Saturday, December 27, 2008

A trip down memory lane

Everyone has a favorite Aunt I think. Mine was Aunt Lou. Dennis and I spent about half an hour today telling Aunt Lou stories. I think reading my cousin Luanne's blog has made me think a lot lately about Aunt Lou.

I was born in 1958. My mom was 42 at the time, and my brothers were 14 & 16 years old. I don't ever remember my brothers being at home so we really never had a traditional brother sister relationship. Being born late in life also meant that most of my relatives were already dead and gone. My mother's parents were both gone and of course their parents. My father's mom was alive still, but she didn't like kids. His brothers and sister were long gone by the time I was born also. No aunts and uncles on that side for sure. My mother had one sister and one brother, both still living. My Aunt Lou and Eddie.

You'll notice I didn't call him Uncle Eddie. Ed was (he's since passed) what was called then, mongoloid. He'd be a Down Syndrome child today but they didn't know what that was back then. His mind never developed past that of about a 5 year old. He always wore a cowboy hat, a sheriff's badge, and a gun belt. He had a harmonica, a guitar, and a ball. That's what he got every year for Christmas at our house. It would all be promptly stolen once he got back to 'the home'. He could put his clothes on, but he couldn't do the buttons or tie his shoes. He didn't have teeth to brush. It was a standing comedy routine at our house when he came to visit. He'd tell my mom he wanted turkey. 'Gotta have turkey Lue', he'd say over and over while rocking back and forth in the green rocker in the basement. Mom would say 'you don't have any teeth Eddie, you can't chew turkey.' He'd say 'I got one tooth Lue, I can chew turkey!'. So my mother would say 'I think we'll have liver and onions tonight Ed.' 'Oh noooo Lue!' he'd reply. 'I don't have any teeth, I can't chew liver!' He'd have toast, egg, and coffee each morning for breakfast. Mama would blow on his coffee to cool it before calling him to the table as he'd drink it right down. I remember Eddie's visits very vividly.

Oops, this was supposed to be about Aunt Lou! Ah well, a woman's prerogative and all that.

Aunt Lou was my mother's older sister. I used to love when they'd tell me stories about their growing up years. The ones I'd hear from Mom never seemed to match up with the ones I'd hear from Aunt Lou though! I loved when Aunt Lou would tell me how jealous she was of my Mom when they were of dating and dancing age. They'd go to a dance on Saturday night and Aunt Lou was jealous because all the boys would want to dance with my mom and not her. I'm not sure why, looking back, as my Aunt Lou looked like a movie star! Anyway, I loved hearing Aunt Lou tell me about the time she locked my mom in the outhouse and ran away so she could get to the dance before Mama and get some dances in. Aunt Lou had a scar on her forehead that my mom said she got being clumsy and walking into a door. Aunt Lou said Mama threw a biscuit cutter at her when they were fighting once. I believe Aunt Lou!

My Grandma died when I was 12. That would be the child hater, my Dad's mother. The funeral was in Memphis, TN. It was winter and I wasn't allowed to go. Couldn't miss school I guess. Aunt Lou was to take care of me. I remember those days so very well. I got to stay at their house. They lived in a town about half an hour away from ours. It never occurred to me until today that I stayed there, and not they at my house. I'm not sure why. Maybe Uncle George had cows and chickens to care for? I just don't know. Anyway, I slept upstairs in the little bedroom. Stairs were very steep and it was scary up there all alone. I was always glad when Uncle George and Aunt Lou came up to bed! Aunt Lou would wake me up very early and fix me breakfast. My mom never did that as she wasn't well. I did all the cooking at our house and most days Mama wasn't out of bed when I was getting ready for school. She had emphysema and congestive heart failure and she'd have rough nights sleeping so she'd be up in the night and oft times, she'd be back in bed when it was time for me to get up. Anyway, Aunt Lou's breakfasts were such a treat to me. She'd drive me all the way to school in the morning and pick me up in the afternoon. Oh my goodness the lunches she packed for me that week!!!! I wanted to move in forever! I'd do my homework after school and go play with Cathy down the street and then Aunt Lou would play cards with me until time to go to bed. That was of course after a delicious dinner! I was glad I didn't get to go to the funeral!

