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

Posts tagged ‘Mall’

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)









How to Raise Unspoiled Americans: You Can’t

This past weekend we had a Saturday with nothing scheduled. My daughter and I were home alone. On Friday night I was a little giddy with the anticipation of unscheduled time ahead. I got carried away and made the mistake of telling my daughter that maybe we could go shopping the next day, but then we didn’t.

You DON’T do that. You don’t mention the possibility of shopping to an almost 13-year-old girl, and then not go shopping. That’s like telling a heroin addict you’ve got heroin, but you’ve decided not to give it to them. Those jokers will shoot you down.

I woke up on Saturday and it was sunny. Sunny enough for me to see we were living in a sticky, ratty raccoon’s nest. I just picture raccoon as not being very good housekeepers . I’m not sure they deserve that.

I needed to clean. My daughter needed to help. That’s fun news to break to your almost-13-year-old daughter. I wish you could have been there.

“Ahh, good morning, Sweetheart. I am sorry, but I decided that we are NOT going to go shopping after all. The good news is that you DO get to scrub the toilets.”

I like my daughter. For real. I’m sad for her that she does not have any sisters, but happy for me. She’s my best friend. We have tons of fun together. I have told Scott that I think we won the baby girl jack pot when she was born. She’s nice. She likes to follow the rules. She’s not very sassy, and she seems to have a pretty soft heart. But, she is almost 13. Sometimes she can act like it. Sometimes almost 13-year-olds can act like sweet, precious, fuzzy little hellcats. Especially when you back out on their shopping trips.

That morning I started to think about all the shopping trips my daughter has taken. She has friends who’s mothers are saints. I.AM.NOT.KIDDING.YOU.SAINTS. These women have demanding jobs, busy husbands, multiple, busy children AND they take their daughter and her friends to the mall to browse around all day. They all walk around looking for bargains. These moms usually spring for ice cream, or some other fun treat. My daughter adores these moms. I do too.

So far, Scott has hosted one of these mall browsing outings for the girls, but I have stayed away from it. It sounds just so painful. I’ve told my daughter and her friends, “Listen, I don’t think I can actually take you to the mall all day, but we COULD do something more fun; like run over my foot with the minivan.” No takers so far.

Let’s be truthful with each other. I’m not staying away from the mall because I’m standing on moral high ground. I’m staying away because it sounds super boring. I’m selfish. That’s it.

But I do have to wonder what my daughter needs at the mall. What do I need at the mall? Both of our closets are full. Do we need shoes so that we don’t have to go barefoot to school and work? No. We probably have 40 pairs of shoes between the two of us. Do we need belts to hold our pants up while we work? No. We probably have 20 belts, and we don’t do really hard work. Do we need coats to keep us warm? Nope. There are dozens and dozens of those in our house.

I tried cheering my daughter up on Saturday with a little mini sermon. She really looked that gift horse in the mouth. I tried explaining to her that like many Americans, we misuse the word “need” every day. We do not know what “need” means, because every day when we wake up in a warm house, with food to eat, clothes to wear, school to attend and freedom to say what we want and to worship whom we please, all our needs are met.

When all our basic needs are met, we make up new ones. We say, “I need another pair of leggings; I need a new hair cut; I need a new painting for that wall.” We add layer after layer of things around us. All of our stuff surrounds us. All of our stuff is insulation that protects us from ever having to feel the pain of a real need. If we don’t ever have to experience real need, then we can’t help being spoiled. It isn’t really even our choice. It’s geography. It is cause and effect. But we can at least acknowledge we are spoiled. We can do that much, right?

My daughter broke in right about there and said, “I’m going to go clean the toilets.”

I think I totally inspired her. I know it wasn’t because she just wanted me to stop talking. There is no way an almost 13-year-old would do that.

I’m being a little silly. This video is not silly. It’s sad. I found it on a blog I like to read:

I pray for peace.

What to Do About Dry Skin

My skin is an issue. The skin on my face, I mean. The rest of it doesn’t see the light of day. I don’t remember what it even looks like. But the skin on my face is troublesome. It’s so dry, it hurts!

I actually considered rubbing bacon fat on my face the other day when I was making breakfast. Then I thought how much I loved my dog and how much he loves me. He’s high strung, and he loves me when I DON’T smell like bacon. I’m not sure what would happen if he thought mom and bacon were the same thing. Could his heart explode? I didn’t want to risk it.

I have been in search of lotion and make-up that will add moisture and make me look like Heidi Klum. I’m so close! I have all the proper bone structure and coloring. If I just had softer skin, we’d be twins. If I had a nickel for every time someone told me I looked like Heidi Klum…um, well, I wouldn’t have any nickels.

