Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A Norman Rockwell Summer

Just so no one gets the idea that everyone in my family belongs on the Jerry Springer Show, here are a few pictures to prove it.  The people in the photos are actually related to me and raised by me.  The smiles are genuine.  And no children or Grammy's were hurt in the making of this album. 

This year was my son, Joe's First Father's Day!  Here he is with his wife, Bonnie and the happiest baby in the world!

Here he is practicing new 'Dare-Devil Baby Stunts' with MY ELEVEN MONTH OLD GRANDCHILD!  He wonders why I have so much gray hair!

Nothing like a cool dip in the pool!

Mommy is busy cooking up our new baby sister!

Let's get WET!

Do it AGAIN, Daddy!

So there you have it.  I not only enjoy normal, stress free, happy moments on occassion, but I also write about them.

 

Monday, June 23, 2008

Those Three Little Words

I think I’m a pretty good Mom.  Not the best… but… pretty good.  And I find myself saying three little words to my children almost everyday.  Apparently, they never get tired of hearing them.

Get a job!

I’ve whispered it, suggested it, shouted it, screamed it.. nothing works.  They have a million excuses.  They were sick, had a headache, sunburn, blisters, a broken toe, a cold sore, had a flat tire, there was no hot water to take a shower, the car wouldn’t start, there was no babysitter, they were having a bad hair day, they couldn’t find their resume, the printer was out of ink so they couldn’t print out a new one, they had a doctor’s appointment, the cable TV guy was coming, their best friend was having a crisis that only they could help her through, the alarm didn’t go off, someone gave them the wrong directions, they ended up at the wrong address, it was too hot and the car air conditioner wasn’t working, the roads were bad, they had written down the wrong date, they didn’t have enough gas in the car to make it there and back… the list goes on and on.
 
I usually have one answer to all their complaints about life.
“I’m bored.”  You’ll have plenty of money if you just get a job.
“I’m broke.”  You’ll have plenty of money if you just get a job.
“There’s never any food in the house.”  You can go food shopping if you just get a job.
“I never meet any decent guys.”  You’ll meet plenty of men if you just get a job.
“I have nothing to wear.”  You guessed it.  You’ll have plenty of clothes if you just get a job.
 
I sometimes wonder why they talk to me at all.  They know what my answer will be before I even give it to them.  Get a job.  Too bad watching Jerry Springer and spending countless hours on YouTube and My Space doesn't count for something.  They'd have a PhD by now.
 
I bet after Moses climbed the mountain and God gave him the Ten Commandments he added, “Moses… get a job.”
 
How could I have raised such unmotivated children? My son is a hard worker.  What happened to his sisters?  Now that they’re older they can’t afford to work for minimum wage.  But since they have no real work experience, no one will pay them any more than that.
 
“All my friends have CAREERS.”
All your friends went to college.
“Why didn’t you make ME go?”
 
What? Yes.  Of course.  It’s my fault.  What was I thinking?  I’m glad that all their lying around on the couch hasn’t been for nothing.  They were busy figuring out what caused their present plight.  ME.
 
I don’t have as much time as they do, to figure out what’s causing mine.  I only see one reason.  I had kids.  And only one answer.  Get a job and move away.
 
Well, I already have a job.  All I have to do now is find a new place to live.

Crime Scene: Do Not Cross

I think there are only four times that your house has to be really, really clean. 
1) When you think you've met the man of your dreams and you are inviting him over for the first time. 
2) When your mother-in-law comes to visit. 
3)  When your house is for sale. 
4) If you're found murdered.  Wouldn't want the Crime Scene people to think you were some kind of a slob, now would you?

I'm not dating anyone, so I don't have to worry about number one... bringing home a man.  Let alone one of my dreams.  Number two is no longer an issue since I'm divorced and all my kids are grown.  As far as number three goes, my house has been for sale for so long, and the market is so crappy right now, as far as I'm concerned, if any potential buyers want to see it clean, they can buy it and clean it themselves.  I must admit, I do worry about number four occasionally. 

My daughters have frequently heard me mumbling things like, "I swear to God if I'm murdered in the middle of the night and this house looks like this when they find me, I will haunt you for eternity!" 

