A Stray Gray

And no, I’m not talking about a cat.  This morning, after meticulously examining each of the 350 silvery roots of hair on my head, and then attempting to color them in with this cute little “in between” coloring stick, I noticed something else while my nose was within an inch of the bathroom mirror.  At first, it startled me.  There was no way it could be.  No one warned me about this, so you could imagine the shock I was in when I found a strand of gray in my left eyebrow.  It’s true.  It happened.  I really found a gray eyebrow hair.  As if dealing with silver roots were not bad enough, now I may have to color my eyebrows, and not just for a fun fashion statement.  After all, who wants to look in the mirror and see their eyebrows turning gray?

While rummaging through my cosmetic bag for the tweezers–which there was a strong possibility they may not have been there since my 16 year-old keeps ‘borrowing’ them–I realized that it was not just any ordinary eyebrow either.  It was extra long and curvy.  Sort of a rogue single hair hiding in my eyebrow, and it didn’t quite blend itself in with the others too well.  I yanked that thing out so fast and furiously that I thought for sure I was bleeding.  Then, it lay there on the bathroom counter and I cursed it.  How dare such a thing even consider that it would be acceptable to grow on me.  I banished it by washing it down the sink drain–with hot water–on my husband’s side of the bathroom counter so that it could not find its way out and find me the next time I am brushing my teeth.

And, so you have it.  I plucked the stray gray and washed it right down the drain.  That stray gray is gone for good.

Finding An Axe In Greenwich Village

Okay, so this past weekend surely proved itself to be a good one.   It began with a train ride to NY and two concert tickets.  My bestie and I had plans to see a concert hero of our from the past.  We even joked about the possibilities of which 80’s band would he have as an opening act.  So we met up at the hotel.  Her bags were already in the room and since she had worked that day, she had quite a large suitcase compared to mine, which made me giggle because she is usually the minimalist, and I am the hoarder.  However, her suitcase–which I later found out–was full of merchandise from the photo shoot she produced during the day.  It was all fun.  And we found this great store–sort of.  In Greenwich Village.  An outdoorsman’s or outdoorperson’s store.  It contained high end rugged wear and survival items.  Like very expensive axes.  In NYC.  How many expensive, artful axes could they possibly sell?  And to whom?  I must say that I picked up an AMAZING button-down luxurious cotton shirt as a souvenir which I do not regret one bit. Check it out if you ever find yourself there. Or here: https://www.bestmadeco.com


Help Wanted

I think I need a personal assistant. A secretary. An aide. Someone willing to keep me on task, maybe share the driving and occasionally hang up clothing in my closet and keep my fabric and craft supplies organized while I’m being creative. A fairy godmother. Yes! That’s it–A Fairy Godmother.  Anyone interested in applying for the job?

That darn Lenten Challenge is just looming overhead and still, nothing gets done around here.  Aside from my usual driving (well, a little less today, because a very dear heart drove Bella home), a doctor’s appointment for Gi, a bit of laundry and some appointments made via telephone, it looks as if NOTHING is accomplished here.  And those few things that I did actually do, were not difficult tasks.  For three weeks now (oh, longer–who am I fooling?), I have been looking around this house in total disgust of our gluttony.  We have too much stuff.  We save too much stuff.  There is so much stuff here, that it is sometimes difficult to find the items we need.  I’m overwhelmed.  And, if I have not already typed it–I keep having visions of what life will be life when we are fully organized here, but can’t do anything about it.

So, in order to conquer and gain control of this house, I’ve decided to put an ad out for a Fairy Godmother.  It’s the best idea  I’ve had since I hired professional personal organizers to help me unpack when we moved into this house.  However, I’m not sure where to post the ad.  Do I make a flyer and pin it to the bulletin board in Starbucks?  Do I click my heels together three times?  If only it were that simple.  Oh, and I can’t hire those ‘professional’ personal organizers again.  They charge way too much loot.  They are very nice and really helped me get on my feet when we moved in, but they charge by the hour–with a minimum of two hours–which includes their travel time to and from my house, or back and forth from Goodwill, the thrift shop or garbage dump.  Really.  I paid more for those ladies to help me (and it was money well-spent because I could not have done it myself) than most people spend on total moving costs.  They worked magic here–just like fairy godmothers–but I can’t hire them again.  I can, however, hire someone at $15 per hour, but I would not know where to look.  I’m a private person, so I would not ask a friend or neighbor to refer a hire, for fear that my new fairy godmother would squeal and tell the friend or neighbor that I have enough fabric to piece and bind 75 quilts, too many books to read in a lifetime, and enough clothing that I could wear two different outfits per day for 365 days–without repeats.

Who is this person and how do I get her here?

The Lenten Challenge:40 bags in 40 days

This past Tuesday being Mardi Gras, a neighbor had asked me what I plan to give up for Lent.  I explained that I don’t usually give anything up, but I instead choose to give more during Lent.  Whether it be by volunteering more of my time, adopting a family to help, making meals or donating pantry items for Christ House.  I do indeed do more during Lent and plan to continue with that.  http://www.ccda.net/programs_christhouse.php

This year though, living with purpose and intent must be important to me becasue I keep dreaming about accomplishing goals, running through finish lines and being in the best shape of my life.  Do you know what it’s like waking up in the morning thinking you’ve just finished runing a half-marathon, are 30 pounds leaner and live in a harmonious well-organized home only to look around and be reminded that none of this has happened and you’re still fat, disorganized and not sure what your purpose in life is?  Well, even if you haven’t, that’s happened to me twice this week.  I can only interpret these dreams to be a sign from God that I should get off of my ass and live more purposefully.

