Just A Spoonful of Sugar or Is It?

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Once upon a time there was a delusional woman who thought she could make freezer jam.  Seemed simple enough.  Strawberries, pectin, sugar, cook it up and put it in cute little canning jars and freeze.  Yup, even she could do it.

So she went and picked strawberries….who knew that you have to be there EARLY in the day and that you are to bring your own containers…these things should be in the newspaper ads (this was before Al Gore invented the internet and we used to have these things called “newspapers”….can you say….. news…paper….good job) so those of us that had never picked before could come prepared….not everyone knows these kind of things,  you know.

Picking strawberries seems like such an idyllic endeavor; there you are in your bonnet and strawberry-picking basket and the birds are trilling away and you are feeling like Ma Ingalls….but in reality, you are all bent over and mosquitoes are buzzing around your face and biting you everywhere they can find your pink flesh and gnats are getting into your eyes and ears and you are cursing Ma and the strawberry farm….there ought to be WARNING signs up so you know what you will be facing.

After a horrific  20 minutes you check your berry basket to find that you have picked a grand total of 43 strawberries and you decide to say the devil with picking your own and head off to check out and buy the stupid berries.

Having never bought fresh strawberries before, there is a bit of sticker shock at the price of one flat of berries.  But hubby will be so pleased at having homemade strawberry jelly that certainly spending half of that week’s food budget won’t bother him once he bites into a piece of freshly baked bread (another delusion) slathered with strawberry jam made by his wife’s tiny hands (delusion…they are like tiny stuffed sausages stuck on ham hocks).

So she drives the 50 miles back home and gathers all her supplies and reads the directions for Easy Strawberry Freezer Jam (liars).  One must sterilize the canning jars before beginning (are they neutered or spayed?) So she loads them up in her giant canning pot and cooks the hell out of them and then gingerly lays them upside down on an equally sterile dish towel.  Now to de-stem the ruby-red jewels that lay helter-skelter in the wooden flat.  After all that work, now they need to be rinsed off and chopped up.  The little woman decides that this is a one-time deal and old hubby better damn well bow down and kiss her feet (or at least rub them) for doing all this work for some stupid jam.

When the woman was gathering her supplies, she grabbed the Tupperware container that held the sugar and proceeded to pour in the correct amount into the berries and the pectin and cooked them all up into a mouth-watering thick confection of strawberry gooeyness.

Next, she ladled the mixture into her sterile little jars and sealed them tight and was delighted to hear the little “pops” of the tops sealing.  She felt so proud of herself as she looked over the dozens of little jars, all popping away.  Oh, her husband would be so proud of her and even though she would never speak of it, she was kinda proud of herself.

The next day, she put all those precious, ten dollars a half pint, jars of jam into the freezer to await a special occasion when she could bring one out and exclaim, “Why, yes, I did make the jam myself”!

A few days later, her nephew was visiting for dinner and it was time to bring out a jar of jelly.  Every one was seated and grace was said and the woman heaped jelly onto a hot bun and took a big bite just as her nephew was doing the same…..but instead of a mouthful of delectable sweetness, it was poisoned and the woman screamed to her nephew, as he was just opening his mouth to take a bite, “Don’t eat that!!!  It’s poisoned!”  (She just knew if she canned she would end of giving her family botulism because her mother always warned her of the dangers of home canning and dang, if she hadn’t almost killed her nephew!!!!)

All that beautiful and expensive jam had to be thrown away because as she figured out days later, she had accidentally grabbed her husband’s CANNING SALT instead of sugar.

Moral of this story…..label your Tupperware.

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Verborum Vomitus

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Verborum vomitus is Latin for “verbal vomit”.  I had a an attack of verborum vomitus today while at the post office.  It was not pretty.

I remember when I was a kid/teenager/adult and I would be with my mom and she would be checking out or something where she did not need to have a conversation with anyone but instead chatted the whole time, giving information that I knew the person being verbally vomited on could not care less about.  And I would feel bad for the person who had to listen.IMG_1430

Well Karma is a b*tch, ain’t it?

Because I have entered that phase of my life where Lord help me, I verbally vomit all over the place.  Add caffeine to the mix and I am like a college freshman after their first frat party….spewing forth all over the place.

