August 31, 2011

Aging: it ain't for sissies

So remember yesterday when I wrote that I don't post everyday because I want my posts to be of good quality, and at present, I just can't seem to churn that out on a daily basis?  And then I added that bit about not needing to know the gritty details of folks' everyday lives?  (Did that sound as pompous and snotty yesterday as the paraphrasing of it does today?)

Well, today Karma said, "Girl, you think you have it all figured out, huh?  Well, check this out!"  (Because Karma is a sassy African American woman, as we all know.) 

It was a rough day, and my BFF (who happens to be a therapist) Shrinky Dink is asleep, as all sane people in my time zone should be.  So I'm gonna write a therapeutic "good enough" blog post--complete with the gritty details of my everyday life.  Thereby contradicting myself. 

I submit that contradicting myself is okay for exactly two reasons.

1.  I am a woman. 

2.  I am bipolar.

And both conditions have changeability as a symptom.

Anyhoo, here is what happened today:

My grandma's hospice nurse told me that it isn't safe for her to live alone anymore.  


Perhaps I shouldn't have been surprised by this.  My grandma was diagnosed with lung cancer last October.  She has COPD, still smokes, and has no intention thankyouverymuch of stopping. She also has congestive heart failure and has had at least 3 heart attacks.  And she's had several mini-strokes, and now has vascular dementia because of the damage caused by them.  Considering all this, it's amazing she's still as feisty (and vertical!) as she is.

As her caregiver, I've been doing everything I can to keep her living independently in her own apartment.  It's what she wants.  It's what I promised her I'd do.  She's had hospice care twice before, but "graduated" out of it by not deteriorating quickly enough for Medicare's rules.  Things have changed for her over the past month. 

My grandparents are on the far right.

Today was the initial evaluation for her 3rd stint on hospice.  I was told she will qualify, but because of her worsening dementia, I need to find her another place to live.  She needs to be somewhere where people will check on her frequently, will help her to the dining room, and will assist her with hygiene.  The hospice nurse said she thinks she's beyond the level of assisted living, but that I might be able to find an assisted living place that offers the amount of care she needs. 

As a gerontology student in college, I worked and volunteered in nursing homes.  There are good ones out there, but in my opinion, they are the exception rather than the rule.  I always told my grandparents that they wouldn't have to go to a nursing home. 

But I didn't consider that dementia could be a part of the picture.


Dementia changes things.  It's worsening.  And I know it's not something I can handle on my own.  With dementia, there are safety concerns, self-neglect, personality changes.  Sometimes when I call my grandma to remind her to take the medicines I arranged for her, she tells me she already took them.   I ask her to double-check, and she says she does.  The next day I visit her and the medicine is still there.  Increasingly, she hasn't been answering the phone--even though she's pretty much stopped leaving her apartment.  The other night I went to check on her when I couldn't reach her by phone, and I found her holding her bloody elbow.  She'd fallen.  Yesterday I called her to remind her about medicines and she told me she was sitting on the floor.  She never sits on the floor.  It's too hard for her to get back up.  I don't know if she fell again.  She's been weak lately, so I took her to the doctor Wednesday.  On Sunday she asked me when we were going to the doctor about her weak legs.  I reminded her that we'd gone on Wednesday, and that afterward we'd gone to the hospital for x-rays.  She didn't remember any of it. 

You might be thinking that the solution is to move her in with us.  We did that once before.  She lived with us for a year after my grandpa died.  It was an incredibly stressful year.  She was miserable.  We were miserable.  She does better in her own space. 


My grandma has always been feisty, but dementia has added a little meanness to the mix.  She yelled at me yesterday for cleaning her cat's litter box, even though she hasn't cleaned it once since she adopted the cat.  (My mom and I have been taking turns.)  Sometimes she's mean to my son too.  She's called him a weakling and she gets mad when we ask her not to smoke while we're visiting her because it triggers Nature Boy's asthma.  I once left him with her while I ran to get her something from the store.  She lit a cigarette and started smoking.  Nature Boy said, "Hey Meemaw, will you please not smoke while I'm here?  I have asthma."  She yelled at him, "Get your ass outside then!" 

