Friday, November 28, 2014

Menopause has left me feeling deflated

Hello, It’s Mary….. Hello You Gorgeous Menopausal Moms!

It’s quite amazing what happens when losing weight and menopause coincide. I have lost 34 pounds since May. It appears that I’ve lost 15 pounds in each boob and four pounds scattered all across the rest of my body.

According to the National Cancer Institute, in a handy pamphlet about breast changes that aren’t cancer, when your hormone levels drop during menopausa breast tissue “becomes less dense and more fatty.” Apparently my lobes and lobules, crucial to milk creation, are also kaput.
(Kaput, by the way, is not the official medical term)  So I guess I was left with no density and more fat which left that particular area of my body while remaining in other areas. (Namely tummy and upper arms.)
In my case, again this is probably not how my doctor would say it, my boobs left to their own devices simply look deflated. 

Apparently that is not all that unusual.


Thankfully, a good bra, one size smaller, shoves them into the approximation of the space they once held on their own unassisted.  But, while I’ve never had a outsized, ongoing interest in their size and shape, it is kind of astonishing what difference a few months and a few pounds can make. I have looked in the mirror in a bit of wonder and awe. Somebody recently told me that older people are incredibly resilient because they are every adapting to a changing body. I totally get what they mean.

That doesn’t mean I’m sorry I have been losing weight.

I move through the world with more ease. I feel strong for maybe the first time ever and certainly the first time in a long time.

I’m kind of proud of myself. And believe me when I tell you if I can do it anybody can.

And, so far, I haven't had to go crazy.

I know some people do.  I have a friend who is a beast in the gym and a fiend at calorie counting. She has lost more than 50 pounds. And while she looks great, she seems to take little joy her transformation. And, unfortunately, she is also losing her hair.

I have taken a more laid back approach in part because the effort I am putting out is still showing some results. According to my Goggle Medical Degree that is because my friend had already been exercising pretty frequently while I had only been exercising my right to watch reality television while knitting. I think because of that I benefit from my slothfulness. 

My body is like, whoa, we’re moving!
What’s that about!?!

Boobs aside, which as we all know is where they go when we lay down, there have been other unintended consequences. My mouth literally watered the other day when looking at a pear, fig and feta cheese salad even though I’m not sure I had ever eaten that particular combination. It was delicious and I now have in my house the ingredients needed to make one. The second one was as delicious as the first. I soon will have a third.

Overall, actually, I have discovered an almost Pavlovian response to food stimuli that I never recognized before. I'm not sure that it is menopause-related but it is strange to notice at age 50. Maybe I have been spending too much time with my dog. 

I also know I have about 70 pounds to go before I am at the upper end of the range considered appropriate  for my height by those bastards at the National Institutes of Health. (I’m not sure I’ve been in that range since I was about 24 so I wonder about its validity.) Still it is something to shoot for and I’m heading in the right direction, one or two pounds at a time.

Here’s a weird thing. I feel so much better I forget how big I still really am. Sometimes I fool myself into thinking the current weight loss might be good enough and then see a picture and think…hmmmm…no you’ve got some work to do.

And, apparently, that's going to be a challenge because it's suppose to get significantly harder following menopause to lose weight. The Mayo Clinic says that has to do with the shift in muscle to fat as we age. It also offers these genius tips for menopausal women: Move more. Eat Less. Seek support.

I’ve been doing two of those, I guess now I’m doing the third. Feel free to support. I could seriously use it.

I'll keep taking the smallest of baby steps.

On Thanksgiving I ate turkey and gravy and stuffing and skipped the pie.

Today I met for the first time with my very own personal trainer. Maybe down the line she will have some suggestions about the boob thing. Or  maybe that's a bit too personal. I also think they are beyond being trained. #menopausal moms

Thursday, November 27, 2014

It's Time to Find Myself

An empty nest is not always a bad thing.  I do miss my children, but somewhere along the way in my roles of wife, mother and college student, I lost my identity.

Where did Kim, the painter, go?  Where did Kim, the singer, go? 

I knew she was in me somewhere, and today, Thanksgiving Day 2014, from the peacefulness of our cabin in the woods, I decided it was time to let her out.  Why today, you might ask?  I will tell you! 

My children are all grown and two of them have families of their own now.  And, I know the importance of building your own family traditions, especially when your family is young.  So, I never put pressure on them to come “home” on the holidays… because they are busy building homes of their own.  And, as a parent, that is what you want for them. 

As much as I want my children to see me as the center of their universe, I know that is not the case.  Right?  Yes, I know that is right.  So, I will make myself the center of my own universe.  I can do that.  Right?  Of course I am right!

