Sister Wife


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Today I am grateful for a sister-wife.  It’s no secret that Himself loves to play games and he’s stuck with me, who unless there is a lot of laughter and talking stupid, laced with a little libation, I’m not interested.  He likes to think.  Poor guy.  I don’t.  Lucky me.


I’ve put a call out to my friends to have someone come and play with my husband.  I realize it’s not a request that many wives would make unless they had their bags packed and were on the way out the door with a huge alimony check.  I’m staying.           But still he needs someone to play with.


In conversation I find out that one of my good friends wants to hone her Chess skills.  Voila!!!!  We have a winner.  They played today while I was reading a book/napping outside.  It is so great to have a sister-wife whose only desired happy ending is to “Checkmate” Himself!  Win-win-win.

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Matt, Alina & Anja photobomber

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Today I am grateful for photobombers.  Sometimes when I’m really tired, like today and I’m trying to zero in on what to write about, I poke through pictures.  I take a lot of pictures with my new phone.  Mostly by accident, but sometimes on purpose.  And half the time I don’t look at all of them, just the ones I need immediately.


Today I was poking and found a classic shot of our son and the baby after her bath when they were at our house.  His oldest daughter is photobombing with her signature sideways glance.  This picture totally defines each one of them.


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Things I Can Count On

Monday, May 15, 2017

Today I am grateful for things I can count on.  I wish I was writing about the current government administration, but I’m not.  In my opinion it is all just a house-o-cards ready to come tumbling down.  I can’t count on them at all so I need a diversion.


I’m talking about Himself and things I can count on from him.   If we watch a British movie he will garble his speaking and insert a bunch of “What-What’s” and “Lovelies” and “I’ll leave you to its”.  I can count on it.


Every morning we have a brief, but animated argument about the temperature in the house.  We set it back at night or I’m miserable.  If I don’t turn on the heat in the morning he’s miserable.  He’ll spend ten minutes explaining to me the concept of thermostatically controlled temperatures and I’ll nod and not even pretend to care.  He thinks we live in the tundra.  I think we live in the tropics.  I can count on it.


Every time we go somewhere together I drive.  And even though I’m driving he always, always brings his keys.  Because once, a very long time ago, I locked my keys in the car.  And while I’m on the subject of the car whenever I get out and he gets out, he is sure I’m not locking the doors because I do it on the actual door.  He has keys in hand. . .just in case I forget.  I can count on it.


Whenever he goes into the medicine cabinet or bathroom cabinet, he will leave them open.  He didn’t believe he did this because I would naturally close the cabinets in his wake.  Now I don’t and he wonders why I’m opening HIS cabinets when I don’t have any of my stuff in there.  While he leaves inside cabinets open, he locks us in every single time we come home.  I have to be careful to check so I’m not locked out when I step out the door to water plants or get something from my car.   Yet every night he walks through the house, turning off lights and checking that the doors are locked.  I can count on it.


These are all the foibles of a long life of cohabitating together.  But my favorite certainty with him happens when we watch the old movie, “Casablanca”.  Does he talk like Rick?  Nope.  Does he pretend to be the piano player?  Nope.  Does he speak German.  Uh uh.  He waits, then rewinds and plays over and over the scene where the French woman who is chummy with German soldiers, sings La Marseilles, the French National Anthem.  Then he stands in a perfect European salute until it’s over.  I can count on it.  And it’s the best!


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Senior Expo Booty

IMG_1456 (Edited)

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Today I am grateful for Senior Expo booty!  I’m feeling a bit glutted by the hundreds of Mother’s Day posts, so I’m moving on.


To expo booty.  See how quick I can put things behind me?  Himself took me out for breakfast this morning to one of my favorite waffle places, then we picked up our free crap from the ACME Monopoly game, which is about as exciting as Klingon Monopoly, but not quite.  What to do with the rest of the day?  Expo booty sorting!


