Sunday, April 10, 2022

Reflex

Sooooo...when you go so long without writing, and then find yourself finally flexing that muscle in order to write an obituary, maybe it's time to sort some things out. I realize that opener deserves a little more information in the who, what, when, where department, so we can start there. Marlene peacefully left this world, 13 days after the doctor gave her 48 hours to live, the day he told me her blood work numbers were "not compatible with sustaining life" and the fact that she was still speaking was baffling. Maybe he just didn't know Marlene well enough. 

The first day, a couple of Jeff's friends and I went to visit her in her new "end of life" state, she was sitting in her wheelchair in the lounge of the nursing home. The three of us exchanged sideways glances, as I swore the word I received made it sound as though we should get to her promptly. I had been told that Marlene elected to refuse a blood transfusion and that she understood what this meant for her prognosis. We didn't want our visit to be all gloom and doom, but we did want to make sure her decision made sense to her, or that she even remembered what she had been told. The first inkling I got that she understood our sudden presence was when she asked me if I had purchased the two new pairs of jeans she had requested, and when I responded that I had not, she said "Well, I probably only need one now." Subtle, but effective.

We helped her sort through photos and chose one for her obituary. Up until that moment it had seemed like I had all of the information I would need to try to help usher Marlene into the next phase, but I suddenly felt like I most certainly did not. Part of the problem was trying to entertain what she felt was important - how much money was in her bank account, having a ring made for one of her granddaughters, versus what I thought was important - who to call, what her favorite flowers were. 

This was my second go around as a health care proxy, so I understood the nuts and bolts. However, those nuts and bolts, while essentially holding everything together, weren't providing the finishing touches. I could read the checklist of what loved ones wanted with regards to resuscitation, heroic measures, feeding tubes, and so on. The reality in both cases was that I never had to actually have any crummy powers appointed because both of my loved ones remained alert and conscious to make their wishes known. 

With every inquisitive/informative phone call, I confirmed that I was not calling the shots, but rather just being kept in the loop. The whole business of death is awkward and uncomfortable as an idea, as well as literally, I am sure, for the one actually experiencing it. Trying to honor the wishes of the dying, while managing the "needs" of the living. When Jeff was reaching the end of his time with us, I became the bitch gatekeeper responsible for limiting/monitoring the flow of visitors, as that was something we thankfully had discussed. Marlene and I hadn't really had such discussions, and I was not comfortable stepping as hard on her family's toes this time. I had to recognize their grief, and put aside any personal feelings about how some of them had carried themselves up until that point. It was their prerogative to play the part.

So what's to sort out? Well, I know a lot of people journal and am impressed by the merits of such a task to work things out. For me? This. This right here is my journal. You see, if I tried to write for myself, I am fairly certain the entry would say "I'm sad." I wouldn't bother trying to complete the thought, but since the five of you are kind enough to read whatever verbal diarrhea I leak here (one of my more flowery analogies, sorry), the least I can do is try to have it make sense. Sometimes I get really crazy ideas like "what if it isn't just me and something I have to say gives a new angle to something you're feeling." 

Marlene and Jeff's passings both left me feeling like I could have done better. I think ultimately it may have to do with the fact that both cases ended with them leaving this world. It was no big surprise on paper either time, but I think hope carried me through my effort to support each time. Maybe I lost sight of what I was actually assisting with. The other day a friend gave me some input, as I tried to process my thoughts on the losing battle of jumping on a sinking ship. She said that my swimming out to that sinking ship to try to help was the important part. I took what she said and tried to reconcile it with my usual exhaustion from feeling like I am treading water while others look like these graceful Olympic swimmers. She told me not everyone swims out to the sinking ship, so I started to think that maybe my splashing about frantically wasn't a complete failure.

I let myself get bogged down in the things I couldn't do for Marlene...get the right doctor to get the right meds to ease her Parkinson's symptoms, make the nursing home feel more cozy or serve better food, visit enough to make up for the hours she spent lonely, bring back her son or any other part of the incredible life she once lived. I wanted evidence of the mark I was leaving with her, beyond the bank statements showing that her bills had been paid. I felt like an imposter when people thanked me for all I'd done because, as mentioned, the ship still sunk. 

I am grateful to have people willing to tolerate my insecurities and throw me a life jacket, those who told me that what I did gave her security, friendship and love. Those are not insignificant things, I suppose.

