May Madness: Maple

Once again I am using one post to do double duty. (Remember? Lacking Motivation.) This weeks 99 word prompt from Carrot Ranch involved searching for trees, or at least one tree. So here you go.

“The Red Maple”

She bought the house in winter and didn’t realize the tree in the backyard was dead until spring.  She had it removed at the end of the summer and told herself she didn’t want to rake leaves anyway.

As the year progressed she thought the yard looked naked and found she missed raking leaves.

In the spring she wandered around the nursery feeling overwhelmed until she saw a six-foot tall red maple.  Her tree.

She took her home and named her ‘Betty’.

Thirty years later her heart still contracted with joy as she raked up Betty’s jewel colored leaves.  

We’ll just pretend this is a maple tree, okay?

Til tomorrow…

May Madness: Motivation

For me the scariest symptom of menopause has been apathy. The days when I have no motivation to do anything. Not even fun things, or things I would normally enjoy. The worst days are when I tell myself to ignore the chores and errands and just do something I really want to do and can’t think of a thing. Not even something simple like watching a movie holds any appeal.

I tell myself to just sit, stare out the window but after 30 seconds I feel guilty and like I am insane. I have too much to do to sit and stare out a window. Life is short, I can’t waste these hours, days, months to menopausal angst!

For two weeks I was feeling really good despite terrible insomnia. I was motivated and actually happy about getting some cleaning done. I worked in my sketchbook, watched “Poirot” and didn’t mind making dinner. I was the calm, patient, kind, loving mother. I took breaks when I needed to (because I was tired from the lack of sleep) but emotionally I was happy. Life was good.

And now I am starting to sleep better but apparently my estrogen has again plummeted. The first sign was when I cried when Kris Bryant hit three homeruns in one game for the Cubs. Sure they were happy tears but not something I would normally cry over. And then there was the response to my son turning his nose up at the quiche I made. “Fine. Don’t eat it. I am never making dinner again.” (And no this was not said calmly.) And I knew I was back on the bottom of the menopause rollercoaster.

The last two days I have looked at my overly ambitious to-do list (made when I was feeling motivated) and just shook my head. I’l slog through the next two or three weeks somehow and hope for a few good weeks in June.

Today I will just be sad that I don’t feel like setting up my new day planner. I love doing this, apparently just not today.

Til tomorrow…

May Madness: Moon

There was a full moon last night, the Flower Moon. I love watching the phases of the moon. I love seeing the moon during the day. I love planning night swims under the moon. But man does that full moon mess with my sleep!

My bedroom faces south so this time of year the moon shines right in my window. Even with my room darkening lined curtains I need to wear a sleep mask.

I’ve noticed these last few years that my monthly cycle seems to have synched up with moon. I am sure there is some sort of scientific explanation for this but to me it feels quite mystical.

Now with both my period and the moon on the wane I am hoping to get back to sleeping through the night. I haven’t had an uninterrupted night’s sleep in more than two weeks. I am so tired of being tired.

May Madness: Military

Today is Armed Forces Day, the lesser known cousin of Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day. Memorial Day is to recognize those who gave their life while serving in the military and Veteran’s Day is a salute to all those who have served in the military. Armed Forces Day is to recognize the branches of service and those currently serving in them.

In an excerpt from the Presidential Proclamation of Feb. 27, 1950, Truman stated:

“Armed Forces Day, Saturday, May 20, 1950, marks the first combined demonstration by America’s defense team of its progress, under the National Security Act, toward the goal of readiness for any eventuality. It is the first parade of preparedness by the unified forces of our land, sea, and air defense.” (Copied from Military.com)

An excerpt taken from an article written in the New York Post on May 17, 1952, sums up Armed Forces Day’s utmost importance,
“It is our most earnest hope that those who are in positions of peril, that those who have made exceptional sacrifices, yes, and those who are afflicted with plain drudgery and boredom, may somehow know that we hold them in exceptional esteem. Perhaps if we are a little more conscious of our debt of honored affection they may be a little more aware of how much we think of them.”

Read more: https://militarybenefits.info/armed-forces-day/#ixzz5oD73mCy0

While you appreciate your freedom today take a moment to put your flag out or send a care package to someone serving overseas or maybe just send a prayer of safe keeping for all those on duty today. Thank you.

Til tomorrow…

May Madness: Mum (And Photo Friday!)

As in chrysanthemum, not a British Mom!

In the four seasons world every fall I would put a mum and a pumpkin somewhere near my front door. And every spring I would throw the long dead mum away.

The first year I lived here in the desert southwest I continued the tradition only to have javelinas munch my chrysanthemum down to nothing and roll my pumpkin down the street until they broke it open and then ate it. We watched them do it. I was very sad.

I bought a second chrysanthemum and sadder but wiser put it safely in the backyard. And eight years later I still have the same plant! It blooms two or three times a year.

Look at all those buds!

In the heat of the summer I keep it fully in the shade and in September I pop it back into the morning sun. During the winter it gets full sun. If there is a freeze I tuck it under the patio and drape a towel over it.

