Hello from the other side

According to the Admin stats here at WordPress, it’s been 2 years since I’ve posted on my blog.  Whoa!  The last time I planned to write here, Adele’s song Hello was playing everywhere, all the time.  And I decided that would be my intro back to blog-land.  I just didn’t think it would take me so long!

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Anyway,  hello from the other side of menopause.  

Life is marching along, and I still believe this is the prime time of my life.  And I still have the menopot — but it’s shrinking! — so no need to rename this blog.  Youngest has gone off to college and mama-san has gone back to work part-time at the most perfect job I could ever have hoped to find.  And the best part?  My life experiences are what made this job such a great fit.  I am now the director of the small community library at our shore town.  I get to order the books, create and develop special programs, and promote the library.  And it’s the ideal combination of being with people/being on my own for this introvert.

The challenges?  Living between 2 houses (yes, a VERY upscale “problem”) means more opportunity for misplacing things.  Like shoes and clothing.  And bills.  (Do NOT mention this to my husband; he knows enough already.)  I am just finishing my first year back at work, and for the first 6 months I was just so doggone happy all the time I couldn’t pay attention to some of the other, minute details.  Like bills. And cooking. Then youngest went off to college and I loved the freedom of solely thinking about my job; until I missed him and worried about him.  There were a lot of ups and downs for a few months.  And who the heck cared about bills?  (Don’t tell my husband.)

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A photo from the library; see how charming it is??

But by now it seems we have all settled in.  I’m a tad bit  more organized and the work we were having done at our shore house is about finished.  With great glee, I pulled the sticky saran wrap off my stairs yesterday!  Still some work to be done but the messy work is completed and I just couldn’t stand that stuff on the stairs any longer.  Yes, I know; the next time the workers are here will either be muddy or snowy.  Don’t care.

I still have challenges, particularly in remembering names.  I have NEVER been good at that, but am trying REALLY hard these days, and doing better with it that I expected.  Our library is small and charming with a loyal group of patrons.  (If ANYONE can think of a different word than patron, PLEASE let me know in the comment section.  I am not a fan of patron.  But I dislike “guest” even more. Don’t suggest that one.) There are 3 men who visit regularly, two named Jim and one named John. Poor John.  I almost always say brightly Hi Jim/John! Or, on a good day, Hi Ji-John!  Maybe he thinks I stutter?  I have also perfected my repertoire of noncommittal greetings:  Hey there!  Good MORNING! How are YOU? Welcome!  So nice to see you! Ah, coping mechanisms.  Love ’em.

My hope is to write regularly again.  I follow a few blogs and none of us have been writing in a while.  Thank you to my cousin Barb who just started up again and spurred me on to do the same.  Hi Barb!  And happy pre-spring everyone.

 

The sisters dance

Walking the beach before dinner

Walking the beach before dinner

My two sisters just visited me at the beach and we had a wonderful and fabulous memory-making week together.  We span the continent: New Jersey, Illinois, Oregon, so time together is eagerly anticipated and much treasured.  Common sense tells me that even though we share genes and an upbringing, we are each likely to do things differently.  However, put the three of us in a kitchen or running a household, and we are interchangeable with one another.  It’s the damnedest thing (a favorite expression of our Dad’s).

When it came to making meals, one of us would start chopping something, another would follow with the next ingredient, the third would either stir or clean up.  And we switched these roles all the time.  Very little talking needed, we just fit everything together seamlessly. Our sisters dance.  And if one of us ended up with the wrong cereal bowl — we do have our individual preferences — we’d just calmly switch at the table. Son said that we are so similar that it was fascinating to watch us.  We’ve been told that if you’re not in the room with us, it’s difficult to tell who’s talking because we sound alike and speak with similar inflections.

I may have been the  hostess of the weekend, but I think I did less work than my sisters.  Before I could even think about running to the basement to do a load of laundry, one sister had already put it in the washer and another had dried and folded.  Even after I repeatedly said no worries, I’ll do it.  (Confession: it was heaven to have it done.)  My jaw dropped this morning to discover all the towels washed, even the beach towels!  I don’t know how they managed that.

So this morning, the morning after they left, I got up to do laundry.  And there wasn’t any!  Which led me to my computer and my blog.  Because I am missing them desperately.