For the first time ever, except for a small hamburger lunch for my husband and I, I wasn’t cooking on Thanksgiving.  I actually got to watch the Macy’s Parade.  Has it always been a big commercial for NBC television shows and Broadway plays?  I wouldn’t know because typically I am basting a turkey.  As much as it seemed like a big commercial, the parade was great.  Although, I do think there was a lot of lip-syncing.  I digress. 

After the NBC Parade, oops, I mean the Macy’s Parade, I decided to relax in my Jacuzzi.  I lit a “Mistletoe” Yankee Candle, turned Pandora holiday music on my laptop, added some great bath oil, my sweet Ashley bought me for Christmas two years ago, slipped into the tub and turned on the jets.  THEN, I jumped right back out.

It had been so long since I had taken time to slip into the Jacuzzi, that the jets had gotten a bit, shall we say, “dingy.”  And, the dinginess made it’s way into my bath. (This is also why I had not used the bath oil.)  

So, my husband and I took the time to clean the jets, and it is ready for another attempt tonight.  I can assure you, the dinginess will never happen again.  I will take time to smell the bath oil!

Tomorrow I plan to paint.  Hopefully my brushes haven’t rotted, but if so…I will buy more.  Kim is ready to appear and put her talents to work.  And, that is my goal as my 50th birthday quickly approaches…to let Kim shine!

Do you have an empty nest?  If so, has it changed your life?

May your hot flashes be mild and your wrinkles even milder.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Grieving over my sister...who is alive and well.

Imagine going through most of your life knowing you had a sister, but you were not allowed to communicate with her, or have any part in her life.  I don’t have to imagine it because I have lived it.  It has been tough.

I have been grieving for over 25 years for someone who is still alive, but dead in any way that matters in my life.

But, I was able to watch her grow up from a distance.  And, for the last 5 years, I have been able to see her life through her Facebook page.  It’s not a lot, but I will take what I can get.

You see, bad decisions to have marital affairs have consequences.  But, it is not always those who make the bad decisions who suffer.  Many others suffer too.

I, personally,  have suffered due to a decision made many years ago.  This decision was that my half-sister would never know that the man who was raising her as his own daughter, who I respect greatly, was not her biological father.  And, that would be that.  Life would go on as if nothing had happened?
I, on the other hand, was not part of this decision.  It’s not fair!

Yes, I am a grown woman screaming, ”IT’S NOT FAIR!”

She doesn’t even know I exist.  

But, this is my sister's life and identity we are talking about, and I do not want to be the one who changes that due to my own selfishness.  I love her...even though I have never met her, and hurting her has never been an option.

But, I do have my moments of weakness.  For instance, I recently opened up a Facebook chat message to write to her.  I told her she was my sister and if she wanted to know more about this, she could call me.  Then, I quickly deleted it.  I just do not know how to move forward, and maybe there is no moving forward?

I simply do not know what the "right thing to do" is in this situation.

I do know that I am about to turn 50 years old, and I am obsessed with knowing my sister.  Maybe it is the slap in the face of my own mortality, that the recent death of my father and my inevitable birthday next month gives me, that makes the situation seem more dire?  I simply want to know my sister and have time to develop a relationship.

But, it just may be that this grief goes with me to the grave.

We all have life situations that can be completely out of our control...acceptance of such situations can be the tough part.   How do you deal with life when it is out of your control?  Do you pray about it?  Do you do what your heart tells you...or what your brain tells you?  It helps me to write about it and at least get my thoughts on paper.  Let's start a discussion about how we handle situations that are out of our control.  I want to hear what our followers have to say.

May your hot flashes be mild and your wrinkles even milder!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

You are welcome! The Hallmark Holiday Movie Drinking Game

You're welcome All Moms but especially Menopausal Moms!

We all share a oerverse fascination with the  Hallmark Holiday Movie, which I discovered last year. (See earlier posting I'm Mary.

If you say you don't like the good Hallmark (of slightly more racy Lifetime version) I know you are lying.

But I've indulged too early in the wonder that is the Hallmark Holiday Movie. I have already had multiple viewings of  Princess for Christmas, Cookie Cutter Christmas, A Boyfriend for Christmas....all blandly charming and still engaging in the way one loves an ugly holiday sweater. But my addictive, wrongly-wired brain being what it is, I crave new stimuli and the movie itself in't working anymore. I need more.
my game,

So I have invented the Holiday Movie Movie Drinking Game (patent pending)

The rules are clear and simple. You take the designated number of drinks when the specific event takes place in a Hallmark Holiday Movie. The rules can also be applied to the slightly more PG-13 ABC Family Holiday movies where there is sometimes kissing or Mr. Wrong or Mr. Right shirtless, smooth and ripped. ( I may need to explore more of those titles.)

The rules  can also be applied to any title that comes up when you type the 12 Dates of Christmas into Netflix. (Starring Mark-Paul Gosselaar. Zach from Saved by the Bell! You are welcome, again.)