Even though I tell him it's the dementia, it still affects him.  He's never known the sweet, nurturing grandma that I grew up with.  Because he's homeschooled, he has to go with me when I take care of her.  If she moved back in with us, he'd be around her 24/7.  He'd be affected by the things she'd say and do.  And by how stressed out I'd be.  And who would be with her when my son and I go to our homeschool activities, to the library, or to medical appointments?  Nature Boy has already experienced losing his great-grandpa to cancer in our home.  What would be the impact of having to go through that again?

So I'm going to try to find my grandma an assisted living facility.  She will fight the move.  I just pray I can find one that meets her needs.  I love her.  And the thought of her in a nursing home, possibly confused and afraid, breaks my heart.

August 29, 2011

Confessions 'n' crap

Forgive me readers, for I have sinned.  It has been 2 weeks since my last post of substance.

Furthermore, I confess to committing one of the cardinal sins of blogging:  not posting often enough in general.  A quick scan of online advice for creating successful blogs makes it clear that frequent posting (daily is ideal) is key to amassing a large readership.  It's right up there with having interesting content, an easy to navigate layout, and pimping yourself out networking via sites like BlogFrog. 

I call this nothing more than poppycock.  Ballyhoo.  Malarkey.  Hogwash.  Balderdash.  And 14 other synonyms for "nonsense" that can be found at thesaurus.com.

If I want to know every little daily happening in folks' lives, I'll check out my Facebook homepage.  Curious about the complexions of your friends?  Facebook is the place to be.  ("I've got a giant zit!")  Looking for drama to spice up your day?  Facebook.  "I hate my new boss!  I'm about to go off on this chick!"  Wondering about beverage options?  "At Starbucks."   

When I read blogs, I'm looking for quality posts.  I want to read something that touches me or makes me laugh.  And dishing that up on a daily basis is a tall order.  To bloggers who can do it, I give you major props.  I, however, can only churn 'em out 2 or 3 times a week.  If that. 

I hope they're worth the wait.

P.S.  MAN, I totally have an awesome/crude poem to share with you, but now isn't a good time.  I'm doing a guest post somewhere else in Blogland and I might have an influx of conservative droppers-in who would definitely not appreciate it.

P.S.S.  Eh, so what. 

P.S.S.S.  My dearest mother-in-law, you might want to stop reading right here.

P.S.S.S.S.  This poem must be read aloud, with ghetto flair.

Dookie
By Danielle, circa the '90s

Wet dookie, dry dookie.  Sumpthin' crawled up yo' ass and died dookie.
Big Dookie, small dookie.  I shouldn't have ate it all dookie.
Slow dookie, fast dookie.  It tore up my ass dookie.
Short dookie, long dookie.  All the toilet paper's gone dookie.
Solid dookie, runny dookie.  Even yo' granny thinks it's funny dookie.
Brown dookie, black dookie.  It's stuck in my crack dookie.
Pebble dookie, log dookie.  Somebody stepped on a frog dookie.
Your dookie, my dookie.  Bulge out yo' EYE dookie.
Sweet dookie, smelly dookie.  Come from the pit o' your belly dookie.
Nice dookie, rank dookie.  Sumpthin' really STANK dookie.
Night dookie, morn dookie.  Is that a piece of corn? dookie.
No dookie, some dookie.  My butt is getting numb dookie.
Yellow dookie, green dookie.  That's the biggest turd I've ever seen dookie.

______________________________________________________
  
Now that I've completely destroyed any chance of being asked to be a leader in my Christian homeschool group, I'll share that during college, I was frequently asked to recite this poem at social events.  Yes, impromptu poetry readings by moi.  This is what a college education gets you, people!

P.S.S.S.S.S.  I did an online search for a funny dookie-related image to post.  I don't recommend it.