My friends from church used to love when I would be at a party and have a cup or two of coffee because I would put on a verbal show for them.  Often when we would leave the party,  I would have to ask my poor daughter if I had crossed any lines as once I got going it was like I had lost all sense of decorum and stuff would just fly from my mouth without first having been sifted through my brain filter.  I have never taken speed but I can imagine it must be something like that.

So today I had to venture out to mail some packages and I did not want to get all cleaned up just to run to the post office (remember I live in the country, my mailman has seen me in every early morning get-up imaginable and every hair color/style/cut known to man so to run to the local PO in my painting clothes and no make-up is not a big deal.) but since I had gotten the notion to buzz on side of my head in the delusion of having a funkier hairstyle and it turned out looking like I have mange, I threw a scarf around my head and hoped to meet no one I knew.

Luckily as I pulled into the parking lot of the PO, there was nary a car there so I grabbed my packages and ran in.  I haven’t been to the PO in ages and the last time I was there, the Postmistress was not real friendly and so I was pleasantly surprised to see a new woman behind the counter and she was very friendly.

Big Mistake on her part….not only had I had two STRONG cups of coffee but I had also not eaten so I was on a wild caffeine high, plus when I get nervous, I talk more and faster and my voice octave rises.  OMG.  I chatted up such a storm that papers were flying around and she was forgetting to put labels on my packages, and yet, I kept talking….faster and faster…..higher and higher…..I felt like I could not stop eventhough I was getting this…..IMG_1429I even showed her my mange spot….dear Lord….what is wrong with me?

I can just imagine the story she will tell tonight over dinner about the crazy woman in the red crocs and purple sweats in the big black coat with a scarf around her head who has a bald spot in her orangutan orange hair because she thought she would look better with it cut like that…..man, what I wouldn’t give to be a fly on that wall!

Till next time,

I remain your caffeinated Queen

Give Me a Lift…..

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img_1355I never knew I made noise getting up until my first grandchild was about two and everytime he got up from sitting or moved something or did any kind of lifting, he would make these sounds of extreme effort.  I thought it was quite odd in such a young child until one day when I was lifting my fat arse off the couch, I made a sound very similar to Jack and then the proverbial light bulb went off in my head.

Jack was imitating the noises he had heard me make whenever I had to “move it, move it” (did you just sing it like the King Lemur Julien from Madagascar?)

How long had I been doing that?  Do I do it in front of others?

Getting older has not been pleasant for me in terms of both my physical limitations and my mental state.  I just cannot wrap my mind around being in my early 60’s…it just seems impossible for the young girl inside me to be that age in body.

But my body is certainly trying to convince my brain we are the same age.

Besides the huffing and puffing (you would huff and puff too, if you were carrying the extra weight of a full-size human around), it seems every part of my body that could sag or hang has decided to give up the ghost of fighting gravity and is racing towards my knees….even those things that are supposed to be stationary inside my body.  My bladder has decided it would like to see the light of day and it is fighting like hell to get out and since I have gotten rid of my lady parts in my Southern Hemisphere, it has clear sailing to someday pop out and say, “Surprise”!   Not that it will really be a surprise as it is certainly giving me clues as to it’s trajectory.  I am afraid I will soon be asking my youngest granddaughter for her Dora the Explorer pull-ups.

Is there truly any way to tighten the bat wings which have now become my upper arms?  I would trade a kidney (tho, I better hang on to both since they are not working up to snuff and two bad kidneys I suppose are better than one bad kidney) to get an upper arm lift. Actually I need a full on body lift.  Like how “Egger” from the first Men In Black movie just grabbed the top of his head and lifted all his excess skin.  Why is there not a need for more human skin.  I would be first in line if they needed it.  Go ahead, cut a slab off here and there….just make sure you cut both sides the same….liposuction ain’t gonna help me none since once the fat is gone, I would have miles and miles of defatted skin…..

If I had known I really would live this long, I might have taken better care of my body…key word here folks is: Might.   Because when you are young and everything is where it should be and nothing is hanging, you never give a thought to how fast you will age and if it hangs at 35, watch out at 62….

