Follow on Bloglovin> Be Mini Couture

She could have been a doctor, but she’s just my mom

It’s my mom’s birthday today. She is 73. Sorry mom. I suppose divulging your age is the first rule of lady code I just broke.

Well, I say wear your age proudly. Because when you’ve lived 73 years and seen what my mom has seen, I think you just throw your hangups about age out the window.

My mom is my compass. She’s my lighthouse in the dark. She is my mom and that’s my everything.

I am probably one of the luckiest humans to have such a woman in their life that breathes into her hope, inspiration and security.

My mom doesn’t have it easy. She takes care of my sister, who is disabled. Mom has had her own bout of hardships. Three joint replacement surgeries, a life saving surgery when her intestine was blocked and she could have died. OH, and she’s a cancer survivor. So, there’s that.

Also, when you’re born in Frankfurt in 1941 you are surrounded by a world at war. To think this little being and many others like her, came in to this world under Germany’s darkest years. But if there’s a light one can not extinguish even during this dark period, it was my mom coming forth. Little Uta. I think she was born speaking and solving problems, but that’s just my admiration for her. I know she was a regular little girl, a person with her own hopes and dreams before she was my mom. It’s hard for us as children to picture our parents as people. I mean, you’re telling me they had lives before they devoted it all to us? Indeed. This is a hard fact for my own children to accept sometimes. When you wear the badge of ‘MOM’ it’s hard to be seen as anything else.

Sure like other children, I have fond memories of the way my mom smelled (Chanel No 5 during the 70s) and the smells of her kitchen too. We would have her homemade pizza every Saturday night. We watched the Muppet Show from our kitchen table my dad built. Kermit was smaller then on the 18 inch color television that wasn’t even remote control yet.

But I also have memories of my mom when I was in high school and college. The morning after a late night out, she would sit on my bed while I would sip a cup of tea she brought me. I’d share details of the night like I would share to a girl friend. I would preface certain stories with, “Okay, you’re not my mom right now, what I’m going to tell you.” And she would listen without raising an eyebrow. She didn’t judge or scoff. Let’s be real though. I was a pretty square kid. I didn’t really drink, I never did drugs, I was usually home by midnight, and my male conquests were theater boys I would crush on from afar only to find out they were gay. Translation- I didn’t get much action in college!

So there really wasn’t a whole lot for her to judge me on anyway. BUT, I still felt comfortable sharing all my funny stories, crazy happenings when there were some, and girl to girl details only other women get.

I remember one time either in my early adult years or when I was still in high school, my mom and I were having a heart to heart. In one of her somewhat bleak moments, she said to me with tears in her eyes, “You know, I could have been a lot of things. Maybe a doctor. Maybe a scientist. But I’m just a mom.”

It broke my heart. How could this woman not be satisfied with anything more than being my mom?! Had she been a career woman and not stayed home with her kids, what would life have been like? Selfishly, I was glad this was all she was. My mom. Our mom.

But I told her that she is more than ‘Just a Mom’. She is patience, and trust, nurture and light. She helps the downtrodden, she advocates for the helpless. She friends the homeless and the addicts. She counsels the stranger she strikes up conversation with.

She is an amazing woman that is more than just a mom. But a person who betters this world just by living in it. She raised me and my brother and sister. She looks after my dad and is his partner of 55 years. She reads and swallows up information by the libraries. She is one of the smartest people I know. She can cook up a pie crust and help you with your 401(k) paperwork. I don’t know how this woman does it.

Did I mention she moved here from Germany when she was 17 after marrying my dad? They had my brother a few years later and within less than 10 years had their own two children and fostered troubled children. Mixed race children in the 60s! They took a road trip with their black foster daughter and their own two children down to Atlanta. The guts they had. This is how my parents live. By example.

So yeah. You turn 73 with 3 grown kids of your own, 4 grandchildren, a husband you’ve been married to for 55 years; you wear that age proudly.

And mom,  if you ever think you’re ‘just a mom’ and there was something else you could have been, think for a minute the lives you’ve touched. The ripple effect of what your living has created. How there should be more people like you that are as selfless, reliable and loving. I have never been more proud of you to just be my mom.

