Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Wobbly But on My Feet

I am moving forward on reclaiming my balance without as much confidence as I'd like. . . but with some success.

Yesterday,
  • I left work around 6:10. It felt great!
  • I came home to hubby grilling a delicious dinner! Grilled veggies & swordfish, plus a grilled/baked potato. Yummy, Yum, Yum.
  • I brought leftover pasta from the night before for lunch (AND I ate it!)--tagliatelle with spinach, mushrooms, tomato, pine nuts, and golden raisins. Plus a nice juicy tangelo.
  • I ate my 100 calorie snacks (2 of them in fact), and my only side, unplanned indulgence was 2 dark chocolate Hershey kisses. Comparatively speaking to recent treks, this was very contained.

Today, so far. . .

  • I put in my contacts AND put on makeup.
  • I've packed my lunch. . . a salad with leftover grilled veggies, a little blue cheese, carrots, cucumber, a few croutons and ginger dressing. Also brought hummus and a whole wheat pita.
  • I woke up early and laid in bed contemplating getting up to walk. . . but didn't talk myself into it. . .

Thanks for the support from everyone yesterday. I'm trying really hard to feel positive instead of hating myself for being in this place. I feel like a butter ball and I'm not convince contacts and makeup do that much to help me. . .

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Reclaiming Balance

This week, I will try to do these things that I haven't been doing in a very long time.
  • Leave work around 6:00 and finish whatever work I need to after dinner instead of staying at work until 7 or after as I have been for months.
  • Make dinner at home at least 3 times (myself or help hubby)
  • Pack my lunch at least 2 times.
  • Wear my contact lenses 2 days, instead of just lazily tossing on my glasses
  • Put on make up at least one day
  • Walk at least one morning with Yeats
  • Walk at least 2 evenings with Yeats
  • Eat the 100 calorie snacks I took to work instead of indulging in something worse for me. I had eschewed these snacks feeling natural foods were better. . .and I still think that . . .but hell, if I'm going to eat a huge $2.99 brownie or get a milkshake mid afternoon, I think I'd be better off with a 100 calorie pack of Goldfish or fake Oreos. . .

I don't feel excited about this or particularly confident. . . but just doing one thing once will give those feelings a little kick in the butt. . .

Thursday, April 23, 2009

How's This?





Curved


by 45andaspiring


Those on the ground might think
that the bars were curved
by the body she shared
with her mother and her grandmother.

But she knew the bars were
stretched and bowed from her son’s
pulling up to climb in.

And besides she needed the air.




© by 45andaspiring at 45andaspiring.blogspot.com




Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Someone Else's Art

Mommy's Nintendo at the Itsy Bitsy Monkey reminds us that National Poetry Month only has about a week left. She has posted several nice poems, the one I've linked to above is a delightful as the coming and going of waves themselves.
I don't have the quick agility with poetry as she does. But I recently bought a book called Something Permanent that is very nice--it's a collection of Walker Evans photography accompanied by poems by Cynthia Rylant. Here's an example of one I like very much.

Hitchhiker


He told her that if she'd come with him
they could stay at his sister's in Vicksburg
then catch the Greyhound north for Pennsylvania,
and maybe there he'd
find work and they'd make it some way.
She asked how was he going to buy
two bus tickets to Pittsburgh
when he didn't have even a dime, and he said
he'd offer to drive the bus halfway,
and this made some kind of desperate sense to her
so she went.



Here are some other photos of Evans. . . do any of them inspire you to write?







Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Miss USA Times Might Be a Changin' Am I Behind?

Was anyone else surprised when they heard the reason Miss California didn't win Miss USA? I was dozing during the Today show and heard them say she gave the wrong answer to the question should same-sex marriage be allowed? It perked me up. I thought. . . oh if she didn't win it must be because she said it should be. . .thinking Miss USA was akin to the scouts--all clean and innocent on the outside and righteous and exclusionary on the inside. . . So whoa was I surprised when they said she didn't win because she said she was against gay marriage! Wow.

NEW STANDARDS FOR PAGEANT WINNERS?
Explaining why her answer caused her to lose, the judge who asked her the question Perez Hilton said:


"I want [a Miss USA] who is going to be politically savvy, and that means saying things that will make everyone feel welcome,” Hilton told Lauer. “She’s a Christian, but I don’t want her talking about Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, because that’s offensive to all of the Jewish Americans, all the Muslim Americans, to all the atheist Americans. It’s about balance, it’s about finding the perfect Miss USA, and unfortunately, Miss California was not the perfect Miss USA,” Hilton continued. “I would have appreciated it had she left her politics and her religion out, because Miss USA represents all Americans.”
And he gave as an example of a good answer:


"Hm. Perez, that's a great question. That's a very hot topic in our country right now. And I think that is a question each state should decide for themselves because that's how our forefathers designed our government, you know. The states rule themselves and then there are some laws that are federal."