Look at those toned arms!

Look at those toned arms!

We were fortunate to have great beach weather this week and a selection of fun things to do.  But that was just “icing” because being together was the best part.  We had some wonderful conversations about our parents, and would joke about our Mom Moments — forgetfulness or silliness — and use Dad Phrases — did we forget about first-rate??  (When we used to ask Dad how he was, he’d reply “first rate!”)  And, it practically goes without saying, we had lots of laughs.  The first day on the beach was so windy that my old umbrella kept flipping inside out.  This happened so often that at least two of us  had to hold the flaps down at any given time.  Our house would peal with laughter each evening as we sank into the comfy furniture to watch Grace and Frankie on Netflix — a new show starring Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin which is clearly geared to our generation.  Or my sisters’ generation : )    Son pointed out to me that each sister has a distinctive laugh, however.  “I could always tell which was you laughing during Grace and Frankie.  Jesus.”

We are so lucky to have each other as sisters.  We were close when our parents were alive, but have become even closer after their deaths.  And that’s lucky too.  We are all very happily married, but there is something about getting together just the three of us that allows us the quality time we crave.  I’m already craving the next sisters reunion at the beach!

So many missed opportunities

Over the years I have witnessed so many ideal photo opportunities, and too many of them found me without a camera!  Awhile ago I made a pledge to have a camera with me (hello iPhone) at all times.  While I have pretty much fulfilled that part of the pledge, I am not very good about being poised to take pictures.  So I will try to recreate some of these lost pictures with words.

This is on my mind right now because I witnessed another such moment at mass this morning. Our summer community is heavily Irish Catholic, and the priest at this church is an Irishman with an intoxicating brogue who clearly loves his vocation. Today he wore a kelly green surplice, and as he was proclaiming something (disclaimer here: I’m not Catholic and don’t know all the correct terminology) near the end of mass, holding the bible high above his head, the alter server — a boy of around 12 standing slightly behind him — indulged in a long, wide yawn.  How I wish I could have captured that image!  That would have been an award-winner for sure.

The genesis of this idea was an incident when youngest was in 5th grade and had just started playing an instrument in music class at school.  Hubby and I proudly attended the Christmas concert where the 5th graders were allowed to play their instruments (and horrors, I had forgotten a camera).  As there were several types of instruments, not all students played at the same time.  When son stood up with his fellow saxophone players for their song, the violinist  right in front of him was not performing.  While son stood behind him playing enthusiastically, this other boy put his fingers in his ears and held them there till the end of the song.  I laughed so hard I thought I would cry.  Now THAT’S a picture in the making, and something that could never (we hope) be recreated.

The other times I seem to see perfect photo opportunities (auto correct won’t let me abbreviate this; annoying; see previous post) is when I am driving, and I can’t take a picture then either. There is one time I still think about and wish I had pulled over to the side of the road.  I was driving down a country road and passed a horse eating from a hanging bag in front of a barn. The sky was a beautiful blue, the barn a lovely white with lush green grass and shrubbery surrounding it.  It was americana at it’s best, and how lucky am I to live near there??

Summer morning at the ocean

Summer morning at the ocean

A few weeks ago I did manage to capture an idyllic nature moment.  I had the urge to visit the beach in the early-ish morning to read and enjoy the ocean. At one point I looked up to see a single seagull joining me in homage to the ocean.  Between the reflection of the sun off the water and the lone gull, it made a serene scene.  I was afraid to move, so my iPhone may not have captured it as spectacularly as possible, but it is a nice reminder of that morning and will join this summer’s photos in my annual album.

I love to write and put my feeling/observations/funny stories into words on a page.  But I also love capturing images.  Apparently I love words and pictures. (Hm. Doesn’t sound very deep when I put it that way.) And nature; or simply being outside.  No desire to play a sport.  Or clean.  (My cleaning lady is one of my favorite people on earth.)  Boy am I lucky to be able to indulge my passions. Life is really good.

Auto-correct is messing with me

Is it just me?  Is anyone else experiencing this?  I think there is a poltergeist in the cyber world trying to drive us middle-agers out of our minds.  (More so than we may be naturally.)