Although it is Day No. 4 of Lent and I have not done anthing of the sort, I plan to challenge myself to 40 Bags in 40 Days.  I got my inspiration from my friend, Kristina, who tagged this blog on her Facebook:  White House Black Shutters.  Wow.  If you could see my basement (it causes me anxiety, panic and dizziness), you would agree that I am the perfect candidate to take on such a challenge.  It will benefit many, many people.  Obviously, my family will reap the benefit of the decluttering and de-chaosing, but others will as well, because there is a lot of good stuff and clothing down there that I will be giving away.  As usual, it is taking me a  few days just to sort through the brain clutter and plan my attack.  I printed the list linked on the blog but at this point, I know it will take me too long to figure out what to write, so I have to just jump in.  I’ll take pictures as I go, but not good ones because I can’t spend too much more time focusing on the production as I have already lost four days.  And, yes, I will still give time, food, quilt blocks and assistance to others along the way.



A Recipe Search, A Sidetrack and Snow

We finally have a real snow day in NoVA.  The kids are home from school, the husband is home as the DOD is closed for the day (I know, it sounds funny) and the fireplace is on–literally, because with just a flip of a switch–it is on.  Nope, no kindling, no lugging messy logs through the house and no wasted time spent trying to find matches nor trying to light a fire.

So, what to do after the dishwasher is empty and the laundry done?  I made myself a delicious cup of coffee and sat myself on the couch with my laptop to search for healthy recipes. Healthy, because I’m supposed to be working very hard to lose some weight.  Did you read about my neighborhood’s diet club yet?  Ugh, another weigh-in Wednesday tomorrow morning and I seriously doubt I’ve lost an ounce.  It would be a miracle if I did being that in the past week I’ve eaten no less than a pound of Valentine chocolate, six brownies, probably what is equivalent to one pound of pasta, 3 pounds of various meats and cheeses and had my share of soft drinks.  I’ve dreamt of exercising rather than actually doing it, and almost every moment I’ve worn something other than pajama bottoms heard myself cursing about how smothered, restricted and uncomfortable I feel while wearing such tight pants.  So, while searching for healthy recipes, I remember how much the kids and I love Phó (Vietnamese Noodle Soup).

It is so yummy delicious from  a nearby restaurant.  We found the place when we first moved here, when it was just okay, but about 12 years ago, a new owner scoffed up the place and since then we consider it to be the best Phó on earth.  Okay, so maybe in NoVA–because Lord knows, we have tried a few other places and Phó Bowl is the only one we find truly delicious.  In the winter, the restaurant is like an extension of our own dining room.  The owner has witnessed the kids grow up from mere toddlers to the teens they are now (actually, the first time we were there–with our wonderful neighbors at the time–Gigi was an infant in a car seat sitting on top of the table in front of me).  More importantly, many, many, many dinners were had here together with my dear friend Kathleen and her two girls.  Ironically, her husband and mine just don’t seem to have the same addiction to the soup as we do.  Kathleen and her family moved away from NoVA about 5 years ago (I’ve been lost ever since), but when we talk or see each other, we pick up exactly where we left off.  The other irony is that both of our husbands were simultaneously deployed (though hers was deployed much longer than mine was) or throughout the years, seemed to be away on TDY at the exactly the same time.  So, needless to say, we had to feed the kids dinner during those times, and we managed to hit Phó Bowl sometimes twice a week.  We had so much fun together, and of course the kids never failed to enjoy the company.

Which leads me to this:  While searching for a recipe to recreate this wonderful elixir, I realized that I do not have to because the restaurant is so darn close  to Post that it is nonsense to even try to cook it AND, I got sidetracked and accidentally found this Phó inspired tattoo which I think Kathleen and I both need.  Check out #16 here:   27 Tattoos To Show Your Dedication To Food.  Nah, neither of us would endure the kind of pain required to get such a thing emblazoned on our body, however, I think we’d wear it proudly on a t-shirt.  Oh, and I can’t forget the photo of my kids “playing” in the snow:Girls Playing In Snow

Weigh Down Wednesday

For some absolutely, positively, ridiculous reason, I allowed myself to be coerced to attend the first of 17 weekly weigh-in diet, fitness rehab meetings in my neighborhood.  And, yes, we all had to step on a scale, write our names on cute little tags which hung from mini mason jars and talk about the goals we will each set for ourselves for the SEVENTEEN WEEKS.  The mason jars would be kept there, and for every meeting we attend, we will be awarded a plastic gem stone.  There are even gemstones given for reporting pounds lost and reaching personal fitness goals.  I may just have to accidently smash drop my cute little jar which is decorated (of course) with a simple strand of twine looped through a brown bag colored tag. We got to keep the weigh-in number secret–see, now there’s something I can jot down in my invisible gratitude journal today.