AM I TOO CLOSED MINDED ABOUT PAGEANTS?
That would be a really informed and intelligent answer, wouldn't it? But I guess times aren't changing so much that I would expect that from a beauty pageant contestant. I guess I still don't get what beauty pageants are all about. Just what IS Miss USA to me, what is she supposed to be doing for me? Or for our country?


A SUSAN BOYLE DIGRESSION
I find myself thinking that the continuation of beauty pageants results in such things as people being stunned when someone supposedly homely, like Susan Boyle shows talent. WTF what is so surprising about this? Why is it a sudden revelation that you don't have to look like a movie star to be talented? And frankly, I thought Susan Boyle carried herself beautifully--with confidence and good humor. All she needs is a little hair styling and her eyebrows plucked; I LIKED her dress. And giving her a makeover wouldn't be a sin. . . it might just be introducing her to something she never had access to. Giving her a makeover would be like supplying her with a wardrobe--part of the act--not a moral or character transgression. But I digress. . .


BACK TO QUESTIONING MY POSSIBLY UNDESERVED
SNITTINESS ABOUT PAGEANTS

Could it be that these pageants that I don't watch really are a changin'? Looking for some eye-catching but intelligent and tolerant spokeswoman? Could "I" be the one with my head up my butt. . . not giving them a chance? I mean how did they get an openly gay blogger as a judge anyway? I've decided to look. . .

The Miss USA site lists 19 judges; 7 are "preliminary" judges; 12 are "telecast" judges, whatever that means. . . I couldn't tell. . .

I looked at their bios. . .TV people, music people, former pageant winners and models, a dancer. . . then I come to Eric Trump. It doesn't say so. . .but I'm guessing there has to be a connection. . . his bio does have some altruistic notes:


Alongside his work with the Trump Organization, Eric Trump works fervently to aid children in need, having started The Eric Trump Foundation for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. The foundation is dedicated to improving the lives of children battling debilitating or life-threatening medical conditions.

Then I come to Shandi Finnessey, whose bio includes: not only being a former Miss USA, but also:

Shandi spent her year championing the official causes of MISS USA®, which are breast and ovarian cancer education, research, and legislation. She traveled nationally and abroad as an advocate for organizations such as the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund, Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, and Gilda’s Club, among others. To date, she has helped to raise over 30 million dollars for breast and ovarian cancer research. Her year as MISS USA took her all over the USA as well as to Ecuador, Korea, Thailand, Cuba, St. Maarten, and Germany.
Well. . . this is starting to shed some light on what they think they are about. . .

And Ms Finnessey's achievements also include:

. . . research on androgyny that proved significant and was published in the SEPA Journal. Dedicated to helping children and people with disabilities, Shandi works to promote inclusion of individuals with mental challenges. One of her proudest achievements was publishing a children’s book on this very subject titled “The Furrtails,” which can be found through amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com. Infinity Publishing awarded the distinguished AWMAD for Authors Who Make a Difference to her children’s book. She is currently working on her second children’s book titled “Suzanna the Banana.”
I mean if I met her at a party and her perfect figure didn't intimidate me and my totally imperfect figure didn't alienate her. . . we might have something to talk about (my thesis was on androgyny. . .)

That's it in terms of notable judges "in my opinion." I'm not saying they're bad people. . .just not people who would seem to hold such high standards as are seemingly implied. . .

In fact I couldn't find anywhere on the site that said what Miss USA's role was or anywhere else that said the duty was to promote cancer education. . .

If that's the goal. . . why are the contestants only tall, skinny women? I don't get it. . .

Am I behind? Being a behind? What do you think?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Fun With Urban Dictionary

In a quest to catch up with blogs of people I follow. . . I found this bit of fun on Chronicles of a country girl. I couldn't resist doing it for myself.

Here are the directions: Answer each question by typing in your answer on Urbandictionary.com. You MUST use the first definition!

1. Your Name. Sandy

One of the only people on this earth that truly cares about life. Does not lie to anyone and especially not to herself. She stays true to herself.

Nothing can compare to this person. She is everything.

I realized you can't find love by finding the perfect person, but by seeing the imperfect person perfectly.