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Random reviews

I was feeling rather unaccomplished, thinking the week had just flown by, when I realized today is only Tuesday! I hadn't even missed a chance to unload a little random. Let's throw a quick callback to the last post and give this pizza I made some support...
...because she clearly needs it! And just as an update, my new undergarments remain comfortable, despite a few quick "hey how ya doin?" right cup peek overs...kind of like Tim's neighbor, Wilson, on Home Improvement.

That homemade pizza was good despite lacking...
...Two and a half feet of hot, melty cheese?!?!?! I swear I think my colon seized when I read that. (Not my groceries.) They somehow managed to make the thought of gooey cheese unappetizing. In other relatively unappealing vittles, I have seen these at two stores now...
...and cannot seem to grasp the thrill of eating like Fred Flintstone, let alone the logistics of actually cooking that shape/size.

We are in our third week here of winter acting like winter with some snow to make the cold temperatures feel worthwhile! Snowshoeing and cross country skiing and sparkly fresh air! This was one of several of these signs at one of the beaches we went to.
If I could just sit in this seat and supervise the beach on this kind of day, I'd apply!

Is it just me who thinks there is a slight disconnect between these two brands?
And has anybody been on pins and needles waiting for the Gap to have home products?

I was shopping in a search of "Valentine board books for toddlers" for my nephew's book of the month selection and once again allowed myself the pleasure of reading a few reviews. I don't want to dissuade you from any titles that you may be inclined to shop for, and it truly is irrelevant which books these first few reviews are for now that you know what my search parameters were. This one...
...I just keep cracking up trying to fathom the struggle going on in that household to "understand" Valentine's Day. The plot of the book as best I could tell was woodland critter makes valentine cards for friends. If that concept could not be laid out without a best selling children's author, there are some rough roads ahead. Now this next review is for the same book...
...so now we are going to judge the illustrated clothing on a cartoon animal? The "reading it without being able to read" just slays me because her daughter could have made up an elaborate story having nothing to do with the text to begin with. Having a thought obviously is one thing, but deciding you need to write an amazon review goes a bit beyond. Here we have another book that has disappointed someone who my friend said either "takes a lot of uppers or has no one in their life that they love"...
...has she ever seen how rough waves in the ocean can be? I just can't with her! Obviously Harvey here has some real issues...
...and as if the book alone didn't crack me up with his green clouds...
...I was so glad Harvey found someone who thoroughly enjoyed what he had to say, but did it have to be Christine with her extreme fart aversion? And her false claim that she does not fart?! Girl, you're gonna burst! (Side note: There was a girl I graduated high school with who claimed she never farted. Our human anatomy teacher, upon hearing us discuss her gastric prowess, asked if she ever slept. Hopefully nobody records Christine at night!)

Getting ready for another blast of snow here in Central New York...I hope I have enough snacks!

Friday, January 28, 2022

Fit to be Tried

One would think that these awkward introductory paragraphs where I try to acknowledge my blogging absence, while never really explaining it, because there is never really a concise reason to give, would keep me driven to charge the chromebook and tap out a few lines on a more regular basis. One may also note that simply because I enjoy both the writing piece, as well as the interacting with you piece, there would be enough motivation to put down the handful of candy long enough to let my fingers dance across the keyboard to tell you all about said candy. Apparently one would be wrong. I spend far more time on the daily thinking, or lamenting about this little old blog space than it would take to just put some words out there. I did get to a point where the thought just stopped in its tracks every time it tried to dance on by, "Maybe we should blog today?" "Nope." and that was that. No pondering what topic to muse upon, no trying out sentences. More of a stop before this can even get started sort of thing.

Finally the other morning while I was lying in bed, which I seem to "like" to do now between 5:00 and 7:00, I let some bloggy thoughts in. I'm not exactly sure what they were now, as once the door opened, all sorts of debris flew in! "Simmer down folks, take a number and we'll try to get to you in an orderly fashion despite how disorderly it appears."After a couple of days trying to sort that out, I still didn't know where to start. Several days of stomping around in the snow, mixed with an unflattering view in the Target fitting room, and I knew who I was again.

I'm the lady with the ill-fitting bra.

Perhaps you recall the some of the trial and tribulations? If not, you can reacquaint yourself here, here, here, and even back here in 2012 for starters.