Joking around–which I think I do best when I am nervous–I said to a friend across from me, “oh, crap, I feel like we are entering rehab, so I guess I better open my purse and take out the M&M’s, pizza and root beer.”  Of course, she laughed out loud, and then I received what was a gentle, yet sweet, smille and nudge from a lovely neighbor who quietly pointed out that it was not my turn to “take the floor.”   I don’t want to be here.  Clearly, I am mortified that I had to be shushed, and now telling myself that this is not a good time to start any sort of fitness program, as I had not yet eaten a HUGE plateful of Fettucine Alfredo (the official food to eat before you surrender).

Okay, so I brought some fruit salad that I had quickly washed, cut up and thrown in a bowl before I left the house.  Our hostess was clearly not prepared to serve anything–which only embarrassed me more because I had blatantly assumed we’d be having mimosas or at least coffee while planning our fitness goals for the next SEVENTEEN WEEKS.  She did, however, pass out little Ziploc baggies full of popcorn, and as she passed one over to me, I heard her tell me with a smile that it was a 200 calorie serving.  All I really wanted to do, was ask her if she had a few more, because no little Ziploc baggie of popcorn has EVER been a satisfying snack for me.  So, really why did I even take it?  All the other ladies, thanked the hostess for their treat bag and put it away in their purse or next to their coat.  Me?  Oh, no, I ripped the mutter focker opened and was nervously shoving popcorn in my mouth.  At this point, I am an expert in self-humiliation.  I should get at least one gem stone for that little success.  Truly.

We had to sign in too, and list our names, cell phone numbers and email addresses, and indicate whether or not we have Facebook.  One of the diet/fitness idea gurus of the group is going to create a closed Facebook group so she can send us daily inspirational messages while we are on the SEVENTEEN WEEK highway to hell journey.  Before leaving, I was rehearsing scenarios in my head.  Wondering how the hell to get out of this mutter focken group.  How can I do this, without them throwing tomatoes at my house?  I was even considering divulging about my secret disease and hoping there was a way to tell the group that I could not eat lower than a 4,000 calorie per day diet because of it.  I chickened out on that idea.  Put my coat on to cover up my fat ass and I was out of there.  Yes, I got in my car and drove home, and waved to the other ladies walking along on the sidewalk who were not lazy enough to drive there.

Ever since I got back home, I seem to have developed this weird twitch-like tremor in my left index finger (why is it called ‘index finger’ anyway).  I’m wondering if the meeting made me so nervous that I’ve acquired a tic.  There, if that is in fact the reason for it, then I will have to get a doctors’ note to excuse myself from the SEVENTEEN WEEK diet group.  Oh, a 17 week plan was chosen because: a.) that’s when our hostess’s husband returns from deployment; b.) it ends the last full week before everyone starts PCS’ing out of here; and c.) the pool opens at the end of the SEVENTEENTH week, silly.

Cheer, Basketball, a Fanny Pack and Pizza

So, last night I attended my first high school basketball game since well, maybe, ever.  I cannot remember ever going to a basketball game at my high school and if I did, I’m sure it was just for an appearance because I probably left five minutes after getting there.  I did not really go for the game, I was there to support my daughter’s cheer team.  This is her second season cheering, with the first being a JV cheerleader for JV football.  There was not a big draw at tryouts for basketball cheer, so  JV and Varsity cheer combined forces for basketball season, so my girl is now a Varsity cheerleader.

I arrived at the game thinking for sure that I would be bored out of my mind when the girls were not cheering.  It’s not that I was being negative, I had just assumed that I would not be interested in the game because I don’t have a kid playing.  I was so wrong.  Our team played so well, the game was so exciting, and the kids in the bleachers were unbelievably enthusiastic and spirited.  The spectator students from our school decided to dub the stands ‘Beach Out,” and they were all dressed in beach vacation themed attire.  Some wore Hawaiian shirts, flip-flops, board shorts, grass skirts, fanny packs!, straw hats, sunglasses and the funniest of all, was the boy wearing a coconut shell bikini top over his shirt.  This beach theme may not sound like such a big deal, but it is the middle of January and it was 25 degrees outside!

Back to the game itself, I can’t help but noticing that our boys use the same 2 plays over and over and over.  There were a few times that I found myself laughing out loud at this one move…whenever our teams were playing offense, the same three boys would set up their shot by forming a basic 3 point pass back and forth over and around the heads of the other team.  By doing these fast passes overhead, the other team members would be quickly looking back and forth following the ball in the triangle pattern–sort of the way a dog’s head moves up and down every time you stab a piece of meat on your dinner dish and pull it up to your mouth–or like watching a tennis match–and a few times it reminded me of Monkey in the Middle.  After no less than 6 overhead passes back and forth, an eyebrow would raise and the ball was inevitably passed to that particular eyebrow raiser  and he would shoot for a goal.  It was HILARIOUS to me.  I tried to explain how funny it was to the woman sitting diagonally behind me, but I’m not sure she even realized it was the same play over and over up and down the court.  So there I was, not only at a high school basketball game, but enjoying it AND laughing my ass off.  The only other people I know that would find it as hysterical as I did would be my sister and my friend Jen, who lives in Vermont.  Man, if they were there, one of us would surely have peed our pants we’d be laughing so hard.  I still cant figure out why it seemed as if no one else recognized that it was repeatedly the same play nor saw the humor in it.  Weird.