I remember when I was the managing director of a regional theater and attending a lot of chamber of commerce events in Bucks County.  Whenever there was shrimp on a buffet table, wealthy people attacked it like feral dogs.  You’d think they hadn’t seen a damned shrimp in 30 years. . .like it was banned. . .or extinct or something.  Like their millions couldn’t buy shrimp anytime they wanted.  In Aruba or on the French Riviera. Geeze!  They’d walk in the room, eyeball the buffet and zero in, piling mounds of crustaceans with warp speed.  Ridiculous.


That was me with the free stuff at the expo.  Ridiculous.  I was worse than I am at a Chinese buffet and that’s pretty scary.  It’s like I never saw a little tablet before in my life!  Or a stupid plastic water bottle; or hand sanitizers in every configuration known to man; or pill cases, first aid packages, sewing kits, and pens.  Lots and lots of pens.  I was a lunatic, going back to some tables more than once. I am seriously twisted.  I even had a game plan.


“We have to split up,” I said to Himself.  “That way we can get more stuff!”  He agreed, but I don’t think it was to get more stuff.  I think he was disavowing my existence and hoping no one would know that he has spent 34 years with the crazy woman, trick-or-treating for pot holders and skid-free sockettes!  But I got a deck of cards and he didn’t, so there.  And I got two candles and he didn’t even get one.  Blplplplpl!  Take that rookie!


I don’t need any of this stuff, but what a haul!  The good news is that three quarters of it is already going to a school prize box.  The bad news is that I have to figure out where to put the other quarter.  Maybe I’ll hold my own expo.  Don’t bother bringing bags.  I have a plethora of bags.  Got one at every table.  What color would you like?  Trick-or-treat!

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Friday, May 12, 2017

Today I am grateful for reflection.  You must be just about done hearing about my experiences at the Montgomery County Senior Games, but I’m not done sharing, so if you’re sick of me, go watch the news.  Ha-ha!  You stayed, didn’t you?


When we got home after a wonderful but exhausting day, Himself went to his lair upstairs and I went on the computer, which means all is right with the world.  Except I fell asleep with the mouse in my hand and he fell asleep in front of his computer baseball game.  It’s a good exhaustion.  We are party animals if sloths party.


I wanted to participate in the games last year but in January I wound up in the hospital with asthma and in early April I had double hernia surgery.  That silly, simple surgery set me back with one complication and infection after another, sapping the energy out of my soul and almost causing me to lose my sunny disposition.


When my grandma said so many years ago, “Nah, ja!  I just don’t bounce back as fast as I used to.  I’m tuckered for much longer these days.”  I used to laugh.  It isn’t so funny now.  Because it’s true.  I believe it was not really until January that I started feeling normal most of the time.  Oh I felt okay sometime, but every so often a wave of exhaustion would overtake me, insisting I rest.  Now I can push it a little.


And I’m glad I pushed it at the senior games.  What a great bunch of people.  From the planners to the volunteers, to the participants, to the vendors, it was a great experience.   I collected more junk from the vendors today, than most kids get when they trick-or-treat.  I still have to sort it out, but not until tomorrow.


I didn’t go to the pool today, but no worries there.  Instead of that workout I participated in the Zumba demonstration and Silver Sneakers Yoga, which probably don’t sound like a big deal, but they about killed me.  I die a lot when I’m exercising.  Have you noticed?


I was very happy that there were tickets available for the lunch we were told was full, so that was a blast, too.  Representative Kate Harper asked us to begin the luncheon/awards ceremony by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.  Oh boy.  I really got choked up.  Our country is in such disarray that it reminded me who we are supposed to be as a nation and give me a break from where we are right now.


When I was at the pool, I distinctly remember a woman taking a picture of me on a horrible angle, out of the pool, sitting, without a cover-up.  I wanted to shove her in for a little dip, but she was gone before I could meander my soggy self over to her and beg she delete that picture.  Well guess what flashed up on the big screen with highlights from the games.  Yup.  Pretty?  Far from it.  But alive! Oh so alive!  And today that’s enough!  Sometimes in life you just have to get over yourself.  I had to do that today.


Reflecting back where you were a year ago can be very cathartic.  Projecting where you want to be a year from now is great for goal setting and dreaming.  But being where you are. . .right  now. . .very happy. . .content. . .despite your cellulite-fish-belly-white-thighs splattered on a jumbo-tron. . . priceless!   I’ll take priceless any day.

