30 January 2016

One month of winter down, two to go

I think it is because lots of people anticipate Christmas so much that they rush winter~themed things, like decorations, holiday parties, and consuming baked goods.  So many, it seems like winter started the day after Thanksgiving, thus cutting autumn short a month and adding an extra earlier month to winter.

Dudes, winter starts just days before Christmas.  So we are just NOW approaching mid~winter with Punxustawney Phil popping his head out to the crowds and decreeing that either way, we still have the second half of the season to plow thru {some more literally than others}.  Spring will get here when it gets here, in the meantime, enjoy what time there is left of winter, instead of wishing your lives away.

Bru some tea, for those Br days.

29 January 2016

Summer Shindig 2016

It seems that for me, most every summer, there is ONE really big event, and several other events of various sizes and importance.  Last summer, two HUGE events took place in July for us, family reunions of sorts.  That's not counting all the other events thru out the year.

To some extent, I feel like staying home and not doing major traveling this year; or at least not this winter, spring, or summer.  Perhaps this autumn, we'll see.  In part, to recover from the last several years, which have had both scheduled and unscheduled big events.  Death is seldom scheduled, nor is it usually tidy.  And then there is the various surgeries and other happenings. Rest and restorations seems to be vital at this time

Another reason that I want to hold off on traveling is because we have a few events already scheduled for this summer, that I really need to be right here, at home, in Starkville, Mississippi.  I have guests coming.  I would be a very poor host indeed if I were to leave home when they are due to arrive, don't you think?

Now, long time readers might remember that I do have a childhood friend from Catawissa, Pennsylvania, where I grew up; she and her family come to visit us every four years and we go to visit them every four years, so it comes to every two years, we are either coming or going.  This year, they are coming here.  Not sure if their kids are coming this time, as the oldest is graduating high school and the younger is not so found of it here, or anywhere, really, that doesn't include his own bedroom with the tv, gaming consoles, internet, and rest of the set up that is in his home there.  The international community of one of his massive online role playing something or other would notice his absence and perhaps perish.  He has his routines and I can understand.  Besides, adults, ew.  Parents, ew, shudder.  Adult friends of parents, *retching*, ew, shudder.

Also this summer, there is the Crew.  The crew is a group of girls that I've known since ten or twelve.  To some extent, most of us have kept in contact with each other, in some way.  Some of the contact is rather sporadic, and honestly, I think the last time I was in contact with one person was most likely twenty years ago when we both became newly fledged Southerners.  I had relocated to Valdosta, Georgia to work on my Master's and she had moved to New Bern, North Carolina to teach, meeting and marrying the love of her life and settling in, planting roots, and raising children of her own.  She doesn't FaceBook, might not eMail, doesn't seem to answer her phone, so I sent a letter.  A very loooong letter to her.

In the autumn of 2014, I finally joined FaceBook.  I reconnected with many of my highschool and VoTech graduating classes, since that was our 25th reunion.  That's when I found two other members of the crew, one of whom is located in Wisconsin and has been for years, since she became a librarian.  The other was one of my best friends for many years and has lived in Virginia for quite some time.  Her youngest is about to graduate high school and for some reason, this knocked me on my ass and because it all of a sudden really settled in how old we have become, how much life has occurred for each of us that the others of us have not been a part of, and how fragile our time can be {just two months later, my mother would be dead and suddenly, I realized that I am no longer a child, not even an adult one; but a full fledged adult and not entirely successfully adulting most days at all}; I thought, I would love to actually get together with the rest of the crew and catch up, do some remembering sure, but get to know these people who were once some of the most important people to me, who now are not quite complete strangers to me, but have had families, work, travels, adventures, concerns, interests, etc that are completely new to me.

And then a fourth member of that group of girls my mom called "the Crew" joined FaceBook as well.  She is the only one of us to stay in Pennsylvania, though not in the same area we grew up.  Still a few hours from our childhood homes is a hell of a lot closer than a few hundred, or in my case, a thousand miles.  So that's five of us.

The six person is the one person most of us have kept in contact with over the years.  Tho she does not FaceBook either, she does eMail, and at times, can be reached via phone and also snail~mail.  She may at least get those messages, even if it takes her awhile to respond, she does keep informed at least.  She lives in Ohio and has since graduating college.  We see each other from time to time, talk with each other more often, and eMail more frequently than that.  I know that if I really needed her, she'd be there.  So I'd sent her eMail in autumn 2014 as well.

Of the six of us, there are at least four of us, and possible all six, who will gather at my home here in Mississippi.  Just us "girls", without spouses and kids, for a weekend, a week, or however long they should decide to stay.  My husband's five adult children did all have their own rooms, after all, and their mom had a room stocked with material, yarn, and other crafting supplies.  So four of our rooms are guest bedrooms.  And it would be fairly easy to temporarily convert another to a fifth.  So we'd have enough room for all six of us, without stacking ourselves like cord wood, or sprawling sleeping bags on the floor, as we had lots of times in our teen years.

So that's to be the major Summer Shindig for 2016.  A reunion of good friends that haven't seen each other in years.  I've been brainstorming and planning, we'll probably have roast a pig, catch some sites, but mostly visit with each other.  I'm very excited.

