I live at the beach. We have a hurricane close call or warning just about every year. Snow? It's just not something you think about when you think Beach, am I right?
The first "legitimate" snowfall I remember, I was, I think 11 years old. There was actually a song written about it - The Blizzard of 1980. The snow was up to my hips and it took more than a week to get everything cleared up and back to normal. See, I live in an area that can go several years without snow. But it seems like, every 5 to 6 years, we do get a sizable snowfall. When we do get snow, even if it's an inch, it is a very big deal. This area has very few salt trucks, and those focus on the biggest roads and highways, and it's very difficult to find a road that's not thoroughly ice covered. Additionally, because we get snow so rarely, no one can drive in it. Even those people who say, "I grew up in New York. I definitely can drive in snow and ice!" - ahem, my husband - well, they very quickly lose their winter weather legs, and virtually no one can drive correctly.
What I'm trying to say is – snow = bad news for us. We got 4 inches of snow last week. Prior to that, it had probably been two years since we had had any snow.
We all thought that 4 inches of snow was a big deal. And it was. We lost two days of school and the schedules were hosed. Because it had been 60° at 2 pm, I was convinced it wasn't going to snow. By midnight - 4 inches. Clearly, I have no meteorology future.
We figured we had seen our snow for the year.
But late last week, the weather forecaster started saying something about snow coming again. It started off with a 5 inch forecast. As the week progressed, the European models, which I'd heard were more accurate (and I do not know why), called for more snow - 6 and then 8 inches. And yesterday, the forecast rose.
My city will flat out shut down. We are in a state of emergency.
Last night, I sent my husband to the store. Mostly because we had only 1/4 gallon of milk, so I asked him to grab another. I also asked him to pick up a dozen eggs and some extra toilet paper. He came home with this:
Well, at least we are prepared for Snowmageddon.
Schools closed early in preparation. Everyone got home, and we waited.
And it looks like we may indeed get snow, for this is what it looks like from my front door, three hours in.
Wait until tomorrow. Anyone want to make guesstimate what tomorrow will look like?
This post is going to be long, rambly, and scattered – in other words, just like every other post ever written on this here blog.
But first, I want to say a great big hello to all of my new readers and Facebook fans. Over a year ago, I wrote a post for Redbook. The post was titled "10 Things You Should Never Say to the Mom of a Big Family", and it was picked up by Yahoo! Shine. As of today, it has been shared more than 15,000 times on Facebook. My Facebook fan page grew by almost 300 in a 24 hour period this week.
I was stunned. I guess that this post really hit a nerve.
So, HI, new people! Welcome. There's lots to read in the sidebar - this blog is ELEVEN (!!!) years old. Wowza.
What I want to talk about today is that famous quote, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." In theory, I do agree with this. We should all be strong people who can handle things. If someone tries to make you feel bad, that's their problem, their insecurity, their issue. But that's not the reality, is it? And sometimes, you can be a very strong person – really one of the strongest people on the earth today – and you can walk into a doctors office feeling great about yourself because finally your kids are back in school after two snow days off and you've gotten a shower AND a hair washing AND makeup applied AND your clothes match AND are clean - and a nurse on a power trip makes you feel like total shit. As if you are an inconvenience, and the free samples your doctor promised you will be coming directly from her pay check and how DARE you try to get one over on her?
What I wonder is, where do people get off making other people feel stupid? I get that it's a power thing. People who have power, even a little bit – whether they be store clerks, nurses in doctors offices, secretaries in school offices – sometimes, when those people get power, it does corrupt them. That sounds very hokey, but it's true. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. And you can go into a place of business feeling good about yourself, happy with where you are in life – and ask a question of an office worker, who slaps you down, and immediately, you feel small and stupid. And even if you say to yourself, "I do not give the stupid secretary the power over me", well, she still has it, because no matter how much you vow that you will not feel stupid – you still do.