Now, while I support the use of boxed wine or whatever spirits raise yours. Since we are MMofKY  support the uniquely Kentucky drink, Bourbon. Invented, according to the sign posted near the creek by my house, right here in my hometown.

I do not, however,  support use of any of the Skinny Girl products because I've come to hate Bethenny Frankel. (Another story for another day)

For those of us who prefer a chocolate high to one from chardonny use Kit-Kat minis or "a bite of sugar cookie" whenever the rules call for a shot.

But here you go.......12 rules for the 12 Sips of Christmas.

1. One drink if the main female character, dubbed by me as a "Holly", wears a slouchy knit hat.(Usually white.)

2. One drink if the main female character, known broadly under the character "Holly" has the specific  name: Holly, Joy, Joelle, Krystal, Kristine, Kristie, Noel or Melody.

3. Two drinks if the movie writers go all in and whip out Mary, Meri or Eve.

4. One drink if the Mr Right wears a manly scarf.

5. Two drinks if Mr. Right carries a man-purse-like messenger bag.

6. One drink if Mr. Wrong makes his first appearance in a dress shirt and tie.

7. Two drinks if Mr. Wrong makes his first appearance in a full suit and tie.

8. One drink if the movie features people of color in the background of a scene as the Holly goes to the mall or Mr. Wrong's office.

9. Two drinks if a person of color is cast as an authority figure such as doctor, lawyer, police officer or judge. (This is how the above-mentioned writers apparently make up for the fact that Mr. Right and the Holly are very rarely anything but white and white and often on the very palest end of the white scale. )

10. One shot if you detect the "aboot" for "about" accent that comes from what appears to be a cast largely recruited from Canada.

11. One drink if you recognize an actor for somewhere such as, true example, "that's Magda the overcooked neighborhood from Something About Mary  playing the daffy sidekick."

12. Two drinks if you actually can name the actor. Example: That wacky inn keeper is Florence Henderson beloved Mom from the Brady Bunch and, more recently and weirdly, the life coach for the reality show featuring the real grown up Peter Brady and his now-ex wife who won the fist America's Next Top Model. (Apparently Florence is a better actor than life coach.)

13. Bonus shot: Anytime the main Holly or the mother of a Holly, Mr. Wrong or Mr Right  has red hair.

Be safe. Drink (and snack) responsibly.

Disclaimer: Menopausal Moms of Kentucky, heretofore referred to as MMofKY, is not responsible for any bad decisions made after, or during, the playing of 12 Sips of Christmas. Please do not operate heavy machinery after or during the play of  12 Sips of Christmas. This includes not-so-heavy equipment such as  Ipad, Iphones, Kindles, any other tablet product or other cellular devices which might lead to unwanted revleations that could lead to extremely tense Christmas dinners.
MMof KY legally declares that 12 Sips of Christmas should not be played alone, unless you have had a really bad day.  In that case, we won't tell anyone. If you experience a surge of joy lasting longer than 4 hours after playing MMofKys 12 Sips of Christmas, well, roll with it and consider yourself lucky. If you experience viewing a blue-tinged world you have likely taken some Viagra by mistake and that is a problem we can't begin to fix.  We would encourage you to re-examine your life, check how the medicine in your household is stored and contact a physician hotline immediately. We are not responsible for those bad choice, Menopausal Moms. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