Happy birthday.

 

She could have been a doctory but she's just my mom by Frugalista Blog

My mom in the 1950s.

PET Scans and Ultrasounds and Dream Miles – RTLF #35

This is my one year anniversary of Reason To Live Friday (RTLF) and yes, it should read #52. Well, too bad I didn’t post one every week!  Okay? Geeze!

As you might remember, I started this series after some dark times and a friend of mine took her life. That same week, a fellow PTA volunteer at my daughter’s school died suddenly from a heart condition. And over the years, friends have lost their children to cancer. Life can be pretty shitty. So I wanted to remind myself that there is always something better and brighter out there to look forward to. Yes, living in the moment is pretty great. But what motivates me is having something to look forward to.

Last week I had an ultrasound. I knew something was wrong with me since each month it felt like my ovary was trying to kill me. As I’m doubled over on the bathroom floor shoving Advil down my pie hole as fast as I can, I’m cursing my monthly curse with  a raised fist saying, ‘damn you ovary, what did I ever do to YOU?’  Okay, maybe not exactly like that, but it was pitiful.

So my lady doctor, who is in fact, a lady, ordered an ultrasound. Now this is the fun part. No, it’s not. It was one of those ugh, I can barely type it, let alone think it, TRANS VAG INAL ultrasounds. With the long pokey thing that looks like a cross between a sex toy and a curling iron, but isn’t at all as much fun as either of them.

The doctor noticed my ovary loves my uterus so much it wants to be friends. Somehow it has attached itself to the uterus and isn’t floating out in ovary land like it should. So I guess I’m thankful for modern medicine to see these things for me and I don’t have to just make a wild guess at handling my evil cycle every month with more advil and more exercise. Which is what one doctor told me many years ago would help with my endometriosis. More exercise? I wanted to kick her in the taco.

Anyways, I don’t have a plan just yet. We’ll see if the IUD is the answer or surgery. Gee it sucks being a woman, doesn’t it?

PET scans. No, these aren’t where you take some kind of device up to your dog or cat. A Positron Emission Tomography scan is a really fancy test for cancer or where cancer is in the body. The definition includes the words gamma rays, so it sounds like Spiderman or something. My mom went in for a PET scan last week. I went with her for moral support. It’s a long process. You have to have a no carb diet for 72 hours, like seriously, no carbs. Not even an olive. It registers on the carb scale believe it or not. By the time I drove her to her test, she was weak and had lost 7 pounds. No wonder people swear by the Atkins diet.

We knew she had a spot in her chest that needs removing from uterine cancer she had 10 years ago. What we didn’t know if it was anywhere else in her body, or if it had grown bigger.

Yesterday she met with her oncologist to discuss the results of the scan. And. The news. WAS GOOD!! Just the same old spot from before that they’ll remove with surgery and it’s not bigger or anywhere else. Praise Jesus!!!

The fear of chemo or radiation in her future was underlying, and being able to virtually see in the body like that and know she only needs surgery, what a miracle of science!

And last on my list- The Dream Mile at Owen’s school. A tradition of 20 years where the fastest runners of the mile get to compete in front of the whole school. The top 12 boys and 12 girls are picked from their qualifying PE fitness tests. Owen qualified this year and was excited to race. He runs constantly with soccer practice and soccer games. This seemed like a piece of cake. Only, the catch was he hadn’t played soccer in about 3 weeks since he’s between seasons. The body de-conditions rapidly.

But regardless of his waning stamina, he was mentally ready! He was so excited. Even wore his new Nike lunar glides.

I went to the school to cheer him on along with the other parents. The whole school was out on the field and playground. Each class had made signs. Owen’s class made some for him. Now, I might have teared up and started to cry. It’s a good thing I was wearing sun glasses. I didn’t see any other parents crying!! But the cheering and fanfare for the runners was so special.

Just the gift of running and being healthy is such a huge wealth and I don’t take for granted my kids’ abilities.

The race started and I knew he was going to burn out faster than he hoped. But that’s okay. He ran strong, I could see he was fighting the pain of a side ache.  He came in 5th. I think he was a little bummed. But his classmates were supportive and he has already started planning his strategy and training for next year.