I cannot confirm that I spent any quality time trying on the last two bras I have been making do with before purchasing them. Let's face it though, sometimes the level of dressing room calisthenics I am wiling to partake in is not going to be an accurate measure anyway. A post purchase stretch in my bathroom mirror once revealed that the girls were playing peek-a-boo out the bottom, so I was happy to have a shirt to hide what my undergarments apparently did not. A more recent glamour don't was a side gap situation that was also luckily hidden by clothing. Neither of these specific problems, nor general discomfort sent me spiraling down to that dark place of flipping through hangers again though, so you may wonder what it took to send me shopping? Slipping. Straps.

No, no, NO! I cannot stand having straps slipping off my shoulders. I am not sure I even understand the logistics of how that happens under a not exactly loose fitting long sleeved shirt under a winter coat. I kept having to reach in the neck of my shirt to retrieve the offenders. Ugh! I had to resort to the uniboob sports bras that have been hanging around here waiting to be sporty because I was not going to perform a strap rescue mission while bundled up for snowshoeing (and yes, that is passing as sporty).

Target was my destination because I certainly did not want to pay a lot of money for lingerie destined to do me wrong. Moreover, if the situation became dire, there would be plenty of options there to soothe me in the book or candy aisles. Did I spend as much time investigating options as I could, and perhaps should, have? Of course not. Was I momentarily hypnotized by words like "wirefree" and "no slip" and "comfort"? 

You know I was! Plus a two-pack that eliminated the need to decide how many or what colors, despite not being clear if they were both functional colors? Sign me up! While the temptation to grab a size that seemed familiar to purchase and try on in the discomfort of my own home, I have met myself and know that the chances of an ill-fitting bra being returned are questionable at best. I took TWO sizes and marched off to the ill-fitting room. Yes, it should have been like the scene in Officer and a Gentleman where he carries her away. I could hear the clapping, feel the pride, as I had arrived.

I looked at my reflection in that large mirror in the unforgiving light. "You've got this." I threw my coat on the bench, did some deep breathing and got to it, just to wrestle the non-sliding straps off the hanger and...

...what the actual hell? I was going to have to try on a bra hooked to another bra? Perfect. Nobody was harmed or hanged and decisions were made. I donned my new purchase when I got home, and may have wondered for a split second how my body shape could have shifted in such a short span of time, but a little reorganizing sorted things out. I may also have been reminded why I recalled telling myself not to buy wireless bras anymore, but it's winter and I have layers to work with. I'll tell you this though-the straps don't move, and I wrote this blog post, so I am calling it a win for now! Celebrate the small victories with me and get yourself a piece of candy! 

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

'Tis the season to be random

The snowfall last night made this morning feel magical! It really is that time of year again!
Seems like a fitting time for a little Christmas miracle, like blowing some dust off my keyboard and dumping some photos of my phone that I've been saving just for you. Let's start with a couple of signs that the holidays are most certainly upon us...

...whoah, that seems kind of aggressive as far as baked goods go, as well as gross as far as carbonated beverages go. Now prepare to be overwhelmed with the joy this guy has to bring...
...Santa meets elf meets, um, merman? The island of misfit toys has nothing on this situation, and I certainly don't need visions of this dancing in my head. The threat to my tastebuds and then this attack to my vision were not my only senses to be assaulted. This?
Oh, this candle's "aroma" made me throw up a little in my mouth! 
Let's move on to a few things I've learned other than to use better judgement when sniffing wax in jars...
...First, am I to presume that there are people who need serving suggestions for coffee pods? If you are one of them, you're welcome. Second, there is an appropriate tool for every job...
...and I believe, more often than not, it's chocolate. Third, somebody should really check on Alice...
...she is clearly a mess! And last, but not least...
...cats need privacy.

Before we go, here is just a little something from the land of Instacart that amused me. Shoppers have to scan each item's UPC code, which is typically just a regular old rectangle shaped set of bars. Some companies have jazzed up their codes though, and it's just a little bit of pizzazz I keep on the look out for (and yes, that is about as exhilarating as it sounds). Coffee creamer in a mug...
...yogurt in a spoon...
...a barn for the cheese from dairy cows...
...and for lactation cookie bites?
Wow...
...just wow.

