Family life, Paleo-ish eating and Coping with Chronic Illness

Posts tagged ‘Giggling’

Epic Adventure with my Teenage Sons

When I was in college I roomed with my sister and my lifelong best friend.  They were responsible students.  They did their homework.  They studied for exams.  I just pretended to do those things.

At that age, and all the ages before that age, I mostly just wanted to have fun. Remember that song, “Girls Just Want to Have Fun?”  Yeah.  I wrote that.  Or, I could have, if someone else wouldn’t have thought of it first.

I always had good intentions.  I always meant to do my homework and study, but then someone would ask me to order pizza with them, or come to their dorm room and make prank calls. Classic 90’s entertainment. (Really.  IS your refrigerator running? I’d check it, if I were you).  Sure, I had a ton of homework that needed to be done, but how could I say no?  That seemed kind of rude.

You might be able to get away with not studying in high school, but in college it catches up with you.   It only took a few horrible grades before I started figuring out that being irresponsible was not bringing about desirable results.   I experienced my first steps towards being an adult during that phase of my life.

Now I’m a full fledged, card-carrying member of the adult race.  Like all the rest of the adults I know, almost every minute of my day is devoted to fulfilling my obligations.  I am not complaining.  I love this life.

But guess what?  Little, irresponsible, good-time-gal is still buried somewhere beneath my adult exterior.  She’s still ready to have fun whenever the opportunity presents itself.

Scott was scheduled to chaperon his Spanish students on a trip to  Costa Rica the week school got out.  Olivia was going to be at Church Camp the same week.  That meant Zeke, Eddie and I would be home alone.

My oldest sister, and her son were visiting one of my other sisters and her family  in Colorado Springs this same week.  That was fun just waiting to happen.  We made a pretty last minute decision to  hop in the car and drive to Colorado to join the party.  We left at 2:30 in the morning, and drove 16 hours each way.

I could tell some people who loved us were a little worried about this plan (those are a LOT of miles to cover with just one experienced driver).  I would guess that the car ride alone would have been worth the effort though.

My boys are 17 and 14.  They are rough and tumble boys, and they have everything in common with their rough and tumble Dad.  My boys and Scott have shared many road trips together going to various sporting events, and on missions trips.  I can tell when Scott and the boys return  that the time they spent together was the best stuff life has to offer.  I was hoping for the same.

Trapping your teenage sons in a small car with you for 16 hours is key to getting a conversation started.  This strategy did not disappoint.  I talked and listened to these young men for hours.  They had such interesting things to say.  They’re funny.

I learned more about their plans for the future.  We talked politics, faith and even about relationships with the opposite sex.  Not for very long about that.  That was their least favorite thing to talk about.

We missed Olivia and Scott  a lot.  I’m not going to lie.  We also enjoyed a road trip with a lead driver who keeps a little looser hold of the reins.  That’s right.  I’ve got Scott totally beat in the let’s just go with the flow department.  After we had been driving for several hours, one of the boys told me he had to go to the bathroom.  I said, “The tank isn’t empty though.  We have to stop when it’s empty, so we can fill it up.”

One of my sons responded, “Why can’t you just stop now, and fill it up even though it isn’t all the way empty?”

I thought about that for a while.  I said, “Because Dad?”

That’s when we decided to defy tyranny.   For the rest of the trip, when someone had to go to the bathroom, we stopped immediately.  I filled the gas tank up when it was  half empty and three-quarters empty.  First trip ever that no one had to cry in agony from extreme bladder holding.   Scott will shudder to hear of this complete mismanagement.  I liked being in charge.

We had ourselves some fun.  The boys were looking forward to spending time with their cousins.  If I gave my kids the choice between Disneyland, a major league baseball game, or being with their cousins, cousins would win every time.  Our kids have always loved their cousins.  When they lost one, they started loving them even more.


One of the boys’ cousins just graduated from college.  He’s joining the ranks of responsible adults.  Poor kid.  My boys and their  two cousins enjoyed three full days of non stop boy fun.  It was the perfect send off for their older cousin.  Hearing these four boys giggling and teasing each other made their moms happy. Did you know boys can giggle?  It’s a good sound.  All the driving was worth it.


Garden of the Gods


I was feeling good about being with my sisters too.  These are women who are easy to enjoy.  Don’t get me wrong.  We fight.  One time in Colorado I said something one of my sisters didn’t like.  She said she was going to give me the silent treatment.  That was the longest 60 seconds of my life.  She said that she hoped I learned my lesson.  I definitely did.




We spent a lot of time outside, and we saw a lot of pretty things.  I tried to take as many pictures as I could.  Boys aren’t very cooperative with that.  After the first day, they told me they wanted to be done posing for family portraits.  Fine.  They’re not very good at it anyway.  I am.


photo 2


My big girl job is promoting Wisconsin.  It’s easy, because I love Wisconsin.  Colorado also has my heart.  Pretty scenery and the outdoors make me happy.  The low humidity, bugless air, and commonly blue skies are so cooperative.  There wasn’t much reason to stay inside.