I'm plagued with worry.  How the hell will they be able to decipher the forensic evidence?  The Team will have to devote the rest of their careers to sifting though THIS mess!  My kids laugh and tell me I watch too much TV.  They think the police will believe that the perpetrator made the mess... not us.  Crime Scene Techs are not stupid!  I bet every murder victim hopes the Team will erroneously think that some madman broke in, killed us, and then spent the next few hours spilling ice tea, over flowing the hampers, filling the sink with dirty dishes, taking a bath and leaving a ring around the tub, squirting toothpaste into the bathroom sinks and spattering the mirrors with I don't even want to think about what, and pulling tufts of hair out of the cats and rubbing them onto the sofa.  Yeah, right.  How are they going to explain the dust?  The overflowing kitty litter boxes? 

In order to dust for fingerprints the Team has to eliminate all of the 'known prints' at the crime scene.  They will have to go out and print every single person who has ever visited us for any reason in the past three years because GOD FORBID anyone living here might think to wipe the place clean once in a while.  Now that I think about it, the thought of having to clean up afterwards might actually deter a criminal from committing a crime here. 

With MY luck, TruTV would be there on the scene to film the whole thing.  I can just hear the nararator making comments like, "This crime scene proved difficult to process due to the condition of the house..."  In Court, the defense lawyer would ask the detectives, "How can you possibly prove that my client's DNA was deposited in the house on the night in question... it could have been there for YEARS!" 

Dominick Dunn won't be interested in writing about me... I'm not one of the Powerful or Privileged.  I hate to think that Stabler & Benson would have to be sent out to my Scene.  I never want to be a Special Victim.  Hopefully it's solved before it becomes a Cold Case.  I guess they could always call in Dayle Hinman.  Or maybe Columbo.  Just don't call Monk.  Being an avid Obsessive-Compulsive Detective, he might solve the case but they'd have to put him away forever. 

How embarrassing!  Oh... bury me deeper than six feet!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Do these pants make me look fat?

I’ve been dieting off and on for a number of years. When I’m not dieting, I’m thinking about it.  Reading about it.  And I must admit that I'm fascinated by the readily accessible celebrity 'Before and After' photos in magazines. I even like to watch the infomercials on home gyms.  From my couch, of course, but at least I watch.

My undoing isn’t how much I eat, but what  I eat.  I am a carbohydrate addict, with an underlying sweet tooth.  My feeble attempts to eat a balanced diet isn’t really to keep healthy, it’s to keep me alive so I can eat more cake. 

In my own defense, I don’t wear my eye glasses while I’m eating.  I’ve been doing it for so long now, even though I can’t see the food clearly, I can still manage to get it into my mouth.  But without my glasses I can’t see the calorie, carbohydrate and sodium amounts listed on the package.  Perhaps I wouldn’t be so eager to devour what’s in the package if I knew that information.  Doubtful, but possible.  We’ll probably never know for sure.

Another problem is convenience.  I’m just so darned busy that I don’t have time to eat properly.  I eat on the run.  Well, that’s not exactly true.  If I really did run at the same time, I may not have to diet at all. When I’m hungry, and I usually wait until I’m ravenous, it’s just a lot easier and faster to grab something that doesn’t need to be thawed out, cooked, or even microwaved.  It’s even better if it doesn’t require the use of utensils.  Unfortunately for me, and many, many, many others, did I say “many”, whatever comes in that convenient little package is usually high in calories.

I've often wondered how in the world can they pack 550 calories into a Chunky Bar?  It’s so tiny!  How do they fit them in there?  It does contain raisins however.  Which is a fruit.  And fruit is good for you.

When I eat cake, I drink milk.  Milk is also good for you.  And, I must brag a little here, lest you think me gluttonous and unhealthy, I only drink skim milk. I slowly weaned myself down from whole milk, to mixing equal portions of it with 2%, then full 2%, then equal portions of 2% and 1%, then full 1% then finally… full skim.  It took me four years. That, my friends, is a prime example of steadfastly working towards a goal.  The switch did entail eating more cake than usual, to prompt me to drink the milk, but in the long run, I think it was worth it.  My doctor was pleased.  Once in a while I do gaze longingly at a glass of whole milk in front of someone in a restaurant.  It’s so white... and beautiful.  Much more appetizing than the watered down look of skim, but I know that one glass, might send me spiraling back to an addiction that once was mine. 