3Ms: Mat Maid to Mom to Mid Life Crisis

I was a Mat Maid at Waggener High School  in 1982 where wrestling was, at the time, the sport.
A Mat Maid's job was to cheer at wrestling matches.
Sue Heck, the dweeby middle daughter on TVs The Middle, is a kind of  fictional Mat Maid. But at Waggener High School in 1982 it was considered an honor. If I remember correctly the boy athletes voted the girls onto the squad.
As my brief tenure would attest, skill was not a pre-requisite.
Mat Maiding overall made me uncomfortable. I didn't enjoy being so front and center with so much pain. I had to resist the urge to yell at the grappling boys: Use Your Words!
No offense to those athletes, and they were impressive, but I'm generally not a fan of grunting, moaning and wrestling unless I am an active participant.
Frankly, the title Mat Maid even at 17 it made me think of a maid who made her money on a mat, short for mattress, and, well, that didn't seem appropriate.
As I believe we have established with It's OK. Go Gray I was adorable, thanks Mom/Dad/God, but was clueless.
But  even way back in the age of Big Shoulder Pads and Bigger Hair I was aware that I was a terrible Mat Maid.
And that one particular Mat Maid semester I had a lucrative waitressing job, a boyfriend, was editor of the school paper and, you know, trying to get into college I remember getting a nasty virus or walking pneumonia. It might have been Mat Maid induced MRSA. Anyway, my Mom told I was stretched too thin and I had to let something go so, bye-bye my short cheering career. I think I was looking for an excuse to decline something that was suppose  that was an honor because I didn't want to seem ungrateful because, you know, boys voted for me!
About a year later, around my 18th birthday, I remember thinking really clearly....I'll never be a cheerleader. Which is weird, because I really never wanted to be a cheerleader. My failed Mat Maid effort showed that.
I think at the time it just marked a passing of a phase like when I was 7 and realized I was never really going to be a Pretty Pretty Princess or when I was 22 at my first job and I thought 'I will never go from reporter to Editor-in-Chief is two years' which had happened in college. Another revelation at the time was "I will never get another summer off."
(Random aside: I was also a ball girl for the Westport High School fighting soccer Warhawks circa 1980-81. I liked this job because it afforded close proximity to soccer players who were a Harry Styles-type combination of dreamy and mildly rebellious. There was also limited grunting and pain. Plus in those early Title IX Days it offered me the athletic outlet of running, climbing fences and being part of a team.  Also I, for a ridiculously long time, wanted to put "Ball Girl: 1980-1981" and "Mat Maid: 1981-1982" on a resume under "Other Interests" just to see what happened. Back to the story at hand.)
Over the years there have been some other moments of "I will never" some are poignant like "I will never see my Papaw again" others are shallow like  "chances are, I will never be famous."
But as you likely all know by the blog title Menopausal Moms I have hit the big one.
I will never have another child.
That ship has sailed.
That store has closed.
This uterus is officially out of business.
I don't know that I have ever really thought.....I must have another kid. I did think, briefly and wrongly, that maybe having another baby would right my wrong-trending marriage. Thank God for a moment of clarity there.
But more and more I am trying to think about my next chapter as my daughter gets ready to drive and go to college then on with her life.
I have had three main jobs,  two of them paying,  in my life.
Waitress, Writer, Mom.
The perimeters of one is changing and I can't do anything about it.
Adjusted for inflation of the other two one of them paid significantly better, especially in the last few years when health insurance rates keep going up, unpaid furloughs are required and raises, even matching 401-K contributions, have been non-existent at the same time workloads, required job skills and stress levels at my place of employment have increased.
So I'm trying to refigure the Mom part. (Thus, the blog)
I'm thinking about the rest.
There have been so many signs that God is trying to nudge me and, as always, I am slow to take the hint.
I got up on a recent Sunday and picked up the the paper from my driveway dressed in my non-too-fancy pajamas that didn't match and drove to the home of a long-time subscriber who had been working without success for two weeks to get her newspaper delivered.
It wasn't a long drive. I live in a small town.
But the trip was notable for two things. One, I don't normally go out, sans bra,  in Pjs and Crocs on a winters morn.
Two, I don't generally sob while driving.
I cried most of the way because my heart was breaking. Working for a newspaper is more than a paycheck for me it is a calling. It's what I've wanted to do, more or less, since I was 10. For a restless spirit who loved to write it was kind a dream job. I love all the good and noble parts of it. I am a believer in the power of a story both big and small.
It's also been a lifeline for me. When you tell the story, you are in charge and get to make the world make sense. There were times when I desperately needed the world to make sense.
I learn something every single time even when it is a topic I've covered a lot before.
I get to invest in people and, most of the time, help someone
I have to wonder if "I will never be able to do this work until I retire"
That is a big one.
I admire women who've gone back to school or started something completely different mid-life.
And I was once a girl who just picked a path and charged towards it. When I was a freelancer I would look at any kind of product with words and think: Someone has to write that, it might as well be me.
She's in there, I guess, but she seems diminished and not quite up for another big bold run.
I am pretty sure I'm not alone in these feelings.
I believe it is called a Mid-Life Crisis
I just know it makes me incredibly sad. A few weeks ago I was at a lunch with a bunch of nice people who all devote their lives to helping others. My daughter was with me. Someone I really respect introduced me as being "a really great reporter".  For the first time ever, I wished she could think of something else nice to say.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Facebook posts say a lot about the poster

At my age, you will not see me posting pictures of myself all over Facebook, or talking about all of the exercise I am getting.  Nope, what you will see on my page is predominately stories about my dogs, or the happenings of my family…and every now and then, pictures I have taken of other people or places I visit.  I love photography.  Am I boring?  ...Possibly.

To give you an idea of my exciting life, the post I made this year that has earned the most “Likes” would be waking up to a knife sticking out of my kitchen floor.  Not boring, but spooky and bizarre.  That could be a description of me!

But, I have to say I find Facebook entertaining to look at.  I almost always know what I will read based on the person who posts the information.  If I were a psychiatrist, I would have a field-day interpreting the individual posts.

