Posted in Musings and Mutterings

And then, it blinked.

Every November families in the United States gather together to feast and be thankful.  In years past I too celebrated on the third Thursday in November by preparing a massive meal for my family, counting our blessings, and followed up by loosening the top button on my jeans because I ate too much.

Then the kids grew up and my job would get all crazy from the following week through mid-December every year. A holiday meal that close to December didn’t really work for everyone anymore. Combine that with conflicts of who would celebrate with whom and you’ll understand why we started having what my kids affectionately coined as “Fakesgiving” at the end of October. We’d go to the farm, choose and carve a  pumpkin and enjoy a typical Thanksgiving feast, although it had become Paleo/AIP based after finding out that the S.A.D. (standard American diet) had helped create a leaky gut and poor digestion.

Sadly, it wasn’t too many years before Fakesgiving became a thing of the past as all those who used to attend are now living out-of-state. So, what’s next?

This year, I suggested that Hubby and I scale back the menu, switch it up a bit and commit to nothing else. Since we’d gone to Vegas recently and I’d brought home a cold (don’t believe ’em when they say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas) I wasn’t in much of a mood to celebrate. Grabbing a Wegmans catalog from my pile of mail, I decided to create the perfect menu for Hubby and I.

For those of you who don’t have a Wegmans, I’m sorry. It’s a mega grocery store with the most beautiful display of produce and delicious foodstuffs. Maybe I’m biased since I love going grocery shopping, but I find Wegmans quite festive and fun around the holidays.

I’d decided on a menu: Roasted Lobster Tails with a side of cauliflower risotto, a goat cheese and apple arugula salad, prosciutto wrapped asparagus and a sweet potato, cranberry, bacon, spinach medley. As we’d gotten a gift card from Hubby’s work to buy the traditional turkey, (and now there wasn’t a turkey on my menu) I decided we’d use that money to buy lobster tails.

Except, the store we had the credit with didn’t have any lobster tails. Instead they had…

LIVE LOBSTERS!

As I wandered over to the lobster tank I could feel it coming on. Those poor guys, just chillin’ in the water, antennae twitching, waiting for their death in a pot of steaming water. ACK! My lips pouted. Hubby noticed a sign.

“Hey look, honey, they’ll steam them for free, just like with shrimp!”

My eyes started to tear up.

“We can come back when they are open.”

I shuffled a bit closer to get a better look… and then… it blinked. It BLINKED! I didn’t know a lobster could blink!

That took care of it for me. I’d advance to full-fledged empathy for a prisoner waiting for his execution so I could dip him in butter and eat him. With tears streaming down my cheeks I looked at Hubby and said, “This is so embarrassing, but I can’t do it.” I couldn’t even leave the store until I’d had a minute to compose myself. What a wimp. I eat animals; plenty of them! What the heck was wrong with me?

Hubby put his arm around me and with an understanding, albeit disappointed voice, told me it was fine. We didn’t have to have lobster. We’d have plenty of food with the other menu items. But now we had a credit on the gift card that was to go towards a protein for a meal. Instead, I bought greeting cards for my family so I could let them know how grateful I am that they are in my life. Still, that left us with $2.55 of unused funds. I encouraged Hubby to look around for something to top off the total. I didn’t care what it was.

As we wandered the aisles, looking for a candy bar or beverage, my eyes fell to an item on an end cap. Eureka! I’d found the protein for our holiday dinner!

That’s right! I’m tossing the fancy holiday meal right out the window. I’m having gelatin from boiled animal bones and blue food coloring mixed with my favorite vodka. Mmm, mmm, good! Take that, Norman Rockwell!

Posted in Musings and Mutterings

The Power of a Positive Comment

Within the last few days this simple concept has been showing up in my world.

A few days ago, my bestie got a compliment from a customer saying (essentially) that if he was just a bit younger, he’d be all over that. She’s been reinventing herself for the past year and while everyone tells her how great she looks and compliments her accomplishments, I know this particular comment – and some of the other unsolicited compliments on her abilities  – have been important to her.

As I was making breakfast, #3 was telling me that even though he’s consistently the second best performer in his company, the management doesn’t think “attaboys” are important. He said he doesn’t need constant approval, but an every now and again pat on the back lets him know he’s on track. Managers should remember that positive comments work so much better than reprimands. Besides, if you give the approval you rarely have to give the reprimand.

