Monday, January 5, 2015

No, I'm not superstitious

I'm not superstitious.

How can I be? When I was a child, I was always so careful never to step on a crack. I never wanted to break my mother's back. My mother raised me to be superstitious. Never to walk under a ladder. Never to put shoes on a table. Never open an umbrella in a house. I still managed to break mirrors, no matter how careful I was.

When I was 10, my mother died, and I realized that none of these things protected me from the bad things of the world. The only thing that would get me through was my faith in God, my belief that no matter how awful things are here, there is a greater purpose and plan.

Because of this, probably (I can't say for sure), I don't believe in signs or ghosts or other things I cannot see or feel or touch. Yes, I know that's contradictory. Believe me, I know all too well. But that is how I am, and I really don't see the need to change.

But then there is the ring. It's always a ring, isn't it?

My mother was married three times.

The first time, she was 17. Her husband was 31. They had four children, though only two lived. When my brothers were babies, he left.

The second time, she was 25. Her husband was 54. From all accounts, they were wildly happy, and had me 14 years later. My father died when I was two.

Her third marriage came when she was 43. I'm still not sure how old my stepfather was, but I know he looked far older. He always told me he was 39. They were married until my mother died when I was 10. He followed her to the grave three years later.

I inherited her wedding rings from my father and step-father. Sadly, the ring that my father gave my mother was in my car when it was stolen years ago (I was moving and hadn't unpacked that last load yet). But I still have the ring from my step-father. It's simple white gold, with pretty ridges and some small diamonds. I used to wear it on my right hand.

One day I realized it was gone. I was in my early 20s, and realized I hadn't seen it since putting hand lotion on at my desk at work that day. I searched everywhere, but it was nowhere to be found. Heartbroken, I finally stopped looking.

Months later, there was a note posted on the bulletin board at work. "Ladies ring found, please identify. See guard on duty at desk." Knowing it couldn't possibly be mine, I checked anyway. It was my ring. They had found it moving furniture - it was under the heavy leg of a desk.

I started wearing it again, and several years later, I wore it out dancing with friends one night. My hands got hot and puffy, so I took it off and put it in the pocket of my jacket. When I got home, it was gone. Another night crying. I called the club, and no one had turned it in. It wasn't in my car.

A year later, I was moving. During my last sweep of the apartment, I climbed a stepladder to dust the top shelf in my bedroom closet. I only kept a few boxes and shoes up there - nothing else.

There was my ring.

Once I got over my initial tears of joy, I thought it must be a sign. It had to be. There was no earthly explanation.

Not wanting to press my luck (and yes, I do know how silly that sounds), I stopped wearing it and kept it stored in my jewelry box. Years have passed, I've gained weight, and it doesn't even fit the ring finger on my right hand where I'd worn it.

A couple weeks ago, my son was discovering the treasures there. There's a story for nearly every pin and necklace inside. I told him who I'd received them from, where I'd worn them, what the memories were for each one. Then he found the ring, and I told him the story. He told me I should wear it on a different finger, so I did. It was a bit loose on that finger, but not loose enough that I thought I'd lose it...but I did. By the end of that same day, it was gone.

This time I didn't look for it. It could have been anywhere - home, church, grocery store, gas station. I didn't say a word to anyone. I waited.

New Year's Day I woke before my kids. No surprise, I'd gone to sleep before they did. I went out to the kitchen to make coffee.

And there, right by the coffeemaker, was my ring. When the kids woke, I asked them if either one had put it there. My son Jake answered quickly. "I did. It was right in the middle of the living room floor last night. You really shouldn't leave it out like that."

The floor that I'd swept and dust-mopped and mopped at least three times during those two weeks the ring was missing.

This time I am going to say it's a sign.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Can I freeze my daughter?

I have an 11-year-old daughter, and she is beautiful., probably...I'm slightly biased. No, I'm not. She is gorgeous. Tall, leggy, blonde, blue-eyed.

She wants to wear make-up. I remember those days...but I could swear it hit me a bit later. Sixth grade? Nope. Maybe seventh, certainly eighth. I don't think I'm terribly old-fashioned, but I want her to wait as long as possible. She's 11. Still a little girl in many ways, and I want her to hang on to these days...they are too short and can never return. I let her wear make-up for play, but not out of the house, except for a bit for a dance or violin performance (stage lighting isn't particularly friendly to blondes).

I wear make-up nearly every day, and I believe it's a wonderful thing. It's fun, it's pretty, I can accentuate what I want and minimize what I don't. And at my age, baby, it's all about the minimization.

