Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Waiting in Line at the Grocery Store

The "grocery store" in the flower beds this year was the Hosta flower stalks.
There were 9 praying mantis' and one old grasshopper in line on this particular day.
 Each waiting patiently for their groceries.
 Looks like brown and green are the colors that will be "in" as far as fashion goes this winter.
Good thing too, I love brown and green.

 These shoppers were far more patient than me when it comes to waiting in a line that doesn't seem to be moving.

 If my line isn't moving, I end up talking to myself and harumphing just above a whisper about how I have to be somewhere and how my ice cream is going to melt if things don't hurry along.

Then I see someone who has bigger problems than melting ice cream and I calm down.  

Mr. Grasshopper's wings are misshapen and he will never fly.

 I will often resort to talking to those in my line or flirting with their crying toddlers.
It makes Eric crazy.
"Who was that you were talking to?"

"I don't know."
Probably made my mother crazy when I was a little girl----me talking to strangers.

 I get a wee bit jealous of those that stand with zen-like faces as their line comes to a halt.

 Maybe standing on their heads is what makes them so patient.
Not sure I can resort to standing on my head.  

Of course it might lighten the mood of all those around me if I stood on my head.
The crashing sound that would immediately follow my attempt would surely cause to lighten the mood.
Candy and magazines and me, in a heap.

 This one finally resorted to prayer.
A prayer that the line would get moving.
A prayer that the checker would come back from his price check.

Looks like he's gone on break.
I think we'll be here a while.
If you need me, I'll be talking to Mr. Grasshopper whilst standing on my head.
I wonder if I should put my ice cream back?

Thursday, September 25, 2014

I Love Christmas Just as Much as The Next Person, But...

I would really like for the Christmas season to stay between Thanksgiving night and Christmas day.

I have long bought into the perfection myth that follows Christmas.
Everyone must have exactly the perfect gift.
Everyone must be happy.
Whether they like it or not.
The tree must be perfect.
The decorations must be perfect.
The food must be perfect.
I allow myself, despite my best efforts, to get stressed out.
To feel as though Christmas and all its trappings define me.
Is everyone happy?
Then I've failed Christmas; as though it were a test of my humanity somehow.

The realist in me knows that it is simply impossible for everyone to be happy in any given group.

The first catalog arrived 2 days before Fall!
I keep telling myself that, and yet I buy into the hype
Luckily for me, Eric is a top notch Christmas present buyer.
While I spend a lot of time wringing my hands (and doing nothing) about what each person should get and whether they'll like it;  he's on Amazon every day looking to see if a certain something reminds him of a certain someone in our family.

This year, according to the retail powers that be, my Christmas stress is supposed to begin on September 22nd.  
I got my first official Christmas catalog on Monday.
It wasn't officially Fall until Wednesday.
Soooooooo, I got a Christmas catalog in what was technically Summer!

I try to find joy in the season.
To remember it is a time for laughter, good food, friends, family, love and peace.
For me, I also remember the birth of Christ and what that means to me.

What do you do to combat those feelings of inadequacy?
How do you take care of yourself during this season of perfection?
If you'd like to wait until Thanksgiving dinner is digesting to answer those questions, I'll understand.
Believe me, I'll understand.  

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things

First, as always, I researched to see where the common saying, 
"This is why we can't have nice things" originated.
No one knows.
Some say a movies (Jane Austen's Mafia, War of the Roses).
Some say television (Everybody Loves Raymond).
Most say it was their mother or grandmother.
No matter.
It obviously implies that nice things get broken.
Usually by children.
Donkeys are not children, but they behave much like a child.
A child about 18 months old.
They put EVERYTHING in their mouths.
Also, they don't want their toys.

They want everything that is NOT a toy. 
Case in point.