Aunt Lou made fabulous raspberry cobbler. She'd call it 'rahzzberry' and I loved to hear her say that. We'd go over there for dinner about once a week and then Mummy and Daddy and Uncle George and Aunt Lou would play pinochle all night. I'd fall asleep on the couch and be woken up to go home in the wee hours of the morning. They played for $1 a game and $1 a set. No friendly card games in our family!!!

One such card playing, dinner eating evening Aunt Lou had made banana cream pie. That woman could bake. We finished dinner and AL went to get the pie...I can picture it like it was yesterday. She went to the far end of the kitchen where the pie was cooling and she took the pie from the counter at the same time turning to say something to my Mom. She turned too quick and the pie hadn't set. The slimy mass came up and over the edge of the pie and all over the floor. I can see the look on AL's face to this day! She just stood there. My mother made some wise ass comment. I was just horrified as I knew that meant no pie!!! AL called my Mom a bitch and both Daddy and Uncle George started laughing! I of course chimed in and then Aunt Lou couldn't help herself. She laughed so hard she dropped the rest of the pie on the floor. She then took a step forward to get to the kitchen sink and get a dishcloth. Her foot slipped in the pie goo. Down she went. Aunt Lou was not a tiny woman. She was laughing and trying to get up. She'd put her hand down and it would get banana goo on it and whoooooooooosh out from under her it would go. She was flopping around on the floor for what seemed like an eternity while we laughed so hard we nearly wet ourselves. Unc Geo finally got up and pushed a chair over to her...just short of where the pie goo started. He gave her a dry cloth to wipe her hands and somehow she got a dry hand on that chair, and then put dry rags under her feet and got up. We talked about that for years and years. Oh yes, she'd made 2 pies so we still got to have dessert!!!

My mom and Aunt Lou played a lot of cards. During the day when the men were at work, they'd play with 'the card women'. I loved coming home from school and seeing cars at my house. Knew the card women were there. We summered in Houghton Lake and they'd all come up for a week in the summer. I really loved that. It meant that I had to do a lot of work as like I said, Mom wasn't well, but it was fun when they were there. Aunt Lou would always tell me that she'd give me a quarter to do her share of the dishes. Now I had to do all of them anyway, so that was a great deal for me. It was even better when she'd get all the rest of them to give me a quarter too! All except Winnie. She wouldn't ever give me a quarter. Bitch! We'd go out for dinner which I loved and Aunt Lou would always get up earlier than all the other women and play cards with just me. I heard her tell my Mom once that it wasn't fair to make me do all the work just because she couldn't. Mom cried and said she knew I shouldn't have to do it, but if I didn't do it, who would? Until then, I'd always felt like a slave doing so much. After that, I realized that Mama just couldn't do it and she felt bad making me do I bitched just a little less. Aunt Lou always, always, always made me feel special.

My Mom died in 1982. May 22 to be precise. I was pregnant with my 3rd child...just barely. Mama knew I was pregnant. I lived in Houghton Lake at the time. Daddy called me one afternoon and told me Mama was in the hospital again and that I should come. He said she was fading in and out and when she woke up she didn't know who anyone was. I quickly tossed a few clothes in the suitcase and headed to Flushing. It was a 2.5 hour trip. Den stayed home to take care of the boys. I got home and my brother came from the hospital to pick me up. The hospital was in a bad part of town and Daddy didn't want me driving there alone. When he picked me up he told me that Mom wasn't fading in and out. She was in a coma and hadn't woken up at all. Daddy just didn't want me to worry and get in an accident driving there. I got to the hospital and held Mama's hand. I smoothed her hair and I talked to her. We all three sat there. My Dad, my brother Don, and I, just reminiscing. I looked over at Mom and she was looking at me. She smiled. I smiled back. I turned to my Dad and asked 'How often does she do that?'. 'Do what?' Dad asked. I said open her eyes and look at you. He said not at all, not once. I went over to her then to hold her hand again. She was gone. She knew me. She knew she had to wait until I got there and let me know things were OK or I'd have felt bad for the rest of my life. She did that and I'll never forget it as long as I live. That night was hell. All by myself at the time I needed Dennis the most. He couldn't get there until the next day. He had to find someone to watch the boys and I still don't know how he got there as we only had one car and I had it. The next day was worse. My sister in law was doom and gloom. We had to be sad. We couldn't laugh. For God's sake, Mama was sick for years. She was in pain and in misery and now she was free. I didn't feel like being sad. What would I do? I needed to get out of there. Daddy and Don were taking care of arrangements and I was stuck there with the morbidness. Aunt Lou! I'd go to Aunt Lou!

