Because I Could…

My office held its traditional monthly birthday celebration this morning. My best friend made the cake – an intoxicating combination of chocolate, raspberry, and red wine. 

I couldn’t contain myself. I blame it on being about two days from turning 50. So, THERE.

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Counting Down…

137 days left.

I have to get myself on some kind of plan, or I’m going to be quite disappointed when I reach age 50 in December. Right now, I weigh the most I have since right before my hysterectomy at age 38. Actually, if the scales are telling the truth (which, unfortunately, they usually are), I weigh more.

Ugh.

So, it’s time to get a game plan going here. I need an overhaul. A complete overhaul — mind, body, and spirit. That means, I’m going to have to get serious and focus, which is often hard to do because there are so many shiny, neat things out there to distract me from my purpose. And ice cream. And comfy couches. And exciting new projects.

This is going to be a challenge, and I’m going to need some support. And some ass-kicking. I’m going to have to make some decisions that require me to let go of some things I had wanted to take on as projects – it’s time to figure out which of those will best serve my goal… and which need to be packed away for another time.

I’m a bit unsettled about this but know it needs to be done. My life and my health in this next chapter of life depend on it.

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Besides, when December 10 rolls around, I want to be able to KICK… STRETCH…and KICK, just like Sally O’Malley. Hell, I might even buy myself an outfit and purse just like hers to wear that day.

She’s my heroine. I just love her so. 

 

Decisions…decisions…

It’s the eve of my 49th birthday, and I’m sitting at home. I won’t tell you exactly WHERE I’m sitting, but safe to say it’s a location that we menopausal types visit FREQUENTLY, usually in the middle of the night.

Yes, I do some of my best thinking and writing there. If your stomach can’t handle this image, then kindly stop reading. 🙂

It’s been a week full of ups and downs – tentative job offer, verbal acceptance, dog injures leg, discovery that job isn’t quite what it was made out to be, gut starts talking (loudly), up all night, dog’s leg not better so off to vet, make the decision to decline job offer, feeling relieved about that, eat Chinese for dinner because it’s easy, dog won’t calm down and yelps when he tweaks leg again, I’m feeling panic start to build. Dinner gives me gas.

So, here I am. Safe within the walls of my Fortress of Porcelain Solitude. And I begin thinking…and writing what I’m thinking about.

It’s the eve of my 49th birthday. Twenty years ago, I’d be out on the town, keeping a good pace to make it to midnight to ring in the special day.

Right now, I’m sitting here debating whether to go hear some music and have a beer…

or pluck my latest chin hairs.

 

On Approaching Forty-Eight

Forty eight.

Age sixteen… for the third time.

The seventeenth anniversary of being 21.

 

Four dozen years, all packaged up in stretch denim,

Over-sized sweater, and warm fuzzy socks.

The day’s sensible shoes, taking rest in the corner.

At this point, comfort over fashion is key.

At least it is in her world.

 

Sitting at the keyboard,

Remembering her past,

Dreaming of her future.

Interrupted by the present…

Reality, asking if she’s going to do the laundry.

 

The spin cycle begins.

What have I accomplished?

Have I made the right decisions?

Will I ever be able to retire?

Should I throw in the towel?

Who the hell am I, and what do I want?

 

Stop.

Take a deep breath.

Remember what the chiropractor said.

And the counselors – all three of them.

Time to strengthen. Time to heal.

 

Forty-eight years.

Age is nothing but a number.

Time to start living your life.

Lots of questions to be answered,

So put on those stretchy pants and get to it.

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Star-Spangled… Me?

When I was young, I spent lots of time at Granny’s house.  She was a career public school music teacher and, after retirement, taught voice and piano privately. Even had a “musical kindergarten” called Rhythm Band. In her small town, everyone knew her as the spunky, creative… and slightly nutty…  lady who brought joy and beautiful music – and a bit of the unexpected – to nearly every holiday gathering in town.

Aside from Christmas… and Halloween… and Valentine’s Day… well, hell, she loved every holiday, who am I kidding? It seemed that July 4, 1976, was a challenge for her.  She went nuts, decorating EVERYTHING in sight with red, white, and blue, and honing up on her piano versions of all things patriotic.  It was insane but really amusing to watch.

Tonight, thumbing through a box of old photos, I came across one that truly represented just how geared up she was for our 200th birthday celebration. Okay, so let’s build a giant birthday cake out of boxes, wipe out the local dollar store of its miniature flags, stick the thing in the back yard, and get the oldest grandkid to dress up like Uncle Sam to pose for pictures.

Geez, the other two grandkids were BOYS, for crap’s sake!  At least she didn’t make me wear a beard. Well, they were only about four and two at the time… they weren’t tall enough to peer over the top layer yet.

Me 1976

Yep, that’s me.  Nine years old.  The curse of being the oldest was always serving as “guinea pig” for photo shoots like this. I think she secretly enjoyed this – thank goodness she never showed it to any of my friends. Ugh.