August 25, 2011

Just a sangin'

In the interest of shameless self-promotion and the convenience of having all my singing videos in one place, I've created a Youtube channel.  Nature Boy, being my son, also wants a forum for the display of his awesomeness.  So he plans to record some songs for the channel too.  It remains to be seen whether or not my paranoia will allow the posting of my son's videos to Youtube.  (There are some CRAZIES out there, y'all.)

Here's my aptly named channel:  MsCrazyPapers   

August 18, 2011

Of elder rage, cat crap, and fisticuffs

I've had my suspicions, but it was confirmed today that everything and everyone on God's green earth is engaged in a conspiracy to prevent me from being relaxed and well-rested, thereby robbing me of the little youth and sanity I have left.  Seemingly unrelated incidents occur at regular intervals, perpetrated by both living beings and inanimate objects.  It's enough to make an already paranoid girl start considering life in a bunker.

Today's bombardment started this morning at the unholy hour of 7:30am.  "7:30 isn't early," you say.  "Why, by 7:30 I've showered, fed my family a home-cooked breakfast, run 3 miles, and done 2 loads of laundry!"  To you I say, Shut up and make me some coffee because you are now my personal slave

Anyhoo, neigh on half past seven, I was happily dreaming about chocolate and beady earrings or somesuch, when I was jerked to awareness by a loud, insistent WAHHHHHN! sound.  I surveyed my surroundings via the bedroom window, but the perpetrator could not be identified.  No sooner had I drifted back to dreamland, than I was again awakened, this time by the ring of my cell phone.  It was the animal shelter's veterinary clinic calling to tell me that my grandma's cat was scheduled for a microchipping appointment this morning.  I informed the perky human alarm clock that we'd been told that the new cat was already microchipped, and that I was certain that we made no such appointment as I never would've agreed to a cat drop-off time in the very middle of my night's sleep.  "It's okay," she informed me.  "I was just calling to tell you that we are out of microchips.  Please have your grandma call us on Monday to see if we have more in."

As you might recall, waking me up with a phone call is a declaration of war in my book.


The day went downhill from there.  At a homeschool-related event, Nature Boy got into his third-ever fist fight.  (But one of the three fights was purely self-defense, so that doesn't count.  And the other one was a smackdown with Shrinky Dink's eldest, so that doesn't count either.)  So let me rephrase:  Nature Boy got into his FIRST-EVER fist fight today.  But it wasn't his fault-ish.  According to my perfect angel, a boy he's never met before kept harassing him, repeatedly coming up behind him and slamming him on the shoulders and yelling, "HEY!!!!" in his ear.  (Have to say, I think fists would be flying if someone was doing that to me too, but I digress.)

Nature Boy and Can't-Keep-Hands-To-Self (his Indian name) happened to go to the bathroom at the same time.  According to my son, this kid pushed him out of the way to try to beat him to the last available urinal.  Not to be out-peed, Nature Boy got there first and set about his task.  While Nature Boy was in this vulnerable position, the boy slammed his back twice more (to which my husband Tree Guy says he would have simply turned around and spread the "wealth").  My son finished up, turned around, and did a slam payback.  (The fault-ish part.)  This did not go over well with Octopus Boy.  Apparently he started swinging, which prompted Nature Boy to throw up his karate block.  When the other boy tried to kick him, Nature Boy blocked with one arm and punched him in the stomach with the other. 

The other boy's story is completely different, of course.  His version is that he'd been merely tapping my son lightly, and that someone must have bumped into him on the way to the urinal, inadvertently pushing him into my son.  Then someone else must have slammed my son on the shoulders whilst he peed, and unfortunately Fingers Mancini was blamed instead.  (He was framed.)  Next thing you know, my son whacked him in misdirected retribution.

Now I know these things happen with boys from time to time.  And of course they are both going to have a different recollection of events.  I was okay with this fact until the other mom involved said, "Well, my son is the one who got punched in the stomach," and, "That doesn't sound like something my son would do."  Mmmkay.


