A Resilient Woman

In 9 days my mother-in-law will be 88, but she isn’t going to make it.

Taking a break from the “freaking awesome” parade, I’ve been at the hospital several days including spending New Year night in the recliner in her room.  Mom had a massive heart attack early New Year morning and the doctor called us about 5:30 for permission to do a cardiac procedure.  The hospital is at least an hour from where we live so between trying to reach my SIL, talking with one daughter and texting another we weren’t able to get to Everett till about 7:30. 

They had already done the catheterization and the news wasn’t good: they couldn’t use a stent or balloon – there were too many blockages. Mom is not a candidate for surgery either.  All they can do is try to manage it with meds.

When I asked the nurse whether the family should be told to come she said yes and my heart broke.

This strong, generous, and loving woman welcomed me and my children into her family with wide open arms.  She has been through much in her life – losing her father at a very young age, being neglected by her grieving mother, years later losing her first husband and having to support two small children and her mother, having a second husband leave while carrying his child. 

However, she and her third husband, my father-in-law, had a 50+ year marriage.  I never saw them unhappy or angry, though I’ve heard my husband’s stories, and it’s clear it wasn’t always a fairytale romance. 

Now the three remaining children have gathered at her bedside, along with some of the many grandchildren.  She slept most of yesterday, waking only minutes at a time to greet each newcomer. Her nurse said it would likely continue this way – the sleeping for long periods interspersed with short waking moments, until she doesn’t wake up again, leaving a huge hole in the fabric of our family.  

I’m so glad she found her prince in the end. As sad as the loss will be for us, I hope she gets to see him again soon.


Glad Tidings!

Yes, I know yesterday was Christmas.  But I figured better late than never.  I hope all of your holidays were lovely!  I’m really, really glad I only had one mimosa yesterday.  Especially since my daughter is generous with the bubbly.  More than one and I might have actually said what I wanted to when The Ex introduced her friend to MY mother-in-law and identified her as HER mother-in-law.

Yep, The Ex is back and annoying as ever.  I love my stepdaughter and would never do anything to spoil her Christmas (they host every year as they have a family-sized home where we all fit nicely).  Let me tell you though, when The Ex told her friend C, “this is my mother-in-law S” I so wanted to say (sweetly of course), “Technically, she’s my mother-in-law.  You gave up that relationship when you took the twins and abandoned your husband in the middle of the night umpteen years ago.”

But I was good peeps.  Seething, but civil.  I gathered up my plate and mimosa and left the table before I could give in to the little devil on my shoulder.  I planted myself across the room, behind the Christmas tree so I wouldn’t have to look at her.  That may have been a mistake, because later, when the gifts had all been opened she had the audacity to tell MY grandson to put away the “Cards Against Humanity” set he’d received.  This isn’t the hosting daughter’s son (The Ex is his grandmother too) but another daughter’s son who came to stay for the week.  She had no business telling him what to do and if I had been where I could stare her down I would have given her the death stare!  Or possibly unloaded all the hurt and anger I was still feeling over her earlier remark.  What a bitch!

I know this is petty of me, truly I do.  I’m secure in my place with the family but this time something inside just snapped.  I so wanted to see her face when I reminded her of how badly she behaved so long ago.  Thankfully, I held back and Christmas was not ruined.

Soooo, any family shenanigans you want to get off your chest?

The 16 year-old in me…

is squeeing after this weekend!

First you have to get a mental image of 16 year-old me: plumpish, 4-eyed, not too popular (to put it mildly).  And I’ve already told you about my lackluster hair.

I spent Saturday with my daughters and it was everything that 16 year old wanted when she was in high school.  We met at one daughter’s house and spent a few hours playing with makeup, hair and giggling.  There was also adult conversation and I was reminded what wonderful women my daughters are.


After the playing we went to get my belated Mother’s Day gift:

Silver bead daith piercing

This, my friends, is a daith piercing.  In fact that beaded silver ring is exactly what Gumby used for my piercing on Saturday.  (Yes, the piercer’s name is Gumby, how cool is that?!  He was a young man but already had 15 years experience as a piercer, having started his apprenticeship at 17.)

I’m not going to link to the research I did on daith piercings (Google is your friend if you’re interested), but a LOT of people claim the piercing helps relieve their migraines.  That alone would not have persuaded me, but one of my daughters had her daith pierced some months back and hasn’t had a debilitating migraine since then!  It seemed worth a shot, especially when the daughters were willing to foot the bill.

It’s only been 2 days so I’ll reserve my opinion on the results.  Two days isn’t a fair test for anything new in my mind.  But check this space in the future – if it works I will definitely be sharing more!