Before basketball again, did I mention that the cheer team has 15 girls on it and that they did a great job?  Now back to the game…so the visiting team was getting tired and a bit nervous about the game, so from the beginning of the last period they started getting a little physical with our boys and were using some full contact nudging to trip up our players.  One of our defense players stole the ball and came speeding downcourt with his eye on the hoop, but he got bumped, the ball left his hands in an epic fall and slid on his stomach, straight past the goal and into the cheerleaders.  The whistle blew, the ball put back into play and suddenly 3 boys from the other team stopped dead on the court while pointing to the circle between their size 13 shoes, looked up at the ref and their mothers in the stands and had horrified expressions on their faces as if to say, “DUTY!”  The ref called a time out, the crowd stood up in their seats, the mothers of the three boys were each squinting to catch a glimpse of what their boys were pointing at, and as if in slow motion, the first-aider jumped up from her table and ran to the boys with a towel in hand.  The towel was thrown down on to the court within the circle of the boys’ feet and she wiped up what appeared to be: nothing.  Everyone sighed with relief and the game was back on.  I’m clueless as to what just happened. I was thinking, “was it in fact a duty?”  I asked the parent next to me and she explained that when the other kid slid on his stomach across the court and into the cheerleaders, that he had left a dangerous amount of sweat on the floor.  I had no idea that this was even a thing.  Maybe because I don’t watch basketball.  I did a few times when I visited my dad as he became an avid fan just for the last 4 years of his life (I don’t ever recall him having an interest in the game before LeBron joined the Heat and his CNA forced him to watch), but I do not ever remember a timeout for a deck swabbing.

After the game, I was in charge of driving home two cheerleaders and two Hawaiian shirt wearing tourists, one of whom was wearing a fanny pack.  Walking out to my car was another hilarious moment for me.  I could not stop laughing whenever I saw her fanny pack.   She was all serious and everything while wearing a vintage 1985 fanny pack, but what made it funnier was when we got in the car and she and her brother explained to us that it belonged to their mom, and that that morning before school, their mom told her to take special care of it because it was a good fanny pack that meant a lot to her because she wore while on her honeymoon with their father.   I was behind the wheel of my car howling while they were telling the story, because they then said that their mom still uses it whenever they are on vacation or go in to DC for the day.  From the back seat, I heard, “you know, it’s a real workhorse of a multitasker; it can be a belt and a handy place to keep your personal items all at once while being handsfree.”  These kids are so much fun to listen to.  They each have such an intelligent sense of humor and when they are together, they can laugh for hours.

Carla’s fanny pack demo So, before we went home, I took them for pizza and the restaurant has a chalkboard strip on the wall behind the booth.  As if I had not laughed hard enough, one of the cheerleaders (okay, not my daughter) decided to tag the wall behind her with graffiti, only she misspelled it.  Which made tears roll down my face.  Again, she has a great sense of humor so she knew we were laughing with her and not at her.  I feel like my daughter is having all the fun in high school that I did not experience.  Don’t get me wrong, I had fun, but it was an entirely different type of fun which would never have included my mom hanging out with me and my friends.  Too bad, huh?




The Art of Staying Home

Sister tells me, “I just can’t do this.  I could never stay home.  I’m doing things with my glue gun, I’ve polished the silver, polished the stainless steel, the laundry is done and folded, my house is clean, and now I’m bored.”   And, it was only 11:00am.   I explain “Oh, well, it sounds like you are doing to too much.  You have to pace yourself you know?”  And, when she tells me she is hungry (over the phone), I remind her to only eat one meal, because the day is still young and she could accidentally eat two lunches.  Learn from my experiences.  It happens so quickly that you are not even aware until it is too late.  Much too late.

On The Eve of Ebola

Okay, so now, this doc in NYC who worked in Guinea and then came home to normal hustle and bustle of living in NYC you know like, cabs and trains and take out, fluff and fold, stops at a coffee truck and, of course, the bowling alley to play a few frames.   Seriously.  This man is a doctor and he knows he was to follow the WHO protocol for containment from the outside world for 10 to 21 days and he went bowling.  Ah, yes, as if that is the first thing he just had to do in order to carry on.  Like, hey, he dint buy dat bowling shirt for nothin, ya know?

I call this the Eve of Ebola, because it feels like we are certainly on the brink of outbreak.  It’s bad enough that there have been terror threats against military families in our country.  Yeah, like we’re supposed to make it not so obvious that we are a military family and we are supposed to “act vigilantly” according to a message to us from the POTUS , but the gates to the base we live on are still a Code Green.  C’mon folks, you should at least ramp it up a bit to a Code Orange.  That would be intelligent AND viligant at all the same time.

So, what are we supposed to do now?  Oh, right: Stay Calm and Carry On.  Suddenly, I’m thinking that I may have to keep a machete by the front door in case  a terrorist shows up at my front door.  Last night, we ordered a pizza and I was practically sweating thinking of all the possibilities of who or what I would be faced with when I opened the door.  Like, maybe I was expecting an atomic pizza.