But not my girl. Sometimes I get a glimpse of the woman she'll become, and it excites me and scares the stuffing out of me. I picked her up after school the other day, and I saw a beautiful young woman come around the corner, skinny jeans tucked into boots, a pretty blouse, a leather jacket, hair up in a bun. It took me a moment to realize she was my little girl.

I know we'll struggle over this. We already do. Yesterday we all piled into the truck to go somewhere. No place fancy. I turned over my shoulder to look before backing up, and just about choked. "Are you wearing make-up?" She had all of it on...mascara, liner, eyeshadow, blush, lipstick. Beautiful still, in spite of the stuff. I marched her back in the house to wash her face before we could leave. She was upset, and so was I. Until she looked in the mirror. I think she saw herself as I do, maybe for the first time. She looked so grown-up, and I know as much as she longs for it, she's not quite ready for that.

This is a mother-daughter dance that doesn't surprise me, that I expected would come. In my eighth-grade days of applying mascara in secret in the bathroom at the school dance, swearing to myself I would let my daughter start wearing make-up when she wanted to - but knowing in my heart I probably would make her wait...not knowing the reasons why.

If you are a mother of a girl, what age/grade did you/will you allow her to wear make-up every day? Share in the comments won't change my mind, but I'm curious.


Saturday, November 2, 2013

The post where I say butt too many times, and talk about Ender's Game

As in, put your money where your mouth is, but this relates to a movie, so I'll say put your money where your butt is. Where I paid a lot of money to put my butt in a seat. Oops, I said it again. And I will, because I like to say butt. I wasn't allowed to when my mom was alive...see, she died when I was 10, but there are still so many things every day that make me think of her. Somehow, saying butt instead of bottom makes me feel just the slightest bit naughty.

We went to the movies tonight, my teenaged son and I. This we had planned since the day he started reading Ender's Game. He came home and asked if I had read it. Of course I had, being a science fiction fan. But it was years ago, so he asked me to reread it so we could talk about it each night. It was a pleasure, and I enjoyed it more the second time round, probably because I could now critique it with one of the most important people in the world to me.

I had to stop and think about the movie visit. I know many will not go to see it, because of the strong views of its outspoken author, Orson Scott Card. Put your money where your mouth is. Live your beliefs with your wallet. I've heard a few more of these, though more don't quickly come to mind. Would I see this movie knowing how much hatred this man holds and inspires? Would I refuse to see the film to prevent him from making any more money than he already has from the book?

I chose to see it tonight with my 13-year-old son. We talked about the things that Mr. Card has said. We talked about the fact that there are people we love and care about that are the targets of some of his hatred, though I think some of that still went over my son's head.

Because I thought about other things, too. About Jesus' call to love. About my own faith and beliefs. How would I feel if an atheist chose not to visit the business I work in, because he didn't believe what I do?

Ultimately, Mr. Card wrote a tremendous story. And if he makes money from the movie and uses that to advance his own agenda, then so be it...because that's what I do with money I earn. We live in a country where we can believe things that others find absurd and even offensive. The fact that his book made it to film has got people talking. Do I judge him as he judges other? Probably. After all, part of the definition of judgment is to form an opinion, to discern.

So ultimately I am glad I got off my butt and put it in a movie seat tonight.

Have you seen Ender's Game? Will you? Let me know in the comments below.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Five long years

What a difference five years make. Everyone says, "Enjoy every minute. Time flies so fast." I know they're right...but still I'm continually astounded. This was five long years ago:

My princess was Hannah Montana, back before Miley washed her hands of Disney and delight, and traded them for flash and skin. My boy was a Stormtrooper, following his method of refusing to wear the current year's costume and ending up in the last year's. Happened every year until last, when he suddenly was "too old" to trick or treat. Also, you can't catch him in a photo with his sister, because they continually pick at each other.

This year, my sweet girl was a cheerleader, and this photo gives a hint of the woman she'll become. Visiting houses with a friend, because brother wouldn't go, and stayed home with dad.

Sweet memories, old and new. I treasure them all.

The dog? He still looks the same.


Friday, April 12, 2013

Day Six Update - 21-Day Paleo Cleanse

End of a long, long week.  I've been sick for three weeks, and I'm tired of it.  No rest.

No change in my asthma.  Last year I had a nice reprieve from it, but this year it is ferocious.  Don't really expect anything yet, but it would have been nice.

I don't get the evening munchies that cannot be tamed.  Those "I'll just have a few chips.  They will hit the spot."  "No, that wasn't it...maybe a cookie."  "Hmmm, maybe just a few more chips."

Yesterday I really  felt some of my tummy bloat was tamed - and I have lost three pounds.  That's a big plus, since I haven't felt hungry at all.  In fact, I believe the volume of food I am eating is less, yet I am more satisfied.