My dog investigating what the fuss was about while I was swearing at my phone over it not allowing me to type

My dog investigating what the fuss was about while I was swearing at my phone over it not allowing me to type “beautiful”

I was texting a friend this morning who’s daughter is having a dry run for her wedding hair and make-up today.  I was trying to tell my friend I was sure her daughter would look absolutely beautiful.  And auto correct CONTINUED to underline “beautiful” and change it to “beauty”.  I immediately began to question my sanity, tried a few variations (which i knew were incorrect, but might as well try) and everything came up underlined.  I was considering changing to text-speak and write “beUtiful), but could NOT bring myself to write that.  So I changed my adjective to fabulous.  And stalked away from the phone to my computer to check the spelling of “beautiful”.  Hah.  I was RIGHT.  But darn auto-correct unleashed a mountain of self doubt.  Am I really losing my written words?  It’s hard enough to feel like I’m losing my SPOKEN words (Um, sweetie, can you hand me that thingy over there?  Yes, that coaster.  Big smile, bigger internal cringe.)

Yesterday my sister-in-law, niece and nephew came to spend the day at the beach with us.  I was making sandwiches for lunch and had a sudden doubt about her kids’ favorites.  So I texted, saying “Your kids like turkey sandwiches, right?” Only “right” auto-corrected to “riffraff”.  Really?? Is this a lesson to us to proof read ever more carefully?  Heaven forbid anyone think I’m referring to them as riffraff!

So, is this just one more way we middle-agers are being bedeviled by technology?  I actually preferred my early-stage technology like my flip phone.  That was amazing.  I could flip it open (hence it’s name; a good one) and simply press 2 to call my friend Carol.  No pressing a phone icon, selecting contacts, then searching her name in contacts, then pressing the phone number.  Just 2.  AND, it was possible to send a blank text, our code for “leaving the house now.”  Now we have to open the text icon, find our names, and type “leaving.”  Or “leabinhg” which is what that word hastily typed comes out as, and THAT doesn’t auto correct, but we understand it now.  And my friends now know that when I type “5:09” I really mean 5:00, it’s just that 0 and 9 are next to each other and my fat thumbs hit the wrong number more often than not.

But here’s the thing: what on earth are we going to be saying (or not saying) to each other as time goes on?  I would honestly prefer to get rid of auto-correct and just type my misspelled, but perfectly understandable, words than the ridiculous corrections that pop up unbidden.  I want an opt-out clause for auto-correct!  Who do I call/text/email about that?

I follow a blog whose writer refers to life as “brutiful” — a combination of brutal and beautiful.  She’s a mom with young children (that stage is sometimes more brutal than beautiful!) but I think it’s a good description for all stages of life.  I haven’t tried to text that; wonder what auto-correct would do with that?  Oh dear god, I just tried texting it and auto correct’s substitution is BeUtiful.

I give up.  Have a BeUtiful day everyone.

Old and crotchety already?

We have established a tradition of hosting my husband’s office staff for a cook-out each summer, and that is happening here later this week.  One of the items we always grill are white hots — a specific type of white hot dog I grew up with. The local grocery store from my hometown, Wegmans, which sells these amazing hot dogs, has expanded and now has locations in NJ, one being about 20 minutes from our Shore house.

So this afternoon I paid them a visit.  There is a Wegmans near our permanent home, so I felt pretty cocky that I knew exactly what I was doing when I walked into this new store.  Within five seconds I had ascertained that this particularl store was not of the same layout I was used to.  And one thing is true of Wegmans stores:  heaven help you if you don’t know where you’re going.  Wegmans shoppers are ruthless.  These stores tend to be packed with people, all wielding their carts quickly and aggressively.  Similar to other grocery stores, one enters at the produce section.  Featured displays are about 3 feet inside the entrance, making for immediate back-ups.  I witnessed one shopper shove her cart into a narrow opening by the berries, effectively trapping someone there and completely blocking me or anyone else from getting past her and further into the store.