This is not a cooking blog

But I have to share this very simple recipe I made!

crockpot pork

Disclaimer:  This isn’t a photo of my finished product.  I didn’t think to take a photo so I Google searched for images of crockpot pork, and this is the closest I found to what my results were.  That said, this looks almost exactly like our dinner last night.

Start with a fresh or thawed pork roast.  Mine was about 3 pounds.  I’m not absolutely sure because JD bought this gargantuan hunk of pork last month and we cut it into three pieces and froze them separately.  Rub garlic powder into the surface.  My first choice would have been fresh garlic but I didn’t have any.  Next, rub the roast with salt and pepper if you like.  Place roast in slow cooker (you can spray or otherwise coat the inside with nonstick if you do that sort of thing.  Pour Olive Garden Italian Salad Dressing over the roast.  It doesn’t take a lot, just make sure the top of the roast has a good layer of it.  (I also pour a bit into the slow cooker before I put in the roast.  Sprinkle with more garlic powder (if you dare).  If you want to add onions or sauerkraut (some of us like pork and sauerkraut!  I just didn’t have any) now’s the time.  Cook on low for about 6 to 8 hours (depending on how large your roast is).  You’ll know it’s done when you can easily shred it with a fork.  Or you can pull out your trusty meat thermometer.  Mine’s not so trusty so I rely on the fork test.

I’m sure any Italian dressing would work, or even a different dressing.  Balsamic anyone?  I usually go with a marinade or BBQ sauce but I didn’t have any around the house and I didn’t have all the ingredients to make homemade.  Can you tell I haven’t been shopping in a while?  I did have the aforementioned Olive Garden dressing left over from a 2-pack we bought at Sam’s Club during the grandkids’ last visit.

That’s it peeps.  Add some jasmine (or other) rice and veggies and you’re good to go!

Let me know if you try it, or if you have other easy-peasy recipes … especially crockpot ones since we’re almost into the hot weather.

Ironic Hair

One of the things I’ve always been frustrated by is hair in my face.  When I was in high school I didn’t know how to style my hair and it usually just hung loose.  I’d either tuck it behind my ears or occasionally I’d pull it back in a pony tail.  Being the oldest I had no one to learn grooming tips from and my mother was no help.  If you’re unaware of my childhood situation there are some previous posts that discuss my formative years, but I’m too lazy to link them here so you’ll need to be interested enough to go find them on your own; helpful aren’t I?

I went to high school in Southern California in the early 70s – most of the girls were slender and feminine.  They wore long gauzy/floaty/floral skirts with complementary blouses or sweater sets, and long straight hair parted in the middle.  Sometimes they’d pin a strand or skinny braid back on either side.  My hair is and always has been thick, wavy, and unruly.  When I parted it in the middle it stuck out at the sides.  Not a look you’d want in high school; the circus maybe.  Think Bozo the Clown only in dishwater blond.  Okay, that could be an exaggeration.

As I got older I tried various styles (as girls will do).  Few of them were successful, though I liked some of them for a while.  I wasn’t entirely happy with my hair until I was in my 40s.  It was then that I began growing out a very short style and the natural wave worked in my favor.  I found a stylist who knew how to cut wavy hair to enhance its qualities.  All was right with the world hair-wise.

Then I met JD and a few months later we were engaged.  For my wedding I wanted something like the dreamy, romantic style below.

wedding hair

Since this was going to be my second and last wedding, I decided to go for it.  My co-worker at the time did this to her own hair all the time and agreed to do my hair for the wedding.  She said I’d have to let it grow out more as it would need to be all one length.  The resulting hairdo was perfect!  I loved how it looked with flowers woven into it.

After the wedding though it quickly became annoying because it was so long and thick.  Seriously, everyone who has ever worked on my hair has commented on the thickness of it or how much I had.  When I’d get my hair done with my SIL she’d be finished way before me.  I realize not everyone would find that irritating and I shouldn’t complain about having hair that is too thick.  But when you deal with it every day – the weight of it on your neck, the bushiness, the frizz – it isn’t as appealing as it sounds.

Fast forward to a few years ago when I braved a new stylist again in an attempt to tame the monster on my head.  I arrived prepared with a photo of my hair pre-wedding, when it was still growing out from the short style and I really liked it.  The image below is similar to how mine looked then, though mine was wavier and a little shorter.

pre-wedding hair

I asked Selena if she could help me approximate this look except I didn’t want the bangs, and damned if she didn’t do a great job!  She even performed some kind of sorcery on the side with the extra bushiness to take out part of the bulk.  Selena’s been cutting my hair ever since.  It’s been about the length you see here for some time, though more layered to take advantage of the waves.