Words have a magical power. They can bring either the greatest happiness or deepest despair; they can transfer knowledge from teacher to student; words enable the orator to sway his audience and dictate its decisions. Words are capable of arousing the strongest emotions and prompting all men's actions.”

SIGMUND FREUD, The Educator's Book of Quotes

Are our posts a direct reflection of who we are, or what we want others to see?  Hmmm.

When I take a selfie to post, and this is rare, I may take 10 before I get one that seems to mask my imperfections.   You know you are guilty of this too…right? I hate pictures of myself…I have always enjoyed being on the other side of the camera!
However, I have friends who are fascinated with pictures of themselves.  They post new pictures every day in their new outfits or new hair styles.  They seem to love the “You look beautiful” comments they receive.  Is this narcissistic or do they have low self-esteem and need reassurance?  And, in all sincerity, would anyone ever reply to such a posting with “You look hideous!?” 

Then there are those who are always sick and feel the need to tell everyone about their newest ailment.

Oh Lord, my big toe is inflamed, it could be an ingrown toe-nail.  Here is a picture of it.  Do any of my Facebook friends know what this could be?”
Stock Photo...NOT MY TOE!
 I have looked at some gross pictures! 
Is this the need for sympathy, or are they hypochondriacs? 
 Another thing I have noticed is that age does play a factor in this.

The “youngsters,” as I call them, the 13-24 age group, use Facebook as a tool of battle, especially between girls.  Girls love to call other girls out when they think they have been “disrespected.”  Guys just jump in to the posts to add drama.  These are the posts where you see the words “baby mama” and “baby daddy” as much as you see the Vince Gill and Carrie Underwood’s “How Great Thou Art” video posted.  (And, I do love that video, by the way.)

The 25-39 age group, the “young adults,” love to post about their favorite hobbies and past-times.  You may see posts about sports, or things they have pinned on Pinterest.  You may also see the likes and dislikes of things happening on their favorite TV shows.  #WeMissYouSamiBrady!
The “young adults” also post pictures of their children’s birth, and pictures of their babies doing things like sneezing, smiling and crawling.  Entertainment at its finest!   

Then there is my age group, the elders, 40 and above!  We like to bore people.  We share recipes…don’t deny it elders…I saw the 3,000 posts of the same Pumpkin-Spice Cheesecake recipe last week! 
 We also talk about our vacations to the exciting beaches of Florida in the winter-time.  And, yes, we like to post funny videos.  At our age, we need something to laugh at!   
We also wish our spouses “Happy Anniversary” on Facebook.  And, we get really sappy when we wish our children a “Happy Birthday.”  (You know they love it when we post naked pictures of them when they were infants!)  
And we love to brag and talk about our grown children; we post everything they do.  We want everyone out in Facebook world to know how proud we are of their accomplishments…and to understand it is because we were such amazing parents that it happened. 

All in all, Facebook is about reaching out to others and sharing.  No matter our motives. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

It's OK. Go Gray!

I started to go gray in my 20s
I went gray in my 50th year.
I kind of laughed when I found my first gray hair in college, looking in the bathroom mirror at my dorm. I thought it was funny. I'm not sure why. Maybe it was because I had always pretty fabulous hair. Not that I knew it at the time. I always felt no matter what I did it kind of looked the same. Pony tail. Farrah Facuett waves. Tousled natural..not really in all felt the same to me.
I felt the same way about make up. No matter what I me I always looked like the fat kid from third grade.
But in truth my hair was thick and healthy and a naturally highlighted combination of brown, blonde and little bit of red. I wish I could lay some claim to it but know, thanks Mom and Dad, Mamaw and Papaw. Grandma and Grandpa.  It is purely the hand God dealt me. (So, God, Kudos to you.)

I told one of my professors at WKU, James Ausenbaugh, about that first gray hair and he called me a "smart ass old kid" which stuck for awhile between us. It was the one of the few times anybody gave me a nickname to my face. (The other was M&M before Eminem. (Thank you, Love You. Robert Perez)
I was also "reporter Mary" for awhile.(Another story for another day.)
I abused my hair, frankly. I wasn't much for fancy shampoos. I'd let it grow until I couldn't take it anymore and cut it all off. There was that one illconcieved perm.