I was so proud!!

So there you go. My silver linings of the last couple weeks. I hope you can count your silver linings and look for the bright side.

 

 

What I learned at MamaCon

Vagillion – n. a million vaginas or in reference to a lot of women. (source- Urban Dictionary)

Vagillion- the word I said by accident, when introducing Nikki of Moms Who Drink and Swear at the comedy show- Honey I Shrunk My Libido.

A brilliant mistake. Like Edison and the light bulb, Ben Franklin and his kite, I coined a phrase I didn’t even know existed. So now I give you a vagillion reasons to attend MamaCon 2014. Okay, I’ll make a short list of a few reasons and we’ll call it good, ‘kay?

(This list is not in numerical order, as you can see.)

85. Do not feel guilty for taking time for yourself
This is important. We are horrible at constantly flexing the guilt muscle. You are thinking of all the things you could or should be doing, and sitting in a seminar with a bunch of moms learning about how to take time for yourself, doesn’t seem like one of those things. Well, let me tell you- it is.

You have to fill your tank to be able to give to others. <pshhsk> (that’s the sound of the loud speaker) “This is your Captain speaking- Mom’s, put your oxygen masks on first.”

Got it? Good.

33. Don’t do chores begrudgingly.
This is hard, I know. Maybe harder than taking time for yourself and not feeling guilty. But I learned that if I want my kids to do chores, I better do my own chores without complaining. Being productive is good. Sure laundry and dishes may not be that fun, but darn it, it’s not hard and it needs to get done. So yeah, I will only complain about chores on Facebook and my blog, not in front of my children. Oh, and I told McSweetie this too. He agrees that rolling his eyes whenever I ask him to take out the trash or put his washed shorts away, is probably not a good example in front of the kids.

122. Hook the shit out of closets.
I know you’re thinking, ‘what in thee sam hill is she talking about?’ Well, it was an organizing expert that shared a nice tidbit about using vertical spaces. We need to do it more. Horizontal, we have nailed. Covered, quite literally. But vertical- there’s a whole new world of storage if we put hooks all over our closets, the backs of doors and under shelves. I will be making a trip to Home Depot soon. Translation- I will be sending McSweetie to Home Depot soon.

22. I need to not worry about the mythical relationship between food and exercise. There is no relationship between food and exercise. They don’t know each other. They’ve never met. There’s a relationship I have with both of them and it’s called, I need them to live. Yeah. It’s that simple. I need to stop thinking over every little calorie, stop beating myself up for every missed trip to the gym. I will eat, I will exercise. I have to. It’s how humans survive. I will eat when I’m hungry, and try to move as much as possible. And this includes trips to the gym, walking the dog, playing catch or pogo-sticking with Owen, or a roll in the sack with hubs. So there.

5. I can host a comedy show like nobody’s business. I’m no Tina Fey or Ellen DeGeneres, but when I impersonated urinating like a sprinkler and read my Sky Rockets in Flight  blog for the crowd, there was much laughter. And I can’t take all the credit. The fabulous ladies, Mom comedians Jacki Kane (jackikane.com), Joanie Quinn (livetired.net), Nikki Schulak (nikkischulak.com) of Honey I Shrunk My Libido and Nikki of Moms Who Drink and Swear had the crowd of women, eating out of their hand. I burned a vagillion calories that night laughing. See what I did there?

I hear there’s a MamaCon in Chicago come October. If I play my cards right, and save my lip gloss money, I might get to go!

See you then!

 

 

In The Powder Room today- Not Just a Girl…

Lately there’s an overload of social media, young narcissist pop-stars  and rehab celebrities; I crafted this post from some inspiration I came across last week.

Okay, ironically, yes, I came across the inspiration from social media- shush.

But really, I think this is just a dose of some goodness we need.

Read on here at In the Powder Room-

Emma and Amelia Earhart by Jaime C Moore

 

Reason to Live Friday #32- 54 years and counting

So if there’s any reason for me to get up in the morning (hence the Reason to Live Friday posts in the first place), it’s my dear sweet parents who are rocking 54 years of marriage this week.