People will tell you that “you are never too old to start getting healthy or in shape” but that’s a load of crap.  Which is harder on a body, staying the same or starting to stress it out by not eating your favorite foods, giving up drinking, and taking long walks when the thought of falling is paramount in your mind and you just shuffle down the road in your crocs, hoping against hope that your bladder will stay put, you won’t sneeze or cough, and nobody you know will drive by.  I don’t think my heart could handle that kind of stress.

I just want to wake up some morning fit as a fiddle and as long as I am feeling delusional, I might as well wake up with a taunt neck, unspeckled skin, with upper arms like Michelle, and a body like JLo and legs like Taylor.  And a Kim K. bank account ( I would have said an Oprah bank account but that would be just crazy thinking).

I would love to continue chatting but I must go pluck those eyelash hairs that have transplanted themselves to my chin….how do they do that?

Keeping my chins up till next time,

Your aging Queen

The Truth About Aging (and it ain’t what you think)

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Last week my mom just lost another close friend.  And I wonder what it is like to be my mom’s age and to have suffered through the loss of most of her childhood friends and those women whom she knew so intimately all during the newlywed/young family/teenagers/empty nest/marriages/grandbabies/widowhood years of her life?

How do you  cope with funeral after funeral?  Do you lie in bed each night and wonder if tomorrow it will be your time to die?  Do you long for sleep to dream about all your loved ones who have been gone these past many years.  Do you wake up in the middle of the night and relive the past….the joys and the sorrows?

Even at 62, I often go back to the past when I can’t sleep.  I see the neighbors who are now gone, some who had a profound part in my growing up.  I see them all in their younger years, gathering for coffee at one another’s house or on the tiny patios or lawns each had.  I see Eleanor and Bernice, Joyce and Cel, Millie and Sylvia, Diane and June, my Grandma Tillie and Mrs. Kiehl, Nancy and DeMaris and Mrs. Persh sitting out on her back steps.  In my mind’s eye, I see them all, I remember their homes and the scent each one had.  I remember being yelled at by some and being given cookies by others.

I remember them all.

Is that what it all boils down to?  To be remembered?  Does anyone lay in bed and think of me?  Will anyone remember me?

I hate with a passion getting older.  Not because I have lost my looks or that my body has expanded and that everything hurts.  No, it is the future that scares the heck out of me.  The inevitable losses that must come.  I am not a brave person.  I don’t do well with emotional pain….it sits like an elephant on my chest and the ache overwhelms me until I retch with unnerving sounds that crawl up from the deepest parts of my soul and frighten me with their intensity.  It is in that pit of despair and hopelessness that I struggle with ending the pain myself.  But I have to remind myself that ending my pain will only bring pain to those left behind who care for me; and do I not love them more than myself?  If you have ever struggled with the longing to step from this world into the next, you know the fight that goes on inside your brain.

I am not brave.

My mother is brave.  She mourns her loss and then goes on with life.  She is the poster child for aging right!  She looks forward to each new day.  To the adventures that day may bring.  She does not hide from the pain of life.  She LIVES.  And LIVES well.

I hide.  I close up.  I retreat.  I am not aging well……

I WILL go gentle into that good night…..

img_1341This poem is by Dylan Thomas.

This post is in memory of Bernice Olson who died last week and who was the “Ethel” to my mom’s “Lucy”.  Bernice lived next-door to my mom for 47 years.  She was my “second mom”.  We had keys to her house and she ours.  Need something from her cupboard?  Go on in and find it.  It was normal to come downstairs in the mornings and find Bernice in her robe having coffee with her hair up in pincurls or rollers.  She had piercing blue eyes that she highlighted by the use of cake mascara….like clumps of black spider legs were surrounding her eyes.  I was always fascinated by those clumps.  Bernice seemed to bring me a lot of places with her.  She had one son who was like six or so years older than me and who got the biggest kick out of teasing me.  He was the love of her life.  I don’t think she had the easiest of lives.  Her husband died of a sudden heart attack at the age of 62 and then her beloved son died of a heart attack at 54 and if memory serves me, she was there to witness it.

Rest In Peace, dear Bernice, with Larry and Laird….as long as I live, you will be remembered with love……

Robyn

Help…My Bed Tried To Kill Me

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I sleep on a twin size blow up bed.  With a one-inch foam pad on top.  I sleep on it because it seems to not be as hard on my body as a regular bed.  I love my bed.  It has three levels of comfort and it will re-inflate all by itself if your “level” gets low.  I have had this bed for a year or so and never had a single bit of trouble with it….until a few days ago.