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4 medals & me

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Today I am grateful for competition.  And I am the least competitive person I know.  Which makes my competing in the Montgomery County Senior Olympics so laughable.

Winning is fun, sure, but for me it’s not the best part about any game or sport.


At a baseball or hockey game I can have as much fun watching the people in the stands as I can who hit a homerun or scored by sliding through the goal net.  I simple don’t care very much about all of that.  It’s one reason I don’t wear a Fit-Bit.  I don’t care how many steps I’m doing and I don’t need the shame of it telling me I’m not doing enough.  I know when I’m doing enough because I get tired.  I know when I’m not because I have energy.  Wearing an annoying piece-o-plastic on my arm is no guarantee I’ll live longer.


My grandma farmed until a few years before she died at 93 and ate butter and cheese like it was as good for her as tofu and avocado.  She sat on the porch snipping beans she picked from her own garden and walked back to the woods only if there was a reason, like a lost cow.


My mom is still pretty well at 90, but for the entire time I lived with her I thought the stairs to the basement would be her demise.  Every time she went down there she said, “These steps will be the death of me, yet. ”  It never occurred to her that smoking might contribute. Fit-Bit that into the equation!


I don’t even get off on being in competition with myself.  Maybe that means I’m lazy.  Maybe it means I’m smart.  Maybe it means I don’t give a crap one way or the other.  Maybe it means I’m centered and well-balanced emotionally. Yup!  That’s the one.


So why did I compete in the Senior Olympics?  I wanted to.  A friend said I’d get medals.  I had never done anything like this before and wondered if it would be fun.  It was.  It was really a blast with the best, most encouraging people you could imagine.


But let’s get some facts straight.  I am fluffy.  And I float like a buoy.  Always have, even when I was thinner and young.  They should have had me along on the Titanic.  Think how many lives could have been saved.  I do not make these observations to be self-deprecating, but there are some facts about me that I’ve learned to not only accept, but embrace.   I am who I am.  It is what it is.  It’s all good.


My upper arms are like just like Popeye’s. . .after gravity took over and the muscles sunk underneath looking more like cotton candy.  I am way bottom heavy, with legs that crinkle on themselves like bad French, blouson draperies.  Charming.  I have two replaced knees and asthma, both gifts of aging.  I’ve had enough abdominal surgery to “never be able to wear a bikini again,” as my surgeon mentioned.  Stop laughing.  Never mind.  Go ahead.


So all of this said, I should have gotten a medal just by showing up at a strange pool in a swim suit.  But they expected me to compete.  Oh boy.  A very thin, very fit woman in the locker room said to me, “We are probably in the same age group for the competition.”  I was thinking “swell”.  She was probably thinking, “Yippee!  All GOLD for me!”  I lowered the bar.  But she was also 100% supportive of every effort I made.  What a dear, kind, sweet person.


Then it came time for my first event, the 100 meter medley.  I thought I was going to be singing show tunes while floating calmly on my back looking at the pretty ceiling lights.  But when I look confused, my new friend says, “You do freestyle down, breast back, back stroke, then freestyle.”  What?  How in the Hell am I supposed to remember all of that?  Are we grading on a curve?  Geeze.


She and the others are perched on the side of the pool ready to dive in.  I raise my hand, “Um, I don’t dive.  I was told I could start in the water.”  So they said, yes I could and to jump in.  Ha-ha.  As much as I encourage my little swimmers to jump, I’m not a big fan.  But tempus fugit and I jumped, goggles around my neck and sank farther than I ever have before.  I was exhausted just kicking to the surface. I never got the goggles on correctly and they filled up like water balloons.  Have I mentioned I don’t like my eyes open in the water either?  It’s a wonder I like swimming with all of my qualifiers.  Back and forth, I sang,  “God Save The Queen” in my head all the way.  FYI-I am the Queen.  I lived.  100 meters is four lengths, by the way.