I like this mom otherwise, so I will let it pass.  It's annoying is all I'm saying. 

Later, Nature Boy and I headed over to my grandma's to bring her some groceries and eat lunch with her in her retirement community's dining room.  The meal began with the usual overt staring and whispers from the "Old Heifers", as my grandma calls them.  (The Old Heifers are a group of crabby old ladies who sit together at every meal and stare and make rude comments about others via stage whispers.  They tap each other and turn, as a group, to look at visitors with disapproval.  Your hopeful smile is repaid with angry grimaces.  It's just how they roll.  More about the Old Heifers in a future post.) 

Lunch proceeded normally, but it ended with the senior version of bumper cars.  A sweet old lady at the table next to ours mistakenly grabbed the wrong walker.  The walker's true owner yelled out, "Hey!  HEY!  That's MY walker!  You leave that right here because I NEED it!"  I got up to rescue the woman and joked, "So you've resorted to 'car' theft, have you?"  "Apparently so," she replied.  The woman proceeded to attempt to walker-jack the mode of transport of several other residents enduring, "HEY!  THAT'S MY WALKER!" all the while.  I tried to help her find her walker (it was black, she said) to no avail.  I looked for room numbers and name tags on the remaining walkers until one Old Heifer yelled at me: "HEY!  DON'T TOUCH THAT!  THAT'S MINE!"  Surely by now every grey hair in the place knew I was helping the poor walkerless woman find her walker, so the uproar was unnecessary.  I told the cranky senior-turned-toddler that if she wanted to keep that walker, she best get to walkin', 'cause we were in serious need of mobility aids UP IN HERE!

Disclaimer:  Before somebody calls Adult Protective Services on me, I want to clarify that the Old Heifer knew I was kidding with her.  I know this because she didn't run away.  I mean, if she thought I was serious, she surely woulda hotfooted it out of there, right? 

The Case of the Missing Walker was finally solved when there WERE no other possible walkers.  The walker in question was the only walker left.  And it was BLUE.  Risking life and limb, I pushed the lone walker to the woman and asked if it was hers.  "No," she replied. "I don't use a walker."

WHAT?!!!!!

Come to find out, the little old lady wasn't looking for her walker, she was looking for her friend's walker.  That's why she didn't know what color it was.  Crisis averted.

After all the old folk drama, we decided to head up to my grandma's room to visit this new cat of hers.  He's a 7 year old white and cream cat, front-declawed as we discovered today.  He's super affectionate--exactly the kind of companionship my grandma needs.  However.  When I got there, he had no food or water in his bowls and the closet that's set aside for his loo was like one giant litter box.  He didn't poo on the floor, mind, but my grandma obviously hadn't scooped said poop all week.  I could not believe the amount of scat that cat begat.  The cat's scat smelled like a sewage vat.  (Dr. Seuss tangent!)

As Shrinky Dink well knows (because I cat-sit for her), I do not enjoy cleaning up after cats.  I'm a dog person through and through.  The scent of cat poo and pee makes me dry heave.  For real.  I needed a small shovel to clean up the poop closet.  Then I had to vacuum up all the extra litter that my grandma's cat felt the need to shovel out hither and yon.  All she has is a tiny stick vac, and it was not up to the task.  I had to empty that sucker 5 times before I got most of the litter cleaned up.  I couldn't get into the corners because the vacuum has no crevice attachment and I sure as Jello wasn't gonna get on my hands and knees and scrape up the errant granules.  (Not even for you, Meemaw.)