One day, one of my sisters and I were reading under a tree while the cousins played frisbee golf.   My sister left to use the bathroom, and  a man about my age approached.  He was dressed very  Coloradoee (real word).  Coloradians don’t try too hard.  That’s another reason I love it there.

He noticed my Wisconsin License plates.  He said, “Are you from Wisconsin?”

I said, “Yes.”

He took a drag of his cigarette.  As he moved closer, I noticed that he must have been wearing marijuana flavored cologne.

He told me that he moved from Wisconsin to Colorado 16 years ago.  He said he plays all year round: white water rafting, fly fishing, frisbee golf, skiiing.

I said, “That sounds so awesome!”

He told me that he works a little here and there, doing odd jobs to fund all of his play.  Mostly he just plays.   I believed him.  He definitely looked like my teenage nephew from Colorado.  Only this guy was trapped inside a 40 something year old body.

He said he found Wisconsin to be distasteful.  He said, “I left, and never looked back.  When I have gone back I see my friends from high school, and it’s like, dude, you’ve never even done anything with your life.”

I said, “For sure.  They probably just got married, had kids and are working hard to raise them.  Seems like a total waste. Some people just don’t get it.”

He said, “For sure, Dude.”

Then he invited our whole family to get a free frisbee golf lessons from him.

I loved this time with some of my family.   It’s true.  I am one of those poor suckers from Wisconsin who never did anything with their life.  But, I am getting better at recognizing an opportunity for fun when I see it.  I’m learning not to hesitate. You can only grab an opportunity while it’s there.  I’m glad I’m learning that.


miki and boys



Getting Older and Help From the Village

We’re going random again today.  That seems to work.  Just a few silly thoughts as they come to me.  Let’s start with this. If I have not thanked you already for reading my blog, I’d like to do that now.  I know you’re busy; I don’t take you for granted.

If we’re Facebook friends, you may have seen this picture I posted this week:

jeanne and miki


That is a picture of me singing with my oldest friend.  We met in the nursery at church when we were babies.   I think we were trying to look like “Charlie’s Angels” in this picture.  What I’m embarrassed about is how provocatively we dressed back then.   That’s just how we were; free love, and all that.  You can see my friend’s chin and forearms in that outfit, and that just doesn’t seem right.

I’m the one in the back.  I look like I’m wearing a shiny mushroom cap on my head.  That’s my hair.   Don’t try denying how good that looks.  It’s like a little mullet- mushroom, brought to you by Vidal Sassoon.

Do you remember when I told you I have some ADHD issues?  I told you that I’ve made it through life thanks to my sisters and girlfriends.  I definitely need to thank that little gal standing next to me in that picture for her assistance in my life. She is what you call a real friend. We went to college together, and she was always part best friend, part mom to me.  I love her.

In that picture we were a part of some performance at church.  They asked us to play our flutes.  I said yes, sounds good, except for I don’t know how to play the flute.  Yes. I carried a flute in a flute case to band with me every day at school.  I just didn’t ever use the flute, practice the flute, or know how to play the flute.  But, I did like the IDEA of playing the flute.  That should count for something.

Plus, I liked  the way my mushroom cap hair bounced  when I played.  It made me look professional.  I could really carry on; I would move forward and backward, like I was really feeling the music.   I wasn’t really playing, but I should get some credit for my acting.

I don’t really remember much of anything about the concert in this picture.  I only remember that I knew I could just move my fingers on the flute.  I knew that my friend would know our part for real.  She could play the real notes.  I know what you’re thinking.  Everyone should have a friend as good as me.

I’m sorry I volunteered for that flute duet.   I don’t know why I did.  You would think that someone like me would like being on a stage.  I don’t.  It’s a weird thing..  I will get up in front of people if I HAVE to, but only if you make me.  It’s not my favorite.

When I posted this picture on Facebook, my best friend’s little brother commented.  He’s a well respected Pastor now.  Unfortunately, he also has a well respected memory. The kid doesn’t forget a thing.

He reminded me of the time my family forced me to sing a duet at church.   My family was a version of the Von Trapps.  Everybody is musical, except me.  I like listening to music, but I’m not one bit interested in how it’s made.

My sister,  who is closest in age to me,  used to stand by the record player and listen to choir music.  She would pretend she was part of the choir.  Did you hear me?  She would pretend she was PART OF THE CHOIR?  I would cry just to see her doing that.   I wanted her to play with me instead.  I didn’t know how any kid could voluntarily do something so boring. Why don’t we just go pick the lint out of Grandpa’s belly button, if you’re looking for ways to torture me.

