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

Posts tagged ‘Summer’

Wisconsin Summer and Opinions

Summer.  You beautiful thing.  Wisconsin is really showing up this summer.  Cold mornings, and sunny, warm afternoons.  How you like THAT, all you big show off palm tree states?  We got ya on the ropes now, suckas.

It’s clear to me that I’m getting old.  Scott is too.  I know this because we keep having more and more conversations about important things.  Like the Bluebird I saw on the fence during my walk at lunch.  Or, the Cardinals Scott is enjoying watching as they hover over our flower bed.  I think some people wake up one day, and they’re like, “Gadzooks, I’m old!  When did this happen?  I didn’t see this happening.”

I see it happening.

My parents have a little birdhouse on their porch.  My mom has hoped that a bird family would move into this little bird house for a couple of years now.  Guess what?  I have a new step-bird-sister. A little bird gal moved into that house with her husband (I’m assuming these two aren’t living in sin.  They seem like good people), and they had babies.  These creatures carry  little, tiny pieces of food in their mouths, pop through the little house’s door, and disappear to feed, and spend time with their little bird family.  I could watch this family all day.

See?  Old.

One night, while my sister, Heidi, and I were eating pizza on the deck, we were watching these bird parents feed their children.  This feeding thing seemed like so much work.  You’ve got all the hunting for worms going on, and then all the trips back and forth through the little birdhouse door.

We got feeling kinda sorry for our sister-bird and her husband. Heidi said it seemed like a shame that our sister-bird and her husband were wasting their lives with this non stop work. I agreed.  I told Heidi to roll up her piece of pizza and jam it through the little bird house door.  The bird parents would surely thank us for a night off, maybe even the whole week.  That’s how you solve problems in nature.

I heard that it has been scientifically proven that looking at a tree can help with depression.  I understand that.

My niece, Naomi, told me that the famous poet, Walt Whitman, said something similar to this thing about trees a long time ago.  My niece is smart. She likes poetry.  Scott and I slept in Naomi’s bed over the fourth of July.  We saw that Naomi has a Walt Whitman poem written on her ceiling.  After Scott and I got into bed, we looked up at the ceiling and I read the poem out loud.  When I was done reading, Scott and I were quiet and contemplative for a moment.  We meditated on the words that were just spoken.    I asked, “Did you understand that?”

Scott said, “No.  Not a word.”

What are you supposed to do when the children get smarter than the adults?   You fake it. That’s what.  I told Naomi that the poem was beautiful.  I was moved to tears, really.

That wasn’t a total lie.  It’s not like Scott and I  know NOTHING about Walt Whitman.  We do know he was mentioned in, “Breaking Bad.”  We’re not completely ignorant about literature.

Nature is what we have been enjoying this summer. The other thing we are enjoying is kids.  Our siblings’ kids, especially.  I’m so glad we had our basement finished.  I actually have only sat down there a few times.  But we ARE using it to host family, and that makes me smiley and satisfied.

Both of Scott’s brothers have come with their families from the far away land of Iowa to stay with us this summer.  All three of Scott’s siblings have little kids.  Gosh, kids are the best.

I think almost everything kids have to say is funny.  Scott’s brother Tom, and his wife Haley came to visit us before the fourth of July.  Tom and Haley have two little boys, 3 and 18 months.  One morning, I was making breakfast.  I could hear these little guys talking to each other as they walked up our steps.  Preschool conversations. That’s good stuff.

My nephew’s voices filled my heart with happy nostalgia.  I remember how our little guys wrung me dry by nightfall with their relentless energy.   Somehow, by morning, I couldn’t wait to see them again.   It’s a miracle every day.

haley and tom

I’m consciously focusing on simple, life enhancing things this summer: birds, family, kids.  I’ve been feeling a little over exposed to ideas and information lately; I need simple stuff as an antidote.  I’m not sure what is wrong with me.  I used to very much enjoy learning about other people’s opinions.  I am a pretty curious person.  I didn’t know before that other people’s opinions are like everything else: best in moderation.