And it's so, so stupid, because - take that nurse or secretary or doctor or Company President out of their environment of privilege - set them down in any suburban grocery store, as this article suggests - and NO ONE KNOWS WHO THEY ARE.
Just like, off this blog site - no one know who I am. Even though I had a post go viral - I'm no more important than anyone reading this post.
One thing I'm trying to realize in my life – and this sounds really incredibly stupid – is that I don't know everything. Yes. I realize that that sounds dumb. But hear me out. Once you reach a certain age, we all think that we know everything there is to know. And we really don't. We grow complacent in our knowledge, secure in our status - after all, we've probably had the job we have for a while, been dealing with the body we inhabit for multiple years. We may know lots of stuff about lots of things, but there are areas of our life in which we have no knowledge. And someone else may have that knowledge. And we might like them to share that knowledge, and sometimes they do it gracefully. And sometimes, they don't. Sometimes, they share it grudgingly, as if the sharing of that knowledge, or the help that they give, is a physical ache - as if it requires blood letting and comes directly from their pay check, leaving them penniless and unable to buy a cup of water - all because they were required to sign a form for you or help you with a stubborn computer program.
I've tried to start looking at myself with this magnifying glass. Do I share my information gracefully? Do I make other people feel stupid if they don't know the same things that I know? Will I make other people feel as if they're wasting their time talking to me – that I'm not helpful – or courteous – or kind?
I put my pants on the same way as you. (Unless I'm wearing a skirt - and it's currently 16 degrees outside, so there's no skirt wearing going on.) I have things I'm great at - writing, being on time, cooking/baking, being organized, taking care of people - and things I'm not so good at - running, maintaining a weight loss, keeping the laundry up. If you are good at the things I'm not good at - it doesn't mean I'm not worth anything - and maybe if I need some help, or you need some help, or Susan or Mary or Patti or Cynthia or Megan needs help - we can all pinky promise to provide it without an attitude of protest.
Knowledge and help shouldn't be given grudingly.
None of us is more important than the other.
I've seen Meyer lemons in the store, but never cooked with them. I've heard an awful lot about them though. when I saw them at the store this past week, I grabbed two bags, knwing tht I had no idea what I'd make - but I'd figure that out later.
They really *are* pretty.
I belong to a Facebook group for cooking, and I asked, as a "Meyer Lemon Newbie" - what would be the best thing to make? I got lots of ideas, but when I saw the recipe for Meyer Lemon Marmalade - I knew that this was the recipe I'd try.
I chopped and chopped and peeled and diced for close to an hour. When the recipe said that this was the most time consuming part of the recipe, they weren't kidding. And Meyer Lemons, at least the ones I bought, were super seedy.
Finally, though, I'd completed all of the steps and it bubbled away on the stove top.
And then, finally, much closer to the hour than the 45 minutes the recipe indicated - it was done.
And jarred. I made three larger jars and three smaller from 15 Meyer lemons. Mostly to see if I could - because, as yummy as it is, I can't eat six jars all by myself.
A tiny bit of sun on a day that ended with 4 inches of snow and -2 degree temperature.
I have worn glasses since I was about seven years old. Very strong, very thick, Coke bottom glasses. When I was a child, the fashion was to wear a big lens – the bigger the better - so my glasses covered almost half of my face. Coupled with braces, straight oily hair, and a face full of acne – well, I was looking a little rough.
When I was a teenager, my father took me for contact lenses, and I wore those until I moved out of the house. Once I was living on my own, I could no longer afford contact lenses, and so I went back to big glasses.
I have not worn glasses full-time since I got married. (This is the point where my husband falls down in prayer and gratitude.) All of my children, though, have inherited my bad vision, and they all wear glasses. If not glasses, then contact lenses. We are very fortunate to have vision insurance, even though it is some of the worst vision insurance around. It only covers an exam every two years, but eye doctors will not write a prescription that will last longer than a year. So unless I want to buy the children - who are very tough on glasses - six pairs at a time, I'm usually stuck one year in, with trying to figure out how to get their eyes re examined.
