Category Archives: Humor

About my belly weight

While I am not considered obese by any standards I am aware of, I’ve got a spare tire around my middle. It ain’t pretty. I could blame the two pregnancies I endured but that would not be completely accurate never mind fair. Lack of regular exercise and my love of craft beer and sweet treats are also to blame. I’ve grown to hate the expression “it is what it is”,  but in this case it’s true. While I attempt to shrink my spare tire by doing 50 sit ups each morning, getting a walk in every day, and eating healthy 88.8% of the time, I suspect that the chance  this belly fat will stay put is closer to 100%. The catch 22 is that I prefer wearing flowy, bohemian type tops for their style and comfort. However, to some who are not fashion minded, they may appear to be maternity tops.

It’s a really good thing that I no longer take myself too seriously, because it allows me to share the following stories about said belly fat.

So a few years back while working as a social worker, I was in the home of one of my clients for a visit. His (pudgy) wife was in attendance as well. After I seated myself, this wife comments that she “didn’t know I was expecting”. Awkward moment! I sat in shock and horror, and after sucking my gut in as best I could, I mumbled something to the effect of “no I am not expecting, I’m just fat”. Of course we all know that hindsight is 20/20, but…maybe I should have retorted in an innocent tone of voice “Expecting what?” At which point I presume she would have said “a baby” to which I could have replied “Why do you think I would be expecting a baby”, hence putting her on the spot so she could tell me I looked fat that day. I then could have pointed out that she in fact had a good 150 lbs on me. However, I was a professional and was/am a Christian so it’s likely best that I did not respond in this way.

Then there was the time that Hubs and I were walking on a lovely trail in the town we lived in in Wisconsin, when we walked past an older, scrawny looking man who was accompanied by what I can only assume was his wife and daughter (both overweight). After (I kid you not) we passed by them going the opposite direction, I hear this man’s voice saying “Excuse me ma’am? Are you expecting?” Again I maybe should have replied “Expecting what?” but I just turned around in shock and said “no” to which he responded “Well you look it”. I give myself credit for not immediately charging at him with raised fists, hollering something about his fat wife and daughter. Hubs thought it was hilarious. Fucker.

The most recent occasion in which I was suspected of being “with child” came more recently, during my weekly volunteer gig at a nearby food bank. I seated this middle aged hispanic woman and her husband in an office to begin the client intake process. As I sat down, the woman asked me “Is this your first?”. I was completely caught off guard yet again. For a second, as I am still a relatively new volunteer in this setting, I assumed she meant “first client”, but for clarification I responded “First client? No”, but when she said something about how she needed to be wearing her glasses at all times, it dawned on me that she thought I was pregnant. I agreed that she needed to be wearing her glasses and laughed it off. When I told Hubs this story later that day, he of course laughed his head off. Again-fucker. Then he came up with the line I should have responded with, which was “Oh, thank you for thinking I look like I’m still of child-bearing age”. Well, okay, that would have flipped things around right?

So the question I have for myself about my belly weight, is what am I going to do about it? I see several choices here: 1) Liposuction. Fact: out of my price range and I have a low pain tolerance. 2) Discontinue consumption of craft beer and chocolate. Fact: my life would be much less enjoyable if I did this.  Not happening. Life is too short to deprive myself of these pleasures. 3) Wear a corset under my clothes when in public. Fact: That would be so uncomfortable, not to mention itchy. And it probably would not be healthy for my innards. 4) Suck it up and suck it in as best as I can. Especially when in public. And memorize some great comebacks if (or shall I say when) a stranger asks me when the baby is due.

I think I’ll go with choice #4. Life is to be enjoyed, not lived for other’s approval. Especially for how you look.

 

Dear Moms

Dear moms of children ages 12-22,

It gets better. You don’t have to take my word for it, but you should. I have been in your shoes. I’ve experienced unnecessary dressing room drama, engaged in numerous battles over the refusal to eat lovely and nutritious meals put in front of my children (child really-you know who you are), and hosted multiple obnoxious “friends” for sleep overs.

And I survived it all. Fortunately my two kids came out relatively unscathed as well.

