say this though: My Barbies had the warmest necks this side of the Hudson.

But as quickly as my new hobby started, it stopped. That was it. Done by the tender age of ten.

Until I saw something on the inter-webs last October and decided it was time to revisit that old forty-year dead hobby of mine. Except I didn’t remember how. And even if I did, I would only be able to do the knit stitch.

I had a friend who I knew would be able to get me started. Also, I know you can learn how to do anything from building a car engine to how to clean your toilet with Coca-Cola on YouTube.

Long Live YouTube.

I called my mom who immediately packed up all her knitting accoutrements, from needles to patterns, and put them in the mail to me. I could almost hear her say, “Sucker!” Because what I was really doing was helping her clean out her junk room.

I’m on to you, mom.

Anyway, I was going to be THE knitting phenom. I was going to have this untapped talent. I would be able to make everything from blankets to sweaters with those little sheep patterns on them.

I’m not quite sure what gave me this impression. Maybe because I’m really good at coloring inside the lines. Or it could be because art class was one of the classes I didn’t cut in high school.

Who knows? But I was pretty sure I was going to be good. Even though I hadn’t held a pair of knitting needles in my hands since 1977.

It turns out I wasn’t a knitting phenom. It wasn’t a God-given talent. If that’s even a thing. But more on that in a minute.

So, what exactly gave me the inspiration, after nearly forty years, to pick up my (mom’s) knitting needles again?

It would be this:

My Inspiration

Evil, horrible liar.

It all started with an accidental peek at a chunky blanket I spied on Pinterest. Or Etsy. Okay, I’m not sure where I saw it. It just saw it. Somewhere. And “they” said it would only take 4-5 hours to make.

A piece of cake.

Like I said, I had an epiphany and was 110% sure I could do this and do this well.

Me. The girl who uses the side view mirror of her car to pick off random mailboxes. The girl who has more squirrels running around in her brain than all of the Connecticut backwoods combined.

Anyway, I just HAD to knit one for my daughter for Christmas, who happens to be away at college.

I thought she could snuggle and think of her dear mommy every time she used it.

Because that is precisely what eighteen year olds do. Right? Right?

That friend of mine cast on for me and taught me how to do the purl stitch. We started with thirty-two stitches. After three days, I managed to increase it to forty-one.

I don’t know so don’t ask.

After approximately seven rows in, I decided to rip it all out. Because chances are I would have increased in stitches even more and my blanket would resemble a trapezoid something or other (thank you, Google) then, well, a blanket.

Holier than thou

Hole-ier than thou

Also, I kept forgetting if I was supposed to be purling or knitting. So in addition to it being asymmetrical, it would be bumpy too. You know, kind of like my middle aged body.

Two words: not pretty.

Now of course I could only rip it out to the cast-on row, that first row, because I didn’t know how to cast on (yeah, I know..YouTube. Well, I forgot to look. Squirrel).

Then I decided to completely change the pattern. By accident, of course. The actual only decision-making was the act of choosing to take this project on. The rest just had a mind of its own.

My attempt to be organized. Those red splotches is spilled wine. Wine and knitting. Maybe that's where I went wrong.

My attempt to be organized. Those red splotches is spilled wine. Wine and knitting. Maybe that’s where I went wrong.

Somewhere in there, I realized I didn’t like the knitting needles I was using so I hit Amazon and got myself new ones. And then didn’t like them, so I went back to the originals.

So far I have increased stitches, ripped, changed the pattern by accident, and switched needles. Twice.

A blanket pattern that claimed it would only take a half day of daylight hours to knit was now my life’s job. And it took almost my whole life to make the thing. Okay, so two months.

Christmas was fast approaching and my anxiety level was increasing. Not to mention the tension in my shoulders and back. Where is it said knitting is therapeutic? Sure. If you like to be tortured. I know a bed made of nails that is more relaxing.

Anyway,  after hours and many weeks, this is the finished product. I, at least owe you a good laugh:

finished blanket

Not really sure what that line is, but this blanket is one of a kind. I like to call it Couture.

So, have I hung up my knitting needles? No. Because practice makes perfect, right?

We’ll see because I’m making all my nieces and nephews who are having babies, a baby blanket. Whether they like it or not. I apologize in advance, but you know, I’m an expert.

Our Family Christmas Letter – Volume 4

“Bah humbug!”