So, how can we cannot be anxiety ridden at this moment?  I think we are at the point where the best course of action is “Smile and Wave, Boys–Just Smile and Wave.”  What happens tomorrow?  Will we be smiling and waving with utility belts packed with all sorts of gear to fight off terrorists (my belt will have a bottle of olive oil, a box of spaghetti and a head of garlic) AND Ebola.  I can see it now.  The dogs and I will have to walk in a whole hazmat suit, face, snoot and tail protection, three pair of surgical gloves, thigh-high rubber boots covered with another layer of  hazmat protection, disposable leashes, my utility belt, a borrowed gun a good loaf of Italian bread, and I’ll be puling the cart full of prepper gear I never bought.

Oh, how I wish we lived in Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood so I know what Lady Elana would do, or Miss Kitty.

Fox News – Breaking News Updates | Latest News Headlines | Photos & News Videos.

Article of Irony and a New Doctor

The fact that I open my browser and there is a link suggested regarding an MS article is nothing new.  Trackers have a way of knowing way too much about a person.  The irony of this article being the one of today’s click is that I just got back home from an appointment with a new, unsolicited, Internist.   Yes, TriCare switched PCMs on me yet again.

Well, this new Internist–let’s just call her ‘Noeyecontactmade’–did not even look at me when I entered her examining room.  In fact, her eyes stayed glued to her computer monitor even while she introduced herself me.  I had made the appointment for prescription refills, so she knew to ask me which prescriptions I needed new scripts for.  One was for thyroid medication and the other for 800mg Motrin (horse-sized pills).  Probably the top two meds which help me put my feet on the floor every morning.  She did some reading about me…..listened to my heart for no more than 2 seconds–so I am sure it was not possible to even pick up on whether or not I had a steady rhythm–then sat back down typed some more.  She looked over her shoulder, told me it was nice to meet me (yeah, right) and that she put the Rx I asked for in the system to be picked up at the pharmacy.

While she was reading about me, she had to have seen that I have an incurable disease, and perhaps maybe that triggered a lightbulb in her head as to why I take so many other meds, and to perhaps ask me why I even need 1,600mg of Motrin a day?  Nope.  Nadda.  Nothing.  No questions asked.   Take care; comb your hair.  I was there for the Rx and the Rx only.  She made that crystal clear.   I don’t really give a flying fuck, because she is a Resident here at the Army hospital and I know she’ll rotate out of here soon only to be replaced by another doc without any prior experience of having a good bedside manner.  I wish my neurologist would just prescribe the darn Synthroid like my former neuro did.  I can’t be bothered with this crap of going to these kid doctors whose only goal is to see the most patients in one day so that they can win the contest amongst their Resident peers.   TriCare: Quit wasting my time.

I walked out chuckling in disbelief.  I hope I never have to see that asshole punk Resident again.  Big fucking deal.   I hope the Surgeon General of the Army sends me a survey to fill out about this office visit.  And, I hope she does not include me in the tally of how many patients she saw today, because the bitch never looked me in the eye–making it impossible to include me as a patient she ’saw’ today.  So, here’s this article preaching about the importance of being your own best advocate when it comes to medical treatment.  No shit.  I’d probably be in a wheelchair, bald and have that thyroid disease brain fog rolling with me wherever I went if I were not the best darn advocate for myself.

MS Patients Must Take Charge of Their Care to Avoid Medical Mishaps.

Making Progress

So, I’m still getting ready to host the neighborhood party tomorrow night. The thinking I started on Monday is slowly turning into a situation where I’ll shortly run out of time to think and have just enough time to actually do what I’ve been thinking about. And what better way to prepare for a party than by treating myself to a pedicure?
Our house is clean and the yard looks as good as it could with the cool evenings of Fall and the drying up of summer flowers and foliage. Yesterday evening, I cleaned the cement patio. Yes, I come from a long lineage of patio and sidewalk washers. I’m sure it started in Sicily, made its way to Brooklyn, NY, Florida, Long Island (as if it’s it is it’s own state), Pennsylvania, and alas, here in Virginia it has descended on me. Oh, and my oldest sister in Florida gets high on having a clean patio too. I just don’t like to be surrounded by cement or bricks which are stained. And besides, how could I have the neighbors over without first scrubbing the ground with a gallon of bleach and a broom. And, oh, the power of the “jet” on the dial of the garden hose nozzle really cleans things up. While quilts that need to finished and possibly started float through my mind, I scrub the back door too. If it weren’t pouring rain today, I would have scrubbed the front door just before I left the house for this fine pedicure I’m enjoying.
While on the ride here, I had WTOP news on the radio. I had to shut it off. Holy shit is our world in a mess. For fifteen minutes I forced myself to listen to the news about serious turmoil everywhere which is dividing nations by religion. “Serious turmoil.” Is turmoil ever not serious? It’s frightening and fucked up all at once. I’m careful right now to project a neutral stand on politics. What good officers’ wife wouldn’t? However, our president has not maintained our Nation’s long-standing stellar reputation that our country is a force to be reckoned with, and that scares the day lights out of me. Sure, I worded that phrase improperly , but not turning back. Ooh, this foot massage is good.
I still have wine, beer and grocery shopping to do, but not necessarily in that order. And, have to settle on what main dish I will be preparing. I’ve thought about it–don’t worry–just have to choose which one I’ll make. And now, during this amazing/ pressure-point filled foot massage, the fear of more deployment for our friends, acquaintances and a jillion other American military members is swirling in my mind.
I plan to take photos tomorrow evening. It will be a happy time I just know it.