My chair.
I took it out to sit in while visiting with them.
I got up after they wandered away and began to pick up manure.
Bill and Ted came right back and grabbed the chair.
It ended up 50 yards away before I was able to get it back from them.
In the second chair photo, you'll see a soccer ball about 30 feet to Ted's right.
Do they play with the soccer ball?
No, not if there are new "toys" 

Below, you'll see two carpet runners.
Ancient runners that had long ago been retired to the garage under the category of,
"We'll use these again for something."
"Something" happened immediately following our 8 inch rainfall in 72 hours.
Their paddock was a muddy, sloppy mess. 
I wanted them to be able to lie down without sinking 3 inches into the mud.
Out came the runners.

 The next morning I wanted out to see how they'd faired on their nice carpeted bed.

 Something is missing.
Two minus one equals one.

Here Jane inspects the missing runner.
Out in the paddock.
I wonder what this looked like while it was happening.
Was it Bill or Ted or both that drug it out from under their sleeping area.
Maybe one of them fell out of bed?
Not likely.
I wish I had been there with a camera to see them carrying the runner together.
They always do their carrying together.

 Manure bucket.
 What's mine is theirs evidently.

 Luckily, I had emptied the bucket into the wheelbarrow for disposal.

Everything is a toy for my boys.
For all donkeys I suspect.
Other donkey owners have pictures very similar to mine.
I suppose it's good to have donkeys who can entertain themselves.
It's when it gets quiet that we worry.
There is nothing quiet about dragging a chair or carrying a bucket.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

I Can't Really Wrap My Mind Around It

According to Baby Center.com, my grandbaby girl is as big as cabbage this week.
"Your baby tips the scales at 3 pounds and is 15 3/4 inches from head to toe."

I watch the little date ticker you see on my right sidebar with anticipation.
Funny, when I was pregnant with each of my three babies, the time went SO slow.
I look at that "67 days" on baby's countdown ticker and think, "It's just around the corner!"

I haven't felt her move yet.
Even thought Katie is my daughter-in-love, I would never be so bold as to ask to touch her belly.

The baby moving, is such a gift for pregnant women
(most of the time--unless you're being kicked in the ribs).
Something that only she can feel.
I remember the little kicks and watching tiny baby stretches occur, right in my own body.
I also remember wondering why we aren't dismayed by it.
It is not unsettling in the least bit.
We, as women, wait and wait for that first flitter of movement.
It has been described as feeling like a butterfly brushing your cheek.
That is exactly what those first movements feel like.
We have it all to ourselves for a month or more until others can feel it from the outside.

I don't see Katie and Preston every week, but I think about them every single day.
Many times a day.
I think of the wonder and mystery and happiness and worries they have.
I think of how Katie is beginning to experience being uncomfortable.
That little cabbage is taking up room where once her lungs, stomach and bladder sat in their respective places.

I pray for health and well being as she enters these last two months of her pregnancy.
I pray for Baby Girl Cox and for my first born, Preston, every day as well.

I can't wait to meet this little girl, but I will.
67 more days

Friday, September 19, 2014

Feast or Famine

Thanks to Hurricane Odile, we are now in the Feast portion of our rainfall in Central Texas.
I'd like to have great photos of water rushing or pools of standing water, but everything is just wet.
Really, really wet.
Nothing pretty or interesting about mud.

And boy do I have lot of mud!
Because, before our Feast, was Famine.
We were in an "Extreme" drought (National weather service words, not mine).
Drought means dust/dirt.
Lots of it.

Flooding means mud.
Lots of it.

At our house, the rainfall total for the last 48 hours is 8 inches.
More rain is expected today.

I go out several times a day to pick the mudballs out of Bill and Ted's feet.
The mud builds up in the their little hooves and it ends up like they are walking on something the size of a lime
It's important not to let that stuff sit there, because they can get thrush from the continual dampness the mud provides.
Also, it's terribly uncomfortable.
Think of walking around with a marble in your shoe.
It's not their favorite activity---to have their feet picked several times a day, so I bring pretzels.
Pretzels are their snack of choice.

Anyhoo, that's what's going on.
I must thank Hurricane Odile for our Feast.
Seems it takes a hurricane to bring decent rainfall to our area anymore.

