The prompt from Carrot Ranch for this week is “The Greatest Gift”. I had lots of ideas come to mind but they all felt trite, too obvious. I started thinking about how it is not just the story but the way it is told. I have not had much luck getting ideas out of my brain and into words on paper. Often times there is a disconnect somewhere. I suspect much of my problem is simply the need to spend more time, more rewrites, more work on the task. I need to get my “10,000 hours” in.
Still not perfect but after multiple edits and changes I got closer to getting the picture in my head translated into words. I am glad I will have next week to try again!
“Time, Heart and Head”
She was 83, too old to be living alone said her grandchildren. Her house was worth a fortune they said.
“It’s my home, not a house,” she groused. “Fine, when the Cubs win the World Series I’ll move.”
She spent her 92nd summer as always, listening to the Cubs on the radio. She was tired, worn out; it had been a hard year. In her head she knew it was time to move.
Finally, game seven of the World Series. Tie score. Rain delay ends at last. Her heart races, knows: it is time for the Cubs to win.
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.
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.
Yes I still enjoy celebrating my birthday, even after so many! I am now the grand age of 52! Last week we kind of had a three day celebration.
It all started with bowling a new scratch high series in my Tuesday morning league, a 555! Anytime I break 500 I am really happy.
Then I stopped at Trader Joe’s and was happily surprised to find all the pumpkin goodness had arrived. I tried to restrain myself but I find it best to buy some things early because chances are they will be gone the next time I go. So hello pumpkin dog treats, pumpkin bagels, pumpkin oatmeal, spiced pumpkin seeds etc. Many items won’t be opened until October, when I am ready for pumpkin in all things.
And then the first official part of my birthday….going to see the Cubs play the Diamond Backs in Phoenix. Cubs won 9-1 and Baez got two more RBI’s to continue leading the National League! I felt sort of bad for the D’backs because there were WAY MORE Cubs fans than D’back fans in the stands.
(I tried to take pictures with the camera on my phone and none of them turned out. I got this one off the web at stadiumjourney.com).
It is a cool stadium, different. It has a retractable roof which is usually closed for the heat with the a/c on!
My son had my name up on the big board for the birthdays. He didn’t say Happy Birthday Mom, but put in my full name (first and last) instead which I found rather funny. I walked out of the stadium singing “Go Cubs Go” and didn’t even mind the long drive home.
My husband and son were both home today despite it being a Wednesday, which really made the week feel weird.
We woke to solid cloud cover and brief showers of rain that turned steady in the late afternoon. With a high temp only in the 80’s, a good 20° cooler than it has been, it truly was a gift of a day.
I helped my son bake my birthday cake, took a nap, listened to the rain and lit my vanilla pumpkin candle for the first time this season.
Now we get to my actual birthday (finally!). I put new autumn themed sheets on my bed, did my writing class homework and enjoyed the lingering clouds. I ate 1/2 a pumpkin bagel for breakfast (and put the rest in the freezer!) and enjoyed a mug of hot pumpkin spice rooibos tea, first of the season. And yes the a/c is still on and no it wasn’t nearly cold enough for hot tea but I did it anyway and I loved it.
The sun peeked out just as I was taking the photo creating cool shadows from the lace curtains.
I also colored a picture for my son to celebrate the first official day of autumn (22 September). A few days ago he was cleaning up his room and found pictures I had colored for him in the past and asked why I hadn’t done any this school year. Honestly I thought he might have out grown getting pictures from his Mom in his backpack and I didn’t want to embarrass him. Now I am happily looking for Halloween and Thanksgiving pictures to color!
My husband brought home Chicago Dogs from Luke’s Italian Beef for dinner and then I got to open presents and watch the Cleveland Browns finally win a football game.
My favorite present, this way cool Halloween spatula!
I have been waffling about what to do with my blog. I know you are supposed to focus on one area, post on a regular schedule, blah blah blah. I have been an orderly rule follower my whole life and now in my dotage I have decided to be capricious. I have decided to post randomly about whatever I so desire. So there, take that world.
We start with a random Monday Joy List…
I am glad I am not really in my dotage!
Books, always. I am currently reading “The Great Alone” by Kristin Hannah. It is not an easy read emotionally, a very dark subject but I have hope for an uplifting ending.
Our pool temperature is still quite warm, about 88° making swimming a pleasure each evening.
Go CUBS Go! I really enjoy listening to the games on the radio and “treat” myself on Sundays to watching the game on tv.
I am learning so much from my on-line writing class. Why didn’t I do this years ago?
My son is going to a new school this year and they got a grant to set up a lunch program and for this year all the kids get to eat for free. Not having to make a lunch everyday…priceless. Apparently there is such a thing as a free lunch. (Of course next year it will probably cost a fortune but I won’t think about that today.)
I reorganized and gave my office a good cleaning. I am spending a lot of time in here these days.
I swapped out my wax scents. Just a little thing but it brings me joy.
I have been buying little bouquets of zinnias at the Farmer’s Market, beautiful colors.
I decided to do another Whole30 as a kick-off to implementing “My Healthy Life Manifesto“. The main goal of this Whole30 is to stop snacking and eating when not hungry. I know I have a tendency to eat when bored or tired and the habit has gotten completely out of control. I will also admit I am hoping to lose a few pounds as well. I looked at the calendar and decided to start the same week school started. I am hoping this will give me some extra time for all that food prep plus no big holidays or major travel plans to make things more difficult.