I decided last week that I needed to buy my son new glasses. He's been trying to look through the scratches for several months now, and I also wanted to get a new pair for myself. The pair that I wear, although I only wear them at night and first thing in the morning, has a prescription that is more than 10 years old. They give me headaches. But also they are very, very unattractive, and although I know I don't look great in glasses, I thought I might be able to find a pair that was slightly less hideous.
Being that this is an off year for our insurance, I decided that my son and I would go to the place that rhymes with "Schmerika's Fest". After all, they offer two pair of glasses plus a free exam for just $69.95. I figured at that cost, I could afford for both of us to get new glasses.
My first hint that maybe this wasn't a good idea was in the initial exam, when I was asked if I wanted to spend $15 extra dollars per person to have the health of my eyes assessed. I was little puzzled– wasn't that the point of having eye exam? No, I did not want to spend $15 a person. The technician was baffled. Why would you not want to do that she wondered, surely your eye health is worth a measly $30?
No. Lead me to the next step, if you please.
Both eye exams went off without any further hitch. Neither one of our prescriptions have changed much, and so then we went out to choose our new frames. We both found frames, and then it became time to place the order. I had come in on a 2 pair of eyeglasses for $69.95 promo. Imagine my shock when I was handed the bill for more than $500.
Five. Hundred. Dollars.
I asked why there was a difference. I was told mumbo-jumbo about "difficult prescriptions", the age of my son, how thick my lenses would be, and the fact that we needed plastic lenses, because my eyes were supremely difficult to fit and so on and so on. In fact, my eyes were just so supremely difficult to fit that the eye doctor walked right into the back room and pulled out a standard pair of contact lenses. That's how difficult my prescription is.
My two pair of glasses alone totaled $228. When I asked how much it would be if I only bought one pair of glasses, I was told $268. Apparently, you get a $40 discount if you buy a second pair of eyeglasses. Tell me, in what world does this make sense?
I declined to purchase my glasses. I did however, purchase glasses for my son, mostly because he has a very difficult time finding glasses that he likes, and he had found two pair that he really did like. When we ordered them though, I made very certain that I discovered what his pupillary distance was, so that I will never be forced to buy glasses at this price again.
I knew I could have bought eye glasses online, but we needed new prescriptions, and I thought $69.95 was a good deal. After all, I'd pay more than that just to get our eyes examined anywhere.
I then went to Walmart. I could've ordered my own eyeglasses online, except that I do not know what my pupillary distance is, and I don't want to guess at it. So I went to Walmart, found a cheap pair of frames for $18, and bought a pair of glasses for less than $40.
And I found out what my pupillary distance is. So now, at least for both of us, I can buy glasses online.
And you better believe that I am not going back to the place that rhymes with "Schmericka's Fest".
So, because I'm watching sooo much more tv than typical - read, ever - I was on the sofa watching the Today show when the Academy Award Nominees were announced. I've seen exactly one of the movies - American Hustle - and want to see a couple of the others - 12 Years a Slave, Capt. Phillips, Philomena - and have a couple more on my list that weren't even nominated - August, Osage County, The Butler, Saving Mr. Banks.
I really, really did not like American Hustle. And why wasn't Catching Fire nominated for anything at all?
Which totally got me thinking, in a spiral fashion kind of way - what movies have had an enormous buzz, a great following, a fantastic award given to them - and you just.did.not.get.it.at.all?
So. Tell me how I'm wrong on any of all of those movies, and what movies you've seen and don't get why everyone loves them and/or why they were nominated for an award of any type - and did you see American Hustle - and did you want to walk out like I did?
Being laid up with The Bronchitis, I've spent a few days in bed. More than a few. I'm on day FIVE and although I have no fever and I'm coughing less, it's like saying that clowns are only a little bit scary. I've gone from coughing 75 times a minute to maybe 10 times an hour. Not baby coughing, either. Not one dainty little throat clearing cough over here, no siree.