That’s right. 54 years. That’s almost 55 years, which is almost 60. Just stop. That’s getting ahead of ourselves.

1959 these two people married in another country, came across the Atlantic on a ship to New York, set up home in Chicago and made a living.

In 1961 they had my brother. Then in 1964 they had my sister. Then there was- two foster kids (who were black and Native American, and this was the 60s folks!), a trans-continental move aboard the Queen Mary to England, a devastating illness for my sister, another move back to the US, then came me in ’72,  then just years of living, thriving, earning a living, health, traveling to Europe to visit family, graduations, sending kids to college, cross-country move in a Ryder truck, weddings, battling cancer (both of them), grand kids, baptisms, two hip replacements and a new knee (all my mom), an emergency heart procedure (my dad) and somewhere in there- 10 cats – not all at the same time, but over the years.

They’ve been busy.

None of my life would be possible without what they’ve made. I’m humbled, grateful, and brought to tears.

This is the bedrock of my family. These two people.

Thank you.

 

How to kick the Winter Blues in the nuts

 

 

Wow. Did you feel that? It’s the winter doldrums coming to suck the life out of us like an Azkaban Dementor.

Usually I do pretty well and don’t get this ‘seasonal affective disorder’ thing. McSweetie is usually on a man-period throughout the months of January and February. All grumpy and stuff because he goes to work in the dark and comes home in the dark. I try to stay cheerful. But let’s face it- December was fun and festive, even if it’s stressful, it feels special. Nothing feels special about January and February. If you say Valentine’s Day, I say- shut it.

We aren’t going to any sunny destinations this winter. We are stuck in the rainy northwest. Actually, the last few days have been sunny and cold. I’m confused. I don’t know what to do in this dry sunny weather.

Also, the crud has been going around and everyone has been sick. I’ve been just ‘off’. Not sick, not great. Which doesn’t really count. I mean, right? Who cares if you just feel blah? If you aren’t in bed with a fever, then just get off your ass already and get things done. Ha.

No.

So I made a list of why I am trying to convince myself to a) choose happy; and b) be glad it’s winter and not summer.

Don’t we always complain about how hot and awful summer can get? I mean, yes, we love the sunny warm weather, but mother nature gets carried away and starts to cook us like Hades. So here is why I will try to like winter:

1. There’s no need to shave your legs.

2. There’s no boob sweat since it’s 30 degrees out.

3. Dinner can be made in the oven and not heat up the house.

4. The sound of a furnace running makes me feel so modern and first world.

5. Hot chocolate

6. Who doesn’t like leg warmers?

7. You don’t need to wear a swimsuit or even go near a pool.

8. The beach is really overrated. The sun and sand are so harsh on your hair and skin and sand keeps showing up in unexpected places.

9. Think of all the money you are saving not buying sunscreen.

10. It gets dark so early you can tell the kids to go to bed and they actually do (to a degree), instead of the ‘but mom, it’s not dark out yet’ excuse. I HATE THAT.

11. The kids are in school. Okay, yes- there’s Martin Luther Kind Day, end of semester break and sometimes a snow day, but hey- it’s not summer break- thank GOD!

12. TV shows aren’t in reruns like during the summer. Who ISN’T excited for season 3 of Downton Abbey?  I mean, come on!

13. When the weather is crappy, no one blames you for napping under a blanket or having a ‘movie day’ with the kids.

14. Donuts.

I threw that last one in because I think a lot of problems can be solved with donuts. Fitting in my skinny jeans, isn’t one of those, but who cares.

With a fabulous list like this, who needs summer?

 

 

 

 

 

Reason to Live Friday #29 I am ______ Who are you?

I am ____________ Who are you?