I should have turned around and left right then.  Instead I pushed forward (almost literally) in search of the white hots.  As aforementioned, this store is not laid out the same way as the store I’m familiar with.  So the white hots were nowhere near where I headed.  But I did find some other things I needed to purchase before the party, so loaded them into the cart.  I got all the way to the last aisle of the store without finding any meat.  That was because, counterintuitively, they were located on THE OTHER side of the store. (Wegmans stores are big.  Really big.  The other side of the store was a great distance away. 3 or 4 miles, at least.)  I proceeded to backtrack and got many dirty looks along the way.  I was horrified, but also mystified.  Why were people looking at me that way?  Well.  Turns out THIS Wegmans has center display cases all along the back wall.  And apparently each side of the cases is one-way traffic.  I turned off at one point and the gentleman coming toward me gave me a solemn nod.  I wanted to raise my eyebrows at him, but I just gave him a smile and continued merrily on my ignorant way in search of white hots.

I found them.  And found hamburger patties too, so put them in my cart.  And for some reason I managed to annoy a few other customers in the process, who were reaching over me willy nilly to grad the items they wanted.  I am really not a Wegmans shopper.  I have found the secret at my home store is to only purchase 5 items or less per visit.  Clearly the same thing goes for the store here at the Shore.

By the time I battled my way to the checkout lines my mood had deteriorated significantly.  I had gotten blocked into an aisle by a little old lady on my way to checkout, but I figured she was conceivably in worse shape that I was, so I smiled and waited patiently.  Then I inadvertently cut off another woman, to whom I apologized profusely, but she just waved me away.  What did that mean?  I am assuming Wegmans shoppers are used to this.  Either that or my ignorance managed to annoy her significantly.

My purchases.  My list is on top.  It only had 8 items on it.

My purchases. My list is on top. It only had 8 items on it.

Whatever.  I was pretty spent by the time my cart was unloaded.  As the cashier was working her magic and ringing me up rapidly I grabbed a Hershey bar with almonds to add to my stash.  This was most definitely a medical necessity.  If I had really been on my game I would have eaten it right then.  That would have been the smart thing to do.

Instead I wheeled my quite full cart to my car, where my next battle ensued.  The parking lot had gotten crowded while I was shopping, and by the time I was ready to leave people were waiting for spaces.  The woman in the car next to mine pulled out at the same time as the woman directly behind her.  And what happened next nearly sparked a riot:  a car waiting for a space in the other aisle pulled all the way through, so as to be facing out of her space, not realizing there was someone waiting for that spot.  Then she couldn’t back up because another car had pulled in behind her.  More moods than mine were deteriorating.  So, trying to do something right, I loaded my car as quickly possible.  And got the hell out of there.

photo 5-4Par for the course of the day, by the time I got into my car and opened the Hershey bar, it had melted.  I nearly cried.  But in the spirit of perseverance, I stuck my teeth inside the wrapper and scraped as much chocolate off as I could, along with the almonds.  That actually did the trick, as I  made it home without incident.  Boy oh boy, I needed to reward myself with a candy bar after that experience.  Note to self:  You are a 5-item Wegmans shopper!  Write it down.  Store it in your phone.  Don’t forget.

Proof of what a hot day it was at the Shore today.

Proof of what a hot day it was at the Shore today.

Ironing in high heels…. among other things

Really busy time here.  The days have been filled with all sorts of dove-tailing, minutiae filled activities.  A few hours ago youngest was getting ready to drive to his golf lesson.  The course his instructor works at is not all that far away, but entails travel on 2 different highways.  Since most of his other lessons have been during rush hour, son has never driven to this particular course. (Rush hour on Route 1 scares the pants off of many of us in this neck of the woods.)  Today’s lesson was at a safe time of 2:00, and I had an appointment of my own around then, so son gamely headed out on his own.  Although not without a safety net.

I suggested that if youngest was worried about the route then he could either take my car with the GPS (ew, no, he said) or call my cell and put me on speaker while he drove so he could ask for directions if he got lost/confused.  After poo-poing that idea at first, he found me as he was getting ready leave, saying he was going to call me.

photo 2-49I looked at him and smiled, and said no problem.  At that moment I was ironing my clothes in preparation for my evening event which would follow my afternoon event.  When I was pulling those clothes out of the closet I realized I had left my fancier dress sandals at our beach house, and therefore would have to wear pumps tonight.  My pumps are tight in warm weather, so I slipped them on to try and stretch them a little while I was ironing.  (Son didn’t even notice that I was ironing in shorts and heels or, which could also be the case, didn’t think it was out of the ordinary for me.)