My parents REALLY wanted me to  sing this duet with my choir-singing-sister.   I kept telling them I didn’t want to do it.  I didn’t want to get up in front of people, and my singing wasn’t exactly special. Some people just have to learn the hard way.

We were up on stage at church, and the background music started to play. My sister had the harmony and I had the melody.  We may have sang one full sentence before I started to giggle.  You would think I could have pulled it together.  I didn’t.  I giggled for the entire song.   Nervous, uncontrollable giggling. It was kind of like giggling and crying all at once.  I was trapped in my giggling body, and I didn’t know how to turn it off.

Do you know how long a 3 minute song is when you’re giggling the entire time, the church is completely silent and an entire congregation is staring at you?  A life time, my friend.  A life time.

My sister might have decided to improvise, and make it a solo, but she had memorized the harmony.  So, she stood there staring at her sister.  She wanted to take one last look at me before they took me away to  that special home, or that special place of rest (after dad got a hold of me).

We all learned a lesson that day.  My folks learned that when your kid says they don’t want to get up in front of people, there’s a good chance she means it.  My sister learned that she should always choose to sing the melody.  And, the congregation was the biggest winner.  They learned two things: church really can be fun.  And,  for as long as that congregation lived, no one could ever do a worse job of singing than me.

I was young then.  Now I’m getting old.  Things are happening to me.  Scary things.  I’m losing  my mental edge.  I think many people have experienced walking into a room to get something, only to forget what that something is.  That happens to me all the time now.  What is different is that I don’t even bother taking the time to try to remember what it is that I forgot anymore.  I just walk away.   I know that thought is gone.  Permanently.

I was starting to worry about my memory issues.  Then I started thinking of it as an advantage.  One minute I’m like, “Oh my goodness, I have dementia!”  The next minute I forgot that I was worried that I had dementia.  If I forget to worry about all the things that I like to worry about, my problems are solved, right? Have you ever thought of that?

I also am experiencing some physical symptoms of getting older.  I haven’t always had what you would call cat like reflexes.  But, I played sports.  I like physical fitness.  Lately,  I’ve noticed that my body is a little slow to obey my brain.  It’s odd.

I was at the food court at the mall with Olivia this winter.  I had my legs crossed and I was very absorbed in this text I was trying to send.  Olivia was looking down and eating her food.  For some reason I lost my balance while I was sitting there.  I felt myself starting to fall.  I couldn’t get my legs uncrossed in time to regain my balance.  I started thinking, “I’m falling out of my chair.  Is this happening?  This is happening.”

Olivia suddenly looked up from her food and I was laying on my side on the mall floor.  She had an expression that was a little bit sympathetic, but a lot more mortification.  She said, “Mom! Get up! What are you doing on the floor?!”

“I don’t know, Olivia.  I really don’t know.”

That’s the kind of weird stuff that’s been happening to me.

What are you doing on May 18th?  If you live near by, I hope you will come to a special benefit for my friend and her family.  Let me back up.  You know that our family has had some struggles, right?  Eddie has been sick a really long time.  One day I wrote a blog post about what it’s like to be on the receiving end of other people’s generosity.   It’s incredible and terrifying.  I never posted that blog.

People are outstanding.  I mean, seriously outstanding.  I cannot believe how kind and generous people have been to our family over the years.   When we were going to take out a second mortgage to send Eddie to this special clinic in Wichita, our community paid for it.   We have received so many gifts and kind gestures over the years.  It brings tears to my eyes just to retell it.   But, there is no denying that it is often easier to give than to receive.  Especially for people like my husband.

I didn’t post that blog, because this subject is almost too personal.  Some people just set out in life to work hard and take care of their family.  They’ll be the first to lend a hand,  if you need it.  But, it is a very painful thing for them to take a lending hand.  I married someone like that.

One of our Doctors who I adore, adore, adore, told me a good story one time.  She was trying to help me understand that it was okay to receive help from people who cared.  She said that in primitive villages, where there is no health care, there is also no shame.  She said it is universally accepted in those villages that when a family is in distress, the people of the village rally around that family.  The villagers rally, knowing that today it is their neighbor’s turn to receive help, support and comfort.  Tomorrow it will be their turn.

The help and comfort the villagers receive from their neighbors and friends is not called charity, it’s called community.  My doctor told me that today it was my family’s turn, tomorrow we could help someone else.

One of my dearest friends and her family need the community.  My friend, Amy,  and her husband, Jeff, have a big, beautiful family.  They had their heads down.  They were working hard and taking care of their family.  Then Jeff was diagnosed with cancer.   This beautiful family is trying to keep their small business going, and manage their mounting medical bills.  They need our help, and I, for one, cannot think of anything else I would rather do than help them.

This family was always there to offer my family help when we needed it.  They need to know that this has nothing to do with charity.  This is just community.  So, I’d be honored if you’d help us rally.  Here’s a flyer, or check out the details on Facebook:


chrislerfitnesschallenge flyer (1)








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