This morning, I walked into my office and fired up my computer. On my home screen I have a photo of hubby and myself. Hubby looks particularly sultry in this photo and on this particular morning I felt the need to tell him just how steamy I think he is. It wasn’t a pet name compliment, it was a full on descriptive compliment that left him blushing and feeling good. I think too many people fall into the comfort zone of calling their partner by pet names (honey, babe, beautiful) and thinking that’s the same thing as paying them a specific compliment. Nope. I feel strongly that it’s gotta be at least one sentence long and descriptive to be considered a targeted compliment.

I like this trend. :0)

compliments

Posted in Musings and Mutterings

Throwing Away a Life

My mom passed away years ago. Her belongings have been distributed or donated long ago, but her personal items have been living in a trunk at the end of my bed for many years.

I know there are items in there, but had forgotten how much until my Aunt asked me to find a specific photo of my dad for her memoir. Finally, after forgetting far too many times, I took an evening and opened the trunk containing what’s left of my mother’s memories.

I found photos of my mother, from infancy forward, a few photos of my dad (including the requested photo) and lots of photos of my  parents and siblings throughout our lives. I found graduation scrolls, dance cards, corsages, yearbooks and love letters from various beaux my mother had, along with a box of letters from my dad. After I’d finished, I looked at the piles strewn about and wondered if I should edit before I put things away again. These memories had lived comfortably in their musty trunk for years, why would I bother this time capsule now?

Sitting there among the boxes I realized how no-one past myself and siblings were really going to care about these photos of my mother’s life, or her graduation scrolls, or her dance cards, and none of us were ever going to care about that stuff nearly half as much as  my mom had. My sons and daughters might enjoy having a few photos of Meemaw and Peepaw, as would their cousins, but they weren’t going to want the whole trunk full of memories. I mean, really, who can relate to the dried up corsage, carefully preserved in a plastic bag with the name of the dance and her escort pinned across the top? I’ll admit, it’s interesting to see the care taken, and the aura of history that pervades is tempting to preserve, but it’s really just a 60-year-old crumbling flower when you get right down to it.

So, I decided it was time to edit.

I gathered all the old corsages and looked at them one more time, before carrying them to the trash and setting them into the container. Such care given for something I’m basically throwing away. I did throw away a few other items, but I couldn’t bring myself to throw out too much because the idea settled on me that I was throwing away a life. A lifetime of memories and collections. And even though I know that those things won’t matter to anyone after I’m gone, I still wanted to honor the items.

I’m not finished editing that old trunk, but I’ve also decided it’s time to start editing my own memory legacy. Time to pitch the things you think you need to save, but really don’t, and to organize what really means something to me. I know that when my children are left with the task of “mom’s things” after I’m gone, half of what I’ve saved won’t mean nearly as much to them as it did to me, but isn’t that how the cycle goes? After awhile, my daughter will edit my items and so on and so on.

We never own anything. We just take care of it for a little while.

 

Posted in Musings and Mutterings

Puppy Monster Strikes Back

On Friday, I had my puppy monster (aka Elsa) fixed. She wasn’t really broken, but I wanted to make sure she didn’t make any more monsters. Kinda like the gremlins. I didn’t want to get her wet, or feed her after midnight (though, technically, it’s ALWAYS after midnight) and have many more little monsters running around. Given that her momma produced litters of 12 monsters, that’s just too many.

Since my male dog wasn’t broken either, I decided to get him taken care of at the same time. While he’s been peacefully convalescing (and secretly freaking out over his cone-of-shame), she’s been out of her mind CRAZY.

It’s as though the removal of her uterus kicked off a hyperactive button or something. She’s run up and down the stairs at breakneck speeds, chased the cat up onto the furniture, and bolted from a dead stop to chase what seems to be NOTHING. Maybe it’s the pain meds. She ain’t feelin’ no pain, apparently.