Lately though, as menopause took up residence even this length became unbearable.  It started to seem like my hair doubled in volume mere days after a trim.  I loathe how I look in short-short hair and I am NEVER going back to that.  Some women look adorable with short hair; I’m not one of them and I know it.  So what’s a menopausal, hot-flash and night-sweat suffering woman to do?

I can’t take credit for the solution.  We were watching Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them when I saw what turned out to be my answer.  I adored Queenie’s hair!  Now, mine is nowhere near as wavy as hers is here but I really liked the wedge shape of it and did some research into the style.

queenie's hair

I’m not sure that particular style even has a name, but searching for Queenie’s hair brought up a LOT of other similar styles, many of which were identified as reverse or inverted bobs.  Okay, there have been a few Bobs in my life (my birth father and at least one step father to name 2) but I don’t remember ever having a bob.  Well, maybe once when my kids were young; probably before the short-short hair.

An inverted bob consists of shorter hair in back while the sides/front are longer.  Getting the hair off my neck was my first priority and this seemed to fit the bill.  Now, I could have just had it cut a bit shorter all around, keeping it layered the way I usually wear it.  But then the front would be shorter than I wanted.  Ah yes, if you’re harking back to my first paragraph you’re remembering that I hate hair in my face.  Longer on the sides/in the front would seem counterproductive to that.  Here’s where the irony comes in!  See, I did finally bring it around to that title!  Growing my hair longer in front and on the sides actually helps me keep it out of my face!  When I wore it layered all over, it would grow out to the “too long” point quickly, driving me crazy.  While it was long enough to get in my face and be maddening, there wasn’t enough length to pin it back without having it stick out sideways.  Now that I’m letting it grow out in front and on the sides I have sufficient length that I can twist some strands and pin them back out of the way in a softer, more subtle style.  Score!

I thought this really long post had a point but now that I’ve reached the end I can’t think of it.  Maybe it’s just an excuse to brag about my new style – I had another trim a few weeks ago and I am still loving the results.

So without a point I’m not sure how to end this.  Perhaps the message I’m getting at is this – don’t give up.  The perfect hairstyle is out there!



I was a dumb kid

No really.

First, let me warn you that this topic could be considered unacceptable in polite company.  If you continue reading and your reaction is “eww” don’t blame me.

I was just in the ladies’ room here at work and was reminded of a humiliating experience in grade school.  It could have been avoided if I’d had an older brother or if anyone else had thought to explain how the intestinal tract works.

My memory isn’t so great with detail so I don’t recall how old I was, but based on my naiveté I’d say I probably wasn’t 10 yet.  I’d gone to the restroom and was in a stall when some other girl came in.  Of course my body chose that moment to betray me and I passed some really obnoxious sounding wind.  In my memory it went on for eons, but in reality it was probably only a few seconds.  I was mortified!  I honestly don’t remember ever passing gas prior that moment.  And I had no idea what had just happened!  I’m not sure why I felt I had to explain myself but I remember stuttering out some lame story about having a condition (I might have even said “disease”!) that was the cause of what had just occurred.

Here my recollection fails; I don’t know what the other girl’s reaction was.  If I was really lucky it was stunned silence as she rushed to finish and exit before I did.  In all likelihood though, she probably laughed at me, or worse.  Why else would that experience be so fixed in my memory?  Add in that I apparently blocked whatever her reaction was and well, you do the math.

So fast forward to half an hour ago.  This time I know the person in the other stall – we’re co-workers and we entered the restroom at the same time.  I drop trou and sit, triggering a similar, unexpected event to the one in grade school.  Wow, really body?  At least this time I knew what was going on and merely exclaimed “Pardon me!”  I hate it when my body surprises me that way!

Like I said before, if only my brother had been older rather than younger.  He’d have taught me all about farting long before that incident ever happened and I’d have probably shrugged it off.

Yeah, right.

Nope, not dead yet

And isn’t it nice to be on this side of the daisies?

So, a brief update may be in order:

About six weeks ago we adopted two dogs!  I adore coming home to them and perhaps later I’ll post something more in depth about how they joined our home.  It’s sufficient to say that I’m totally in love with Bear and Kohl and they keep me busy, sore and laughing.

I think I shared earlier about my job transitioning into me assigning the projects for the team as opposed to it being a “free-for-all” type of thing.  If not, let me say this – I still hate that I’m responsible for doling out the work, but it is getting better.