The hair dye started in my 20s. Usually what was on sale. Never on a regular basis in the way you are suppose to. Because my hair was thick it help cover up mistakes in the dye distribution.
That worked pretty well through my 30s but then the onslaught began in earnest and the gray made a permanent and prominent appearance.
I'd like to think I'm not vain but I was prickly about people assuming my daughter, now 15, was my grand daughter. Two people made that mistake when she was around three or four.
I did not respond well.
Once, when we went to a restaurant to celebrate her first library card, the waitress said "Oh, isn't that nice for your Granny to do that."
"I'm her mother," I said aggressively.
"Oh, of course, you know, Grannies are so young these days, I mean, you look YOUNG. I'm a granny...just, well..." she was talking loud and fast.
"If you stop talking now you will still get a tip," I said.
She stopped.
So why give up and go gray?
First, I really am old enough to be her grandmother. Especially in my small town where it seems like a lot of families have children early and often. Her first serious boyfriend's grandma was almost exactly my age.
Second, it was pretty much all white much time and effort did I want to spend in the hair war  that was surely going to lose. (None and, well, none.)
So early this year, I did it. First I went to a salon and got blonde "lowlights" then I was too poor to go back to create a regular transition so nature just took it's course.
Guess what?
It's healthier.
It's beautiful.
It stands out.
I have gotten dozens of compliments on it.
More people I have told me looked nice with my all white hair in the last six months than in the last si years.
 I've even caught myself looking in the mirror thinking "not bad". (A rare occurrence, I can assure you.) And even sometimes...."nice"! A rarer occurrence.
I think it is really a combination of things. I've embraced the hair God gave me, I am working out. I've lost 34 pounds. My asthma is under control.
I feel better white-haired and 50 than I have in a long, long time.
I may even have a little swagger.
I have come to the conclusion that I am going to embrace it because I have spent most of my life worrying that I wasn't as pretty as I was in the decade before when I worried all the time that I wasn't pretty enough. And, proof above, I look a lot like my daughter who I think is beautiful but I never saw myself that way.
This may be as good as it's going to get I might as well make the most of it.
Plus, here is a bonus. (Bonus!)
From a distance or from behind, I could be a senior citizen of any age.
I was car dancing in traffic the other day. To One Direction. (Don't judge my jam) I was in that traffic for 45 minutes, enthusiastically singing and seat dancing. (Breathing equals the ability to sing which can lead to singing.)
I had a fabulous time. So did the people in the minivan behind me. I don't care if they were laughing at me or with me, but they were having fun. At one point we got separated but 15 minutes later they were back behind me. When the teen boy in the passenger seat saw me again, still dancing, he almost did a spit take with his Starbucks, pointed and broke out in a big smile like he was happy to see me back.
It occurred to me later that from their vantage, all they saw was the white hair over the top of the seat. I could have been 80 which made my exuberance more unexpected.
My Honda Fit was even rocking a bit.
God willing, I'll get there to 80 and beyond. My Mom has beautiful hair. She keeps it cut short. She looks like a winsome elf. She's been known to car dance.
And I'll take that, someday. For now if someone asks if I'm Bailey's grandma I'll just smile and say yes and, maybe, ask if they know of an available Grandpa who enjoys the odes of One D.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

When Do I Stop????

I was born a blond. 

And, I also had very curly/fuzzy hair. 

My mom said I was cursed because my dad told her when she was pregnant with me he wanted a curly headed little girl.  So throughout her pregnancy, she worried and worried that I would come out with straight hair, and that I would be a boy.

Nope, he got his wish.  My hair was so curly as a child that it looked short...about shoulder length.  BUT, when it was wet, I could pull the curls out and sit on my hair.  You’ve seen pictures of the cartoon character, “Annie” right?  My mother actually referred to brushing my hair as “her curse!” 

The true blond lasted until I was a teen.  Then it went to this “WICKED” color that was really “unusually and exceedingly peculiar and altogether quite impossible to describe.”

Enter Clairol!

Then I became a bottle blond, and this lasted until I was in my early 40's. 
 Since that point, my hair has been every color of the rainbow and more, including pink!  The pink, accidental as it was, had a certain appeal...if you like cotton candy?
Now my hair is in the ginger family.  It has been every shade of red you could imagine, and I change the color just about every time I walk in my beautician’s shop.  I know she hates to see me come.  Mostly because I have enough hair for 4 women, and she never knows what I want done to my hair until I get there. 

This year, however, she had sympathy on me.  Between medication injected in my back for a herniated disk... and menopause, a large amount of my hair fell out.  #CanYouSayTraumatizing!  

First, I was balding.  Then my hair came back in looking like straw!  It was hideous! 

I tried weaving real hair into my own hair (what little was left.)  That was such a bad idea...for sooo many reasons.

Then I bought clips and made hair pieces to clip into the bare spots.  Yep, that too was another bad idea.  And let me tell you, buying real hair is expensive!

But, my head is currently producing normal, healthy hair.  So, back to the color bottle I go!

But, when do I stop? 

At some point, most women quit dying their hair and embrace the silver strands.  Is it that time?  If not now, when? 