These two children I speak of are not perfect. Neither achieved straight A’s in any grade between 1st through 12th. Neither were gifted athletes (they can thank my genes for this as one who was consistently picked last for team sports in gym class back in the day and cannot safely ride a bike). Neither were hard workers.

Slowly but surely though, between the ages of about 21 and 24, I started to see them shine. My oldest managed to graduate with her Associates degree from technical college at the age of 23, while simultaneously juggling a full time job at a fast food chain and becoming a mother for the first time. My youngest, the artist in the family, bounced around a few places (including a stint in college which lasted a solid two years), before landing in Indianapolis where she is making a (albeit meager)  living on her art. She also learned how to speak Japanese and spent time there during her college years.

These two former knotheads are now hardworking, appreciative, resilient, intelligent and thoughtful young adults. I treasure my relationships with them now and am beyond proud of who they are becoming.

If anyone had been able to foresee the future back in about 2008 in respect to my children, I can’t say for certain I would have believed them. At the time, I figured clown college or digging ditches were more likely in their future than what they have now achieved at ages 23 and 24.

Instead, they went and surpassed my expectations. Kids are full of surprises.

So, hang in there moms. It will get better despite what may or may not be occurring in the present. You’ve got this. SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

Political Ponderings

I have, much to my dismay, become a political news junkie. Gone are the days when I gorged myself on televised eye candy like The Voice and Dancing with the Stars. This is largely thanks to the man in the White House and the slithering cadre of reprehensible characters in his administration. So for a change of pace today, I’m going to share some random thoughts, questions, and opinions I have regarding the political shit show on our nightly television screens here in 2017 America.

  1. Poor Sean Spicer. I know, crazy statement right? But hear me out: what must it be like to be him right now? He most certainly has the Worst. Boss. Ever. He has to interact with this horrible excuse of a human being on a daily basis. In person. And he has a woman (Melissa McCarthy, who to me is pure comic genius playing Spicey) mimicking him on national t.v. weekly. It would suck to be him right now, am I right?
  2. The first thought that came into my head prior to Trump’s decision to approve the  military strike in Syria following the chemical weapon attack which took multiple lives, was “why don’t we send humanitarian aid instead”? I think that is likely what Obama would have done. And I would hope any president would have done in the same circumstances.
  3. Why on earth didn’t Trump focus on gaining support for an infrastructure bill instead of putting all that focus on repealing (and kinda sorta trying a little to replace) the ACA? I realize the obvious answer to this question is two fold: He is a complete moron and clearly not a politician.
  4. Speaking of Trump not being a politician, I am of the opinion that the word “politician” has a bad rap. I think if we actually had a politician (of course, not just any old politician) in the White House, things would be better. A politician would most surely have the smarts to actually put folks in high positions that have at least some measure of political experience and knowledge. They wouldn’t hire the likes of Betsy DeVos to be the head of Education or  Steve Bannon as White House Chief Strategist. And don’t even get me started on Kellyanne Conway. She is so totally full of shit and needs to go back to her bar stool and finish her Moscow Mule.
  5. The next few months are going to be rough. No sugar coating it. There is a history of revolutionary type shit hitting the fan during the dog days of summer. Check Wikipedia on this, trust me. The American people are pissed, and rightly so. Our health care, economic statuses, air and water quality, rights to fair representation, and so on are all being threatened because of who is in charge at the White House. All the tensions are going to bubble to the surface as the temperatures rise. Seems like a perfect storm to me.
  6. The “super heroes” of this time in history from my perspective are the following (in no particular order): political satirists (think SNL, Stephen Colbert, Bill Maher, Seth Meyers), journalists (truth tellers like Chris Matthews and Rachel Maddow), politicians (brave ones like Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Chuck Schumer), and courageous, normal, everyday Americans who are speaking truth to power by posting videos from interactions with their district’s representatives and senators at town hall meetings and sharing their personal stories of the negative impacts the decisions of this cold hearted, incompetent administration has on their lives and futures. I also believe the FBI as well as the ACLU have the ability to use their super powers to meticulously investigate what is really going on behind the scenes at the White House, from the Trump/Russia fiasco to Trump’s financial entanglements that may have and/or could compromise his ability to make fair decisions for the American people.