Encountering the Equinox

Photo on 9-22-14 at 12.36 PM

View from kitchen table right now.

It’s a Monday.  Not just any Monday, but the Monday which marks the beginning of the week (actually five days) I have to prep our home for a neighborhood party.  For me, the beginning stages of getting the place ready (it really isn’t bad at all–in fact, just surface organizing) means that I have to sit here at the kitchen table just to think while gazing out the window and crunch down (lunch) on some chips and salsa (my guilty pleasure).  It’s perfect thinking weather–outside.  I am inside.  Ooh, I think I’ll make a pumpkin/floral display like I did a few years ago when my parents were here for a hurrication.

The Fall Equinox will be here this evening just after 10:00pm.  So, this is sort of the first Monday of Fall, as well.  A thought just popped into my mind to go with a bit of a Fall theme for the party (I never claimed to be a genius).  These gatherings are a monthly event in our village and we take turns rotating and volunteering our homes for the evening.  Block partys, bunco, book clubs, walking club and play groups are something very commonplace when you live on an Army Post.  Neighbors become family.  Our family has been extremely fortunate to have and have had some great neighbors who we will always welcome back as neighbors again–if you are reading this, and lived by us at some point and we were friends, you are indeed welcome back too.  If that does not make sense to you, then you probably don’t understand the military life of moving or not moving, but having your neighbors frequently move away–and then being somewhere long enough to actually see former neighbors move back.  Our is a unique situation because we have been on this Post waaaaaayy too long by most (okay, all) standards.  Oh, and we are sort of hosting this event at our house with our immediate neighbors and, since they have a brand new kick-ass RV and my husband has a Harley, and the neighbor two houses down has a camper, we decided to give our cocktail party the theme of a Recreational Vehicle Show!   An alley runs behind our house (we are five houses in a row with nothing but woods behind us), and we have invited all the neighbors from the rest of the hood to park their RV’s or motorcycles out back.  How many RV’s, campers and motorcycles could actually be in our neighborhood you ask?  We will see.  We’ve had a good RSVP, I just hope people actually participate and bring theirs to show off.  I’m thinking of playing the music of the 1950’s–which should be easy through Pandora or iTunes Radio.

Photo on 9-22-14 at 1.10 PM

Heap of Junk on Kitchen Counter

The air is crisp and the sky is bright blue–perhaps you can see a glimpse of it through my kitchen window photo?  My husband is TDY for a few days, which usually means I will stay up too late and NOT sleep very soundly.  My sleep neurology is really wacky, so I take meds to stay asleep (not meds to fall asleep), and when my man is away, I take a quarter of a dose because I will otherwise sleep so soundly that neither I nor one of my five alarms would be able to wake me up on time to get the kids where they need to be in the morning–like, school, for example.  We picked up two giant, potted, yellow mums this weekend and I’ve set them symmetrically on the front stoop (‘porch’ if you are unsure about ‘stoop’).  I’ll need a clean sweep of the countertops in here, and ideally, I should clean out the coat closet in the front foyer.  Nothing says, “Welcome To Our Home,” by not having a proper place for your guests’ jackets and coats.  Just look at the mess on that section of counter.  Notice the spot in front of the bat phone?  Yep, you guessed it, that belongs to my husband–a barely noticeable teeny, tiny stack of envelopes and a notebook.  My side is complete with 3 different purses so I’ll always be able to quickly match an outfit before I walk out the door (actually, the beautiful black leather favorite is upstairs for some reason today).

Fall brings about an energizing motion of cleaning and organizing.  I’m hoping I get that kick in the butt any minute so that I’m not scrambling to do everything on Thursday or worse–Friday morning.  That would suck if I procrastinated that long, but it would not be the first time.  After all, I’d like to have the entirety of my ‘thinking’ done before I can even start doing.  Just they way I roll.

Is It Obvious?

So, I just happened to glance up at my blog name and header.   If you ask me (go ahead, ask), how long its been since I’ve sat at my sewing machine, I would tell you that I am there quite frequently.  When I glance back at the past two years’ posts, I’ve written nothing about quilting.  In fact, I don’t think I’ve even posted on the subject in at least four years!  Yes, I am still the hobby quilter I’ve proclaimed myself to be, but I’ve turned into more of a sporadic quilter.  Another thing I’ve noticed and may have written about eons ago, is that quite a ridiculous amount of unfinished quilts are lying about around here.  I think I’m up to twelve or one or two more than that, which is definitely more than I’ve ever written or spoken about.  I could use some help getting those to completion.