I think I have been sleeping better.  I usually wake up several times a night, but have slept the last two nights through.  In fact, yesterday morning I slept right through my alarm.  Haven't done that in YEARS.    

My favorite meal of the last few days is simply called the "Breakfast Smoothie."  That doesn't come close to the deliciousness in a glass that it is.  Simply frozen mixed berries, banana, coconut milk and shredded coconut blended together.  Nothing to sweeten it at all.  I'm making extra tomorrow for Emma.  Will be interesting to see what she thinks of it.

She and her friend raved about the chicken tonight - Grilled Bacon-Wrapped Rosemary Chicken.  But she didn't like the "leaves," and pulled them out of the chicken.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Withdrawal should be three words

Because then everyone would know what it feels like.  With-DRAW-al.

Ok, so maybe I don't know what the big-gun withdrawals are like - but caffeine withdrawal is no fun. I've quite coffee before, and I don't remember it being this bad. Maybe it's a combination of caffeine withdrawals and carb flu. Headaches, light-headedness, lack of focus. This afternoon is going better, though.

I didn't weigh myself the first morning (Sunday) because I was so busy researching and writing on my theory  of why man....oh, who am I kidding?  I just forgot. I did weigh when I got to the gym that afternoon, so I'm using that as my starting weight.  And, no, I'm not posting it here (are you CRAZY?)...though I will update with any changes.  None so far.  I need to remember that I am in this for the long haul and not the quick fix.  Every time I've gone "on a diet" I immediately regain that weight I had so quickly lost.

I know I haven't been drinking as much water as I should.  I misplaced my water bottle.

The food has been GREAT.  I've been using the recipes right out of Neely Quinn's "21-day Paleo Cleanse." I love the fact that she has lined out the shopping list and prep work as well as the recipes.  Our favorites, though, are the breakfasts.  No eggs? No cereals?  No dairy?  No problem, when you have Neely's great recipes.  My daughter and I love the Tex-Mex Breakfast.  It's a yummy combo of ground beef, onions, zucchini, and spices.  And the Ham Stir-fry with ham and sweet potato.  Mmmmm.

What do I miss?  Coffee.  So far that's pretty much it, but it's only been a few days.

I don't have daily arthritis pain, so I cannot say if there is an improvement yet.  Saturday was a very bad day, but I'd spent six hours in the car and nine and a half hours in meetings the day before, so that isn't surprising.  No typo bosses apparently think I am so amazing I don't need sleep.

I was having some digestive problems after being on antibiotics for bronchitis, and those cleared up the very first day eating this way.  That was fantastic.  And Sunday afternoon when my caffeine-withdrawal headache was at its worst, I sat in the sauna for a few minutes after swimming and the headache disappeared without even an aspirin.

These are some of the tasty things I have been eating:

Ham Stir-fry Breakfast

I know I said some, but that's the only picture you get, because the picture of my tuna salad was taking too long to upload and I'm cranky from not having my cuppa joe for three days!


Saturday, April 6, 2013

Hack this

I'm a flirt. Nothing but a flirt...I flirt with this diet and that diet. I was a vegan for seven years, with a few two weeks cycles of that since (that's all I have to do to remember it doesn't work for me). South Beach, 17-Day, name it, I've read about it. And probably failed at it. This is where I find myself today: Overweight. Arthritic. Asthmatic. Still cute, funny, and smart, but those things are harder to keep up these days.

I've done the research. Unending research. Everything conflicting. But I keep coming back to two major theories: there are a lot of fat-free vegans who have "cured" themselves of issues like mine. But I know that doesn't work for me. I'm hungry all the time, which equates to cranky. My skin and hair are dry. My stomach hurts. I don't sleep well. And then..there are the Paleos/Primals/Ancestral Eaters. I've tried that, too. But haven't quite found the right style. So now I will try this...the "21-Day Paleo Cleanse." Have to love it...the author knows how to use a hyphen, right? And 21 days is doable. I did the 21-Day Sugar Detox a while back. Felt pretty good, too...but it wasn't quite right. Neely Quinn, the author of the e-book, calls this "A step-by-step guide for people with auto-immune diseases, food allergies, and gut health problems to reduce inflammation, reverse symptoms and lose weight." How can you argue with that? So, here are the rules:

Refined sugar
Vegetable oils
Artificial additives and preservatives
Caffeine (what? Wait a minute, here...did I really sign up for this???)
Sweeteners (artificial and natural)
Nuts and seeds
Nightshades (tomatoes, eggplants, etc.)

And this leaves me with..what? Styrofoam?

Good fats

Thank heaven I went to Johnny Garlic's yesterday. That pretzel bun and those garlic fries will carry me for
the next three weeks. Tune in tomorrow to see how it goes.