Regardless, 5 minutes later I was still standing at the ironing board in my heels, talking my son through the route via speaker on our cell phones.  And quite proud of myself for multi-tasking effectively.

Summer proper, with it’s quieter routine, can’t start fast enough for me.  The end-of-school-year activities, tests and social events exhaust us all.  Hot weather leads to us eating lighter and better (read: lots of ice cream), moving slower, enjoying our time together.  I  can’t  wait.

9 is the new 10…

Or, transitions are still difficult.

Just like Mother Nature is having trouble transitioning to springtime, I am having trouble transitioning through menopause.  I now completely understand why my sister needed to remove her sweaters hastily.  I have had hot flashes before, but never this urgently.  Within the span of 1 second (one-one-thousand; honestly) I am burning hot.  I can’t unzip and rip off quickly enough.  And then 20 minutes later I’m chilly, sometimes downright freezing.  Clearly, layers are going to play a big role in my foreseeable future.

I’m not sleeping as well as usual either.  My body usually tells me it’s bedtime around 10:00 pm.  I start yawning, my eyes start tearing, and I am incapable of any conversation.  This has been my routine for years.  However, for over a week now my body has been telling me it’s time for bed at 9:00 pm.  Very annoying.  That’s even earlier than the dog wants to go to bed!

It’s not only hormones keeping me from a sound sleep.  Mother Nature has been a bit too active.  Two nights ago our neighborhood barn owl (we think it was him) successfully caught some prey.  Unfortunately it was not a quick process and involved a lot of squealing and screeching.  It was really heartbreaking, no matter how natural the process may be.

Last night hubby and I were woken in the dead of night by the VERY strong odor of skunk wafting in our open window.  What on earth is going on outside our house?!  Last summer neighbors texted us at the beach to say there was a coyote in our front yard.  While we live in a lovely neighborhood, it’s not completely rural.  This is unusual behavior over here in the most densely populated state.

I am also having trouble with the transitioning-out-of-high-school stage.  I’m a pretty steady person, and it’s been hard for me to keep that even keel watching my son’s incredible highs and lows throughout Junior year.  “Things are great!!”  “This is SUCH A CRISIS.”  “I am soooo tired.”  “HOW AM I GOING TO DO THIS??”  “Physics is KILLING ME.”  I got tired just typing that.  If there weren’t a really big, important Physics final coming up, I would wish the next 6 weeks to fly by.  But the people in this house are so dreading that final exam.  That could be part of the reason I want to go to bed at 9:00 pm these days!

“Transitions themselves are not the issue, but how well you respond to their challenges!”         –Jim George, Motivational Speaker and  Author

I’m trying to improve the quality of my response to these challenges…..

Simpatico

Greetings.  Weary, hot-flashin’ mama here.  (My family has been laughing at me.  I have windows open all over the house, but no one else seems to think it’s too warm inside.  Oh well, as long as they just laugh at me and don’t try to close the windows, I’m good.)

Youngest and I returned today from what I hope was our last college search trip.  I will admit that he and I have spent so much quality time together in the past 9 months that I feel I know him especially well.  And he seems not too annoyed with me as we go through this process.

Today during small-town-college-tour #542 we were with a group of unusually quiet families.  Ironically, this was one of the best tour guides we’ve had, but the poor girl got a dud of a group.  I had lots of questions, and since no one else was saying anything, I went ahead and asked them.  Near the end, the tour guide asked again if anyone had any questions, and I murmured to son that I had already asked too many.  He murmured back Yep.  We stopped for lunch before commencing the drive home and son said to me Don’t worry Mom; I didn’t have to tell you that you were asking too many questions, you told yourself.  What could I say?  Thanks, hon.

Both youngest and I are pretty quiet people; not big talkers.  (I married my opposite in that department.)  With all of the long drives and restaurant meals during these college visits we’ve had lots of time to make conversation.  Interestingly, we think alike in many areas.  Today at lunch we were discussing why someone acted the way they did, and I made a speculation; son looked at me and said that he had “literally” been about to say the same thing.  We had a good laugh over that.