Sometimes, I think that I would benefit greatly from a life coach.  But not just the type that I would visit once a week or so, but more like the type of coach who could be here to accompany me all day and she would carry a stopwatch and be forever steering me in the right direction.  I need to be kept on a short leash (I have dogs so I can’t help but use that phrase).  Seriously, my kids are disasters with their personal stuff, and at this moment, there are stacks of clean, folded clothes longing to be put away, but they can’t.  The drawers in the kids’ rooms are hideously overstuffed with rumpled up mounds of everything.  When I do organize their drawers (at least twice a year), the kids “ooh” and “ahh” for a few days and when the novelty of knowing exactly where everything is wears off, they are back to shoving and turning over and digging to ensure that all of my beautiful folding handiwork is destroyed.  A life coach would help me manage my time and my kids’ time properly so we are all on a regular schedule of organizing our clothing and other essentials.  I use the term ‘we’ loosely; my kids don’t do shit on their own unless I’m standing over them furiously pointing out what needs to be picked up, thrown out, put away or burned.

A life coach would be with me in my sewing room (which I really love being able to refer to it as such) steering and directing me to stay on track while aiming to finish everything before I start anything new.  I try.  I plan.  I envision what it would be like, but still, I get sidetracked and my creativity conquers all sense of priority and I wind up spending time choosing and cutting up fabric for hours and then spend weeks turning it into something amazing and then, just before I am about to finish it, I get bored with it and set it to the side.

So, I wonder, is anyone reading this crap, and has it been blatantly obvious that I have not written about what I enjoy doing most?  I was not even aware of it until this evening.  Maybe a lower level of consciousness prevents me from mentioning my embarrassing habit (no, it’s more like a character flaw.  Maybe it has become obvious that I should remove the header that reads “A hobby quilters journey with MS,” and replace it with “A persistent un-finisher’s journey with MS.”  Maybe.

P.S.–I just proofread this, and I am so pleased that I did not once mention how that fuckin’ disease made me feel today.

Pound Salt

Two days ago, my SIL called to tell me about an article she had read of scientific research which linked dietary salt consumption to MS flares. Followed up by her telling me, “so cut down on your salt.” While I so very much appreciate her looking out for me, I’m not going to cut out salt or stop using it. In fact, while preparing dinner this evening, I munched on tortilla chips dipped in salsa–both very salty and delicious. After dinner, I cleaned up the kitchen, grabbed my iPad, got comfy on our luxurious leather sofa.

I opened Facebook for the first time today, to see that a dear friend posted to me what is probably the same article that my SIL spoke about, except I know that the friend fully read and understood the article for what it was. It was not a warning nor did it provide a definitive result which would lead to thinking about lowering your salt intake to avoid a flare. Protecting yourself from complications due to high blood pressure, yes, but not to avoid a flare. If it were that simple, that information would already be known, and although people would still have MS they would be completely flare-free. And, I’m so tired of the people who claim that flares will diminish if I tried to have a lacto, ovo, wheat, meat, eggplant, tomato, coffee, tea, chip, chicken wing free diet. I’m not tired of my friends and family, I’m tired of all the infomercials and healthy living websites aimed at startling into submission.

And, here is something to think about…if reducing salt avoids flares, what would MS then be? Here is the article, should you be the slightest bit curious about it: http://www.everydayhealth.com/news/high-salt-diet-ms-attacks-is-there-connection/

Why’d I Bother Getting Out of Bed Today?

  So, really, why did I bother getting out of bed today?  I’m on the verge of something.  I just know it.  I’ve had the telltale pangs of fierce flashes of pain sporadically dashing through my head for about a week.  Until today, I attributed it to the extreme heat of last week.  And, yes, while heat can certainly trigger an attack, so can inadequate sleep, as well as, well–anything, really.  The slightest bit of stress–whether it seems like real stress or not–is what gets me.

  I’ve had a summer free of pretty much any outside stressers at all.  We went on an amazing eight port European cruise on the very first day of the season, and there was the typical stress my kids can create which has not been a big deal at all, especially since the youngest has been on ADHD meds.  For me, I define “outside stress” as anything that requires urgent action.  For example, getting a child to school before the first bell rings, or having any type of appointment on my calendar.  Yep, those things stress me out like you would not believe.  And it may not even feel like stress at all to me.   In fact, I’m cool with all of it.  Kids are back in school now–just began their third week.  If you followed my driving patterns from Point A to Point B, back to Point A and then of course, back to Point B, and then another round of Point A to Point B, etc., you would quickly detect a zigzag pattern spanning too many miles.  It’s ridiculous, but I guess probably typical for a “stay-at-home-mom” who has 2 kids each in a different, remotely located private school.  We could have sent them to public schools and have them commute by the big yellow school bus, and my life would be free from all of that commuting stress, but we want our kids to get a classical education (the kind where cursive handwriting and proper grammar and sentence structure is critical).   So, while aggressive, road-rage, red-faced driver types are what most would consider key elements of a stressed individual, I am not at all any of that.  My brain and body tire easily just by deep thinking, moving, temperature change and decision making.  Decision Making.  How ridiculous.  Even deciding what to write about here is a strain.