Here’s a selfie I took when I was out with my friends. It’s easier to see the Heidi Klum resemblance from this angle and with this lighting. I’ll admit, I get a little shy about all the attention.


One of my friend’s husbands asked me if that selfie was a picture of a face or a butt. That was not nice. And it’s pretty easy to tell when people are jealous of you. They make comments like that.

heidi Klum

I am looking for foundation too. I’ve tried all the cheap brands from Walgreens. My face hates these products. I put it on and an hour later I can hear my face scream, “Blaach! Get this crap off of me!” I’m itchy and I can feel my skin burn. The other day I got it in my head that I needed go to the mall and splurge on some higher end department store brand.

I ran this errand on my lunch hour. I go to the mall so infrequently. I got side tracked when I walked by all the clothes. I thought, “Oh, so this is what the young kids are wearing these days. Well, aren’t they a bunch of little tramps!” No, you know I wouldn’t say that. I said, “Well, aren’t they a confident bunch a little gals. Bless their hearts.” You know that old joke about being able to throw out any wicked insult you like, as long as you follow it up with “Bless their heart.” You should try it. It works. Especially if you’re with your kids and you want to reassure them that you’re still nice mom and not mean mom.

You know, like if a guy blows through a stop sign when it was your turn and then flips you off, you can say, “I’m gonna kill that big, fat, crusty, hairy ape! Bless his heart.” Then you can drop the kids off, and go find him so you can run him over.

But, we were talking about the mall, and the mall is crazy. You wouldn’t believe it. I don’t know why I don’t go more often. There’s gobs of clothes just sitting there, waiting to be bought. It’s way easier than I thought.

You see how I get side tracked? We were talking about my errand, and I really wish for once you could just stay on task. I started running a little late, so when I saw a make-up store called, “Bare Minerals”, I decided that was my skin miracle. It was a WHOLE store dedicated to make up. You just knew it HAD to be good, or they wouldn’t have a whole store devoted to it, right? Plus, the name of it is “BARE Minerals”. That means there must not be many chemicals in their make-up, or they couldn’t call it “Bare”, and they couldn’t say “Minerals”. Hello! That’s just a little something I learned when I was earning my LAW Degree. Or, maybe it was a Communications Degree. We’re not splitting hairs here today. That is just how I shop. I research stuff to death.

I thought I’d run in and buy a bottle and be on my way. Well, no, silly. You have to sit down and have someone show you how to apply it. It’s about an 18 hour tutorial. And, let me tell you the truth, you need that tutorial. Assembling a transmission would involve fewer steps than what I learned there that day. There’s moisturizing, illuminizing, priming, neutralizing, buffing and highlighting; plus, a few other steps that I forget. It’s a serious program.

One of the demonstrators told me that it’s super easy. See, buffing is the key to the whole thing. You have GOT to buff. This demonstrator said she just buffs her face while she makes her coffee in the morning. I got excited. I’m like, “That DOES sound easy. I’ll just bring my buffer and buff when I am buying groceries on my lunch hour, or when I’m watching my kids play sports. I have never really heard of anything so simple.”

They’re all like, “See? Now you get it.”

Because I’m not big on telling people no, and because I really, really liked having someone else do my make up, I bought the starter kit. It was $75, but my face looked so soft and smooth. I thought it would certainly be worth the money and the extra effort.

bare essentials

It was fun for the first couple of days. You know, like I lived in L.A.. I felt like I was doing my make up for my next photo shoot. I laid out all my brushes and powders, and I had the instruction book near by, in case I had a question and needed to look something up. I thought I could really get into this. It could be the start of a whole new lifestyle for me. I thought I might call later to set up some Pilates classes for myself, and it was definitely time to start up some weekly pedicures.

By the third day, when I was running late and fishing around my make-up bag to find all seven of my new tools buried under broken eye brow pencils and eye shadows with missing covers, I remembered that I forgot something. I’m a practical mom from Wisconsin with three kids, a full time career and 13 seconds to put her make up on each morning. I do NOT have time for this. But, moms like me are not in the habit of wasting money either. I knew that meant I was stuck with buffing, priming and illumizing until every last drop or that crap is gone.

I looked over at Scott’s side of the vanity and I saw what he used to get ready that morning: deodorant and toothpaste. Then I thought about the bar of Irish Spring in the shower that he uses to wash his face every day. The soap that would give me third degree burns if I tried to use it. I was sad.

It’s not like I cursed or cried or anything like that. I just took a moment to breath, a calm cleansing breath. I inhaled deeply and assumed a posture of gratitude. Then I looked at myself in the mirror and I said gently and with forgiveness, “You stupid idiot, you could have tried bacon grease! Bless your heart.”

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