Last night I got her out of her crate after I’d been out for a few hours. She bolted out the back door, saw the kitten-monster behind me and launched herself back into the house to give chase. The only thing was, she hadn’t factored that her Elizabethan collar (and she) wouldn’t pass through my legs. So, she slammed head-on into my knees. I squealed and looked down to see her shaking off her impact and her E-collar in shards at my feet! Instantly, she dropped down and inspected her incision, licking and pulling at her stitches. Panicking at the thought of her ripping out her stitches on a Sunday evening and having to visit an emergency vet, we grabbed some tape and tried to fix her collar. This was the result.

While fairly  functional, emphasis on the fun, we didn’t think it would hold up. It also had a jagged edge that would poke her if she ran into anything else. So, a quick search on YouTube and we found that we could fashion a cervical collar out of a towel. Geez! Why didn’t I do this before I paid the 23.00 for the stupid plastic cone-of-shame! It was perfect.

That’s kitten-monster in the background, btw.

I thought our Elizabethan collar drama was done and all would be well, except this morning I let the puppy monster out of her cage for her morning potty break. Thank goodness we’d made the cervical collar because she barreled headlong into the screen door and ripped right through it!

dsc_0413

And then this afternoon, I ended up taking Sammy to the vet because he was refusing to eat or drink. He’s perfectly fine, except he was having some neurosis about his cone-of-shame, so the vet told me to take it off and fashion another cervical collar for him, which meant another $23.00 that was unnecessary.

Lesson learned. Always search YouTube first. :0)

Posted in Musings and Mutterings

On Being a Puppy Monster Momma

I’m not sure what came over me.

Maybe it’s the realization that I’m in my 50’s and I’ve got babies on the brain. Or maybe more accurately, the lack of babies (#4, chill- this ain’t about you, it’s about me).

In May, I adopted a small bundle of 6 week old fur that is Bindi. She’s a kitten, and full of spit and vinegar. Cattitude a mile wide, but sweet with a loud motorboat purr. She’s full of energy, and has taken awhile to integrate with Scout and Sally – the two resident kitties.

I should have realized that the level of activity and supervision a kitten needs isn’t quite the same as a puppies, but nonetheless, in July I got Elsa the Puppy Monster.

I call her a puppy monster, but really she’s a very good girl. Just more work than I remembered Sam being. I guess with Sammy being 3 years old, I’d kinda forgotten the housebreaking, chew-breaking, cat-chasing that went on. With Bindi, I only had to wait a few months before I could stop worrying about my curtains and furniture being destroyed, but with the addition of Elsa, it’s more like a year or two before I feel fairly safe.

However, as with any baby, she’s cute. And that’s what saves her when I find her pulling my curtains off the rod.

Or, she’s eating a pillow.

Or, peeing on the floor.

Or, gleefully chasing a cat.

Elsa

Posted in Musings and Mutterings

Hiding in Pitt

I’ve hidden in Pittsburgh, visiting my daughter and son-in-law and my grand dog, Dex. #4 owns a pet walking service, so we’ve gone out and walking around different neighborhoods. To get to said neighborhoods, we’ve driven through others. I know she’s doing this so I can look around. She’s been pretty clear that she wants mommy and daddy to move closer to her.

She’s building a house in the hills and made it very clear that there’s a room for Hubby and I that’s been chosen for us. (Love her for it!) Hubby tells me to find the “Grandma House” and he’ll consider another move. It’s been 4 years since we moved from the house in Savage to where we are now. I love my current house and where we are, but I love my daughter more. And honestly, these haven’t been the happiest years in this house. Everyone moved away and personal issues have colored my life in there. I know that moving doesn’t change how life has gone, but it would be nice being around a family again. My son-in-law’s parents are nice and I really get along with his mother. His siblings are kind and it’s kinda nice being part of an extended group again. I had hoped that my own siblings would be able to re-group and be more of a family, but I’ve pretty much given up hope on that subject. You can only invite people so many times before you get the point that all the conditions they put on the invite really just means they aren’t interested in visiting.

So, I’ve looked at houses and considering how it might be to move up here. I’ve thought a bunch about what I’d do, since my job isn’t portable. Would I find a more traditional job? Would I do something part-time? What the heck would I do at all? I’ve learned that maybe it’s not such a good idea being dependent on one person, because you never know how that’s going to work out, yet that’s what I feel like I’ve done. Truthfully, with all the digestive issues I’ve worked through, I’m considering taking classes in holistic nutrition. Guess it’s time to look at the next 25 years in my world and make a plan.