In some respects, I am fairly impressionable.  I rarely start a discussion intent on proving a point.  I have a ton of questions about many things. The internet has just ruined me.  I feel like I’m trying to hear everyone, and there is so much noise.  I’m not hearing anyone at all.  Instead, I want to recommend to some folks, a special evening of trying to keep their yaps zipped.  Bless their hearts.  Of course.

I’ve become a bitter, old, bird-watching woman.

I told God what was on my heart about this subject.  I asked Him for a word.  He told me two things:

1. Stop listening to people; listen to me; take time to hear My voice. It takes practice.

2. You’re awfully noisy yourself.  You write a blog.

The second part was a little fuzzy.  He was cutting out; I probably heard Him wrong.  He might have actually said, “You should buy another hog.”

I’ll wait for confirmation on that second part.

morning walk

Cold early morning summer walk in Sheboygan, WI.

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You WISH you Lived in Wisconsin!

In Wisconsin we know about winter. We know about snow, and ice and sleet and frigid temps. You can’t really fight winter any more than you can fight your need for oxygen or water. But, this winter? The winter we’re in now? This winter here is on our last nerve.

We signed up to live in Wisconsin, not the North Pole. And there IS a difference. In Wisconsin we know that 15 degrees below zero happens…once in a while. We’re prepared for that. We’re not prepared for that to happen EVERY GOSH DANG DAY. Wow. I guess I’m angrier than I thought. I apologize for the language.

I’m not being very positive, am I? You probably haven’t forgotten that I said I was going to employ positive thoughts in my life. Why do people have to have such good memories? I think I said some dumb thing like positive thoughts can actually make you more positive. I know. That’s a jacked up theory. But, they say it works. I’ll keep trying.

For the sake of tricking myself in to feeling positive, I want to tell you that winter is AWESOME!!! Especially this winter we’re in right now. Especially with temperatures that look like this:

Wisconsin weather map

I wish we could figure out how to have temperatures like this all year long. They. Are. Glorious. Too much? Here are a few of my favorite things about Wisconsin winters:

Maximum coverage – The last time I went shopping for shorts I realized that there’s something wrong with shorts these days: My legs. Yeah, that’s definitely what’s wrong with them. We’re not even going to talk about swimsuits. Don’t. Just, don’t.

I bought this new coat that is like a sleeping bag with arms and a hole for your head. I’ve seen lots of other women around here wearing these coats too. They’re warm. And more importantly they’re forgiving. My favorite quality in clothing. I have a generic version of this:

winter coat

You can throw on crazy hats when it’s this cold too. My sister-in-law gave me this hat. I get compliments when I wear it. Thanks mom! I think you look nice too.

hat

Wow. I never actually have seen myself in that hat. It looked better in my imagination; a little more quirky-bohemian; a little less giant-bowling-ball-with-flower attached. I guess I need a new hat.

The idea is still there though. In these temperatures you can have bad hair and be carrying around a few more pounds than you’d like. Mr. Winter is kind. He says, “That’s okay. I got you covered. Literally.” That’s why winter and I are becoming friends.

Laziness is socially acceptable

I have a lot of “Type A” friends, do you? I thought we agreed to get rid of them, but there they are, too ambitious to take a hint. They say things like, “I just can’t go to bed at night until the kitchen is clean.” Or, “I haven’t sat through a movie in years. Who could possibly sit still that long?”

I can. I can sit still a really, really, really long time. I might be the best you’ve ever seen at sitting still. But, I don’t tell my “Type A” friends that. I just nod my head like I understand. Sometimes I lie. I say, “I know what you mean. What a waste of time. Who would even want to lay around all day like that? I’d just feel so gross.”

I don’t know why it’s so easy for me to be lazy, but it is. I’m just a natural at it. My mom says that when I was a baby I was happy to lay in my crib. I didn’t fuss and cry like my sisters. My mom fooled herself in to thinking she had a good baby. What she had was a lazy baby. A lazy baby that would turn into a lazy adult. I fight it every day. When it is 20 below zero, no one expects you to fight it. Spending three hours reading your Kindle Paperwhite, and watching back to back “Lifetime” movies featuring murderous nannies is a perfectly acceptable alternative to hypothermia.

