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 SNL

 

For the love of all that is comically holy, please put together a political satire special this summer. You have so much fodder! You owe this to your fans. And we really need humor right now, especially with the crappy White House reality show on our screens 24/7. Let me give you some specific ideas:

Alec Baldwin as Trump. Duh. As a devoted SNL fan, we need to see his take on Trump pushing aside the world leader as if he was the leader of a gang of bullies on the school playground.
Toddler Trump shove

I would also like to see a revival of the “man baby” skit (SNL man baby) which could very easily incorporate Baldwin as Trump.

How about a skit with Ivanka (Scarlett Johansson) making champagne popsicles with Martha Stewart (maybe Ana Gasteyer could make an appearance?)

We must see a skit of Jared Kushner wearing a swim cap with red horns on top. It’s all about his voice though. In real life, we know not what it actually sounds like. It’s got to be either like super annoying like Pee Wee Herman or Gilbert Gottfried, or it’s like Barry White or James Earl Jones. Obvs, Keenan is doing the voice (assuming James Earl Jones is not available. And Jimmy Fallon will be doing Jared, with Keenan in a bubble dressed like BW/JEJ). Bad lip syncing may or may not ensue. The bonus is that Jimmy would have a hard time keeping himself from busting a gut laughing during this skit. Jimmy doing Jared

I also believe we need to see the following: Puppets. Not like the Muppets. More like marionettes, like John Cusak used in Being John Malkovich (one of my favorite movies). So Putin is the master puppeteer. The puppet of course is Alec Baldwin as Trump, who is then the puppeteer of Sean Spicer. So basically you have the trifecta of political comedy, with Melissa McCarthy using her physical comic genius to the max as Sean Spicer, the poor pitiful puppet. Trump puppet speech

This extravaganza also needs to include Cecily Strong as Girl from the Party. But the party was at Jared and Ivanka’s place. Just imagine the goofy things she would say. She’d call them “Merveena and Joren”.
Cecily Strong

Kathy Griffin. This is a risky one to be certain. It has to be the right female comic to do Kathy Griffin (Melissa Villasenor who does the best and weirdest impressions. Love her so much). So it’s SNL-ified version of her apology video. Only we see Steve Bannon (aka the grim reaper) in shadow behind her. Maybe Trump/Baldwin would be in the periphery.

Melissa as Kathy Griffin

So get to work, SNL Writers! The fodder is much too plentiful at this moment to not take this opportunity to create the most epic political satire extravaganza to date.

If only I could be a fly on the wall in the SNL writer’s room……

Song Stories

I love how certain songs evoke specific memories, don’t you? Like you turn on the radio and a song comes on that just pulls you in. For me, sometimes I don’t even understand what the connection is that allows a particular song to invade my brain and heart with long forgotten memories. Like the song “Dance With Me” by Orleans, which came out in 1970 something when I was probably 6 years old. When I hear this song, I instantly recall my mom’s friend Bev. She loved me and I loved her. She had two daughters of her own, who were much older than me, in high school actually. My mom has told me that when I was little, I was actually the only baby amongst her group of friends, many of whom had children older than me. So I got a lot of attention back then. Especially from Bev. I remember spending afternoons at her house, just me and her, making craft projects using juicy fruit wrappers. Bev died of cancer when I was about 9. I knew she was sick for a while, and it made me so sad. I remember being in the hallway of the hospital, waiting for my parents and being angry at them because they wouldn’t let me see Bev. Of course, they were trying to protect me from emotional pain. I so wanted to see her again but never got the chance. My best guess is that “Dance with Me” must have been playing on the radio at some point on the way to Bev’s, on the way home, or when I was hanging out with this lovely woman making weird crafts.
Dance with me

And then there’s the song Sister Christian by Night Ranger.
Sister Christian
This one evokes memories of being a newly licensed driver at 16. I relished the independence of driving all by myself in my dad’s dark brown Ford Thunderbird through our small town in Minnesota. This song would come on which would prompt me to crank it up and sing along at the top of my lungs. If it was still on when I got to wherever it was I was headed, I parked and kept the car running so that I could listen/sing until the very end. This activity made me feel cooler than cool (though admittedly, I was by all accounts the opposite of cool at that point in my life).