Then he said And by the way, Mom, you DO snore.  I don’t think he was prepared for my reaction.  I looked at him and said Oh my god.  I am so glad you said that.  That means I actually feel into a deep enough sleep to snore!  I didn’t think I slept for more than 10 minutes!  Clearly, I was not at all bothered about snoring.  Plus it’s allergy season.  I can’t be held responsible for snoring during allergy season.  So there.

But seriously, sleeping has been a challenge lately thanks to whatever stage it is I’m in now.  I’m looking forward to moving into a more sedate stage as soon as possible.  (Really,  how long can I rely on everyone to stay away from me and be patient? Sometimes I think just touching me on the arm can send me into a hot flash.)  I love you my family, but don’t touch me!

So son and I are moving into the next stage of our lives simultaneously; maybe that’s why we’re getting along so well.  I was talking to parents of a freshman boy last week and they said they couldn’t imagine sending him off to college.  I said Don’t worry, if the process works the way it should he will be very ready to go.  And you will be very ready to have him go!

I have one more year to be ready for him to go (and hopefully — please! — less than a year before I am safely settled in menopause).  But I think we’ll always be simpatico.   

Events are beyond me

Before I continue with this post, I need to state that I have a very, very good life.  A wonderful family and not a lot of stress.  I am deeply grateful to have this wonderful life.

Yet there are times when events in my life just seems to get beyond me.  Today was the type of day where if I could have, I would have ended up on the kitchen floor with a newly opened bottle of wine in my hands.  But I was denied that mini-meltdown. Next best thing?  Share it all on my blog.

For a healthy (or, as my OB/GYN calls me: medically boring) person, I seem to have a lot going on at the moment.  I am currently undergoing patch testing for allergies as a possible answer to unexplained itching that has been going on since the Fall.  We have tested for so many things that I hope this finally uncovers something.  In addition, I’ve been having UV Light Treatment to bring the itching under control. Hasn’t worked yet, but I am still holding out hope. The allergy patches (70, in 7 strips of 10) went on yesterday.  I go back tomorrow, 48 hours later, to have them removed and evaluated, then again a day later for a final reading.  Light Treatment is supposed to be 3 days a week, but just today they decided it might irritate the patches so I can take a break from that till Friday.  While I am wearing the patches I can’t shower or exercise, so I decided today would be a good day to do laundry and cleaning (gentle cleaning) at our Shore house.

As I was driving to the Shore house i realized that I had cramps.  And they were getting worse by the mile.  I took some Aleve when I arrived and then started to vacuum.  Ironically, sometimes vacuuming helps — something about putting the abdominal muscles to work.

As I was finishing my housework youngest texted to say his golf lesson was cancelled but he was invited to practice with the golf team at a new course.  (They are practicing at a few different courses and can’t always get enough tee times for everyone so the players are alternating.) He didn’t have his clubs at school, so asked if I’d meet him at home and drive him to the course (not an easy drive and he’s not comfortable doing it yet).  So I agreeably jumped in the car RIGHT THEN and rushed home.   We get him there 5 minutes before tee time (which I view as downright miraculous) and I left to grocery shop for dinner.

On my way to the grocery store I stopped at the liquor store for a bottle of wine.  I said to the lady behind the counter Please don’t judge me by this wine.  I always crave White Zinfandel when I have cramps.  I carried the White Zin to the grocery store with me and carefully brought it home.

It was a cold, spitting rain day today, and I decided it was the perfect time for one of our old standby chicken casseroles.  I quick poached the chicken and put the casserole together.  This recipe calls for french fried onions mixed in, and I knew I had some in the cabinet.  As I tossed them in I thought, Wow, they’re really  fragrant.  Wait….. are they supposed to smell like that?  I think “rancid” best describes the smell.  I just stared at the bowl, trying to get away from the aroma, and checked the bottom of the can.  Sure enough, they expired in 2013.  Oh, darn.   Darn, darn, darn.   Truthfully, the entire mixture had to be thrown out.  It was nearly 6:00 and I had no idea about dinner.  This was when I had the idea about sitting on the floor and opening the wine.  Really, what else was there to do??