It’s not like all that laying around is fun and games. I’m learning things. Things you need to know: like I know now that you should NEVER, I mean NEVER, trust your nanny. When you’re at work she will be going through your closet and trying on your clothes. She will be smelling your husbands pillow, and she will be taking a scissors and cutting you out of the family picture. Don’t worry, she’ll paste a nice picture of herself where you once stood. I know. I know. That’s sick, but those are facts. You just need to know it.

You should also know that if you decide to walk in a parking garage alone, that’s on your naive head. I hope you can run fast, and I hope you can out run that car; it is about to chase you down. Maybe you’d know how to protect yourself, and I wouldn’t have to hand out all these warnings if you’d do a little less kitchen cleaning and a little more TV watching. Have you ever thought of that?

Freezing cold, lazy days beat those annoying warm, sunny days; on those sunny days people expect you to move.

Watching Wrestling

You probably thought my list of winter highlights would include silly things like skiing and ice skating. The kind of winter we’re having in Wisconsin this year doesn’t even make those activities sound fun. Otherwise (*Full disclosure. See above. Sometimes I lie.) I would totally be hitting the slopes and lacing up the skates every chance I got. Dang you, frigid temps. Must you curse me?

In my house we like to spend winter sitting in cozy gyms, curled up to wrestling mats. I spend my winter watching other people exercise. Wrestling is my favorite. Here’s the team I follow:

sauk pr wrestlers

Facing my Fears

When I was 16 I was in two car accidents. Both of those accidents were due to careless driving on snowy roads. One time I was the driver, another time it was a friend. I have not been in any accidents since that time. I tend to learn my lessons.

Sadly, I learned my lessons so well that for years the thought of driving in snow left me feeling paralyzed with fear. I avoided it. I didn’t just avoid driving in snow storms. I avoided driving if I saw a single flake of snow, or even a piece of paper that looked like a flake of snow. Now I commute an hour each day. This is what I often see:

SnowDriving1

The other day I heard a forecaster on the radio say that sometimes the weather is at its worst during peak commuting hours. She said in Madison, WI that only happens twice a day.

You can only come up with so many busted pipes, puking kids and flat tire excuses for not coming in to work on snowy days. Eventually your boss becomes suspicious. You realize you have to choose between driving on snowy roads or unemployment. I chose to stay employed. Now I know what they say is true. The best way to not be afraid of something is to make yourself do it. Make yourself do it a lot.

I still don’t like driving during snowstorms, but I’m not afraid any more, and I actually think I’m kind of okay at it. I think that because of all the other cars I’ve passed over the years that are in the ditch. I’m pretty sure most of those cars are driven by 16-year-olds, or people who haven’t learned that the rules change when you’re driving in a snowstorm, or someone who has been hit by either of the above.

Venti Cafe Americano…room for cream

You got me. This is a repeat. I’ve told you before how much I like my Cafe Americano. Many years ago I remember Scott saying to me, “Pretzels make my life better.” Scott is a man of few words. He does not make extreme statements and rarely verbalizes his emotions. Apparently, pretzels are what it takes for him to break down the barriers. That was an amazingly passionate thing form him to say about hard baked flour, oil and salt. I thought, we’d better never run out of pretzels, or this guy is going to sink into a pit of despair.

I made fun, but now I know what he meant. Cafe Americanos make my life better. It tastes good, but I also have a psychological dependence. In the winter you can drink Americanos every day, because they keep you warm. I’ll have to think of another excuse as to why I drink them every day in the summer.

That’s a weak list. I admit it. I’m doing my best. Next week I may blog about all the things I love about root canals without anesthesia.

Do you feel better about winter now? I don’t. I mean, do. I do, I definitely do think winter is awesome. Do you?

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