I can easily swim four lengths whenever I feel like it.  I actually can do as many as 50 by the end of some summers.  But that’s padding along marveling at the sun twinkling around in the bottom of the pool and noticing a cute swimming suit, or the pretty clouds if I’m on my back.  Not in competition.  Full-out!  Thought I’d die after four lengths.  I was gasping for breath looking around for the oxygen masks that would drop out of the ceiling.  “Put your own mask on first. . .”


Because I can swim a lot of laps, I figured I’d sign up for everything.   Ha-ha.  That’s a rookie mistake.  I got a little smarter each time, but mostly in how I got in the water.  No more jumping from standing.  I plopped down on the edge with the grace of a cow pie and slid in from there.  Goggles on.  Ready to go.  I didn’t sink as deeply.


Even that wasn’t fun, so I developed a sit-on-the-side-of-the-step twisting motion that slid me in like a manatee hunting for herring.  It worked for me.  By the time I was half way through my heats I made the smart decision to bag the 400.  It was last and I told all of my wonderful, supportive new friends that I did not want to have them miss their breakfast. . .the next day.


Yes, I got the medals for competing.  One for each event I did except the 200, which I finished so long after everyone else that all eyes were on my bobbing bottom and a cheer rang out when I touched the edge.  “She lived!”  Wasn’t said, but kindly implied.  Or maybe that was just by me.  It turns out I’m fastest on my back.  I’ll wait while you finish your one-liners about that knowledge. . .all done?  Himself isn’t.


Am I proud?  You bet your sweet ass I am!!  No lifeguard had to jump in to save me.  I was able to function today at the pool and my other exercise class.  And I’m calling my bronze the “there is a picture of me in a swimsuit” medal.


Mustering up my courage to even compete was worth all the stupid Fit-Bits in the world.  And if my grandma were still alive I’d tell her that all-in-all, I swam back to the woods. . .and there wasn’t even a cow to fetch.

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a teacher slogan

Monday, May 8, 2017

Today I am grateful for teachers.  But not just teachers in the classroom, though they have the greatest responsibility and deserve the highest accolades because of their day-to-day contact with children.  Kudos to them. I honestly don’t know how they do it.


But today I pay tribute to ALL teachers.  Even the coach who is retired, but misses working with kids so he volunteers his time to build the strong bodies and minds of young ones.  And the Sunday School teachers who instill empathy, sharing and all-encompassing love.


But also those who see the teachable moment within a family.  Like the aunt who lays  face-down in the grass with her niece or nephew and points out little creatures moving on the soil; or the grandma who marvels at the puffy animals in sky clouds; or the grandpa who spends hours putting blocks in the box and taking them out to teach the concept of “in” and “out”.


We start learning when we are very young and if we are lucky that process continues throughout our lives.  We read books, we discuss important issues, we listen, we hear, we act. . .all of it vital to both our mental health and a well-rounded person and accountable society.


We need to pay teachers well.  Respect them as much as you want to be respected in your chosen profession.  Support them emotionally every day and physically whenever possible.  Understand that they spend hours upon hours fretting over each and every one of your children.  They care.  They might not have answered your email instantly, but it’s not because they are sitting around peeling grapes and eating bon-bons.  They are trying to keep their heads above water.  For your off-spring.


Children are sponges who want to soak up knowledge.  Even the ones you might think are more like rocks, still want to learn.  If you’ve ever witnessed a child “get it” you know this is true.  Look at the face of any kid who finally masters riding a bike!


I have been babysitting for my year-old granddaughter the last few days, so I’m throwing a bouquet out to preschool and daycare teachers especially.  She is sleeping right now, which is the only reason on earth that I can write.  I love her.  It is great, just great having her here, so please don’t get me wrong.


I forgot what it was like to go to the bathroom while bouncing a fussy little one on your knee.  And while I haven’t gotten to the gym or pool in four days, I’ve been bench pressing her. . .so imagine the guns I’ll have!  And it was 4 p.m. the other day before I realized I hadn’t had lunch.  Yes, me!  Adorable little creatures do that to you.


But the best is teaching her. . .anything.  Please honor teachers.  You will not be sorry.

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