Truth is, this year, I would have given my left, er, ovary, to have climbed up on that damn cake, listening to her direct with more finesse than a Hollywood producer, “Now, wave the flags and smile, Leigh,” as she snapped the photo.  I would have sung every patriotic song I knew, if it would have meant a little more time with her.

Well, except for that awful “God Bless the USA” song.  Forgive me — if you were subjected to that song as often as I was as a kid, you’d feel the same way.  Seriously, you would. (Sorry, Granny.)

July 4, or any holiday for that matter, doesn’t quite have the same sparkle as it did when she was in charge of making them fabulous.

Happy (and not so Happy) Birthday Memories

"Girl Tysor" It started out with this little card.  I was born on the afternoon of December 10, 1966  – apparently, pretty tiny thing — and my left hip was dislocated.  Doctor said that the ball and socket joint hadn’t formed properly, so for the first year or so, I was told that a special “parachute-like” contraption had to be worn to help that set properly.  Seems to me, I remember dad telling me that I even learned to crawl and walk with it.  Explains that funny “duck walk” thing I have going on.
first birthdayOf course, it’s not surprising that I don’t remember my first birthday.  I do vaguely remember the house we lived in — it was just a few miles from my grandparents.  We lived there until I was about three.  One winter, there was a tremendous snowfall that made the pine trees bend over to touch the ground.  I remember seeing pictures of me and my parents playing in the front yard and building a snowman.

(By the way, don’t you just love my Pops’ shoes? I’ve always had a thing for Hush Puppies loafers…)

sixth birthdayAs a kid, having a birthday two weeks before Christmas kinda sucked.  You always got the “since we’re coming down for Christmas, we’ll just bring your birthday presents then.”  But for my sixth birthday, Momma and Granny let me pick whatever decorations I wanted — I chose pink cups and plates with panda bears on them… and a cake with Santa and Mrs. Claus.  The coolest thing I remember about that day was picking out my very first wristwatch at the Denton Drug Store.  I picked out a Minnie Mouse watch with a yellow band.  I wore it EVERYWHERE  — even when I took a bath…which explains why it no longer works.  But I still have it.

Then, there were the “birthdays gone horribly wrong” — the sleepover guest from my 9th or 10th birthday who peed in my bed, and the 15th birthday party where my friend secretly invited the school bus driver on which I had a tremendous crush (when he asked me how my driver’s license test went, and I told him I had only gotten my LEARNER’s PERMIT, the look on his face told me he was just as mortified as I was).  Trying to figure out who managed to pry the shot glass from my just-turned-23-years-old hands and tucked me in bed (I woke up in a Harvey Gant for US Senate t-shirt) and hoping to GOD it was my sister.  And finally, the 39th birthday party where my (thankfully now) ex-husband decided to get so drunk that he passed out in the downstairs bathroom, and I ran in to find him face down, with his head almost BEHIND the toilet.  With my neighbor’s help, we put him on the sofa, and I spent the remainder of my birthday evening, watching to make sure he was okay.  The next morning, he promised he’d never drink like that again — he did, and I left him.  Best birthday present I’d had in a long time.

But let’s get back to the good times, shall we?

44th cake

Like the cake my (thankfully now and hopefully forever) husband made for me for my 44th birthday.  Actually, we were still dating at the time.  Word has it this was the “second attempt” at baking this cake.  It also nearly met an untimely end when he was trying to secretly transport it to the Japanese restaurant where we were celebrating.  I thought it was the most exquisite cake in the whole world… and I secretly hoped he’d be celebrating with me for years to come.

me and mick dec 10 2012

Then, there was last year. My 46th birthday.  It had been a rather difficult night.  My “bonus kids” had moved in with us on a permanent basis about two months earlier, and things weren’t going quite well.  I decided it was best if I went and sat on the front porch for a bit.  That night was unusually warm for December – I could go barefooted.  My best four-legged friend, Mick, came walking out and took his space right beside me.  He just sat there, as if to say, “It’s all going to be okay. I’m here if you need me.  Happy birthday.”

Mick left us and headed to the Bridge this July — he was a wonderful companion, and I miss him dearly.

So, how did the celebration of my 47th birthday go? Let me run it down for you:

  1. I woke up and was able to enjoy breakfast with my husband.
  2. I found a miniature rose plant, balloon and card on the hood of my VW, thanks to the hubs.
  3. I got an hour-long massage from the best massage therapist in the world, IMHO.
  4. I got my “hurr did” and had a little glass of wine.
  5. I stopped in my favorite store and got some new incense and some “Bliss Trip” herbal tea (good stuff, lemme tell ya!).
  6. I listened to my bonus son’s holiday middle school band concert.
  7. I received MANY well-wishes from friends and family today, and I’m most appreciative of EVERY one.

… and now, I’m spending some time, doing a little writing to clear out the noggin’ before heading to bed.  I ain’t getting any younger, you know.

But not before having a little bit of the key lime pie my Dad gave to me. (Yes, that’s Mister Rogers)

pie and mister rogers

An awesomely Happy Birthday for me.