I woke up the other morning to the sound of the motor inflating the bed….while I was still in it which had never happened before.  Now these beds, as good as they are are not made for every night sleeping on.  So eventually they spring a leak, and since this wasn’t my first rodeo with a blow up bed, I knew it would just a matter of time before it started to leak.  And sure enough, the past few mornings the inflator was running but I was in a low spot in the middle of the bed.  Now if I were a “nip the problem in the bud immediately” kind of person, I would have gotten a bottle of soapy water and sprayed it down to see if I could find the leak.  But you all know me….Procrastination is my middle name.  Plus, I have a tent on top of my bed…..

A what?  A tent.

Since moving into my own bedwomb in the basement (it used to be our daughter’s room), I needed something to protect me from the occasional large spider and or centipede that would freak my kid out when she slept down there…I always knew when she saw one cause I would hear a short, shrill scream and then a “bang” as she whacked it with something large.  And if we have mice, they like to run across the window sills and the floors and anywhere else they feel like going and pooping.  So I bought a bed tent!

img_1146InflatI adore my tent bed.  I keep it zipped up at all time so nothing can get in there and I sleep like a baby in the womb.  It has screened windows on either end so I keep them open for ventilation and even though it is super cold down there (cement floors), I stay toasty warm in there.

So there I was, last night in pitch blackness, sound asleep when suddenly I am falling out of bed INSIDE my zippered tent.  At first I wasn’t sure if it was one of those dreams where you feel like you are falling only to jerk yourself awake.  But then I hit the freezing floor and I knew I was awake.  It took me a few seconds to understand what the heck had happened as it was pitch black and I was understandably discombobulated.  And as fate would have it, I was lying on the zipper part and the foam piece that I sleep on inside the tent was vertical to me and I was still tangled up in my flannel sheet and two blankets.  And I had to pee.  Seriously had to pee.

I quickly raced through my options.  I could try to call out to my husband who is upstairs sleeping but I had heard him up and about earlier and so I really hated to wake him up since he needs his sleep plus I had neglected to bring down my Jammies and so I was just in my Lady Jockeys and even though we have been married almost 33 years, I didn’t feel that being woken up and having to see your wife trapped in a giant pink tent on it’s side, wrapped up like some kind of blanket burrito with her old lady ta-tas every which way but pert, was really gonna add the right kind of spark to our marriage.   By now between the icy cold floor and a bladder that must have moved down after my hysterectomy, there is a much more dire situation taking place.  If you know what I mean…..

My only hope was to try to fling my burrito body up to the other side of the tent to where the other zipper is before I drowned in my own bodily fluid.  Two tries and I was up and like an oversized elephant seal, I maneuvered my encased body to find the zipper.  Now mind you, this is all in the dark.  When I fell off the bed, my tent hit my bench which had my cell phone on it and it was buried under the tent so there was no way to get at it.   I quickly unzipped the tent flap and rolled out onto the floor.  I struggled to get out of the blanket tomb and raced upstairs to the loo.  Ta-tas flying all akimbo, not worrying if the neighbors could see me since I have no curtains on the windows next to the stairs and I leave my “Christmas” lights on so if I have to come up at night, I can see my way.  I had one thought and one thought only.  GET TO THE TOILET.

As it turned out, I woke up my husband anyway as I was getting another pair of Lady Jockeys from the drawers.  When he asked me what I was doing, and I told him I had fallen out of bed and been trapped, he nonchalantly asked if I was okay and did I want to crawl in with him and the dog.  After 33 of marriage, he no longer is surprised by what happens to me.  I am not sure if that is a good thing or not.

So now I am bedless until my new bed comes from Amazon.  I think I will skip the self-inflation, three settings, bed and just get a cheaper one since I now know that I will need a new one next year anyway.  And I probably will have a story to go along with the demise of that one….

Off to order my new bed,

Your deflated, but still alive Queen

Lord, Don’t Let Me Get Rich

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img_1181The last thing on this earth that I would want is to be rich.  I know that sounds like crazy talk but I am totally sane on this topic.  I would be a terrible rich person.

I am an introvert and so what good would having a ton of money do me?  Buy new clothes?  What for, I never go anywhere.