I'm still coughing a lung up, in case I wasn't clear. And it's a super!impressive!very intense!cough that can - and does - stop conversation and so, for the safety of all involved -
I'm in bed. It also helps that I'm totally wiped out exhausted.
So I've been watching tv, if by watching tv you mean turning on a program, dozing off within the first two minutes, and then snapping awake with a monster cough ten minutes in. And repeating. Allllll the darned day.
I've seen the beginning of some really stupid TV shows - but I saw one advertised the other day that I thought had some real relevance to my daily life. Called Guy's Grocery Game, It pits a group of celebrities against each other in the grocery store. Being that I currently have no life, I've been busy trying to create my grocery list for my monthly shopping trip this week, and I thought, "What if I had to play the Grocery Game?"
Here are the rules for my version:
Tell me, what did I forget?
Wednesday morning, I woke up feeling, well, a little bit out of sorts. I also started to cough during the night. Having so many asthmatics in the house, there's always someone coughing. I made sure to double check that everyone was taking their meds – one of the worst things for us is when someone gets a cold, and another one is been a bit lax on taking their meds, and it leads to full-blown asthma problems.
I kept coughing. Thursday, Friday, and by Saturday, I was coughing and really feeling pretty run down. I decided to lay down for a nap. When I woke up - in the middle of torrential rain and a tornado warning, yay! - I could tell that something was not right. I felt "off", you know what I mean? By the time you reach middle-age - gah, I can't believe I just said that – you know your body pretty well.
I called for one of my kids to bring me the thermometer. (Yay for having a designated spot for things! Long live being organized - well, at least in the case of the thermometer, lol.) I had been in contact with a doctor friend of mine and she had told me not to worry about the cough, as long as I didn't have a fever.
But I did. 100.1. Ooookkk.
I had to go pick my daughter up from auditions, and when I got back, I checked temp again.
I don't have a doctor. I'm really good about my kids health, and we all go to the dentist and the eye dr, but I don't go to the doctor unless I'm super ill and it's just something I've not done, find a primary.
So I went to the doc in the box, one of those places that is a non-emergent care center. They swabbed me for H1N1, which was negative. Then they drew blood, to check my white blood cell count. It was within normal range. In the meantime, my temperature had gone up to 103°. I was shivering, coughing badly enough that it elicited several comments from other patients, and they brought me two heated blankets. One chest x-ray later, and I was diagnosed with bronchitis.
Which happens to be viral bronchitis, because my white blood cell count was totally normal. So I was sent home with cough syrup with codeine, told to not get out of bed for 24 hours, and rest. And I was also told that this cough could last several weeks.
Ain't nobody got time for that.
not make any New Year's Resolutions. :)
I have done that before, with great and not so great results. I resolved once to finally and for all time lose my extra weight - and I did do that. It was great.
Apparently, the next year I vowed to eat ALL THE THINGS.
This year, I'm not making a resolution, per se.
I just want to take more pictures. I want to be a better photographer. I have taken some good shots, yes, and have a good eye, but I really would like to expand my meager talent. So, bearing in mind that every single photography session I have ever attended says, "The best camera you have is the one you have on you!" and "You need to take lots and lots of pictures, every day, to become a better photographer!"
I'm planning to do just that. I want to pull out my DSLR, yes, more often - but I always have my phone with me. So I'm going to try, as best I can, to do the #FMSphoto of the day challenge on Instagram - see that link over -------->, you can totally follow me. Some of the prompts are very easy, and some are more difficult for me.
Today's was a doozy. Upside down? I decided to try the upside down french braid in my daughter's hair - I think it came out not bad. Not great, but eh....
Taking more and better pictures. That's my New Year's Motto.
Will you join me?
This is January, for what it's worth...
I'm meeting a new person this week, and for many reasons that are mostly way too boring to discuss, it is important that this person know a lot about me. So I've spent some time during the past week trying to pick out the parts of me that are the most relevant, the things that really make me, me.