I have to admit, I am a bit vain about wanting to look as young as possible.  And, I fear looking into a mirror and seeing myself older.  Will that change my behavior?  Will my husband find me less attractive?  Will I feel compelled to fill out the AARP applications we keep getting in the mail?  Will I want to wear polyester? Will I want to drive a Buick?  (No offense to Buick lovers!)  UGH!!!!

I am just not ready yet!!!
Me currently

So, I am asking you, those who so kindly read this blog, when is the right time to go silver?

Saturday, November 8, 2014

1020 days and counting....reluctantly feathering my empty nest

I joke that I have less than three years to emotionally cripple my daughter so she can't leave me and go away to college.

Seriously, it's funny when I say it.

That's because my daughter is an exceptionally grounded little human. My friends know it. She is like that, I promise, because of who she organically is and not because of anything I have done. Most likely, it's in spite of me.

But I do mentally count the days until she will leave and I find it terrifying. My world has been centered on her for a very long time.

I got divorced a little past her second birthday. Her dad, who is at his core a good guy, unfortunately bugged out early and often. He skipped  out on picking her up so I often I stopped making plans. I tried and tried and tried to get him to commit to at least one day a week to keep her. He never could. (Until last year. Seriously. And now he wants to keep her several days a week. I guess he is doing some counting himself.)

So I tried to take pottery classes. Go out with friends. Have a life apart from her but it never worked very well. I had a great baby sitter who she and I both love but didn't like leaving her to do anything but work because I felt guilty. I had to work enough at night and on weekends. (Although now I wonder why I ever did that.) I had awesome family and friends, like my friend and fellow Menopausal Mom, who would keep her. But most of the time it was the two of us.

And, to be perfectly honest, at some point it just got too hard. I was working full time. I was taking care of her, as easy and awesome as a kid that she was, full time. It was all I could do to do that. And I always felt like I was behind.

And was the two of us. When I did stuff, we did stuff.
And now....she is going to be leaving.

About a year before I got pregnant I started a baby hope chest. I'd buy stuff for a baby, some of it practical like bibs, some of it not so practical like a stuffed bunny wearing bunny slippers. It was my way of getting use to the idea of having a kid.

Now, I am doing that in reverse. I am starting to do things to get use to life without her.

First there is the letting go.
Yes, you can go to that Slipknot concert but you have to stay in your seat.
Yes, you can drive to the wings place with your friend who has a license
Yes, I will not fuss at you about wearing a coat when it is 30 degrees because you are old enough to figure that one out for yourself.

Then there is the doing things for myself.

I danced in the street like a zombie. (See post "You Rock Zombie Grany") I've joined a club. I'm working out. (See post "An exploding hotel) I'm blogging.
I'm making an extra effort to see friends and do things, sometimes on school nights!
I am making a lot of soup from scratch.
I know there is some place in all of this that I should be excited about the prospect. It will be me time all the time.
I'm not that good at me time.

I guess it's good to remind myself I've done this sort reinvention before. Several times. I was a kid. I went to college. I've moved across country three times. I've been married and divorced. I've freelanced. I've volunteered. I've had many incarnations.

This will just be the next one. I realize that worrying about it doesn't
help. It just takes me out of enjoying the moment that is.

But still.....1020 days and counting.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Crazy Dog Lady

Last Friday night was a difficult one in the York household.  It was about midnight when I heard that sound.  You know…that rhythmic yakking sound a dog makes when they are about to upchuck.  I immediately thought about the dinner scene from “Christmas Vacation” when Snots had eaten from the garbage can.  UGH. 

I jumped out of bed and attempted to let our dog, Winston, outside to throw up.  He tried to make it, but I didn’t get him outside in time.  So, at midnight I was cleaning up a mess.  Let me rephrase that.  At midnight I was cleaning up the first mess.  He was not done yet.

Ultimately, I cleaned up seven messes between midnight and 4:00am.  I was just about ready to take him to urgent treatment when it all finally stopped.  Needless to say, he and I both were exhausted the next day.  But, I love my dog…and need to be a good doggy parent.

I remember the first day I adopted Winston.  He was 3 months old, lying in a tiled crib, depressed.  He and his 2 sisters had been rescued from a kill shelter.  His mother was not rescued, so he lost his mommy.  And, both sisters had been adopted the week before.  He was simply sad and lonely.  I knew he needed me.

                                                                Look at that face!

A few months later, I happened to see another 4-month-old dog on Craigslist that needed a home.  The dog had been rescued, but the adoptive parents could not keep her because of her size.  She needed me too!
So, now my husband and I have 2 inside dogs, Winston and Macy.  And, they control our home…seriously.  They sleep with us.  They eat when we do.  They ride with us on trips…windows down…heads hanging out.  Their favorite place to go is Miguel’s Pizza at Natural Bridge.  When we pull in, they can hardly wait to get out of the car.  (We feed them all of the pepperoni off the pizza!)  And yes, people laugh and look at us strange when they see our dogs sitting at the picnic table eating pizza.  Really???