Monday, October 18, 2021

Draft day, with a twist

Here is a draft of a post I started writing in late July of 2012…
I did wake up on Sunday morning with a slight sense of relief. My 25th high school reunion festivities were over. There was no more agonizing over whether I was willing to find my big girl panties and actually show up. There was also no wondering if I was going to get blown off by the same old friend a fourth day in a row. As it turns out, the only person I was reunited with was the insecure teenager who often paced along the edge wondering where, or if, she fit in.

And now...
I just got off the phone with that "same old friend", and fortunately, or unfortunately, she has become well aware in the years since that summer that she will have to drag/escort/lure/bribe me to next summer's 35th. She called from several states away because she saw evidence on social media that I had stepped outside my comfort zone and she needed more information regarding how that had happened. So here's what caused the twist...I was invited.

My friend, who had called last month to check in, said she might be coming to town for the homecoming game at our high school (which is near where I live). She later sent confirmation that her plans had been firmed up and she would be here. We were supposed to have company that weekend, so I initially declined. I was disappointed that I was not going to see her, but admittedly relieved that the decision process could be completely avoided. Then our company cancelled, then my son was headed out of town, then my husband was assigned to referee a football game that same night...that same homecoming game. I messaged my friend as soon as all of those pieces came together before I could change my mind or even really think too much about it. I had to accept the fact that not every reunion can be a quiet table for two at Panera. I made one small attempt to bail, sending a text that I did not want to crash their gathering. The response was that I would not be crashing and to please come. Despite the dueling forces swirling within me, I knew I would regret staying home on my couch even more than whatever fate was in store for me on the grounds of so much, oh so very much, teenage angst.

My husband was suited up in his assigned striped wardrobe, so it was time for me to get my act together. Sadly I couldn't ask the beautiful bracelet to do the heavy lifting this time because I needed something more suitable! I could have grabbed some of my typical duds that are comfortable enough on an average day of being me, but instead found strength in hand me downs. The shirt was a recent cast off from a friend's closet, and I was hoping it still had some of her confidence in its fibers. The jeans came to me via another friend awhile back, so I wished for those threads to still hold some of her ability to pull off fashion. The sneakers? Well, those came from my mom, so of course the vibes would be useful. Obviously I still had my usual ill fitting bra to remind me who I was. A little makeup, a little hairspray, a little grateful for the rain that would excuse any shortcomings on those fronts. And just like that we were in the car, where my husband knew to ignore my insecurities and nervous chatter. Pulling into the high school parking lot, there were too many memories to focus on anything in particular. Mostly I was just relieved that only one of us had to brave the locker room. 

I made my way to the alternate, out of the rain and indoor, meet up spot. My friend was right inside the door, so I didn't even have to do that dreaded "looking around for a place to land" thing. Breathe...relief! And so began four plus hours of relaxed and easy conversation as various others joined us. Contrary to any misguided beliefs and nagging thoughts that still clung to some corners of my mind, nobody asked why I was there nor did they kick me out of any group photos. I was right there next to somebody whose name I was able to conjure, but only a vague sense of familiarity crossed our faces beyond that. I remarked to one woman about her popularity in high school, and she did not share that recollection. Looking back, I am unclear as to how exactly I would have defined "popular", other than to say it was a realm I did not find myself in. I was very concerned about belonging, or more importantly, staying away from places I thought I did not belong. Always thinking, always caught up in the details. After another group photo, I introduced myself to one of the women saying I was not sure if she remembered me, but that of course I knew her because she was a legend (soccer player). The "popular" girl laughed and commented on my sense of who people were in high school as I had now doled out "legend" status. I had not lost sight of who I was and, while accepting that, felt more at ease about letting others accept me as well. 
And never mind which teenagers were going home with any of these football players, as that guy in the stripes is all mine!

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

There's something randomly creepy in the air

It's Tuesday again, isn't it? Hm, come to think of it, last week probably had a Tuesday in it as well. No need to get concerned about the details of how calendars work. We can just pick up right where the random left off. Were we just hopping around?