Monday, September 15, 2014

My New Do

I have always thought my hair was my best physical quality.
No matter how much weight I gained and lost and gained again, no matter how little makeup I had on, no matter how many wrinkles appear---my hair is always thick and has a great texture.
It looks really great if I style it.

There's the rub.
I'm not one to always want to spend time with the blow-dryer and a lot of hair product.
I was always one to want to be able to pull it back in a pony tail and go.
It gets darned hot here in the summer and the pony tail is my go-to Do.
Spending a half hour/45 minutes with the blow-dryer just made the heat more unbearable.
Menopause just adds to the fun.

There's also the little matter of having a round face.
That, coupled with several extra pounds made a short haircut an impossibility in my book.
Hair cut to chin length "accentuates a round face, making it appear even more round (aka: fat)".
I put that in quotes because EVERY. SINGLE. magazine and website about hair says the same thing.


Despite my need to avoid short hair, my long hair needed to be cut.
I went to my normal hair cutting place and asked for, "All one length, just below the top of my shoulders."
What I got was an inch above the top of my shoulders.
Normally, I would have just let it grow out and called it done.
I couldn't.
It was awful!
It was uneven and I looked like I had a pyramid on my head.
No amount of hair gel and hair drying could make it acceptable.

I called my friend and hair salon owner and begged her to fix it.
I don't normally go to her for anything but coloring.
The other place has been cutting my family's  hair for 20 years--I kid you not.

This one of the most obvious cases of "You get what you pay for" if ever there was one.
An hour and a half later, she revealed the new haircut.
The new me.

I felt pretty for the first time in a very, very long time.

I can no longer pull it up in a pony tail.
I can no longer just let it dry and go.
However, I think it might just be worth it.
It won't take nearly as long to dry and I still have great hair; but now I have a great haircut to go with it!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Not the Bird I Was Hoping For

I set up my game camera on the the fence last night at dusk.
The owl chicks have been using the fence as their landing pad between bug hunting trips under one of my oak trees.
I think I figured out what bug they're gobbling like popcorn every night----
cicadas that are just emerging from the ground.
While setting up a shelter for the donkeys (another story, another day) I discovered 15 cicada shells on the tree trunk.

I digress.

I was hoping for some good shots of the owls coming and going from the fence.
What I got was this little male bluebird.
He's moulting, thus the white tufts of feathers among the red on his breast.
They are such curious little birds and it would be just like one to check out my camera.

I didn't get any shots of owls.
I found the camera on the ground this morning.
I'll make sure it's better secured tonight.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Numbers Don't Lie

I hate having my picture taken.  Always, always have.
So, posting pictures of myself and talking about myself is a very big deal for me.
This post is probably the most exposing post I will ever write.
I'm not quite certain why I'm doing it,  I just know that I am.

Ever since I began to understand what "fat" is, I have always thought I was overweight.
I focused on those places that were thicker than the other places.
As a child I was pear shaped.  
Lovely top and middle, but I was focused on my "saddle bags".
When I got married I weighed 110lb!  
A number that astounds me today.
I thought I was fat.
Eric asked me to wear a bikini on our honeymoon.  
I gave in and wore one.
I looked at my honeymoon photos and thought, "Geez, look at those thighs!"
I look at those photos now and wish, wish, wish I had loved that body.
It was healthy and good looking.  

I can't bring myself to post how much I weigh now.
I'll just say that I'm still below 200lb.
However, I am 5'4 and the weight has crept on like a fog rolling in.
Quiet and unassumingly.
My body aches.
My clothes don't fit.
I feel unattractive. Ugly, even.

What's terribly interesting about all this is that I have no negative feelings about others that are overweight.  
I do not judge them. 
 I do not think they are unattractive.  
I see them as my friends and family and don't think another thing about it.

I judge myself quite differently than I do others.
In the case of the numbers below, all the cosmetic reasons for losing weight need to take a back seat to my health.

My cholesterol is 241(very high), 180 is the number I should be.
My HDL is 63 (normal/"best")
My LDL is 164(high)
Here is what the American Heart Association has to say about my cholesterol levels.