Our lives are ruled by 2 four-legged animals.


Did I mention that they like to chew things?  They have literally chewed up most of what we own.  They ate our couch.  They have chewed up rugs, socks, belts, shoes, hats, quilts, cords, leashes, and even a couple of really awful Christmas sweaters (even dogs know a bad Christmas sweater.) In the pictures below, they had just chewed up a cushion to a sleeper sofa and one of their doggy beds (the second bed died shortly after the first.)  I think they chose to chew up their beds so they could sleep in ours!



So, by now I am sure you think we are crazy, and we probably are!  But, we love our furry babies and always try to see humor in these situations.  It’s better than crying.  And, the chewing is getting less and less as they get older. 

Our pups also provide love and constant entertainment now that our children are grown and our nest is empty.  They also fill special, previously empty, places in our hearts.  So, in reality, Winston and Macy may need me, but I think I needed them more.


Did I mention we also have 2 cats?  Another time and another blog!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Hi I'm Mary. I'm addicted to Hallmark Holiday movies.

My name is Mary. I'm addicted to Hallmark Holiday Movies.
I don't know why they call them holiday movies because there is only one holiday. Christmas. There is no Hanukah on the Hallmark channel. There is no Kwanza.
There is only Christmas. G-rated. Sugar-cookie sweet Christmas.
In November and December the Hallmark channel is filled with women named Holly and men with strong jaw lines who randomly come into their lives.
Last night a Holly met a Cowboy on a bus!
I like that the middle-aged moms in Hallmark movies are all slightly wacky and wise. They are played by character actors who just seem happy to  be working. The dads are all thoughtful and encouraging. They always call the Hollys "my little girl" and "sweetheart" and tell them how they will find the right man at the right time.
And they do.
Every single time.
Usually there are two men who want to marry the Holly.
You can tell the bad guys right away because their Christmas trees are all white and artificial. They also wear ties.
The good guys are often slightly scruffy, they like real Christmas trees and wear flannel. (And sometimes scarves, but in a manly way.) They also tend to have one of three jobs. Chef. Gardener. Carpenter. I think the last is a nod to chosen profession of the Lord Jesus Christ. People don't talk about Jesus directly in the Hallmark movies but his presence is implied.
There are a lot of weddings on the Hallmark Channel at Christmas.
They usually happen just days after the couple has a meet cute of some sort that could totally happen in the real world.
The other day a man showed up at a Holly's front door with a bow on his chest and stuff to make pancakes. Of course she let him in. Who wouldn't?

How, in 50 years, has a man never showed up at my door with a bow and breakfast fixings?
You also never know who is going to show up in a Hallmark movie. Ed Asner and Charles Durning have both been Santa Claus.
Martin Mull played the dad to the Holly who met the Cowboy on the bus. Henry Winkler. Roger Moore. Catherine Bell. Tonight I am looking forward to a movie with Harry Connick, Jr. Willie Nelson, Connie Britton and Lyle Lovett.  I get genuinely happy at the thought of it. I don't know but I am hoping Willie will be a Magic Elf or Santa in disguise. (He was Santa in disguise but he was also an angel. A twofer!)
Hallmark movies are really brilliant for what doesn't happen in them.
There are no divorces. There are no layoffs. There is no dust or fruit flies at the office.
Sometimes there are homeless people but only so the Hollys and the Carpenters can do volunteer work down at the shelter and realized as they are serving up Christmas gravy that they really, truly, madly in love.
In fact, on the Hallmark Channel, no one ever really seems to have to work unless they are a woman who is too focused on her career and misses her child's school play. But, if that's the case, an Elf or Santa or an Angel will steer her into the Christmas light and she will be redeemed. She will also appear for the first time in a soft pastel sweater to indicate she really is not a ball-busting executive but a nurturing Mom who momentarily lost her way. She will also probably wear a slouchy knit hat and look casual yet fabulous.
And that's that.
All tied up neat and tidy.
I find them an excellent counterpoint to knitting.
And, so, I will admit it. I'm addicted to Hallmark movies. It is sweet pablum for my brain. It is mashed potatoes with butter after a stressful week. It is a Peppermint Mocha from Starbucks.
It's a happy, happy place that I'm happy to visit. Admit it? You've gone there too. That's why they keep making them.
(If you enjoyed this or laughed a little or saw yourself...please comment. We would appreciate it. It's weird to share yourself with the world this way but we are having a blast. It would be awesome to have some feedback. Plus, there is a loooonnng season of Hallmark movies to come. There is one this week with Cougar Town's Josh Hopkins! Thanks for visiting MMofKY. It's not too much to say.....we kinda love you.)