Saturday, January 28, 2017

Library lady

     So today a co-worker who is — let’s just be honest here — 70 years old, gave me a serious run for my money at the library. Some guy was looking for a specific movie, which just happened to be located on the very bottom shelf, and I did one of those pretend searches for it on the middle shelf. She walks over and squats down like she’s going to give birth in some Third World country and finds it in two seconds. Again, here we are. Now I’m at home tearing open the cardboard box of a frozen pizza and she’s obviously at home on a rubber mat touching her big toe to her nose.
     I regularly call the doctor to renew my prescription for muscle relaxers, while it seems like the rest of the women on this ridiculously fit island drink hot tea and take a warm bath for their yoga-stressed muscles. Thank God my teeth are relatively good.
     It’s not easy to work with women your age and older who think nothing of drinking spinach shakes and lugging all kinds of crap around. If I tried half the stuff they do, I’d be holding on to the heating pad and begging for a foot rub 24/7, which I sort of do anyway for no real reason.
     I brought half a cheese sandwich and celery sticks to work for lunch today. I’ve been doing 30 minutes on the elliptical for a good three weeks. I eat kale at least once a week and I consider peanut butter in the same category as I used to put Snickers bars. Every morning I step on my digital scale and it tells me the same thing, “You are still a fat ass.” It’s got to be my age. And maybe the fact that I like Guinness.
     There’s so many diets out there now that I can’t even keep up. I try to Google them and then if they sound remotely circumspect, I rule them out, which pretty much means every diet found on Google is a bad idea. I like this plan.
     At this point I find it hard to tell people that I bring celery and raw fish to lunch. I think they must look at me and think, “Sure bitch, I know you’ve got Twinkies and Hershey bars in that bag.” I find it best not to discuss food choices in public.
     Besides all of this, my hair is gray, I’m pretty sure I’ve got toenail fungus, and I have a stubborn hair just under my right earlobe that won’t be tamed by any razor.

     So how do I manage to maintain a sense of self without self-loathing? I don’t really, but I do know that what I have to work with isn’t what everyone else has to work with, and we’re all awesome so that means I’m also awesome. Thank God for the internet, which routinely tells me I’m awesome and that I suck. I choose awesome.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy stinking new year

     I may have this whole so-called “New Year’s resolution” thing figured out. For years I’ve lost and gained back about 1,000 pounds. The thing is that it’s hard to stay on a big-time diet when you’ve decided long ago to be okay with yourself no matter where you fall on the fat spectrum.     
     The only thing that helps people like me stick with any diet is our impending death. When you get to be 50 or older, staying alive sort of becomes the focus. Especially amidst all those reports of folks who didn’t make it to the end of 2016. You start to think that they must have eaten a lot of sausage and Snickers bars.
     But I have to say, the world gives us a mixed message. We’re supposed to love ourselves right where we are no matter what, but then again we’re supposed to fix anything that’s “wrong” with us — for me that’s what Chris Farley referred to as “a little bit of a weight problem.”
     Oh, I’ve definitely decided again that I’ll get back on the elliptical and kick my own ass as we begin this new year. But I have to say I’ve only decided to do it because I’ve got three kids and a husband who, I think, still want me around. If it was up to me alone, I’d gorge myself on Almond Joys and chicken wings and give everybody the finger.
     I’ve got one go-around here—as far as I know—I’d like it to be as pleasant as possible.
     This means I’m going to find my loose sweatpants (that’s right, I do have tight sweatpants in my bottom drawer) and get back up there on those stupid foot pedal things. My problem is that I’ve lost weight before and experienced that whole “your numbers are down” thing. This leaves me thinking that there’s something to eating kale with lemon and not unwrapping that first Hershey’s Kiss. Why does everything have to be so not fun?
     I was talking to someone the other day; somebody I’d just met. We were at the 50th birthday party of a good friend. I said, “No matter what my age is, I feel like I’m 12 inside.”
     This didn’t really go over as I’d planned. I got one of those Chris Farley “Oh, she lives in a van down by the river” looks. Keep in mind, this guy I was talking to would’ve gauged about an 8 on the ol’ “pinch and pull” body fat meter.
     I have no idea why I shared that little “I feel like I’m 12” line with a stranger. I should have known it might not go over. I guess it’s best not to talk to newly met people when you’re talking about personal problems. I’ve found that they really aren’t that interested in my weight and/or my choice of antidepressants. This always leads me to thinking that they’re somewhat snobbish. Whatever, it obviously wasn’t a great idea.
     So, I guess the bottom line is that I need to wake up earlier, grab my loose sweatpants and put my foot to the pedal if I expect to live another year or so.
     I have to say it gets tiresome. The whole worrying about your body fat index and eating everything steamed and cookies made from mashed chickpeas. Is this the way we’re supposed to live?
     I guess it makes for interesting conversation. Maybe we talk about this stuff one-on-one because we don’t want it pasted all over social media. Maybe that’s the up side.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Christmas Stockings

     In case you haven’t noticed, Christmas is coming. All the winter holidays are coming, and we can’t even escape.     Usually by this time I've made a trip to Walmart, off the island of course, and purchased plenty of wrapping paper, tape, pajama pants, toothbrushes, and Hershey Kisses to stuff at least ten stockings.     
     This year, we opted to spend our reserves going to Maine in October, a decision I thought we might regret come December. But I don’t really regret it. My children are what I would call “grown-assed kids” now, and I don’t worry about the stuff under the tree as much. Unfortunately for them.     
     I still love Christmas though. It’s not even about presents, although my grown-assed children still gather under the tree Christmas morning. (And I will do everything within my power to see to it that they continue to do this until they reach the age of 72.)     
     There’s just something about it all. The togetherness. The quantity of dip I prepare. The ham. The leftover ham. The red, green, and silver Kisses. The days off from work. The arrival of the grown-assed kids who don’t currently live with me. In the best sense of an oft-used phrase — it really is “all good.”         
     One of the first Christmases I spent with my “new” husband, Chris, he thought it was a good idea to buy me socks for Christmas. We had made that vow that all married couples make: “Don’t get me anything for Christmas. We bought a dishwasher this year,” or some such nonsense. So, Christmas Eve came, the day I let the grown-assed kids open one gift from me and the gifts to each other. All the kids were looking at me as I opened the squishy package from Chris. They knew we were still newly-sort-of-weds and they were curious. I opened a beautifully wrapped pair of black socks. And then I didn’t open any more packages from Chris. Because that was the only one. 
    Somehow he had taken that vow of “Don’t get me anything for Christmas. We bought a dishwasher this year” seriously. All wives know this promise is only made in jest. None of us mean it. Really. We say this and at the same time we’d really like a fine piece of jewelry, preferably one made of at least 14K gold, or in a pinch, white gold. And the fact that husbands don’t understand this leaves us shaking our heads.     
     Just now I watched as my husband emptied the entire refrigerator and wiped down the whole thing. Before this, he asked if I wanted him to cook something for supper. And before that he drove me to work and as I left the car, he asked me if I needed him to bring me some iced tea or coffee anything else I might need.     
     I know from now on any socks I unwrap at Christmas will come with a sweet necklace and an apology. And this is why I love the season. This and, as you know, there’s Jesus and Mary and Joseph, this time I say it without  blasphemy. Merry Christmas to all of you…and especially those who get socks under the tree or those who don’t even have a tree.