I hopped in the car and headed for Birch Run. Aunt Lou wasn't well either by this time. Same sickness. I pulled in and by the time I got up the cement steps to the kitchen door, she was there waiting for me. She was on crutches. She didn't say anything at first, just gave me a big hug. We stood there for what seemed a very long time and then we went in and sat at the kitchen table. We did what was natural. We played cards. We talked about Mom. Aunt Lou said that some good things would come out of this. I asked what. She said 'well for one thing, your Mom will know that I really did quit smoking now'! Mom never believed that AL could give up smoking when she couldn't herself. 'What are some others?' I asked. Aunt Lou said that now my Mom would know that AL really never did die her hair! She had very dark hair and Mama always swore that it was died. We laughed at that. Lots of stories followed of course. Aunt Lou said she was upset about one thing. I asked what that was? She said that by the time she got to heaven, my Mom would know all the tricks! Mom would know how to make the cards fly right out of Aunt Lou's hands! We laughed about that. Daddy was so pissed that I'd left my sister in law home alone. I've never regretted it for a moment.

They're all gone now. Mommy, Daddy, Aunt Lou, and most recently, Uncle George. When Aunt Lou passed away I put a deck of cards and $1.30 in the casket with her. We used to play a game called 13 hands and you'd start with $1.30. I wanted her to have at least one step up on Mama!! Dennis says it's just one perpetual pinochle game up there now. I'm not sure if they're allowed to swear in heaven. I hope so as I'm not sure those 4 could play otherwise!

So many more memories. I shall save them for another time.

Friday, December 26, 2008

How do you feel about that?

When I was in high school, I was heavily involved in the drama club. I worked on, or had a part in every single play we did for the whole 4 years of high school. We put on 2 plays each year, one big musical, and one other play. My freshman year the 'other' play was called 'Due to a Lack of Interest, Tomorrow Has Been Cancelled'. That was 1973, good times.

Fast forward to 2008. It's not drama anymore, but if I had to give a title for the holiday's here it would have been 'Due to a Lack of Funds, Christmas Has Been Cancelled'. We're grown up now and it's not really a big thing. It was just something we had to do. Kind of a no brainer really. No money equals no gifts. Simple as that. We said that the only thing we could do was put things in our Christmas stockings. Since very expensive things can be small, we changed the 'rule' to a monetary limit. Ten bucks. Can't spend over 10 bucks. Den has to have his fruitcake and cashews after all!

Den is working midnights and of course Christmas day fell on a day he had to work. That meant that he went to bed at 1pm. We were able to go to Mass in the morning and that was nice. We opened our stockings before that. Den had put in my stocking my favorite candies & treats. I got a Terry's chocolate orange (yum!), a Reese's peanut butter cup, & a small tin of salted almonds. I adore almonds! They're expensive and I never buy them for myself. Never! The last treat he had in there was a small box of Walker's shortbread cookies. Oh my that's my favorite cookie in the whole world. Again, expensive and I never ever ever ever buy them. One small thing that he'd wrapped that I almost missed was a pencil with Santas on it. Yes, he did indeed wrap a pencil.

We got home from Mass and had breakfast and then Den went off to bed. That left me to my own devices for the whole day. Friends that I could have normally visited were out and about doing things. I thought of going to the pool, but I figured it was probably full of little kids that would be here visiting grandma and grandpa and it's not much fun going to the pool by yourself on Christmas day. I decided to read my new book I'd got from the library the day before. I read the whole book. Yes, cover to cover. I took myself out for a golf cart ride in the early afternoon. That was nice as there were others out and about and I'd wave or stop for a natter. Problem with that was the heavenly smells coming from most of the houses I drove past! They were all inside cooking their Christmas dinners and ohhhhh did it smell good! I finally couldn't stand it and came back home for something to eat. Ian was done doing things on his computer by this time and took me back out for another ride. That was very nice. It really isn't any fun being by yourself on a holiday. The temperature was 81 degrees and the sun was on my face....on Christmas day!! Awesome. I hate snow as most of you know. I just loved that golf cart ride. I had shorts and a tee shirt and I was barefoot....on Christmas day! is good.