Okay, so Polly got political today. And she has no regrets.

Fear

I’m a really good “chicken outer”. The first solid memory I have of allowing fear to control my actions was in about 5th grade. It happened in gym class. This was back in the day when all the kids had to wear, for lack of a better descriptor, a swimming “uniform” along with the dreaded skull cap to keep our hair out of our faces. Despite feeling horribly self conscious with my developing body and naked face, I absolutely loved this section of gym class because I was pretty good at swimming. I really enjoyed it, and still do. But diving into the pool….not so much.

I vividly recall the feeling of utter panic when our gym teacher, a short freckled woman somewhere in her 40’s (at the time she was probably only 30 something, but as a kid every adult seemed as if they were much older than they actually were), sharply ordered me to dive off the diving board into the pool. Standing there, freezing cold and dripping wet at the end of the diving board with my classmates looking on, I felt paralyzed. All I could envision was going in headfirst into the chilly water to my death. I was convinced that my head would hit the bottom of the pool and that would be that. Dead at age 11. So I chickened out. I instead went in feet first, plunging in, falling deeper into the water and frantically kicking my legs to propel my pubescent body to the surface. The sense of relief I felt was all encompassing. But shortly after, as I swam to the other end of the pool and hoisted myself up and out, I felt horribly ashamed and embarrassed about myself. Unfortunately, though I had multiple opportunities to attempt diving again throughout the rest of the swimming section of our gym class, I stuck with the chickening out method of jumping in feet first every single time. I’ve periodically wondered over the years how different my life would have been if I had had the guts to dive into that pool headfirst, for real.

Now, for those who know anything about my upbringing, it would be easy to conclude that as the youngest child (my next oldest sibling is 8 1/2 years older than me), whose father was always overly cautious in all things (true stories: growing up, I was not allowed to mow the lawn or ride my bike beyond the busiest main street of our town as dad deemed these activities to be too dangerous for me),  I was predisposed to chickening out when something scared me. While that may be true, I am now a grown woman of 50 with a husband, two kids and a grandson, so there is no point whatsoever in playing any sort of “blame game” here.  For all I know, my dad preventing me from participating in some activities could have saved me from serious injury or even death. His overly cautious nature was directly linked to the abundance of love he had for me. I totally get it.  However, in a lot of aspects of my life I remain a “chicken outer” (my refusal to drive in big city traffic is one prime example).

As a slightly neurotic, people pleasing overthinker, blogging brings up a boatload of fears for me, such as:

That I will inadvertently share something about someone in my life whom I care about that will cause them emotional harm and negatively impact the way they feel about me.

That I will express an opinion in a post that could be conceived as too controversial by some, causing others to shun me or harshly criticize me.

That I will come across as self-absorbed and share too much of my personal life, thereby embarrassing my family.

That I will simply run out of topics to blog about and fail miserably as a blogger.

I am quite certain I could sit here all day, tapping away on my keyboard as I come up with a million and eight reasons to be afraid of blogging with my authentic voice. But really, what a horrible waste of time that would be.

I’ve heard it said that people on their death beds often do not speak of regrets for those things they had done, but rather for those things in life they hadn’t done. This makes great sense to me. That is why I’m making the decision, right here and right now, to dive head first into blogging. At least I’m guaranteed to not hit my head on the bottom of the pool, right?