Once it blooms I leave the dead stalks until the new growth underneath gets well established. I figure the stalks provide some protection from the sun in the summer and the cold in the winter.

I have been watching my plant for a few weeks now, waiting for a nice amount of blooms to open for a photo Friday shoot.

Til tomorrow…

May Madness: Massive

I oops’d. I bought a very beautiful jigsaw puzzle and didn’t pay attention to the size. Normally when I do a puzzle I work on the dining room table but I put the puzzle on a piece of foam board. This allows me to move it out of the way if we want to use the table to play games or do a craft project. (We only eat in the dining room on Thanksgiving. Seriously. Once a year, not even Christmas.)

But this puzzle is 27″ x 35″ and won’t fit on my foam board. I thought, okay, I’ll set up our folding card table in the living room, another room we hardly use (only Christmas morning). Nope, too small.

This puzzle takes up a good two-thirds of the dining room table. I know because I put together the edge pieces. Well, most of them, I seem to have missed a few on my initial sort.

Now I am stymied. I need that table over summer break which starts next week. I am waffling between picking a different puzzle to do and looking for a bigger, lightweight, movable surface.

I hope all your problems today remain ‘this small’! 😌

Til tomorrow…

May Madness: Menopause

I am cheating today as this is also my entry for Carrot Ranch’s weekly flash fiction topic. This week’s 99 word topic is about growing older. And did you really think I would go the whole month of “M” words May and not address menopause? Silly reader. 🙃 At least I am able to look at menopause with a sense of humor right now.

Menopause

A woman spends the latter half of her life in three phases:

Perimenopause – Characterized by so many different symptoms you are sure you are losing your mind. Coping mechanism is eating brownies while hiding in the pantry. You long to live alone in a mountain cabin.

Menopause – This phase has many false starts.   Six months without a period and then you get surprised by your ‘friend’.  Still eating brownies, you now wake up in the middle of the night and have to endure  hours thinking about brownies.  

Post-menopausal –  The sun comes out again and you live happily ever after.

May Madness: Molars

Molars, as in “my back molars are feeling exceptionally clean today”. Why is that you ask? Because I got a new toothbrush for Mother’s Day. Obviously not just any run of the mill toothbrush. This toothbrush is like the Ferrari of toothbrushes!

My old Phillips Sonicare toothbrush still worked but it was falling apart. The grippy piece was flaking off, shedding shards of lime green all over my hand and the sink. So I asked for a new one for Mother’s Day. And my son upscaled me to a Sonicare 5100 model (it was on sale I think). It is the sleekest thing I have ever owned. All black and svelte it belongs in a New York city apartment.

Two minutes with this baby and my teeth feel like I just walked out of the dentist’s office.

Til tomorrow…

May Madness: Monday

Lots of people aren’t thrilled about Mondays. Back to work, back to school, back to the being responsible routine. I, on the other hand, actually like Mondays. After having small child and spouse underfoot for two days I am ready for some quiet solitude. For a few hours of not hearing demands for food and where is…

Already this morning I have hung the first load of laundry out to dry and put a second load in the washer. And I cleaned the family room carpet and the kitchen floor. I was going to clean the rest of the floor downstairs next but I am thinking maybe I will wait until tomorrow. The dirt certainly isn’t going anywhere and I am feeling low on estrogen. I need to make sure I take some ‘me’ time today. Do something relaxing. Which I can do because it is Monday!

Happy Monday! 🌈

May Madness: Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day!

I got a wonderful surprise gift from Mother Nature today, rain! Last night we had a lovely thunder storm and this morning it is cool and cloudy and we’ve had more rain fall. Pretty rare this time of year and I love it! Thank you Mother Nature.

Every year what I truly want for Mother’s Day is to not have to think about dinner. I am responsible for dinner 364 days a year. This doesn’t necessarily mean I cook dinner every night, yet somehow I am responsible for the fact of dinner.

It is 100% up to me to plan dinner be it cooking, leftovers, eating out or throwing a frozen pizza in the oven. If we go out 90% of the time I have to pick the restaurant.

I want one night where I don’t have to think about dinner at all except to eat it. I want to be told we are going to such and such place at whatever time. Period. No thinking involved on my part.

It won’t happen of course. And yes I have articulated this desire loudly in years past. Last year there was no plan made by child or spouse and we ended up eating leftovers or sandwiches or something. One year they wanted to go out and I told them to pick a place and they couldn’t manage that and they dithered until it was too late to go out.

Now I will admit they usually make breakfast and clean it up. I get the impression that they think that is enough and maybe they are right. Maybe I am just being greedy. A whole day without meal responsibility? Blasphemy!

This year I am picking up the no dinner plan vibe as well (maybe I am wrong) so I have Plan B ready. The Cubs game is on at 4:00p and I’ll make popcorn and drink the pink fizzy lemonade I got at Trader Joe’s and pretend I am at Wrigley Field.

Small child will make himself mac and cheese and spouse will sulk that there is no dinner (he did all that work on breakfast!) and ostentatiously eat a bowl of cereal. And thus another Mother’s Day will end.

Til tomorrow…