This is the reply you would get from my dad whenever anyone said, “Merry Christmas” to him. I used to get so mad at him. But now? I get it. Oh.my.god. I totally get it.

What the heck is so “Merry” about Christmas? Besides the fact that it’s Jesus’ birthday?

Well, really Jesus was probably born sometime in the summer because according to the Pastor at our church, it most likely took the three Wiseman approximately five to six months to get to Him. It gives a whole new meaning to “Christmas in July,” don’t you think?

Feeling duped? So did The Kid. That probably ranks up there with when our children found out we’ve been lying to them about Santa all these years (and the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy). I should feel bad about that, but I don’t.

Let me rephrase — I do not hate the actual day of Christmas. I love Christmas (although I like Thanksgiving better because…food all day. Need I say more?).

I just hate the month leading up to it.

It starts with standing in the living room trying to figure out which dang light on the three strings of lights is causing all of them to go out and then after two hours of trying just throwing in the towel and running to Rite Aid to buy all new lights and fighting the crowds to get them (and that’s before you get out of the car), it’s just really not merry.

Or the lines that start in the parking lot of Costco. The lists on top of lists of things to do. The cookies to bake. The 105 nieces and nephews to buy for. The Wrapping. The Christmas cards. The pushing, shoving, and absolute madness of the entire season.

Oh my gosh, how did I get so off topic?

Where was I? Oh yes. My Family Christmas Letter.

2016 was a fine year. And I don’t mean “fine” as in “ooh, yeah Brad Pitt is fine.” What I mean is that 2016 was “eh.”

It was the year where I proclaimed I was going to lose my double chin, when I actually gained a third one.

Also, my face decided 2016 was the year to start growing hair. That’s really fun. My tweezers are happy to have a daily chore though.

It was the year of me being a working mom for the second year. It went well. I mean, except for the fact that I had to shower every day, get dressed in something other than sweatpants, use my brain, and actually talk to people.

I suppose all those things right there are positive but I really do miss my PJ bottoms. And I get the feeling my brain may still be in sleep mode. But you’d have to confirm that with my co-workers.

DH started a new job that was nice enough to let him work 14 hour days and weekends. He also almost lost an eye, but he didn’t so I suppose that’s a positive.

The Kid finished high school and left me to go to college. Oh, I mean, she spread her wings and flew to where she will learn to be even greater than she is. So she can have a meaningful career and support herself.

The bad thing about that is our vacation money is being spent on an education. My body hasn’t seen the sun in ages. Seriously. My doctor says I’m severely depleted of Vitamin D.

Staying in a hotel two miles from campus for Parent’s Weekend does not count as vacation. Neither does it help with my Vitamin D levels because she is not going to the U of Hawaii or Stanford.

I suppose I could always OD on milk. But that’s a problem when your favorite drink is red wine. But hey. According to the American Heart Association, a glass a day has heart-healthy benefits.

Oh. A glass a day. So, math isn’t my strong suit.

Well, that’s about it. We are happy and healthy. We have jobs, a roof over our heads, food in our bellies, and intact body parts. Overall, 2016 was decent, but looking forward to 2017. Here’s to hoping I don’t gain another chin.

Be well, my friends. Happy holidays and have a wonderful New year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Pointless Post About Dust

unknown-1“Where does dust come from?” This is a question that was rhetorically asked in a writing course I recently participated in. And because I am who I am, I remembered that I have always wondered that same thing myself.

I have a fairly large, dark wood coffee table in my living room. I love this table. Of course. I would not have chosen it to grace my living room and look at it every day if I didn’t. It has a big shiny surface. Which happens to be its only flaw.

Why is it a flaw? Because I can spend 5 minutes dusting the balls out of that thing and a mere few hours later? Dust. All over it.

And when the sun is coming through the windows just so (I love the sun coming through my windows, but only when no one is here, including myself), you can see it float down and land right on the surface of that newly dusted table and every single, ever-loving item in my house.

So, where does dust come from exactly? I wasn’t sure, so I looked it up. For all those who are like me and wander into strange places while thinking, or if you missed that day in fifth grade science class, here is where dust comes from. You’re welcome.

As taken from wiseGEEK (www.wisegeek.org):

“…it is largely made up of dead skin cells, fibers from clothing and other materials, pollen and dander, and tiny particles of dirt. Dust comes from objects in the environment, and from the people and animals that live in it.”