 

The best things about living in Colorado

After living in Colorado for almost 9 months now, I am in the throes of falling in love with this state. Life is different here than anywhere else we have lived (which includes, in order: northern Minnesota,  central Minnesota, Lubbock, TX, way northern Minnesota -I could essentially see Canada from our rented cabin,  Wichita, KS, the Twin Cities, Holmen then La Crosse, WI, and now Colorado). I am blessed to have the rare opportunity, at least for the moment, to be unencumbered by the stress of paid, full time employment. This “unencumberedness” has gifted me with the ability to slow down and appreciate my new surroundings. And let me tell you, there is a lot to love about this new state that the hubs and I now call home. Below is my list of favorite things in this oh so colorful state:

  1. The scenery! I can literally walk to the edge of our townhome community and see the Rocky Mountains. To say they are spectacular is actually an understatement. As a bonus, the majority of the daytime the skies are blue and the sun is shining. And the skies at night are often stunning, particularly around sundown. The hubs has a Nikon and has taken some tremendous photos of said skies. Like this one: 20161205_070430

 

2) There are dogs everywhere! This is especially awesome for the canine lover in me. From Kevin and Bandit, our big, furry friends who live with our neighbors across the way, to the two sweet mutts who are the children of a nice young English guy we interacted with at our local watering hole, (Twenty Brew in Westminster), to the little fur ball named “Rhoda” who has the pleasure of living with a most wonderful older couple from our church, everyone seems to have a dog (or two). And dogs are also welcome in the most unlikely of places here. Example: I recently witnessed a large golden retriever taking a nap next to his human while he was at the customer service desk at Lowe’s (and no, he did not appear to be a service dog).

3) Easy access to great live entertainment. Since living here, we’ve gone to the Buell Theater in Denver to see “MoTown the Musical” which was amazing. We’ve gone to Boulder to see the band “Cake” at the Boulder Theater which was a crazy-good, rockin’ show. We went to Left Hand Brewery’s “Leftapalooza” event which featured cover bands of The Pretenders, The Who, and other classic rock bands. We have tickets to see Train with O.A.R. and Natasha Bedingfield at Fiddler’s Green Amphitheater in Englewood on the Fourth of July, which we are super stoked about. And we have Red Rocks, which is around an hour away from where we live. While we have been there to check the place out twice now, we have yet to see a concert there. But it is certainly on our list of things to do while we are living here!

4) Okay, here’s the elephant in the room: weed is legal here (both medical and recreational), which I deem to be a very good thing. I have seen documentaries in which regular people suffering from medical conditions who have told their stories about how medical cannabis has dramatically decreased their pain levels and increased their appetite so they could gain much needed weight. From what I understand, the legalization of weed has been quite a boon to the economy here as well, as a host of new jobs have been created as a result.

5) The Next with Kyle Clark on 9 news. This is my favorite news program. The stories are often of the human interest variety, but always specific to Colorado. I learn something new about this state every time I watch it. And that Kyle Clark is a good looking, smart, and witty guy a person might just like to have a beer and shoot the sh*&t with.

Snippet of Kyle Clark doing his thing

6)  That of course brings me to the beer. Specifically craft beer. After living here for 9 months, I very likely would be considered a “beer snob” by my old pals still living in Wisconsin. I’m good with that though. Our favorite local joint, Twenty Brew, serves up a rotating menu of Colorado craft beer. You can purchase 4 oz. tasters up to 16 oz. glasses of anything from Kolsch styles, a wide variety of IPA’s, Stouts, Lagers, and more. An added bonus here is that the bartenders, and sometimes other patrons, are always up for lively conversations. There are also numerous breweries within a short drive from our house, such as Westminster Brewing Company, Left Hand Brewing, 4 Noses, and Wild Woods (just to name a very few we have visited). The best ones have outdoor seating, where you can sit back and enjoy the beautiful scenery and sometimes catch some cool live music. Here’s hubs and I at Twisted Pines Brewery in Boulder (highly recommend-not only do they have great beer but the food is amazing). 20170409_122706 (1).jpg

7) The people! I love the friendships I have started to make here. There’s my new hairdresser, who is a spunky, hilarious, big hearted tattooed  and pierced mother of two who operates her business in the basement of her home. There’s my dynamic, artistically talented, kind and smart friend Tina, who I met through the “Meet Up” website. There’s the folks I volunteer with at FISH, a food pantry in Broomfield, through whom I am learning a lot about Colorado.