All in all, I spent 2 hours cleaning up the place only to be told at approximately 119 minutes in that my grandma's housekeeper hadn't been coming in to clean.  AHA!  No wonder it was so dirty.  Imma tell you right now, it was not the day to be found slacking on the housekeeping duties, y'all.  I got my sweaty self to the phone and called the manager.  He bodily tracked down the cleaning lady (bless him) and discovered that my grandma's apartment had been scheduled to be cleaned on Monday.  I took 5 bags of trash out that mofo, so there had been nary a housekeeper in there for a long time.  And that's what my grandma told me.  She said the housekeeper never comes.  I thought she was just forgetting, what with the dementia and all.  But now I think she's right.  The manager told me the housekeeper would come to my grandma's apartment shortly, so I left the dirty dishes and headed to the pet store for auto-feeders for the cat's food and water, as well as a litter box with a lid.  Finally, Nature Boy and I headed home.  

As soon as I reached the blessed coolness of our house (because our one working car doesn't have air conditioning), I laid down for a nap.  And I swear, a stupid FLY kept waking me up buzzing around my ears.  (Conspiracy!)  Then Tree Guy called to tell me that he was on his way home.  And immediately after we hung up, my grandma called me in tears saying she couldn't find her d#*% cat!  (She lives on the 3rd floor, y'all.  The cat's not going anywhere.)  I gave her a few more places to look and we hung up.  She called back a few minutes later to say that she found him in her closet.  Sigh.        

Tree Guy got home from work and being the wonderful, supportive wife that I am, I proceeded to tell him about my hellish day.  And he had The Nerve to balk at my assertion that people shouldn't be calling me at 8am.  He criticized my "night owlish" schedule.  (As if that's the problem.)  Right or wrong, I said, "Tree Guy, do you REALLY want to be starting stuff with me right now?  Are you SURE it's in your best interest?  I have been yelled at, shat upon, and lied to all in one day.  I suggest you just listen--silently."  He rolled his eyes and replied, "Whatever."  (He stopped the yapping though.  And he cooked dinner.  I'm just saying.) 

The rest of the evening went smoothly.  Until I called my grandma to remind her to take her bedtime medicines and she informed me that the housekeeper never did stop by today. 

Tomorrow?  It's on.

August 15, 2011

The Ride

My mom wrote this poem in memory of my brother, Collin
______________________________________________________


The Ride

'Twas a grey, windy day on the prairie.
The old bull had covered some land
To see for himself a new legend;
To pay tribute to that breed of man.

"He was one with the bull!" said one fella.
"Unbelievable!" another replied.
So I came when I heard
And old hand speak the words,
To give you a riderless ride.

It's part of a family tradition
To honor fine talent that's died.
Knowing how very important
Life is for that eight second ride.

So long ol' son, and we'll see ya!
C'mon and cover this bull!
Smell the resin and leather!  Call for the gate!
The arena in Heaven is full!

The ride was now over;
The bull gave his all.
He'd put the boy's spirit to test.
With a tear in his eye, he looked to the sky
And said, "Goodnight," to the best of the best.

_________________
Kathy Casey

August 12, 2011

33 Years Ago

This is a post about my brother, written by my mom. 
______________________________________________________ 


I apologize in advance and warn you this will be long. Some of this may be dark. Truth is like that at times.

We all met Collin, a little wrinkly guy as you would imagine, in 1978 at Scott Air Force Base in Shiloh, IL. That was one wild ambulance ride!! Every bump caused another contraction and the horrified look on the EMTs face told me this was.... special. They were afraid we didn't have time to get to the hospital. I was just 23 years old. My daughter Danielle was 4. Collin came in a record 45 minutes cause that's how I roll. He came that quick, and then they kept him from me for almost 6 hours. Times were different then. And I wasn't as bold as I was to become. I kept saying, "Well, if he's okay, why can't I see him?" They kept saying that everything was okay!! Finally, at which point I can't recall, they told me he was born with his umbilical cord around his neck and head. It caused a blood vessel to burst at the top of his nose. He always had that bluish tinge forever after. And I now know he was being tested for neurological damage, etc. I will always wonder if the whisking away, instead of lying on me, was a sort of foundational crack for what was to come.

His father, from whom I was separated when I got pregnant, (ON the pill. Again.) abandoned him before he was born. A couple of days before he took his life, Collin wrote to a girl and spoke of the pain he still carried for that rejection. With all the family therapy, he never spoke of it in front of me. Ever.