Which would interfere with the time I’ve allotted to some of my newer addictions. Like… drinking Arbor Mist Wine.  Chilled White Zinfandel Melon to be more specific.  One bottle can give me an entire weekend of much needed relaxation.  For only $4.95.  It’s a whole lot cheaper than psychotherapy, and it can be done in your own home (while watching infomercials on the couch).  Did I mention that it can be enjoyed equally well alone or with friends?  As long as they bring their own bottles, of course. 

I was never much of a drinker when I was younger. Before I had kids. Who, I thought couldn’t get any worse than when they were as teenagers (boy, was I wrong).  Now that they are adults, and have children of their own (who apparently you are also responsible for worrying about), the wine seems to make this process much more bearable.

Oh! I digress! Must be that last glass of wine. Sorry. We were in the middle of discussing diets.

My healthier and thinner pain-in-the-ass friends frequently ask me why I don’t just grab a small apple or perhaps 20 raisins instead of a pre-packaged portion of cake.  One good reason is that if it wasn’t pre-portioned, I’d probably eat the whole damned thing.  So, in a way… I’m making a healthy choice. Actually, it’s because I never seem to have any fresh fruit lying around when I’m hungry.  If I do, it’s rotted. If they can find a way to give bananas the shelf life of a Twinkie, I’ll be happy to give that suggestion a try.

And, c’mon… let’s be reasonable here.  20 raisins? Have you ever seen the tiny pile that 20 raisins makes in the palm of your hand?  Which looks even smaller when you’re ravenous.  Those same 20 raisins are a lot more satisfying when they’re covered in chocolate, which by the way, is also made from milk.

As far as motivation goes, I find many more reasons to eat, then not to eat.  For example, if I were to lose, say, 30 pounds, when I reached my goal, I’d just be a 53 year old skinny woman, with a lot more wrinkles. You can’t shrink skin, and at my age, I certainly don’t want any more of it lying around.  If I exercised regularly, my kids would expect me to play with my grandchildren even more than I already do.  And they wouldn’t feel as guilty watching me shovel the snow. Recent studies indicate that most Americans are overweight.  Getting thin and fit could be construed as… unpatriotic.  My friends would worry that I was dying.  I don’t want that on my conscious.  And to be honest… I’m nothing if not honest… healthy food just isn’t fun. Have you ever heard anyone say, “Gee… what I wouldn’t do for a Granola Bar right about now!” Or, “Honey, I made your favorite dessert tonight… tofu pudding!”  No... you haven’t.

Those of you who may scoff at my ideas don’t realize the tremendous amount of thought that goes into non-dieting.  And effort.  My rationalization skills are far more advanced than those of my very few, skinny friends.  The simple task of weighing one’s self is planned, timed and calculated.  I’ve found that the best time to weigh yourself is first thing in the morning.  After you‘ve peed, of course.  No sense weighing something that won’t be there permanently. It must be done on an empty stomach.  Why weigh your breakfast before you’ve had the chance to digest it and turn it into fat?

The number on the scale sets the mood for the entire day.  If my weight is lower than I expected, I’m surprised and delighted.  I usually reward myself with a big plate of blueberry pancakes with a mountain of whipped cream on top.  Oh!  And syrup.  Some days… I’m shocked and horrified.  I’m instantly depressed and ashamed of myself.  And NOTHING will make me feel better than a plate of blueberry pancakes with a mountain of whipped cream on top.  And syrup!

Why not?  There is nothing worse on the face of this earth than being hungry AND fat at the same time.

I hope that our little talk has lightened you up a little! Pun intended. Ummm… can you pass the syrup, please?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Sweet Dreams

I wouldn’t call them ‘nightmares’ exactly. More like… ‘Disturbing Dreams’.  I get them all the time.  One would think that even if your daily life is filled with stress, anxiety and closely related tormentors... at least when you finally fall asleep at night, you could relax and enjoy a nice dream.  Nothing fancy… all I’m asking for is a dream where I’m a recluse living on a hill overlooking a valley.  A babbling brook would be a nice touch…  I’m not greedy.  But noooooooo.

Let me tell you about last night’s dream, so you can understand the full extent of my ‘disturbance’.  I dreamt I was arguing with my three grown children (where do you suppose that came from?) I told them I was tired of cleaning up the messes they made in their lives and I wasn’t going to do it anymore (You go, girl!) Then I informed them that I had let my life insurance policy drop, and now when I died, they would have to find a way to bury me on their own. Without a cent from me.