'How do you feel about that?'

You probably thought I'd forgot what I was supposed to be blogging about eh? Being a holiday, my children of course rang. I was talking to my second son and he asked what I'd got for Christmas. I told him about the Santa pencil that his Dad had put in my stocking. 'A pencil?', he asked. I said 'oh yes, it's got tiny little Santas all over it. 'Oh', he said. There was silence at his end. 'Hello?', I said, thinking the call had been dropped. That's when he said 'how do you feel about that?'. It took me a bit by surprise and I had to stop and think about it.

I was talking to Silverback a few weeks ago about being sad that we couldn't have a big, gift giving, Christmas. He said just because there are no gifts doesn't mean it's not Christmas. Well, yes it does, to me, I said. He said that would mean I was just in it it for the gifts I'd get, the commercial aspect. No, that wasn't it at all. I of course couldn't explain what I meant very well. I love surprises. Christmas is all about surprises. You don't know what you're going to get. I love the anticipation of buying something, wrapping it, and waiting for it to be unwrapped. I love unwrapping too! I admit it. I love pressies! They don't have to be expensive gifts, though I like those too! I just love the thought that someone thought of me, took the time to get something, wrap it up, and present it to me. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

My 50th birthday was in October and we didn't do gifts for that either. It fell on a Monday. I go to coffee hour at 7am on a Monday. On my way there, the lady down the street came running out of her house. She shouted 'HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!', and gave me a pot scrubbie. You see, she crochets pot scrubbies and they're awesome for, well, scrubbing pots. It made my whole day. She made the effort, it was a surprise, she thought of me. How awesome is that? The nicest part was when she said 'I'm sorry it's purple and not pink, I didn't have any pink (insert the type of stuff she uses to make the scrubbies here as I can't remember what it's called). Wow, how cool is that that she knew my favorite color was pink? See, it's really not the price of the gift to me at all, it's just the lovely, fuzzy, glow I get knowing I'm thought of.

How did I feel about receiving a pencil for Christmas?

I felt loved.

I felt thought about.

I felt special.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy Birthday Cole Asher

Cole is my grandson. He was born December 20, 2007. This was my first picture with him. I flew home from FL to meet him. This was taken 12/27/07.

Same visit two days later. Same clothes...I guess I traveled light!

This was taken in January when Den and I flew home. See, we had these tickets booked for a long time. Cole was supposed to be born January 14th. We thought if we came home the 28th we could meet him AND have a family Christmas. Since Cole came so early, I didn't want to wait until the 28th so I flew home by myself earlier. Grandpa was sure happy to meet Cole finally!

Silverback and I flew back to MI in February to meet my next grandson that was born Feb 10(these kids need to plan better next time!!). He took this picture then.

Turn about is fair play! See Cole's tiny hands holding on to Silverback?

Silverback also took this picture of Cole and his great grandma. I just love the contrast between young and old.

This is Cole at 6 months old. How time flies.

Happy birthday!!!

Such a happy boy!

Oh my gosh I can't believe I'm already 1 year old!!!!!!!

Happy birthday sweetie. Grammy loves you!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Thursday, December 18, 2008

So, I was in Wal-Mart

I really hate shopping. Today wasn't too bad. I only needed a few things and just wanted to wander around Wally World and look at things I'd like, but I can't have. I enjoyed it actually.

Everything was groovy. I got everything I needed and for once the shelves weren't barren of things I wanted. I wasn't mean to anyone. I didn't have any memory lapses. I didn't talk to the items on the shelves. I was a good girl. I saw a lady in a motorized wheel chair that would have been picture fodder for my last post. She put whole milk into her cart...I refrained from saying 'BUY SKIM'! I thought I did well.

Yes, things were groovy right up until the time I hit the check out lane. Got my things up and the checker was friendly enough, or so I thought. It was a thin disguise. I bought 2 bottles of wine. A little message came up on the screen that said 'customer is over 40'. I said 'gee, you didn't even question that' as an obvious joke. She said 'I didn't have to ask, I can tell you're way over 40! Look at you, all that grey! You look like Pepe Le Pew!'