I mean, is it really important that I participated in my high school pageant, not placing, but winning "Most talented"? Is it important that my favorite types of music to listen to include Eminem, Johnny Cash, and 1940s jazz? Is it really important that I would read a book a day if allowed, but when my daughter went over her PSAT questions with me, my mind glazed over and I felt like the dumbest idiot on the planet?
That's probably not one I want to mention, eh? Better to say that I was thoroughly engrossed in figuring out how much juice I would need to buy if my 19-liter mixture consists by volume of 1 part juice to 18 parts water, allowing for x liters of juice and y liters of water to be added to this mixture to make a 54-liter mixture consisting by volume of 1 part juice to 2 parts water, and finally determining what is the value of x ?
My eyes, they just crossed.
What are the things that make me who I am? The experiences that I've had? The feelings that I have? My take on certain circumstances? Someone told me recently that I am not the person that he thought I was, when he met me many many years ago. He made it sound as if I duped him. As if I pretended to be someone all those years ago, and just tired of keeping up the pretense. Or, he wondered, is the persona that I present now the pretense?
So, I thought, just because I was curious, that I'd list some things about me. Kind of like taking roll in my own life, keeping score and making careful notation of the squishy areas, the dark and crumbly corners, the gooey centers that I might want to clean up a bit.
I am, of course, a daughter and a wife and a mother and a step mother and a step daughter and a granddaughter (all deceased now, sadly), a sister and a half sister and a niece and an aunt. I often feel as if I do none of those roles very well.
I am a former ballet dancer and ballet teacher. I am a long time lover of I Love Lucy and Big Love, and Call the Midwife.
I am a reported "Wild Woman" - for real and for serious, someone at my husband's job said that recently - who loves to go to bed early with a good book. During my life, I have worked at a computer programming company, several dance schools, JC Penney's, an oceanfront tourist store, the school cafeteria, and multiple online companies.
I love fast car chase movies and sappy love stories. I love Madea movies and mysteries and really don't care for geeky things - MST3000, Star Wars, Star Trek and Dr. Who are not on my most watched list. I also don't watch cartoons. I'm a sucker for Vin Diesel and don't really find Ryan Reynolds all that attractive. (I know. You've just decided to quit reading.)
I love Mexican restaurants and Italian food. Don't like sushi and can't stand calamari. I love history and the study of the English language.
I love coffee (duh!) and still drink soda, even though I know it's horrible for me. I like martinis and whiskey and will only drink milk in coffee. I eat pizza at least once a week. I love to cook and to bake and am super snobby about food. I don't like fast food and really enjoy both roller and ice skating.
I don't exercise as much as I should. I am, at heart, lazy.
I fell out of a tree when I was 17 and spent a few days in the hospital. I have been in 5 or 6 car accidents. I have given birth 6 times, 4 of them with no pain medication and one with minimal and one doped up to my eyeballs. I've torn my calf muscle twice and had Stage 2 melanoma removed five years ago. I have five tattoos and love to serve funeral ministry and help clean the church (almost) weekly.
I hate being lied to. I have a very loud, embarrassing laugh that I don't use nearly enough and if I smile just right, I have a tiny dimple - but no one ever sees it because I smile very little. I have a super fierce case of Bitchy Resting Face. If you need help, I will bend over backwards to help you, go out of my way to do things to make your life a bit nicer and easier and let you know you are loved - but treat me or my family rudely and I'll go out of my way to avoid even looking at you.
I've been told I'm super nice and kind and thoughtful and bitchy and mean and unkind. I love social media and love my job and hope like hell I'm going to keep it because it's the absolute best blend of all of my favorite parts of my life.
I really don't like chocolate all that much, don't care for flowers, and am missing the animal gene. I have no desire to pet your dog, cuddle with your cat, or play with the gerbil.
I'm totally an enigma.