My mother-in-law’s nursing home went through 2 outbreaks of illness in the last few months and she’s still hanging in there!  My sister-in-law is all moved out of her ex-husband’s house and is busy feathering her new little nest.  Because she’s farther away from Mom now she doesn’t get there to see her as often.  And of course that weighs on JD and I, making us feel like we have to go see her every weekend.

So I think that brings us up to date.

And now let’s return to our regularly scheduled program:

I’ve learned that I am going to have to accept the fact that JD is not going to change.  Not his attitudes.  Not his ideologies.  Not his mind.  This article from The Atlantic helped me understand that and why.  While it is a lengthy read, it’s also quite enlightening and well worth the time.  I found the examples helpful and saw parallels which apply to people I know (JD, SIL, MIL).  And if I’m going to be brutally honest, to myself too.  On one hand it was a bit unnerving to know there’s probably nothing anyone can do or say to open the eyes of someone who doesn’t want to see.  But knowing that actually made me feel better.

Well, work is beckoning … LOUDLY, so I’d better stop this here or I’ll get sucked into more discussion I don’t have time for.  If you’re interested, check out the article.  I’d love to hear what you think after reading it.


Karma Near-Miss

Some of my favorite memes are Karma related, I especially like a tee shirt I saw which read “Dear Karma, I have a list of people you missed.”  There’s another that says “I saw that,” signed Karma.  I still like Karma memes, even though JD had a near-miss with Karma this past weekend.

A couple of weeks ago my SIL moved into her half of the duplex she bought after her husband decided he didn’t want to be married any longer.  She actually hired movers to help with most of the stuff but prior to that there was a LOT of family assistance in moving out Mom’s belongings from the basement apartment.  Mom will not be going home from the facility where she’s currently residing.  She’s not worse (though she has slid backwards a bit with her speech) but she will never be able to care for herself well enough to be on her own and the facility is more affordable than in-home care.

We took a U-haul up two different weekends to collect stuff.  After delivering a variety of things to our daughter’s place for storage until the duplex was ready we unloaded the rest at our house.  Imagine if you will two bookshelves, a china hutch, a glass knick knack thingy, plus a couple dozen boxes all arranged in your living room around your existing furniture.  We had just gotten the last batch of family hand-me-downs cleared out for heaven’s sake!

SIL is all moved in; JD went down the morning she was moving in and hooked up her computer so she’d be able to work – did I mention the bitch gets to work from home?  I say “bitch” with all the love and snark in my heart.  I am truly fortunate in the in-law department.

Okay, okay let’s get back to Karma – with SIL moved in JD was asked last week by his daughter to help move SIL’s old couch to her mother’s apartment.  Yes, that mother – THE EX.  While JD puts up with a lot on that front (sharing all holidays with her, watching his family welcome her as though she’s a prodigal daughter, putting up with her claim that she has no memory of how she behaved during their divorce) I don’t blame him for not wanting to move furniture for her.  There’s an argument to be made that it was really for his sister and/or daughter, but he puts up with all that other stuff for them, not for himself.  On this point I have to agree with him; he had no obligation to help in this way just because we own a truck and his daughter asked nicely.

So JD lied.  Well okay, he didn’t lie about the truck, it really wouldn’t start.  But privately, he figured that was probably just a low battery.  His explanation to SIL and our daughter however implied there was more wrong and that the Chevy dealer couldn’t look at it right away, plus there was the diagnostic fee which we wouldn’t have till pay day.  The furniture moving request went away; not sure how they managed it and personally, I don’t care.  I love that JD tolerates (barely) having The Ex around, how else would I get to see my grandkids?  But I hate how it makes him feel and I’m just fine with not helping her out.  I know, not very Christian of me.  Sue me.

JD dug out the battery charger (after 2 days of looking) and hooked it up.  We let it charge most of Saturday.  The next afternoon we loaded the dogs in the backseat of the crew cab and he tried to start it for a visit to his mother.  No such luck.  It just clicked.  My heart sank and I could feel Karma breathing down our necks.  JD had implied there was something more dire wrong with the truck and now of course, Karma was going to make that happen.

To wind this up let me say to Karma, “THANK YOU for not kicking our butts over JD’s lie!”  Yesterday JD called AAA and they sent a battery truck out to take a look.  The culprit wasn’t a bad battery!  Or a bad anything else!  The cables had worked loose and while it wasn’t apparent, JD still couldn’t understand why he’d missed that when he was charging it.  I think it was Karma, giving him a little slap/scare that there really was something wrong.  That’ll teach him!  Or not.

Now I’m off to shop for a Karma tee shirt!