My ultimate goal for this summer, amidst a trip to see our beloved family and friends in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and a work related trip with the Hubs to D.C., is to experience more of what makes Colorado, well Colorado. And for those of you pronouncing it “Col-oh-rado”, I heard from a legit source (The Next’s Kyle Clark) that the natives pronounce it “Col-ah-rad-o”. A concert at Red Rocks just might be on the agenda. I will certainly keep you all abreast of our shenanigans in this uniquely wonderful state we now call home.

 

 

 

Meditation and me

I have a curious relationship with meditation. Over the past several years, I’ve had several people recommend it to me as a way to cope with anxiety and calm my fears. Like lots of things throughout my life (exercise and writing are prime examples), it’s been an on again/off again affair.

I became more serious about meditation a little over a year ago, while reading a self help book entitled “Mind Hacking: How to Change Your Mind for Good in 21 Days” by Sir John Hargrave. The premise of this book is that we have the ability to “hack” our minds to change our thinking and overcome obstacles that prevent us from realizing our full potential. This book was actually a great read which empowered me to change my thinking, which improved my attitude towards life. I recommend to it anyone who feels they could benefit from an attitude re-adjustment.  Here it is: images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/…/51HW57bSE2L.UY250.jpg

A significant portion of this book is dedicated to “mind hacking” exercises, which included something called the “Concentration Game”. This exercise, from my perspective, is essentially meditation with an interesting twist: Once you are comfortably seated and begin focusing on breathing in and out, you are to keep track of the number of times you find yourself following your mind (being “lost in the movie”), by either counting on your fingers or in your head. When I first tried this, it seemed like a smart way to be mindful, which greatly appealed to me. I had recently embraced the notion of practicing mindfulness, so I was “all in”. However, this exercise proved to be quite challenging for me. Here’s how it went:

I sat my tush down on the floor of the room we used in our sweet “Grandma” house as an office. I closed my eyes, taking in a big breath, then slowly exhaling.

Then I thought to myself: “Okay, I got this. Oh, I feel so relaxed”. Then “Sh*t! I had a thought! Alright, there’s #1”

Then I thought “Okay, don’t forget to write down the total down when you’re done” Ok, so this was thought #2.  Then I thought “Alright, quiet your brain…D’oh! Now you’re at #3”!

Okay….blank mind, blank mind, breathe…..

Approximately 22 seconds later, I hear a noise I can’t quite recognize and think “Oh, that’s just hubs getting dressed in our bedroom”. Uh-oh! Thought #4….

Okay, breathe in, breathe out, in, out…then thought #5 pops into my noggin “I’m strong, I can do this”. “Shut up!” I tell myself. Okay, there’s thought #6.

Ok, so this was not necessarily going well.

Back to it. I’m breathing in, breathing out. In my head are the words “Breathe in love, breathe out kindness…oh, I like that. Very positive”. Crap! Now that’s thought #7. Focus, woman!

Ok, breathe in, breathe out…..

A maximum of 30 seconds passes, and it occurs to me that the alarm I set on my cell phone for this completely frustrating activity is likely to go off at any second now…whoops! Thought #8.

Okay, breathe in love, breathe out kindness, breathe in love, breathe out kindness. I am becoming more chilled out now. I start to physically feel  the level of relaxation I experienced when hubs and I were on vacation in the Florida Keys (Islamorada) the previous spring. I could hear the waves flapping from the ocean w/seagulls squawking in the background. Then, I thought to myself “I wonder if we’ll be able to go back there someday”. Thought #9!

Ok, breathe in love, breathe out kindness. Then the random thought pops up about how many more thoughts I might have by the time I have finished this god-forsaken exercise. Thought #10!

So, essentially this wound up being less of a mindful, refreshing meditation and more of a game of “how many thoughts can I have while meditating?”.

Surprisingly, I continue to meditate each morning.  It has a calming, grounding effect on me and sets the tone for the day. However, I refuse to count my thoughts while doing so. Instead, I set my timer to 10 (not 20 like the “Concentration Game” for Pete’s Sake) minutes. And then I breathe in with a customized acronym and breathe out to another acronym I came up with. I would bet (at least $1.08) that the number of thoughts I have in these precious 10 minutes are fewer than 10. Works for me!