Sandy, you are the world to me. I see your eyes everywhere I look. When you left, I stopped smiling.

~~Well after that lovely definition, who wouldn't be inspired to go on?


2. Your age. 45

45 Caliber cartridge. Sometimes used to refer to the firearms that fire such
cartridges.


~~This goes on and on, in my opinion, a very uninteresting
way, but it ends with

If I don't get ya money yo 'gone catch a foty-five!

3. What should you be doing? Preparing dinner for my husband

Horme. The act of preparing a fabulous Greek dinner for a loved
one.


My husband and I were so hot and sweaty after we hormed in the kitchen.


~~So interesting. . .a new word. Is it pronounced "hormed" or 'Hor-mayed," I wonder.

4. Favorite color?Green

yes... it is most definitely referring to the marijuana... and also, upon occasion, any substance with similar uses. too, properly, of course, it is a golfing term, but that’s really not very much fun, now is it?

'yo, where da green at?'

~~My favorite color is the same as Kate's at Chronicle of a
Country woman but there was a new entry since then.


5. Birthplace? Atlanta

A city with lots of rich people in the north end, and lots of ghetto types in
the south end. Also lots of traffic, new economy jobs, and Coca-cola.


Hey, wanna go to Atl for some work? Sure!

Hey, I went south of the train tracks and got a bullet in the ass!
~~Hmmmm. . . I lived on the south side as a teen. . . and now I live northwest. . . and I'm already at #5 and I haven't had any definitions that refer to sex. . . Kate had 4 references to sex by now. . .

6. Month of your birthday? May

may is the month where teachers think that they can control a classroom but really nothing gets done and no one cares about their grades anymore. Usually this happens because summer break is only 30 days away

"hooray i have math..."
"don't worry bro, its may, nothing gets done anymore"

~~ The person who wrote this must live up North. . . school lets out earlier in the South, which is ironic since here schools are more likely to have A/C


7. Last person you texted? Karen

Karen is the perfect woman. She has no flaw. She's funny, sweet, smart as hell, and above all, she is extremely gorgeous. She doesn't let anyone push her around and she has a great personality. She has some awesome goals set and always wins my heart. Has great taste in guys. Don't listen to what the other jack-off put. Everybody loves Karen.

If you were to look up the word "amazing" in the dictionary, there would be a picture of Karen.

~~I agree with all of this. . .too bad she doesn't read my blog! :)

8. One of your nicknames? Katiedee

Katiedee isn't defined yet but these are close:

merryweather. someone who is a total wanker while also somehow managing to be completely likeable

that guy is such a merryweather. I don't know why I like him, but I do.

~~If people knew this word, they might be tempted to call me it. Well, except that when I look up wanker, it's all about masterbation. . . so in a very round about way, I suppose at #8, I finally get a sexual reference.

9. What are you doing this weekend? going to an arts festival

bozart. bad art- a term coined by author and journalist H.L. Mencken in the early 20th century see Mencken in wikipedia from "Sahara of the Bozart" article.
A takeoff of the term Beaux Arts.

2. the backward areas of the south in that
time period.

This arts festival is strictly bozart.

He was born in the bozart, but moved to the Big Apple.

10. Random word: WebMD.

The ultimate internet resource for compulsive hypochondriacs.

My stomach hurts and WebMD says I might have colon cancer. Well, it must be true.


~~A healthy reminder to think before you believe everything you believe on the Web.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

3 Fun & Free Chicken Finds on the Web










And Life on a Southern Farm's Chicken Nest Box Giveaway


Monday, April 13, 2009

Song of My Life #2 St. Louis Blues

In a recent post I talked about funeral songs and noted that there were 3 songs that seemed like songs that represented me and my life that may be funeral worthy.

The Second Song of My Life: St. Louis Blues can be less directly applied to my ife than Song #1 I Can't Help Falling in Love. I mean you can't take it as a literal translation for my life. . .starting with my man hasn't left me nor does he have a heart like a rock cast in the sea. (And for this I am deeply grateful.)

However, there are a few direct things about this song that make it fit for me.

The most simple is that I just love the song. I love the blues and hip sway in it. I have versions with harmonica, folk singers with guitar, and veteran blues performers like Etta James. I love them all.

Another fairly direct connection is that my dad's family is from a city south of St. Louis so St. Louis makes me think of my deep love for my now passed grandparents and my much beloved aunts & uncles. I never get to see them enough, it gives me the blues! :)

But mostly my connection with this song is more loosely metaphoric--
The lines I love most. .I hate to see that evening sun go down and Feeling tomorrow like I feel today, I'm gonna pack my bags and make my get away. . . speak to the on-going dual angst in my life--a true Gemini, I y'am, I y'am.