Upon further research, I found out that the average person loses about 40 dead skin cells every second. Most of that thin layer of white stuff you see building up on your furniture? It’s dead skin of you and whoever else lives in or visits your home.

So, basically you have little pieces of pretty much everyone you know in the air that you are breathing. Through your nostrils and into your lungs. That thought makes me want to go out and purchase one of those Walter White type masks. No offense.

maskwhite

I guess no one has has actually died from breathing in other people’s dead skin cells, so I suppose I’ll just have to suck it up (pardon the pun). I mean, I’ve survived the first forty-nine years of my life living this way. I think I can survive the next uh…forty-nine (it’s possible).

In the meantime, I believe I’ll be investing in some more Pledge. Oh, and can you do me a favor before coming over next time? Slather up with some body lotion, would you? Like, maybe bathe in it? I just really hate dusting.

Boys, Girls, and College

boys girls collegeI had plans to write a really funny and witty post about the differences between boys and girls and the preparation of college, but I may be falling a bit short (can’t you tell by my title?).

I had this brilliant idea to interview some friends who had experienced their son, daughter or both going to college (like I had the best idea in the world, because, umm, I’m pretty sure it hadn’t been done before).

I’ve been sitting on the results for a couple months. Results that really aren’t as dramatic or drastic as I thought they would be. Or surprising.

What I discovered is that boys prefer to just bring three to four pairs of shoes (holes and all), whereas girls will load an extra car full of them (as one friend put it, “enough for a display at Nordstrom”).

As if they might die if they come across an outfit that doesn’t have the perfect shoe to match. And they might. Actually, they probably would based on personal experience.

We should have bought stock in Steve Madden had we known it would be a problem.

In my opinion, college should be about sweatpants and Skippy’s but I didn’t go to college so I suppose my opinion doesn’t really matter here. Although, I did live in concert tees and Adidas in high school so I can’t be that far off.

I learned that girls need to have utensils, matching dish sets and a glass for every occasion.

You know, for those elaborate dinner parties they plan on throwing on the floor of their five foot by five foot dorm room. Chances of the Queen of England showing up is pretty slim, but you never know.

A boy? Oh, a Spork will suffice. Preferably plastic so they don’t have to wash any dishes. For those of you who don’t know what a Spork is, it is an eating utensil that looks like a fork but can be used as a spoon. I’m guessing this is the greatest invention for college boys since, well, condoms (which also happens to be an “essential”).

Boys need to be reminded that they should probably start a list, as well as reminded not to forget underwear and socks (not ALL boys mind you; some are very organized and a bit anal, but not many so don’t get too excited, moms of boys who have yet to experience the joys of college prepping).

Girls have their lists drawn up, laminated, and notarized by mid-April.  And their items all bought and organized alphabetically a month prior to their first day of class.

Girls need to take stuffed animals from their youth, photos of every friend from here to Timbuktu, pretty little lights, and stationary. You know, in case they want to write a letter.

Although today’s youth can barely write script and tend to send thank you cards via Facebook, but I digress, and that’s a topic for another time.

Boys are more simplistic. I saw some photos of boys dorm rooms on Facebook and with the exception of one or two, most are fine with a college pendant and their letter from high school football.

Don’t let a girl in there, boys. If given the opportunity, they will fill those blank walls. And fast I’m sure of it.

The long and short of it is that boys focus on functionality and don’t stress out. For girls, it’s all about the decorative touches, and the stress levels are through the roof. Like, duck if you see it coming. Like, “Sybil” crazy stress.

How are they the same?

They both pack snacks. Lots and lots of snacks. Pretty much enough snacks to last nearly four years. And depending on how far or close they are, they packed enough clothes for two to four seasons.

I don’t know why that last sentence surprised me. I thought for sure a sweatshirt would be good enough to get a boy and/or a girl through winter (if my memory serves me right, winter coats were an unnecessary piece of clothing at the school drop off line).

That pretty much sums it up. Girls stress out if they don’t have enough shoes and matching mugs. And boys can get by with crocs and a fork you can eat soup with.

So, for all of you with inquiring minds, who were losing sleep over it, there it is. You know what to expect. Either run for the hills, or accept the idea that you will have to do a lot of hand holding.

Whatever the sex of your child, college is a pretty cool experience. So, take a deep breath and enjoy the ride. It’s over before you know it.