But right then my phone beeped a text.  It was son, asking if I had gotten his previous text that the team was almost back to school and he needed to be picked up.  No sinking to the floor with wine for me.  I drove to school considering our take-out options.  I considered these options and stewed over the fact that I had rushed everywhere that afternoon — rushed home from the Shore in almost record time, rushed him to the golf course (the one off Rt. 1 with terrible, congested traffic any time after 3:00 pm), rushed back to school to bring him home.  All the while squirming in my seat because of the patches and counting down the hours till I can take more Aleve.  Oh, and drink that wine.

As I wallowed in my self-pity it did occur to me that I just  might have another set of all the casserole ingredients (with the exception of the french fried onions, which I’m not sure I”ll ever be able to eat again anyway).  And, against all odds, I actually did.  I had cooked extra chicken for salads, so I seriously had everything I needed. I tossed a bag of pretzels at son and told him they would tide him over to dinner.  And I must say that casserole really did taste really good with my White Zin.

I’m feeling a little better, and very much looking forward to going to bed with my book.  I’m not sure why these things threw me the way they did today.  Probably because I’m really PMSing.  I think my hormones are all over the place and I really wish they would settle down and LEAVE ME ALONE.  And I’m ready for these darn patches to come off.  They’re kind of itching me.  Not a lot, and I have this terrible feeling that if I did have allergies to some of these things I’d be even more uncomfortable.  Do I wish I were more uncomfortable?  Yes!  At least I would know the reason.  I think I need to schedule some time for me to sit on the floor by myself tomorrow. Is this why people meditate?  It might make me feel better.

Embracing Middle Age in Mysterious Ways

Just acknowledging the number of years I’ve been alive cements the fact that I am squarely in middle age.  But, and many of my friends make the same comment, it just doesn’t FEEL that I am as aged as I truly am.  Every time I hear songs on the radio from the 80’s (which is often these days as that’s the station I listen to) I am transported right back to college — and it doesn’t seem like that many years ago!

If I were to be true to myself I would admit that I don’t have as much energy as I used to, or even as much angst, and probably a tad more crotchetiness, but all in all I feel like I could still be a young mother.  My mom used to tell me whenever she would see “a group of young mothers” like me somewhere, and until VERY recently I have still considered myself a young mother.  I had to give up the young mother identity recently as I was talking to prospective (and truly young) parents at my sons’ former school and gushing about how wonderful it  had been for them.  When asked my sons’ ages, I had to admit they are 17 (18 in 5 weeks, lord help me) and 25.  Holy cow — if they are old must be old too.  In fact, I was a young mother 25 years ago.  (And even then I wasn’t really young, as I had my first-born at 29.)

Mr. Clean is a genius

Mr. Clean is a genius

About 15 years ago it became apparent that I needed to join the rubber gloves club for doing dishes as my hands would get very dry, even with rubbing them with lotion.  Pulling gloves on and off is kind of a pain, but it does also help preserve a manicure a few more days, so there is at least an additional benefit.  Rubber gloves wear out and tend to get very annoying holes in the fingers and therefore need to be replaced regularly. I think the brand I’ve been loyal to is Playtex (but the fact I can’t remember isn’t a great endorsement).  Anyway, the last time I needed to replenish my supply of gloves I carefully examined my options instead of grabbing the same blue bag on my way down the aisle.  There was another brand with a large banner across the packaging claiming soft-as-silk (or something like that) interior.  So, OK, I’ll spend an extra dollar and try them out.  OMG, I love my new rubber gloves!  They really are soft inside, and much thicker than my previous yellow ones.  I actually don’t mind pulling them on and off, and not being that overly bright, can’t-miss yellow, I’ve even taken to leaving them on the side of the sink for easy access.

Now is this not the definition of getting old?  I am gushing about rubber gloves?!  I am trying to be careful about who I share this with — clearly other “old” people in order to preserve whatever reputation I imagine I may still have.  But really, I think Mr. Clean deserves an award for a great new twist on a product.  At least I think it’s a new product.  It is entirely possible I haven’t paid attention for the past ten years or so.  But to me, this is a great new discovery.  And I suppose a way to embrace my middle age.  Yes, everyone, I’m middle aged and I love my rubber gloves.

Wow!  That was a great confession to get off my chest.  I feel great.  And young again!  Fancy how that works….