  Today began at 4:30am by dragging myself out of my warm bed, which is covered with 800 count/100% Egyptian cotton sheets, bordered by four posters and lots of luscious fluffy pillows…  Into a teenage daughter’s room–enter if you dare–seriously, she has crap strewn everywhere in that room.  Somehow clothes seem to jump off of her body and on to the floor.  During the night, some even jump off of the hangers and out of the dresser drawers as well.  It’s always an obstacle course in there.  I constantly hear my voice telling her, “…if there were ever a house fire…you’d be tripping over stuff to find the door…”  Anyway, waking her is always a pleasure.  On my way back home from driving her to the bus stop, I found myself at red lights and not being sure if I stopped when they were green rather than red–like: did I let them turn red while my car was already at a standstill?  That was clue number one that I should get back in bed after my next kid drop off but, no I did not listen.

  At 6:45am by dragging myself upstairs, I put medicine in the mouth of my soon-to-be an actual teenager and coaxed her out of bed–this too is always a pleasure–not.  Waking my kids up is like waking the dead.  I got her to school by 7:50am and then a quick trip to the grocery story, where it took me too long to make the decision on what cut of meat to purchase for dinner.  That was clue number two that I should get back in bed when I get home but, no I did not listen.

  At 9:30 I tried to put the groceries away, but got sidetracked after I took the dogs out, went to the bathroom and read 3 different daily news sites–it was all horrific news anyway.  An alarm went off on my phone to remind me to leave the house at 12:30 to go back to the almost teenager’s school to volunteer in the library.  So, I dragged my sorry self to the kitchen to finish putting groceries away and boom!  The glass bowl I had previously washed which was ready to return to my neighbor–she had brought us some gorgeous tomatoes from her garden 2 nights ago–yeah, that bowl was nudged with my knuckles when I moved some food items on the counter and it skipped across the counter and on to the floor.  It broke in about 500 little slivers and pebbles of glass.  Out came the vacuum.  It took a long time–glass was everywhere–the kitchen, the laundry room, the dining room and near the back door.  I almost tripped on the vacuum.  I was clumsy with the cord and draped it over the back of my neck to quit stepping on it.  Then, I almost strangled myself in it as it caught the hose attachment I was using when the darn machine actually fell on my back when I was down on the floor under and around the refrigerator.  It was time to dump the canister as the filter was all gunked up with glass AND dog hair.  As I poured the canister in the kitchen garbage can, my hand slipped and most of it was poured onto my feet (I had flip-flops on) and back on the floor.  All very evident third, fourth and fifth signs I should go back to bed.  Before I left, I made this sign and taped it to our back door–the door we all use to get in and out of here.  IMG_4862

  I arrive in the school library.  Head over to the cart where about 40 books were waiting to be reshelved.  They were Fiction.  Easy peasy, alphabeticals.  I worked on that for forty minutes before I realized I fucked that up.  A simple task.  A numb-nut volunteer I am; they are going to ask me never to step foot in the library again, I just know it.  These books were not just Fiction, oh no they have a tiny “F1” above the call letters on the spine.  Who knew.  I did not even notice they differed in any way from the books that have the tiny “F” on the spine above the call letters.  Yeah, you guessed it.  The “F1” books have their very own section and that stack is clearly labeled ‘F1” in big, bold characters.  So, I hunted and pecked around to find most of the wrongly shelved forty or so books and then reshelved in the proper section.  By the way, or BTW, “F1” is comprised of fiction books just for the First Graders.  Duh me.  Was this the sixth or seventh sign that I should go back to bed?

  I finish my volunteer stint, my kid and I leave and go straight home.  Believe me, she tried and tried to get me to stop at Starbuck’s, but I refused.  Our car almost got hit by an oncoming taxi cab who swayed over the double yellow line, but my catlike reflexes and adrenaline took the wheel to avoid it.  Definitely need my bed now.

  Ahhhh, we are home, and I get a big cup of ice water and carry it upstairs–to bed!  As I am slinking under the covers and between my luxurious sheets, the almost teenager Facetimes me!!!   Really?  She knew I was on the verge of tears I was so tired.  Tells me she would like to ride her bike to the Shoppette (it’s like 7-11, but it’s not), and I ask her to stay home because I can’t stay awake another minute and I’m too tired to fight with her (the meds wear off just around 4:45pm and she turns belligerent–I know you don’t believe me, but its true).  I’m there, I’ve dozed and I’m enjoying the drowsy–I’ve got boring 5 o’clock news on the bedroom television and it has lulled me to…the phone ringing!!!!  It’s her!!!  Oh, yes, she hit a curb and her bicycle tire popped and it scared her real bad cause she thought it was a gunshot, and I could tell she’s got a lump in her throat making it hard to talk and I could hear the tears welling up in her eyes.  Yep, I have to pick her and her bike up.   I so wish that I had taken a photo of  the back of my car–we shoved as much of the bike in the trunk as possible and let the rest hang out, put the hazard lights on and drove soooo slow home that I almost fell asleep–go figure.

  Ahhh, home again.  The sign remains on the door.  My husband arrives home from work and I could cry I’m so happy to see him.  Soon after, the teenager arrives home–looks (but does not read) sign on door–kicks shoes off and walks in the kitchen.  I give up!  I get in bed for one full hour of uninterrupted rest, and it was good.