...or did I just buzz off?
Can you tell which photo is the real bee...
...and which is an angry imposter? Sometimes you have to sit and wonder...
...how someone can discard such treasures, or...
...DEAR LORD! HAVE THE CREEPY MONKEYS* FINALLY RETURNED?!?!?! It is October, so 'tis the season! I can't look away, despite knowing they are trying to steal my soul. Those eyes, those creepy-ass eyes! Hide!!
(Yeah, I'm just gonna leave her there with no explanation.) Let's all just calm down, maybe have a drink or two...
...in no particular order. Let's see what other photos I have here to share - would you like some cake?
Or some cookies my daughter made? (Favorite half moon quest is over as far as I am concerned!)
Or some cookies I made?
They were disappointing, yet still ended up on my phone. Seriously with the baked goods?!?!
Is there anything else to eat? How about a lychee?
Perfect if you like the idea of an eyeball, with a pit, and not much in the way of flavor!
Tasted a little bit like disappointment. What else seems important enough for me to add to the over 3,000 photos on my phone?
Craft ideas I think I will actually attempt...
...to never make! Pretty sure I would quit after about ten of those quilled circles, and I see, now that I look closer, that there appear to be a few more than that making up the tree.

We have reached the part of the random that is too random for me to segue into. Here's an instacart order I did not jump at the chance to do today...
...trying to cram six large pumpkins AND 113 other items into some carts, AND bags (because it was Aldi), no thank you! And also a "no thank you"...
...as well as a "what the hell are you?" to this guy my husband saw while out bike riding. Are you a rodent wearing a Halloween costume? The specs provided are that he/she was about three inches long, and was just taking a stroll across the road near the lake.

Now that I've gotten some more photos off my phone, maybe next I can tackle some of the drafts in my post pile! (Of course two of them involve finding specific, as opposed to random, photos.)

*Just in case you don't remember the creepy monkeys, or more likey simply long to see them again, there are some here, here, here, here, here, here and here

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Random mysteries

Whatever happened to Tuesdays? I mean I know they've still been happening, but it's not like there's been a shortage of random to bring here, but these lines weren't just going to vacuum themselves!

I might do that to give the illusion that the house is clean. I am not exactly sure if it works since not many people come over, but I seem to be falling for it. I mean, I also have been kind of busy making fruit fly traps...

...sorry, I didn't mean to be all braggy and showy about my success. Make no mistake, there are still some lurking around here. That's one of the many mysteries of the drosophila melanogaster (thanks google). The short life span, but the rapid reproduction rate sure do enable these pests to linger far longer than it seems necessary. My apparent fascination with this topic is only thirty-three years too late! There was a bio major on our floor freshman year and she was obsessed with her fruit flies, so much so that her Halloween costume celebrated her love of her lab friends.

See her down there on the right? I do not recall why most of us were flipping the bird, but I suspect it had something to do with just figuring we were all that. Do you see me? (Look for the highest bird.)

Okay, here is another mystery I am guessing you've been faced with as well.

Why is the roll replacement task too much for my kids? Was that an actual skill I was supposed to demonstrate for them? I walked from that bathroom to the next one where I saw this.

This was my husband putting the towels away? Wait, that is the wrong description for the job he did. He brought the towels upstairs. The stack on the right goes under the towel under the basket. (And those are HIS towels, so I like to think he knows where he takes them from.) The stack on the left goes in the empty roll bathroom. Basically, zero towels go where he put them. At least I get more steps in walking things back where they belong, and speaking of exercise...

...can you figure out the options for exercise level on this questionnaire my daughter had to complete as a new patient? The choices are "no exercise" or triathlete?! That box for "other" is a little daunting, don't you think? Plenty of room to try to explain or justify the fitness regime! Jazzercise? Rollerskating? Speaking of...
...I was at a complete loss for what these were, and then once I scrolled down far enough, I was baffled as to WHYYYYYYYYY. I didn't even know people were back to wearing roller skates (as opposed to roller blades). As long as we are asking ourselves the question...
WHY?! Why do I need more sugar with my cereal or cereal crumbs messing with what I supposed to chocolatey delight!?
WHY? Why are potato chips trying to taste like other chips? You are enough potato chips, don't try to be somebody else. And WHY did I buy them? Why do we always have to know? Ummmm, maybe we dn't always have to know...
WHY? Nope.
WHY? Why did the powers that be think this was an appetizing look for a burrito? It looks to me like somebody put Cinnamon Toast Crunch in it. I can not unsee it and therefore do not want to eat it! We need something more appetizing to look at now...
...sometimes you wanna feel fancy, so you make fondue, and other times...
...you just want to amuse yourself by making a white trash sampler platter. 

Well that seems like enough for us to ponder for now, so I'll leave you with these parting words in the letter from my retiring gynecologist...
...ew.