25 January 2016

Utes Has Left the Building

There are times when I want so badly to share something with my mom, like the fact that all this time, my lady parts have had a spread cape.  It's only now, that I've had a hysterectomy, that I knew that.  She would have found that hysterical, as do I {pun intended}.

Last week, I had my uterus, cervix, and Fallopian tubes removed.  We left my ovaries, like so many cannoli and took the guns of the matter.  I'm fine, walking within an hour of surgery, admittedly with assistance.

I have vague memories of me insisting on using the toilet and NOT the bedpan {at 275 pounds, can you blame me?  I find balancing challenging enough, let alone when I'm under the influence of anesthesia.  Besides, once I broke myself of the habit of voiding supine as an infant, I never could do so again}.  So last Monday, I remember having tremendous relief upon the toilet, in the company of two nurses and being absolutely delighted with myself.  I crowed, "yes!  Best Poop Ever!" to which the nurses said, "hang on there, loopy; let's get ya cleaned up before you return to bed".

Back to the womanly cape thing.  The reason I did not realize this until this past week is because very few illustrations are accurate, and the only reason I did realize this when I did was because I watched several laparoscopic hysterectomies on youtube.  I saw all the connective tissue and thought, "wow, I never realized that was there."  I mean, it totally makes sense, else how would all your parts stay in relative place?

That and the fact that when I asked if my ovaries would be movable, migrating nuggets that I could play with and chase around my body, repositioning them as huge nipples; my doc replied, "no" after a round of laughing that surprised her as much as it did me, "no, they are attached in a fashion".  I knew better than to ask if I could have my uterus, cervix, and tubes upon removal; because they like, my wisdom teeth, thyroid, and kidney stones, are considered hazardous waste and the hospital must dispose of them appropriately.  This means that not only do I not get to see them myself, but I also don't get to terrorize and disgust future generations as my grandmother did when she would whip out her jar of gallstones and rattle them around while describing to my ten year old self that these were inside her, in a small pouch that was only as big as her hand {which she would then demonstrate by emptying the jar's contents of gravel~like lumps into her cupped palm}.

And you ask why it is that I can speak of such things in a fairly public format as my hysterectomy?  pft.  I learnt that nothing is too sacred to discuss when I was yet at the knee of grammy.  Just wait til I start whipping up my shirt to point out surgical scars, cuz that ought to be exciting for you and me both.

09 January 2016

my non~strengths & non~weaknesses

Over the holidays, somewhere between Thanksgiving and Christmas, my daughter in law and I were talking about our strengths and I mentioned that I really don't like the term that goes with that, as in "strengths and weaknesses".  Mostly because those things, areas, etc are NOT weaknesses; they are just not outstanding strengths of mine.  I do have weaknesses, I do have strengths, and I do have some non~weaknesses that are non~strengths.

Is it any wonder we have so many folks who feel they live from one extreme to the other?  We have such clearly delineated dichotomies in our language, and not many neutral areas for the ordinary norms, those areas we do not hate but do not love, those activities that we do not excel at but do not fail at either.  It's awkward to speak of these things, our language itself doesn't seem to be structured in that way.  Our culture doesn't seem to value not having strengths that are not weaknesses either.

I remember when I was perhaps 13, and I was chatting with a friend of mine on the telephone.  I asked if she ever noticed that the magazines didn't show an example of how to apply eyeshadow if you had normally spaced eyes that were not too large or too wide or a nose that was too narrow or too low or eyebrows that were not too high or too thick/thin/long/short.  What if those things are all normal, average features and you just want to learn how to apply eyeshadow?  My friend laughed and said that those people do not exist and if they do, they would not need advice, they'd already know how to do those things.  Already she had bought into the idea that we all are flawed in some grievous manner and need to use illusions to distract onlookers from our too wide/narrow/fat/thin features.

So this idea of some middle ground, some acceptable average that is neither this or that, a third option that exists between the dichotomy of extremes; that moderate range where in actuality most of us do exist in many ways doesn't seem to be an option in our language.  What would YOU call a non~strength that is not a weakness either, but still exists?  That thing that isn't a deficiency but really isn't outstandingly great either?

I know I have strengths and this other category of not~strengths that aren't weaknesses.  I have some weaknesses, sure.  These are the things I would like to improve on.  For instance, I'd like to have better self control around food.  I'd like to have more commitment toward exercise and the gym.  I'd like to make healthier choices.  And I think I am improving in those areas.  Then there is a vast area of things that I do well, not great and not poorly; just ordinary.  And then I do have strengths, tho sometimes {like now} I am at a loss for what they are {they are there, tho, I know}.

Did you see what I just did there?  I was able to list weaknesses, sure.  Focusing on the narrowest part of what makes me, me.  That vast array of stuffs that does make up me, I just skimmed right over.  Chances are YOU do too.

Words are very important to me, and if I cannot even think of the words to label something, the concrete form of thinking about that nebulous thing, then how can I focus on it?

What are YOUR suggestions for how you think of these things?