Nowadays, when I happen to hear Little River Band’s Reminiscing, I feel a sense of light and playfulness. It vividly brings back scenes from a summer when I was probably 10 or 11, and my parents and I went tubing on the Apple River. We were part of a caravan of my parent’s friends, cousins, and their kids, who were mostly older than me. The sun was shining, the water was crisp and cold, and the beer was flowing for the adults as was the pop (Orange Crush and Dad’s Root Beer come to mind) for those of us under the legal drinking age. What a sweet childhood memory!

When Hubs and I got hitched back in 1990, I was adamant that the song “Evergreen”, originally performed by Barbra Streisand, be sung at our wedding. It is a dramatically beautiful and romantic song and I felt it captured the love I felt for my soon to be husband. I remember I had to actually put up a bit of a fight to get the minister’s approval for my cousin’s wife to sing this song. The line “you and I will make each night a first” for some reason apparently offended his Lutheran sensibilities. But in the end the song was sung. And it made me bawl like a baby during the ceremony. I was overcome with emotion and could hardly choke out the words “I do”, largely because of the sheer beauty and lyrics of this song.
Evergreen

Back around the time Hubs and I were engaged, I declared that “Kokomo” was “our song”. Kokomo
It is a sweetly romantic song that created in me a strong desire to whisk ourselves away to a tropical island where we could lay on the beach sipping fruity cocktails all day long. Just Hubs and I. No one else, no distractions. Just me and him and peace and quiet. We had to work hard for many years, but thankfully were able to take a splendid vacation by ourselves to Islamorada in the Florida Keys to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. Kokomo was the theme song of course.

What’s your soundtrack, fellow music lovers?

On Marriage

On May 26 of this year, Hubs and I will have been married for 27 years. I think the wisdom we have gained in all that time has resulted in our marriage being stronger now than it ever was. It also doesn’t hurt that we are empty nesters living in Colorado. We have had our ups and downs, as all married couples do. Times when I was so furious with him that I found myself calling him not so nice names and he slammed cupboard doors. Times when disagreements about our kids got very overheated. Times when one of us got a raise or bonus at work, and we went out for dinner and drinks to commemorate the moment. Times when we got out into our boat on the Mississippi River and silently marveled at its beauty together. Times when we were so poor that we couldn’t scrape enough coins from under the tattered couch cushions to afford to rent a movie at the local convenience store for $1.99.

We have essentially grown up together. We have been together for longer than we haven’t. It’s really quite mind blowing when I think of it that way.

The most valuable piece of marital advice we received was given to us by a nurse in the hospital the day after giving birth to our first born, back in 1992. She implored us to keep our marriage the #1 priority. She explained that while we were now a family of 3, we needed to maintain focus on our marriage so that we could become a strong parental unit and set a good example for our kids. This advice stuck with us. We hired babysitters or took the kids to grandma and grandpa’s house as often as we possibly could.

I think most of the tricks on how to be successful at this marriage thing came gradually, through trial and error over all these years. I’ll share the ones I feel are most important.

Give each other a break when you can. Practice kindness on a daily basis.

Participate in activities the two of you equally enjoy as often as you can. We especially enjoy the quieter moments, like going out fishing or for a hike. Or to a cool, casual place for dinner or a cocktail.

Communicate often and as clearly as possible. Listen with an open heart. Know when to shut up and just let your partner vent.

Give your spouse lots of hugs.

Don’t let yourself go to bed angry at your spouse. You will not sleep well, if at all. And whatever you were angry about is still going to be there in the morning. Just hash things out as best you can.

Give each other space sometimes. No one is truly going to be happy feeling like their spouse is attached to them at the hip. We all need our alone time.

Acknowledge when your spouse has done something well. Thank them often. Everyone needs to feel appreciated. It’s human nature.

Be a considerate roommate. Don’t leave your dirty dishes or underwear lying around. Offer to do the dishes if your spouse has done the cooking.

Always remember you are a team. Imagine if your life together was a business. Love, mutual respect, and friendship are the foundation. Both partners have a stake in this business and work with each other, day in and day out, in order to achieve mutually desired success. One partner may have skills that you simply don’t possess. Likewise, you may have skills your partner doesn’t. Once you have a good handle on what those skills are, you and your spouse are equipped with the wisdom to successfully solve problems as a unit. This comes in especially handy when parenting your spawn.

Strive to keep things interesting! Go on spontaneous adventures together. Jump in the car in the morning and head out to parts unknown, even if just for the day. Hubs and I have so many great memories of days when our only goals were to see and/or do something new to both of us and to have as much fun as possible.