I'm the kind of person who wants to do it all and who has no sense of time--how long things will take. This has a tendency to leave me in a constant state of disappointment--instead of reveling in what I have done, I worry about what I wasn't able to fit in.

And I'm a wanderer. . .finding it hard to settle down. . .

But mostly the metaphor is of the woman with her diamond rings. . . she's not a real woman luring my man away. She's a metaphoric woman luring me to be ever wanting more, and there's a fine line between regrets and aspiring sometimes. . .ain't that what the blues is all about?

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Song of My Life #1 I Can't Help Falling in Love

In yesterday's post, I talked about funeral songs and noted that there were 3 songs that seemed like songs that represented me and my life that may be funeral worthy.

Song of My Life #1: I Can't Help Falling In Love. . .

This song is first an appropriate tribute to my life with my Hubby, whom everyone who knows me knows I adore, and who boosts me and inspires me and loves me more completely than any other. It is also a tribute to my easy love for people. That is, I am someone who loves easily. I like that about myself. I think I get it from my dad who also loves quickly and fervently. And also from my mother who loves deeply and generously.

I introduced my best friend to everyone in my office once and afterward she cataloged who I liked and who I didn't. I was mortified! OMG! Am I that obvious about who I don't like??! How horrible! She quickly reassured me that it wasn't that I was rude to them, but that I was just effusive with the ones I did like--that I patted them and glowed and bubbled over with the things I appreciated and admired and loved about them.

Some people don't like this part of me or are uncomfortable with it. I have what they call a "big personality." I'm loud. I tell jokes during meetings. Like this very week, I leaned over in a meeting and whispered to someone who had just said something clever and who makes me laugh , "I need to work with you more often." When praise or despair comes to my mind, it gushes from my lips. (It is important to me to point out that I am blunt, forthright, and outspoken, but I am not mean.)

This trait of mine, this quickness to love, can lead to an apparent neediness that overwhelms some people. I can't get enough of the people I love. Once (OK, probably more than once.) I described my immediate connection with someone as wanting to crawl up in their lap. In early HS, this boy with deep brown eyes who was my dear friend sat in front of me in chemistry class and I stuck my hand on the back of his chair so he would lean against my skin, so I could feel him and connect with him all through class. He figured this out and let me even when we were angry with one another but he spat the words at me how pathetic it was. A lover told me once when I'd moved on to another. . .oh thank God you have someone else to take care of your needs. . .but can we still have sex?

Loving easily has also been a great boon in my life. I try not to let silly rules or pettiness keep me from loving. For instance, when my first grandchild was born, people said to me, "He is not really your grandchild, you know." (Technically, he's my step-grandchild, born of my stepson and his wife.)

I've witnessed people who live by this distinction. I have an aunt and uncle who clearly and continuously kept separate lines and distinctions between the children their son fathered and the ones he step-parented. For their blood grandkids, they bought gifts continuously, had them over to their house, designed bedrooms for them in their home, it goes on and on. For their stepsisters, whom their beloved granddaughter lived with, they did nothing--well, except criticize. All it did was cause pain all around. They couldn't see it. Why would anyone step away from--no, knock down--such easy love?

Loving a child is easy. They love you back so quickly. It's grand. My response to people who suggested I withhold my affections--or temper them in some removed "step" way--was just that. They may not be my blood, but I am claiming them whole hog. It doesn't matter how old I was when they came along; age doesn't matter. They are the only way I am having grandchildren, and I'm taking them, loving them as whole heartedly as possible. Please never let me step away from easy love.

Despite the unfilled hole it creates in me, I'm OK with the fact that I can't help falling in love. . .

Funeral Songs

Ok, I admit it's a strange title for my 100th post.

It was inspired by a video sent to me by my Uncle Barney. The video is of his expanded group performing the song Just a Bowl of Butter Beans at the Big Muddy Folk Festival.

The song was a tribute to their friend and former group member, Big Jim. He died last Sept. I attended his funeral because I happened to be in town for my aunt's funeral. I didn't know him well, but I liked him; he was a fixture at my uncle's guitar pickin's, which mean a lot to me.

Tribute Songs
At Big Jim's funeral, they passed around the words to Just a Bowl of Butter Beans and we all sang it. It was the song Big Jim was known for singing at the folk festivals and gatherings he attended. It was his song. I laughed and told my uncle I thought it was great, a great tribute, but please don't sing it at my funeral. I don't want my funeral to have songs with lyrics about puffs of brown gas, thank you.