Wow...kick me while I'm down!

I'll be making an appointment with the beauty salon for tomorrow.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Speaking of gelatinous blobs.....

America is full of them.

I'm sure that won't make me popular, but it's been heavy (pardon the pun) on my mind for several years now. When will we stop? When all of us need to be in motorized wheel chairs with canisters of oxygen strapped to our backs? When we are too fat to even get out of the house and need someone to come in and drop food into our mouths where we'll be waiting like some gargantuan baby bird? I think maybe that's about the sad end to the story.

You go to a restaurant and the portions are just huge. Super size it? Of course! Free refills? Well we'd be appalled at a place that didn't offer them. Buffets abound here. It's not good food, of course. It's mass quantities of poor quality food. It doesn't matter though, as it's mass quantities.

You go to the store and see people that are in the electric wheel chair, and I use the word 'in' loosely as they're mainly hanging over the chair, that are forced to be in it for the sole reason of being obese. You see mothers with severely obese children in the cart surrounded by piles of junk food. The epitome of this train of thought I witnessed in Wal-Mart in Houghton Lake, MI. Three generations, all severely to morbidly obese. I'm giving the child the severe status as I just don't know how fat a toddler has to be to be considered morbidly obese. Mom was in the stores motorized wheel chair. She was pushing Grandma (by nudging her along with the scooter as her arms were too fat to reach the handles on Grans chair)that was in a regular wheelchair, who was pushing the shopping cart with the overstuffed toddler in it. The child was devouring a bag of potato chips. It made me sad. I wanted to say something, but of course that's not the done thing to do. Not only that, what right do I, as an obese person, have to say to anyone else? I just wanted to cry.

God help me I may be fat but I certainly didn't bring my children up that way. They didn't have mountains of junk food and they ate fruit and veg. They played outside instead of sitting in front of the TV daily. They participated in sports in school and they were active. They might have learned bad habits later on, but I did give them the basis for healthy eating. Why doesn't everyone? Why, if you're a fat adult, would you bring your children up to have the same bad habits and problems you have? I just don't get it. I just never, ever understand seeing a fat adult with a fat child. It's worse when it's a child under age 5. Before that child starts going off to school where he can steal other kids lunches etc, his feeding is solely the responsibility of the parent. That means, the parent has chosen to overfeed that child. WHY???? I wish someone could fill me in. It just hurts me to see this.

Our nation is full of obesity related illnesses. I can't even imagine how much it costs the insurance companies. It's our right to be fat I guess. I think we need to wake up and smell the vegetables! Oh, I'm right along with the best of the obese. I know I'm the last person that should be talking about this. I guess it's a bit of do as I say and not as I do, but it's my blog and it's what is on my mind so I'm spouting it nonetheless. I think parents with children under age 5 that are obese (for no medical reason of course) should be fined. I think an insurance company has every right to charge you extra if you're obese. I think they have every right to give you a certain amount of time to rectify the situation or cut you off. I've read of people that weigh over 700 pounds that can't even get out of bed, never mind out of the house. People bring them food. They should go to jail. They're killing these people. I mean really, if they can't get out of bed and are solely dependant on you, bring them lean protein and veggies for goodness sakes! There was a huge discussion on the WW boards one day about this. Oh they're not enablers, they're just caregivers. No they're not, they're murderers!

I know how hard it is to lose weight. I've been trying all my life. I've been fat since I was 6 years old. I'm not blaming anyone but myself. Ultimately, it's all up to us. I'm the one that puts the food in my mouth, and I'm the only one that can choose to not eat it. God I know it's hard but we Americans have got to do something soon or we're all going to die. As I said, it's up to us but a little help from the outside world would be great. C'mon fast food restaurants, do we really need super sized fries? Do we really need a double whopper or a Wendy's triple? Do we really need portions that are big enough to feed a family of 4? Scale it down people! Give us fat people a fighting chance!

I've noticed a few changes lately. More places are serving salads and there's fruit to choose for a kids happy meal now. We just need to start choosing this stuff! The schools need to quit caving to the adults that say their kids NEED the junk served. No they don't! They NEED healthy food in moderate quantities. They NEED exercise and activity. If the schools only served the healthy food, the kids would have to choose it. Yes Mom, that means you are NOT to pack a lunch full of shit for your kids to eat instead! Tough love! Just because we've screwed our generation up doesn't mean we can't try to correct it in the future.