Collin was a stressed out little guy for the first couple of months. Born to a chronically stressed out mother. Colicky. Yay! Checked him out thoroughly at the base; not lactose intolerant like the first kid, just ill at ease. I was blessed with 2 very beautiful children. Unfortunately, my boy also got my naturally curly hair and freckles. He hated both. As a teen, it was a buzz cut. PERIOD. He was such a gentle soul from the first. I worried about him in a harsh world. Turned out I was right.



He was always in his sister's shadow. He was extremely photogenic and had a good look. It was the 80s in Dallas. Everybody had an agent. I worked a fair amount. I worked as a part-time receptionist for the talent agency to pay for my kids' acting lessons and casting events and costs. Anyway, Dani would walk into an audition, shake the people's hands and charm the pants off of them. She declined two commercials and then decided she'd do it. Collin couldn't get through the initial interview. I wouldn't call him a shy child but a reticent one. Music was my thing and of course, he heard Dani and I with his own ears. I now think he didn't even try because of us, and that makes me a little sad. Hindsight is better than 20/20. Sometimes it's like a guided missile.




He was smart but didn't apply himself. A lot of moms hear that. Clowned around in school. (My genes there.) Too small for sports, he just could not find his niche. Never once had a fight. He got bullied. I always put a stop to it first thing. He really could have been hurt for his size. I, a single mom, would seek out the neighborhood bully and then promptly cause him to think I was totally insane and he should not even glance at my son. It always worked. I actually got the idea from an episode of "Happy Days". (Richie had to go all whoop ass at Arnold's because Fonzie was out of town when this rumble came up. He knew that he, Potsie and Ralph Malph were no match for the hoods. So Richie convinced them he was a raging lunatic. Worked for both of us.)




Single parenting, with an absent parent no less, isn't pretty. A lot of it is Kamikaze Parenting. At best, the term single parenting is a misnomer. You're a double parent. (PSA here for young girls thinking they want a baby.) It would take too much of your time to explain it if you have been fortunate and smart enough to plan and live a life the right way. But that little boy adored me. I felt it. Later, I realized it made him worry about me too. I still wonder if the taking away at birth and then his father's total lack of scruples didn't imprint him in some way. He was always afraid something was going to happen to me. Always. He took on way too much for a child. I had to hide the bills from him or he would ask, "Mom, can we pay that? That's a lot of money." I would tell him that it was for the big people to worry about in a family. But I am now smiling because when he made it to middle school, he had champagne tastes. The right shoes, Bugle Boy jeans....NEVER asked about money then. LOL




Although I will never understand it, he died living the best success in his 15 years. He was an Honor Roll student, taking Latin no less. He was Chapel Clerk at Cal Farley's Boys Ranch where he went to school and rode bulls. He had his first girlfriend! He was a faith-filled born again Christian, and kids looked up to him. He was points favorite for Rookie Bullrider of the Year and couldn't wait to win. He was a guide when folks would come to tour the Ranch, had a part time job, and had $400 in the bank saved for Christmas presents. Sending him to the Ranch broke my heart. It was the only way to save him from the streets though. I knew it then and I still know it today. My only consolation is that he totally fit in. Found that niche and knew he measured up. When talking to God about Collin, I said, "If this is how it all turns out then it was all worth it." Dani was doing well and I was at the edge of actually getting my foot in the door in Nashville.



He found himself and was riding high in October 1993. He died in November. On Thanksgiving. It's never been the same. At first, it was the post-traumatic stress. Then it just became my habit to stay to myself and get quiet while allowing the day to pass. But while we had him, he blessed us and taught us how to be better people. He wasn't perfect but he was ahead of the pack in humanity. Collin would have been 33 this year. Today, actually.  He's been gone now longer than he was here, and we all miss him terribly.

Go hug your kids.

August 10, 2011

Poll alert! Make me better, people.