Heaven Songs
Nor do I want songs sung at my funeral about the next life, as they were at my Aunt's funeral. In fact I want those less. Life is hard, yes, but I believe we need to work to figure out how to make it better and get the most of it that we can, enjoy what we can; not defer for what we hope might come next.

Songs of Life
So that got me to thinking of what the songs of my life are. I certainly don't have songs that I am "known" for like Big Jim. No songs that people will sing in my honor 6 months after I am gone, and probably longer. (That is a lovely thing, is it not?) And I like the idea, as many do, of funerals that celebrate life--who hasn't thought the New Orleans funeral style of celebration and blues wouldn't be lovely? But I don't think my passing will get quite that much notice nor has my life been the overly celebratory kind.

Still I've decided I have a few songs that do pretty much represent the core of me or that would be appropriate tributes to the trials and joys of my life that would be funeral worthy.

Here they are. (BTW, I have at least 6 versions of each of these songs on my iPod.)

#1 I Can't Help Falling in Love With You

#2 St. Louis Blues

#3 It Is Well With My Soul


I'll explain why in forthcoming posts.

In the meantime, for you, allow me to introduce my Uncle Barney & His Friends.
If the video doesn't want to play right for you, go to this link.

Just a Bowl of Butter Beans

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Rutabagers and Poetry

This has been the best Saturday I've had in too long of a while. My stepdaughter B and her family are here from Charlotte visiting for the weekend. Her family includes two of our lovely granddaughters. They are 7 and 2 1/2.

Car Seat Buckler Hero
Today was the first time I ever took the 2 1/2 year old anywhere by myself. I was going to the store and trying to coax her older sister to go along when she jumped up and said, "I want to go!" I had a little trouble with the car seat and ended up stopping a woman in the grocery store parking lot, "Excuse me, do you have children?" to help me and I thanked her so profusely over and over that I think she was tickled or thought I was a bit nuts.

Alias Names & Personas
It's funny to me to see our granddaughters in a public situation. Little Lulu sat completely quietly while this stranger worked on her car seat. She said nothing.

Older sister Pete was also mute when she accompanied us to the vet this morning with Yeats. Who are these silent little girls? The house is so boisterously filled with them. . . it's like only the shells of their little bodies are there in front of strangers.

Of Reticence & Retching
Pete was a good sport. Her mama told me not to tell her that Yeats had a tendency to throw up in the car until it was too late for her to change her mind about going along with us. So sweet little Pete, so like her mama who never asks the nosy questions. .. we leave the driveway and I say, "Pete, will you please put your towel over your lap?" And she asked which way to put it, and I say, "Whichever way covers you best."

Down the road we go. . .petting the dog . . . chatting. .. looking at flowering trees and flowers. . . . 'Meme?"

"Yes?"

"Why do we have towels on our laps?" It cracks me up again to write it, but still, I felt like such a sneak.

Yeats made it all the way home and into the driveway before she puked all over my towel, which I'd already removed from my lap to undo my seat belt!

Then B & I got to spend some nice time together going to Hobby Lobby where I picked out some nice silk flowers to make a spring wreath for my door. It feels like ages since I've done something so simple just to be pleasing to our environment and just an outing to entertain myself. We had a nice chat too.

Rutabagers & Poetry
Last weekend was lost to a stomach virus. But the weekend before we had friends from Boston come visit. They wanted Southern food, so one of the places we took them was to Bobby & June's in midtown Atlanta.
It's the kind of place where Bobby greets you in the vestibule and where the waitresses wear uniforms. The decor includes wasps nests hanging in the corners and yokes with mirrors in the centers, and there's a handwritten list of the vegetables available for the day. With our friends, the list included "rutabagers." The ladies bathroom has a little partition wall between 2 toilets, but the first one is visible from the door and the door doesn't lock. Not the kind of place you find much in midtown. A treat.

April Is National Poetry Month
So, a poem came to me and I wrote it down in honor of April being National Poetry Month and to poke at Mommy's Nintendo at the Itsy Bitsy Monkey because I scold her for never commenting on my site! :)
Unbridled Stress
My work drags me
like a runaway horse
Face down across a cobbled path of
almond M&Ms, Sugar Babies,
Raisinets, and Jelly Bellies.
Whoa, Whoa, Whoa
by 45andAspiring
copyright 45andaspiring at 45andaspiring.blogspot.com