At first they were skeptical.  They knew that that policy was the one where the rates never go up and I didn’t need a medical examination as long as I was under age 80.  They know me, and couldn’t believe I’d just let it lapse.  Once they realized I was serious, they shrugged it off, like everything else.  In the dream, the day came when I passed away.  I got to watch the kids scramble, trying to figure out what the heck to do with my body.  They didn’t have an extra $50 between the three of them.

Lisa suggested a back yard burial. “She loved this house, and she’d be happy to be able to stay here." Never mind the fact that if I couldn’t afford the mortgage payments, how the heck could they?  She might not mind having me out there, but the new owners might.

Tina thought they should get an estimate from a taxidermist, and sit me at my computer for the rest of eternity.  “That’s where she’d want to be,” she added soulfully. “And maybe the stuffing will smooth out all of her wrinkles. You know she had been wanting a face lift for a long time.”

Joe said that he figured they could have a big beef and beer to raise the money. “We could have some of her old Stand Up Comic friends do a show! Roast her! She’d love it! We could invite all of the nurses at her hospital. I bet we’d raise more than enough to bury her.  I can pour the concrete for her tombstone myself!”

Shockingly, the kids sat around talking about the possibilities for so long, the morgue finally called to say that if my body wasn’t out of there by the next day, they were going to have to start charging a storage fee.  The kids were frantic.  Once again, their procrastination and inability to compromise put them in a precarious position.  The satisfaction that I received watching them squirm was short lived however.

I watched in horror as they decided to take me home, burn me to a crisp in a large industrial strength can, and then mix my ashes with hot wax to make candles.  They added in a bit of Citronella so they could burn me ALL summer long and keep the mosquitoes away at the same time.  It was little comfort knowing that their plan was decisive, creative, and practical.

I awoke feeling guilty that I didn’t appreciate the fact that all of my hard work in raising them had finally resulted in them solving a problem on their own... with no help from me.

What kind of mother am I? A better question might be… what kind of person dreams a dream like that? Have I lost my mind? What would a psychiatrist say?

I did learn one thing though. I’m NEVER gonna let that life insurance policy lapse!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Bend over and say "Ahhh!"

Geeze! I see that’s it’s been awhile since I updated my Journal.  Even I’m wondering what I’ve been up to, so I stopped by to check.
 
Hmmmmmmmmm.  Have I met someone special? My own personal Prince Charming?  Wining and dining me?  Keeping me so busy that I don’t even have time to write anymore?  Possibly even proposed to me in the most romantic way and whisked me off to live happily ever after?  That would be a “no”.   Actually, I’ve pretty much thrown in the towel and stopped looking.  The only men who call me are now are bill collectors, but I am on a first name basis with a few of them.  None of them want to take “no” for an answer!  Call me wicked.
 
Have I sold the house and moved to somewhere more affordable and without the kids?  Nope.  Still struggling and arguing on a daily basis.
 
Looks like I’ve been working a lot.  Don’t see any promotions or raises listed though.
 
Undergone any medical procedures or plastic surgeries?  Unfortunately, the only one listed is my first colonoscopy a few weeks ago.  Happy 53rd birthday to me.  Not exactly the kind I had envisioned.  “Why Lisa! Your… butt!  It looks… fantastic!  Have you had a colonoscopy?  You have, haven’t you?!"  At least it proved that I’m not too old to get a man interested in getting my panties off again.  I woke up with him standing over me, smiling.  Then he bent down and whispered something I’ve been longing to hear.  “No polyps.”  Oh, come on.  A girl’s gotta start somewhere.  I was so proud of my colon that I hung my colonoscopy report on my refrigerator.  Actually, I’ve been seeing so much of my dentist that I almost felt like I was cheating on him with the proctologist. I did learn one thing. It’s not as bad when it’s the dentist saying, “Open wide”.
 
That reminds me of a story that I heard about a Texan oil baron who went to the dentist for a check-up. "I'm pleased to say your teeth are just fine," said the doctor. "I know," replied the Oilman, "but drill anyway. I feel lucky!"
 
I do have a bit of news that I just can't keep to myself any longer!  My son Joe and his wife Bonnie must have been so excited how cute their first baby turned out that they decided to have a second one!  My GRAND-DAUGHTER will be arriving in October!   
 
I'm going to try and update my Journal more often in the future.  I might even try my hand at embellishing.  Who would know?  Nah.  Somebody’s got to step up to the plate and show you that you’re life isn’t as boring as you thought.
 
And it looks like I’m a natural.