People complain that airplane seats are too small and theater seats etc. Make them bigger, they cry. Fat people have rights. So, the seats are made bigger and we get fatter. Fat discrimination is cried. Oh it's a real enough thing for sure. I know this from personal experience. What I've been thinking lately though, is maybe it's not such a bad thing. Maybe if we can't fit our fat asses in the regular size seats, we'll do something about it. Don't keep making them bigger, make us conform to the norm! Years ago I couldn't fit in clothes from the store. I had to make my own. Now you can buy clothes that would fit a baby elephant. I don't necessarily think that's a good thing.

I don't have an answer for the problem. I just needed to get this off my chest. George Carlin said it best here. I'm sure he didn't make any friends, but he told the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. I miss him. I can hear the outrage of the people that listened to this as they'll think he was making fun of them. I think he was just getting it off his chest. Like me.

I'm off in my one ton doolie now. I need to go to Wal-Mart to buy things. I'll probably go out to lunch too.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The princess and the gelatinous blob

OMG they're one and the same!!

I read a blog by gemmack about menopause and she hit it right on the head. I felt a sense of sisterhood with her even though we've never met. At least I know the things I've been experiencing aren't all in my head. If you're a man, and you just had a thought there, shut it!

I used to get ready to go to a fancy function and feel lovely when finished. The key words there are 'used to'. My hair would be coiffed, I'd smell pretty, I'd look OK and I'd never give it another thought all night long. I knew I looked great to start and I'd never think of it again. I'd just have a good time. Man oh man where have those days gone?

My son is dating a fantastic woman named Jen that just had a birthday. We were invited to the party. We were going to meet her whole family which I just couldn't wait for. I just love Jen and was excited to see her too. It was a black and white themed party. I have a blouse that I've always loved that and white. It's quite becoming even though it's simple. I thought I'd get a black skirt to go with it and black stockings and wear my lovely black heels. Sorted.

We drove to Miami for the festivities. I was able to rest before the party as we got there early. I got showered and coiffed and even put make up on! I bejeweled myself and spritzed myself with smelly stuff. I donned my heels (the pair I just love as they're very cute), smoothed things down and turned to look in the full length mirror. AHHHHHH HOLY SHIT WHO IS THAT STRANGE WOMAN IN MY ROOM????? I didn't know, but I knew she was NOT the princess!!! She had a huge zit on her nose. Yes, that's right, 50 years old sporting a huge, red, pulsing zit. Her hair, though coiffed, was more grey than brown AND it was limp! She was wearing my cute shoes, but her ankles were so swollen they almost sagged over the bows! The skirt looked frumpy (did I mention it's tight?) and even the blouse didn't look nice. It used to accentuate the girls and hide the flaws elsewhere. Now it made me look pregnant and who the hell knew where the girls went for the evening! Maybe it was them down around my ankles!! She did smell good though and her jewels were awesome. Sighhhhhh I miss the princess.

I'm cranky, I have a zit, I'm retaining enough water to fuel a dehydrated camel, I've gained 10 pounds, (OK asshole so it's 20 pounds...what are you going to do about it?), I'm confrontational one minute and teary eyed the next, I want chocolate, I want potato chips, I want to start a fight just because I can, did I mention I want chocolate? Things pop out of my mouth without control. I have zero tolerance for ignorance and not one iota of patience and this can last HOW long???? I almost dare anyone to comment on things I spout. I would relish the opportunity to kick their ass. I threatened to tip one man I play cards with out of his motorized wheel chair and leave him in the ditch for dead. I meant it too.

Thank God Dennis has learned the one ammunition that works. Humor. He makes me laugh and that diffuses the situation. We saw an episode of 'Everybody Loves Raymond' years ago when Debra (coinkey dink???) was experiencing PMS. He'd brought home some pills for her. She read the label and glared at him and said 'there's nothing in here for bitchy Ray'. He said 'you probably need a prescription for bitchy'. We when I get particularly nasty and don't deserve any one's love, never mind understanding, Den will say 'you probably need a prescription for bitchy' and we laugh.

He lives another day.

Lucky bastard.

Pass the chocolate.