I just want to take a moment to thank you all for reading my blog.  It makes me all warm and fuzzy and stuff.  Really.  How awesome is blogging, y'all?  It can make your (sometimes not so) average wife and mom feel like a superstar.  (Or maybe that's just me.)

I need some new inspiration, so I want to hear from you.  What features would you like to see here?  Something new?  More (or less) of something that I already do?  I created a poll over to the right there with a few ideas to get you started.  I would've listed more options, but the poll thingy wouldn't let me.  (Nazi poll thingy!) 

If you have additional ideas, please post them in the comments section.

Thanks!  Mwah!




August 08, 2011

Fashion Pshmashion

I recently read this awesome post about a fellow homeschooling mama's decision to get dreadlocks, and it made me think about my own fashion sense (or lack thereof). 

I have exactly zero interest in fashion.

I could blame this on the fact that I'm a curvy girl and it is annoyingly difficult to find clothes that fit well.  But I don't think that's it.  I just see clothing as utilitarian--as a basic canvas or backdrop with faces and hair and accessories (earrings!) as the focal points.  That's why Living the Simple Life author Elaine St. James's idea of creating a personal "uniform" appeals to me.  I read her book about 10 years ago, and it changed how I shop for clothes.

She decided that she was tired of the endless choices in clothing stores.  Like many women, she bought separates here and there and ended up with a closet full of clothes--and nothing to wear.  So she decided to take some time to come up with her own personalized uniform.  She thought about what her favorite colors are, what silhouettes she likes the best, what materials she prefers.  And she uses those parameters to limit her new clothing choices. 

I loved this idea and decided to do my own wardrobe sleuthing.  Here's what I came up with:

1. I have a lot of shirt-related rules.  I'm very picky about prints.  Shrinky Dink is slowly helping me overcome my print phobia, but mostly I choose solids.
2.  I am also particular about sleeves.  Long sleeves make me feel claustrophobic, but I have man arms so I need some sleevage.  I like a good short sleeve--no elastic or cap sleeves for me.  
3. I prefer v-necks because they make me look less squatty.    
4. My favorite colors to wear are purple, blue, salmon, and brown. 
5. I look best in empire or A-line shirts and dresses.
6. I will never compromise on comfort--period.
7. I like the touch (the feel) of cotton.
8. I don't do dry cleaning or hand washing.  I just say no to high maintenance clothes.

Some of you might find these rules limiting, but I find them a relief.  They narrow down my options, giving me more time to focus on the part of shopping that I enjoy--finding great deals!

My daily uniform now consists of a colorful v-neck t-shirt (fall/winter/spring) or tank top (summer) with jeans or capri pants (a cellulite-camouflaging alternative to shorts), and Crocs, Simple Shoes, mules, or flip flops.  Earrings are a must.  (I really like colorful beaded earrings!)  And I wear colorful scarves in the cooler months.  I like having a couple cute and functional purses too.  (But in typical OCD fashion, they must be the PERFECT purses, meeting all my purse-related requirements!)


Because I am drawn to simplicity and order, I also limit the amount of clothing I have.  I have about 20 shirts (including tank tops) and 5 pairs of season-specific bottoms at any given time.  I have 8 pairs of shoes, 2 nightgowns, 1 coat, 2 jackets, 2 winter hats, and 1 summer hat.  I LOVE having a limited wardrobe.  It makes getting dressed so simple!      
 
Are we now all in agreement that I'm nuts?  Good.

Now that you know all about my weird sensible clothing policy, I want to hear about yours.  Do you have a daily uniform?  What do you look for when you shop for clothes?  Got any clothing rules?

P.S. Click here to make your own Southpark avatar!

August 05, 2011

Much ado about nothing

Remember when I told you that I'm working on some songs just fer you?  I shall present you with one in a moment.

But first I'm going to get all vulnerable on you and confess that I am actually quite performance-shy. There are several reasons for this.  If you are not yet convinced that I am, in fact, crazy, this might tip the scale in my favor. 