These numbers need to get into my brain.  
They need to make an impact on my choices because buying a bigger pants, or aching all over, or feeling groggy in the mornings because I ate right before bed is not making a difference in my behavior.

My main excuses up until now are:
I hate exercising. It makes me hurt. It makes me feel awful.
I hate the thought of giving up my 'drug' of choice--- fatty, salty/sugary foods.
I use food to make myself feel good, if only for a moment.
Conversely, once the food is consumed, I feel icky again.  
Guilty in fact.
Someone who doesn't "eat their emotions" cannot understand this behavior.
I have gained and lost the same 50 lbs for the last 20 years.

If I keep on my current trajectory of gaining weight, I will not be able to fully enjoy the second half of my life.  In the photo below, you can just see the tiny baby belly that my daughter-in-love, Katie is beginning to show.  
I will not easily get up and down off the floor to play with my granddaughter!

Anyway, I've officially outed myself.
I have to lose some weight.
My willpower and self-loathing are not in my control right now.
I have to be willing to hurt and feel sick when I exercise.
I have to be willing to give up eating as much as I want, whenever I want.
I have to be willing to work through those moments/hours/days when I feel like I would feel better if I just sat down with a bag of Cheetos and put my feet up.

I have joined Weight Watcher for the 4th time.
Wish me luck.
Say a prayer.
Light a candle.
I need all the help I can get.

September 2014
December 2007 
Me and Eric's buddy, Dave Orvis
September 2006

Friday, September 5, 2014

Happy Birthday Teeny Mumpkin!

He's not so teeny anymore.
He's not Mumpkin anymore either.
Most of his life it's been Quinnie Bear.
Lately, he's Bubbee.
Mostly, he's just Quinn.

 It's so very odd to be happy and sad, wrapped up in one feeling.
I miss the little boy in this picture every day.
I miss his carefree days---for his sake.  
Sometimes for mine, too.

However, I am so very proud of him now.
Of the choices he makes every day to be a good guy, a responsible guy, a friendly guy.
He's doing it because he wants to, not because he's been asked to.
That's the difference between a 3 year old and a 16 year old. 

Happy 16th Birthday Quinnie!
I love you truly, madly, deeply!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

How Much Does Your Donkey Weigh?

First, let me tell you that donkey weights are bloody difficult to convert if you aren't using the metric system.
President Carter tried his hardest for us all to be on the same (easier) mathematic page, but NNNNNnnnoooooo, we can't be bothered to learn something new and easier.

I digress.

The chart below is called a nonogram.
To figure out much my boys weigh, I searched and searched the internet.
Seems only those in the UK are interested in such things.
I had to measure my donkeys in inches, and then convert the inches to centimeters.
Then I had to peg the boys measurements into this nonogram, draw an invisible straight line from one dot to the other and voila'----I have their approximate weight in Kilograms.
That helps.

Thank goodness for this little widget on the internet.  It converts anything you want it to. 
 I wanted to convert inches to centimeters and then kilograms into pounds.

According to this chart and method, 
Bill weighs 209.4 lb.
Ted weighs 178.5 lb.

Thank goodness for math genius husbands like Eric who can do calculations in his brain.
If you ever want to see people's mouths drop open, ask Eric a complex math problem and he'll spit out the answer quicker than a calculator.

I digress--again.

Because my brain was swirling and I had a half dozen pages open on my computer regarding this post, I asked,
"Honey, what is the percentage difference between the boys height and weight?"

I was curious about this because while Bill weighs more, Ted is shorter.
Turns out the percentage difference in height is 16%.
Weight difference is between 15 and 16%.
He both those things in his head, in an instant.
I didn't even know where to start to figure it out.

He sums up, "I suppose if they were human, their Body Mass Index, BMI would be nearly the same number."

So really, why do I care about how much they weigh?
I need to know how much worming medicine to give them.
I also need an approximation for when the vet comes to sedate and castrate them.
Now you know.
And so do I.

If you have donkeys and want to know about approximation of weight and body scoring, here's a link to the best webpage I found.
You'll have to do conversions though.
Lucky I linked it up top!