Here is a summary of the first week:
Day 1: Totally not prepared this Monday morning. The thing is, school doesn’t start until Thursday. My bad. So I eat a banana with some cashew butter and a carrot for breakfast and then get to work on some food prep. I make hard-boiled eggs and clean a bag of carrots. And then I make my favorite quiche:
I grease a 9″ pie pan with coconut oil and bake at 425° for ~ 20 minutes
The best thing about this recipe is you can mix up what you add and eat it everyday on the Whole30 if you wish. Some suggestions: mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, cooked grated yam or sweet potato, ground beef, spinach, thinly sliced Trader Joe’s sausages. Really anything compliant that you like. This is so much easier than breakfast “muffins” and I think a bit tastier than a straight egg bake.
I eat a piece for lunch (along with a sliced tomato) and now I have breakfast ready for the rest of the week. I also cook enough pork and kale for a second quiche and stash it in the freezer.
Day 2: I have a solid meal plan for the day so it seems easy.
B: quiche, 1/2 grapefruit, one small potato. I microwave the potato, let it cool a bit, dice it, then crisp it up in a little olive oil.
L: salad with 1/2 can of tuna in olive oil, 1 HB egg, cherry tomatoes and avocado
Snack: cut up peaches we picked ourselves and that need to be eaten
D: grilled steak, homemade oven fries and green beans
I am the only person in the house doing the Whole30 so many nights there will be separate dinners but tonight’s worked for everyone. Yeah!
I am not going to write every single meal down because that would be boring. I am feeling rather tired today. I expected it but it was still a bummer. See the Whole30 timeline.
Note to self: be careful what you read and watch during these crucial first days of eliminating cravings. “Howard’s End”, not a good movie to watch, in terms of food anyway. Seems they were always having tea and cake. Reading “Endurance” by Alfred Lansing was a good choice. This book is about Shackleton’s expedition to Antarctica. While there is a fair amount of talk about food it is items like seal steaks and penguin hearts that are mentioned. And for a treat? Fish paste. No triggering of cravings here!
I seem to have skipped right over the “kill all things” phase and now “I need a nap” and “Why are my pants tighter” phase seem to be overlapping. Geez.
Grocery shopping day. Halloween candy already? (No more grocery shopping until after this is over!) I eat a good breakfast but we have a bunch of errands to run. By the time we get to the base I am getting rather hungry. I get my son a sandwich at Subway in the food court and then scan my options. Nothing. So I eat my apple cinnamon Rx bar. By the time we get home I am pretty hungry. I nosh on sugar snap peas with a single serving size of guacamole while getting the groceries put away.
Now it is 3:00p and I am not sure what to do. Do I eat lunch or try and tough it out until dinner? I decide to eat a hard-boiled egg and make dinner an hour early. It is taco salads so husband and son can re-heat the meat and make their own salads when they are ready.
Today is one of those days that really are tough on the Whole30. We are going up to Phoenix to watch the Cubs play the D’Backs. We are supposed to leave at 9:00a for a 1:00p game because of the crowd expected. Spouse gets out of work late (he is working extra hours for an exercise) so we don’t leave until 10:30a but it all works out surprisingly well.
B: banana, quiche, potato
L: Eaten in the truck on the trip up is chicken salad (diced grilled chicken breast, dried cherries, walnuts and mayo), snap peas and a few cherries. As we walk from the truck to the stadium (about 12:30p) I drink a bottle of Zupa Noma soup. I bought a six pack to try out because they are Whole30 approved. I have the Beet-Orange-Basil flavor. I finish it but I don’t think I would buy this flavor again, too basily for me.
Snack: For inside the park I have dry roasted pistachios (in the shell) from Trader Joe’s and an Rx bar. The game is exciting and I am not hungry until the seventh inning. I eat a few pistachios, but probably half or maybe even a third of what I would have normally eaten. That’s it.
D: We stop at a Five Guys on the way home. I was prepared bringing a little container of my own mayo. I get the lettuce wrap with two burgers, tomato and raw onion. No pickles because they are out of pickles. What?? (They got a bad batch from their supplier and were waiting on a replacement shipment. Just my luck.) But with the addition of the mayo I don’t feel like I am missing out on anything.
So the Cubs and I both win! The week wasn’t bad at all and I am very happy that I have not been snacking on dried fruit or raisins like in Whole30s in the past. I survived a busy day running around and a road trip. A successful week one is in the books.
Still in the mind numbing 90’s here ( ten degrees above “average”). But I am finding ways to cope, still making my own autumn and finding bits of happiness:
All things pumpkin at Trader Joe’s, round two. Especially loving the pumpkin spice popcorn for Cub games. Go Cubs Go!
Creating this cute bat pumpkin with my son. (So much easier than carving!)
Lunch at Panera Bread which included a turkey cranberry flatbread sandwich and a caramel apple scone.
Gathering leaves up in the mountains. (I spread them on the path to the front door on Halloween so kids get the fun of kicking through leaves. It is my favorite Halloween decoration and I love having the leaves blowing around the yard for a few days after.) I found true autumn at 8000′! It was a glorious 61° with clouds and a few drops of rain. The maples were red and gold and we found golden aspen leaves too. It was a wonderful few hours of fleece wearing, leaf scuffing, picture taking autumn heaven.
The silliness of our cookie haunted house.
After dinner walks to look at Halloween lights. Though there seems to be fewer decorated houses this year.
Tears of joy when the Cubs advanced to the World Series. Go Cubs Go!
Halloween boxer shorts to sleep in. (Since it is way too warm for my Halloween jammies.)
Working on the November sketch for my friend Joe’s sketchbook. It involves drawing and coloring fall leaves. (No picture so I don’t ruin the surprise for him.)