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Jewelry?  Not really interested in new jewels,  and I could and would go nuts buying vintage costume jewelry to make stuff out of.

A new house?  I like the house I have and I love my neighbors so moving away isn’t an option.  Tho, I would love an indoor-inground swimming pool in it’s own building that I could use year round.

img_1180A new car?  Actually, I could use a new vehicle but how on earth would I be able to choose if money was no object?  I think I would rather just restore my 1960 circa Suburban.  It would be so cool to be able to drive it and since I go out so rarely, it would stay in the garage most of the time anyway.

img_1183Oh I suppose I could travel but I get tired so easily that sightseeing is out and there is that introvert thing so I would probably just stay in and to be gone longer than 3 weeks away from grands would be torture.  img_1184

 

Bertrand Russell said, “TO BE WITHOUT SOME OF THE THINGS YOU WANT IS AN INDISPENSABLE PART OF HAPPINESS”.   I fully agree.  At least for me.

img_1179I already am wealthy beyond measure by my standards.

I have a husband who loves me just as I am.

I have a daughter and son-in-law who love me and four fantastic and healthy grandkids who live just 15 miles away.

I have a mother who at almost 85, still lives alone and is super active and healthy.

I have a sister who thinks I am a “bubble off of plumb” but still loves me and likes getting together with me and our mother.

I have super friends, who love me as I am (and that is saying A LOT!)

I do not have to be employed.  That is a huge blessing to me as just daily living is hard most of the time.

I have the time and the means to pursue that which I am interested in (and I have the school bus full of unused art supplies to back that up!)

When we were newly married and pretty “poor”, my idea of wealth was to be able to go into the grocery store and buy anything I wanted and to not have to bring a calculator to make sure I didn’t have more than I could pay for!  I have been that wealthy for years but rarely ever do the shopping anymore.

So you see, I am wealthy and to add more money to my life would only make me miserable (I used to have a shopping problem!).  It would be wonderful to give tons of money away but even that has it’s stresses and I am trying so hard to de-stress my life.  So Lord, please give the money you might have given to me to someone else who needs it more.  I will be so grateful and so will they!

May you all have enough,

Your blessed by true riches Queen

Fashion Platter

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Gilda Radner said, “I base most of my fashion taste on what doesn’t itch”.

I base my fashion taste on what doesn’t itch; what will fit; what it costs; is it black; does it fit my fashion “personality”;  and do I really need it.

This is a shot of my closet (that I share with my husband) and no, it doesn’t have a door on it.  I had wanted hippy beads or something like that hanging from the doorway but past experience has taught me that if something gets in the way of my husband or he finds it a pain to deal with, it will be gone in a flash and I did not want to spend hours on my knees trying to locate every last hippy bead that was rolling around my bedroom floor because experience has also taught me if I leave or drop something, my hubs is sure to step on it or sit on it or in some way injure himself on it.  So I left it alone (sometimes I do have a drop of common sense).

img_1165First thing you will notice is most of my clothing is black.  I love black.  It goes with everything including my ever-changing hair colors.  It is supposed to be slimming but once you get to my size, there is no color, fabric or print that can hide this chunkitude.

Did you know that there are different hues of black?  And of course, the more you wash something black, the “browner” it gets.  So having all black clothing isn’t as easy as just throwing two black pieces together.  The hues must match or it throws off the feng shui of your outfit and it will cause people to look at you and wonder “what’s wrong with this picture”.   That is where my kimonos and tunics and capes/ponchos come in.  My fashion dream is to have a long sleeved, v-necked, spanx-like, catsuit in black and a whole closet full of unusual kimonos and tunics that I would just throw on over the dream catsuit. (For those of you who are picturing Michelle Pfeiffer in her Catwoman suit, that is sort of right, only picture her in a 2x size!).  I could live that fashion dream if only I lived somewhere where the temps never got above 65 degrees, and everywhere I went had AC and I never had another hot flash because you have not lived until you have been in a catsuit and have sweated profusely.  It is not pleasant for the catsuit wearer or for those around the aforementioned person.  Talk about creating your own “personal space”….who-eeee.

So there you have it, folks.  More info on my personal style than you ever wanted to know.

Til the morrow,

I remain your TMI Queen