With a little luck, Hubs and I will be married for another 27 years. There will be more ups and downs, ones that will be expected as part of life and ones that will completely throw us for a loop. That is life. You take the good with the bad. I take much comfort in knowing that I have my best friend, the one who loves and accepts all sides of me, the one who makes me laugh the hardest, who makes me think the deepest, and the one I trust more than anyone in the world, with me through it all.

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.

Wishes on Mother’s Day

With Mother’s Day just around the bend, I’ve been doing a lot of pondering about my journey as a mom. I’ve been a mom for almost 25 years now, which is hard to fathom as the memories of my children’s births are still fresh in my mind. My kids are in fact no longer “kids” as the oldest is soon to be 25 and the youngest turns 24 this summer. I surely made mistakes along the way but I’ve always tried my best. Looking back, I would hit a ‘do over’ button if one was available in a number of circumstances. I like to think that most mothers out there would say the same thing. Of course, that is a way for me to feel better about how I did as a mom, right? But I don’t intend for this post to be about the past. I want to talk about the future: specifically my wishes for my children’s futures.

Wish #1) That my children to retain as close a relationship to each other as possible. The reality is, they are the only two people on this planet who were parented by me and the Hubs. They have their own stories about us as parents, for better or worse. They were each other’s first friends. They understand what buttons to push and not to push with each other and they have a unique ability to comfort each other in times of trouble.

Wish #2) That my children will always trust their gut instincts. When faced with a choice, no matter how inconsequential it may seem, and there’s a niggling feeling in their literal guts, brains, or hearts, I pray they do not proceed with that choice. I wish for them to appreciate the fact that their body is sending them an important message which they must heed. And if they don’t feel they have the courage to make a different choice or simply say “No”, I hope they will call or text me as I am a pretty good sounding board.

Wish #3) That my children make their physical and mental health their first priority. My children both have big hearts. Hearts I of course wish to protect. They are caring, kind, and generous young people. They both have been known to go out of their way to help others, such as loaning money or a place to crash to friends or even friends of friends. I am proud of them for their kind hearts and actions, believe me. However, I worry that the energy they expend on others leaves them with too little to dedicate to themselves. What I wish for them to understand is that if they choose not to prioritize their self-care by having annual physicals, regular dental appointments, adequate sleep, balanced nutrition, and healthy stress coping mechanisms, they will not only be decreasing their quality of life and happiness, but they will have less energy to give to others.

Wish #4) That my children maintain a sense of humor about themselves. When I was growing up, and probably through much of my 20’s, I took myself waaay too seriously. This was very much tied to feeling self-conscious much of the time and having low self esteem. As I’ve gotten older (and I like to think wiser), I have come to the realization that in actuality, I don’t have to be perfect. I can make a comment to someone, quickly realize it didn’t come out as cleverly as I intended, and laugh it off. Because it turns out the sky doesn’t actually fall in when I’m just being me.

Wish #5) That my children never, ever forget that I am always here for them, come what may. I will always listen to what they have to say to the best of my ability, and refrain from judgement. I will always have their backs. My love for them is infinite.

Wish #6)   That my children maintain their hard work ethics. I wish for them to envision what they truly desire for their futures and know they have my full emotional support with every step they need to take to make their visions become reality.  I wish for them to not stop when faced with obstacles along the way, but forge a new path to achieve their dreams.

Wish #7) That my children be life-long learners.  I sincerely hope they follow their curiosity and see where it leads. To further their educations for personal enhancements or professional growth, or simply for the sheer joy of it. I wish for them to strive each and every day to be the best version of themselves. To live as authentically as possible. They owe this to themselves as well as to the world.

Wish #8) That my children do their best to not sweat the small stuff. I know from personal experience that this is a huge waste of time and energy.  I wish them to remember to ask themselves the following questions when they are feeling stressed out by a situation or circumstance: Will this matter in a month from now?  Or next year? Or in 5 years? Often the answer is going to be simply “no”. In my view, most everything in life is temporary.  As I’ve often told myself in times of extreme stress “This too shall pass”.  This phrase has helped me through a lot.  I suspect my unique, smart, kind, funny, and beautiful children will find it useful as well.

Happy Mother’s Day everyone!

 

Tales from a 51 year old optimist transplanted from Wisconsin to Colorado. Finding silver linings, lifting others up, sharing positively good stuff

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