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Top 5 Reasons I'm Afraid to Sing in Public

1. I had a crooked front tooth as a kid. I was very self-conscious about it. I didn't like people watching me while I sang because as all young girls know(!), people are constantly looking for and judging your flaws. 


2.  I've always been chubby.  I've ranged from curvy to plump to steroid-induced Jabba the Hutt.  As much as I'm all, "Screw convention!" in other ways, I can't seem to make peace with my fatness.  Unfortunately, I do not wave my fat flag proudly.  So having people stare at me while I sing is uncomfortable. 

3.  I'm afraid I'll mess up.  This is directly related to a middle school mishap in which I forgot the lyrics during a solo.  I didn't play it off and continue singing.  No, I got red-faced and left the room.  Embarrassing!!!      

4.  My mom informed me a few years ago that I inherited a big Jewish nose from my maternal grandma.  I really didn't notice its size or its ethnic heritage before she mentioned it.  Since then, as if to mock me, big freckles have congregated there like little exclamation points.  "Look at me!" they yell in unison.  This too makes me feel self-conscious while performing.  (Especially because I tend to flare my nostrils when I sing.  Watch and see.)



Do these freckles make my nose look fat?

5.  Thanks to my brother-in-law, I've discovered that I make weird faces when I sing.  Dramatic/earnest faces.  The one (and only) time I showed him a video of me singing he exclaimed, "Make love to that camera, girl!"  He's kooky so you'd think I would have laughed it off.  But noooo.  My neurosis overcame my sense of humor and now I'm self-conscious about yet another thing.

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Once a year or so, I decide to face my fear and sing karaoke or record a video to share.  I can handle these two things because:

1.  At karaoke, everybody's drunk and I'll probably never see them again anyway.

2.  With a video, I can edit and redo it and in general, obsess over it all I want before presenting it to the masses.  Plus, no one is looking at me while I do it. 

Neuroses aside, here's "When I Fall in Love" from Celine Dion's 1993 album, Color of My Love


video

August 03, 2011

Drawerings: a sampling of my creative genius

It occurred to me tonight that I can write a blog post without illustrating it.  Imagine!  I confess that sometimes I don't post for awhile because I'm busying making drawerings to illustrate future posts.  It might surprise you to learn that my high class artwork takes a lot of time to do.  Like an hour per drawering.

There are three reasons for this.

1.  I am an artiste.  And as an artiste, I mustn't rush the creative process.  I am but a conduit for this greatness.  Mine is simply to wait, silently, as this amazing art creates itself.

2.  I usually have no idea what I'm going to draw when I begin.

3.  I have OCD.  Therefore, everything must be darn near perfect according to my idiosyncratic self-made rules of the day.  Not a cartoonized hair out of place, I tell you.

Sometimes I can't get my drawering to fit my standards of cartoon perfection, and they just stay like this for a long time.

 
Sometimes I get requests for cartoonized portraits, which adds extra pressure.  (Cartoons are serious, people.)  One time I got a request for portraits of three generations of women in a family.  Mom, daughter, and granddaughter.  Fortunately they resemble each other!












And you know, after growing up with exactly zero drawing talent, it makes sense that I'm a little picky about my cartoons.  For the first time in my life, my drawerings actually resemble what I'm attempting to draw!  (Thank you, technology!)  Prior to discovering the Paint program, this was as good as it got.


I like to call this one Hand.


And I'm proud to say that I've come a long way.  When I started using the Paint program, my technology-assisted drawerings didn't look much better than my doodles.

Six months ago




Now*



But don't despair!  With countless hours of wasted time sitting in front of your computer as dishes and laundry pile up, you too can achieve this level of artistic skill!  You too can field requests for free artwork!  You too can get the hairy eyeball from your husband when he comes home from work and you're still in your nightgown!

Or you can just keep coming here and basking in the glory of my creation.

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*I drew this passive-aggressive cartoon for a blog friend over at The Zany Housewife.  She's hilarious.  And really, her husband brought it upon himself...