 

 

I’m stealing this idea from my friend Tara and her blog You Know It Happens At Your House Too, who took inspiration from the Self Worth Action Project from the blog Craughing- “Here is what I want you to do today.  Sit down for five minutes.  I know that is not always easy, but this could be the best five minutes you have spent on yourself in a really long time.  Open your computer, grab a pen and a piece of paper (ACK!  What is that???), open up an app on your phone. It doesn’t matter what you use, just use something that you can save.  This is NOT a mental exercise.  You must put this on paper (either real or virtual) so that you can refer back to it on those bad days.  Set a timer for five minutes and write.  Write using the prompt I AM ______________________.  Don’t edit, don’t proofread, don’t change it.  You are not required to share it with anyone, even though I hope you do, but keep it close by so that on those days when you are feeling really horrible about yourself (we all know that we have those days), you can look back and remember all the things that make you wonderful.  I will start, here is my list;” (text quoted from YKIHAYHT)

I am Rebecca

I am a daughter, sister, mom and wife

I am proud of the little people I made and their lives thus far.

I am a loyal friend and try to smile any chance I get. Unless it’s before my first cup of tea in the morning.

I am unassuming and will trust you unless you prove me not to.

I am generous and charitable. If you need it, I will get it to you.

I am a sucker for a cute furball. Even the uncute ones. I have rescued countless lost dogs and have even driven across county lines to get a stray cat to a shelter.

I am happy of the life I have made with my husband. Making that first phone call to him so he would finally ask me out was the smartest thing I ever did.

I am never getting into politics despite what my mom thinks I should do.

I am grateful and honored for the life my parents gave me and the people they are.

I am fiesty and proud of it. I annoy people I’m sure, but I’m pretty happy with my gumption.

I am proud of this blog and the people it’s brought me to and the possibilities to come.

That was fun! Now you try. I took five minutes is all and ignored the oven timer and the dog barking. Just kidding! I did this after the kids went to bed.

 

And you know the cool part? I could’ve added more. Yep, I guess I’m cooler than I thought.

Now share with me yours if you’d like. You can put the link of your blog in comments, but only after you’ve done the exercise. You can email me at frugalistablog@gmail.com or message me through my Facebook page.

I want us to feel our worth. Not get hung up on resolutions and shortcomings. But be happy today with the person we are. Right now.

No resolutions for this girl. Okay, maybe a few.

Here’s to 2013. It feels surprisingly just like 2012 did. Kind of like when I turned 40 and it felt a lot like 39. Except when I tried the pogo stick on Christmas day. Then I felt like I was 60. Old and unbalanced.

I have some promises I’ve made myself this year. It’s pretty much like last year. Get more fit. End world hunger. Bring peace to the land.

Buy my first unicorn.

Okay, those are very much like everyone’s resolutions, right? Except maybe the unicorn one.

But I also am including these resolutions I’ve listed below. And goshdangit. They’re pretty good.

So won’t you join me too? Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we all did these? I think so.

I was going to put on there, “Make sweet love to McSweetie more often”, but that just didn’t seem very ‘pinterest’ing.

Tell me what you’re going to do this year for YOU and the ones you love that will make you happy. And are do-able. Not that losing weight isn’t do-able, but we’ll just go with baby steps, shall we?

 

Reason To Live Friday #27- We survived Christmas

Okay, we did more than survive it. We sucked the life out of it and showed it who’s boss. Well, really, I just ate too much, drank a little too much and have become a vegetative shell of a human.

This is why bears hibernate during the winter. I don’t think mammals are programmed for much activity once the Winter Solstice kicks in. I’ve been sleeping in and so have the children, except Christmas morning- when Owen came in my room, “It’s 6:04 mom. You said we could get up at 6:00.”  Sure kid, Merry Christmas to you too.

I’ve been eating every carb in sight. This might not be new for you either. Cinnamon bread, scones, and coffee. You’d think I’d have more energy with the amount of coffee and sugar I am consuming. Far from it. I seem to just plan my day around which warm, caffeinated beverage I will have next. What creamer or syrup will it be this time? Gingerbread, pumpkin? Hazelnut? Coconut?

My waistline is starting to resemble Augustus Gloop’s mother’s. It’s starting to form into a tire shape with it’s own treads.

But enough complaining. We had a blast. The kids enjoyed their stuff. They were even (gasp) nice to each other and to us. I shall share with you a Christmas photo montage of our fabulous holiday.

Here goes-

 

But wait, there’s more. My best gift, aside from the Lululemon jacket McSweetie got me, or even the spending $$ my MIL got me, Emma wrote me a ‘vignette’. I writing assignment in Language Arts class that pretty much can have any content, no plot line and not even complete sentences. Sounds like my blog doesn’t it? Anyway- it went something like this-

“Mama is proud of me when I am performing, tears trickle down Mama’s face. Salty hot tears of joy swell up in her eyes. Those eyes that are forests. Forests in autumn when the leaves start to change, crisp, yellow. Mama’s eyes are a burst of all those trees changing, changing, changing. Mama is beautiful.”

Okay that’s all I can type until I start with my own hot salty tears again down my face.

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday!

Here’s to the New Year!

Reason To Live Friday #26 – Still trying to find happy

There’s a lot of folks out there that are sad. Sometimes I’m one of them. But my sadness comes and goes. I’ll watch news coverage of a young child’s funeral in Connecticut and burst into tears. I’ll look at my children and think how lucky I am that they are in front of me, and burst into tears. I’m lucky enough to be distracted away from my sadness. Unlike some people’s sadness that’s like a smudge that is stained on their skin. It will need to be washed again and again to start to fade.

I can be gripped with anxiety that makes me think irrational thoughts about my children’s safety. I can start to panic and feel my skin get that cold prickly feeling.

But I can also try to remember that if I don’t get my happy back, I can fall down a rabbit hole of never ending sadness.

When something awful happens to someone else, it brings up our feelings of grief and despair. I know people who have lost a loved one tragically, by their own hand even. I know people missing loved ones from cancer. Little loved ones. I worry about them at times like this. The holidays are bad enough. But to have constant images of grief and tragedy. Motorcades and balloon memorials.

Maybe they feel there is no point for them to go on living. That they too could just leave this earth, and things would go on, and the pain would be over. But that would just cause more pain for others.

Pain and sadness can be contagious. They can be a viscous cycle that doesn’t yield. The dark can keep creeping until the light has been snuffed out permanently.

Don’t let that happen.

We all need to find our happy. We feel guilty laughing. We feel guilty enjoying Christmas movies and cookies and presents. We feel guilty getting to have loved ones to spend these times with.

We need to stop feeling guilty. We deserve to be happy. We deserve to share the happy. Spreading kindness randomly. Sharing joy with others gives them more reason to share it to someone else.

And then it’s okay to be sad again too sometimes. Feelings are good. To feel pain, means that you will feel relief eventually. To feel grief, you will feel joy soon. See the pain as a window, a perspective. Tell yourself, I will look out this window, but only a short time. And then I will close it to open the door of happy once more.

Thankfully, children seem to have the best recipe for finding their happy. If we let them, they seem to flourish in their own lost thoughts. Thank heavens in times like this, their little brains can have the attention span of a flea.

Owen only gets sad if I remind him of sad things. His heart is naturally happy. He has given me plenty to laugh at this week in the area of farts, penis love and boogers. Yes, the Owen trifecta.

At a shop in the mall with all kinds of weird, crazy things like squirrel underpants, and bacon flavored gum, he sees a magnet that reads, I <3 my Penis.  He whispers to me so no one else can hear, “I do love my penis actually. It’s there for me when I’m bored.” Dear heavens son, only in the privacy of your bedroom please. He assures me, only in privacy.

Also this week, in a parking lot, Emma somehow was compelled by the power of song, and decided to belt out at the top of her lungs, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”. I admit, I laughed and tinkled. I had to be careful not to literally pee my pants. She was skipping and singing, and on key too, as a matter of fact. Who says (almost) teenagers are self conscious?

I laughed heartily at the recent Saturday Night Live episode with Martin Short. I’m sure it was a little bit funny, but I seem to laugh harder when I desperately need it.

I’ll leave you the link to my favorite skit and you can check it out for your amusement. You’re a Rat Bastard Charlie Brown.

I heard the song on the radio “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”, and thought it was Will Ferrell singing. But it was actually Robert Goulet. Which is funny because Will Ferrell impersonates Robert Goulet singing that song and apparently he does a good job. Or I’m just hard of hearing.

Just remember that there will always be light. We have to focus on that. On the giggles and the belly laughs. The sunshine and the snowflakes. That there is a tomorrow.

Peace to all of you my friends. Be safe. And shine your light.