Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Random Musings The Same Week of The Last Straw For Me for T%&#p

The officer stands calmly as a group of white supremacists act out behind him. One man’s outstretched right arm signals a Nazi salute. Another wears a red hood. A third rests a Confederate flag on his shoulder.
1. This photo was taken August 12, 2017. The caption is copied from an article that posted how this went viral. A black police officer there to defend the very people who hate him.

2. Last week Trump made us scared for America with his crossed arms and "Fire and Fury" statement about North Korea ....AND NOW this week we should be very sad and angry for America for what he says about what happened in Charlottesville, blaming both sides, and getting high fives from David Duke for saying it. I keep thinking Trump can't get worse. And yet he does. A hundred times worse than i thought the day we found out he was our new President.

3. Make America Great Again? Scared. Sad. Angry. That's making America Great? Forget just missing Obama. i fucking miss George W.

4. The image of those white guys marching with torches in Charlottesville is not easy to get out of your head. I feel badly for the folks who live there who are not racist Nazi sympathizers and white supremacists who may be identified that way when they say where they are from.

5. .But i will say this about how i feel about what's happening: I do not totally agree with tearing down the statues of civil war leaders like Robert E. Lee...for the simple reason is that it's not erasing history or making it better to pretend it never happened.

6. I think these symbols should be used as teachable moments to new generation about what our country used to be and how we should never get back to that.  tearing them down is getting us right back there. Maybe there is a compromise we can make here? If there is, i have no faith in our president in making it.

7. For me the Confederate flag is different because it is carried around and used as a symbol. At the same time maybe we don't stop that either. I kind of like knowing who the people are that i should avoid. For example if i were looking to buy a house and the neighbor next door was sporting a Confederate flag bumper sticker on his pickup (ha, stereotype, it's always a pick-up right?) i would not buy that house.

8. We can try to erase the symbols of racism all we want but it doesn't get rid of the racism. I think i might rather know where it's coming from so i can side-step it. It's horrible though, knowing it's out there more than we knew. I knew it was there. But i think i totally underestimated.

9.  Luckily any Facebook friends of mine who might be defending this latest shit storm in Charlottesville are keeping silent. I hope they keep it that way.

10. I keep saying it and saying it. I am not as pissed off at Trump as i am at the Republican leaders in Congress (Paul Ryan i'm looking at you!) who have done nothing but stood by and watched it happen and sometimes say a few words that make them sound like they have character and conscience after all, but yet nothing happens. WORDS are not enough anymore. Do something more than just stupid talk! It's your fucking job to represent all Americans.


Friday, July 28, 2017

Why I am not cutting my hair and other stuff.

Longest hair i've ever had since high school - July 2017

These don't need to be numbered, but i'm doing it anyway:

1. I thought of this because i have an appointment to get my hair cut in a couple of weeks.

2. Some folks think that at age 60 none of us should be wearing long hair. But what i also think about turning 60 is that i don't care so much anymore about what we should be or shouldn't be doing as we get older.

3. When I turned 40 i thought i was old and i cut off all of my hair really short and it looked terrible and even worse, it was so much harder to deal with because my hair is actually pretty curly. And when i was 40 i had been running half marathons two years in a row and was in probably the best shape ever but I still traded my two piece swim suit in for a one piece that year because i thought that was more appropriate.  I also quit wearing super high heels in place of sensible heels (that was not that hard to give up to tell the truth).

4. So when i turned 60 i decided i am not falling into that trap again.

5. But when i saw an episode of Grace and Frankie and Lily Tomlin was sporting the wild hair look i thought, i'm gonna do it too. (And yeah, i think she is wearing extensions but they look great).

6. So yeah, i'm going to cancel my hair cut appointment. Though i am still keeping my hair COLOR one! I'm not ready to go all the way. My gray color is dishwasher drab and not cool at all. Looks okay on my brothers but i'm not quite ready for that.

7. I have super thick hair and i just HATE washing it. Always have because it takes forever to blow dry.  My hair stylists make comments about it. (I tip them well enough so i don't feel too sorry for them. ) The best thing about my hair right now is that I only wash it once week! (Though i do sometimes wash the roots only at the top. It actually looks and behaves better at 5 days.

8. Most times if you ever see me i am not wearing it down. It's in a long low braid or ponytail. EASY PEASY! That i love second most!

9. Is that how you spell 'peasy'?

10. Anyway, i'm making this whole blog post about my hair. hahahaha.... I'm 60. I can do anything!


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Random Mad-Doms. Random Happy-Doms


Ha. Mad-Doms are things that make me irritated. And of course, Happy-Doms make me happy. Here are a few:

1. (This applies to no one who posts here normally.) If you are a Trump supporter and you jump on my personal Facebook page with a video or story that appears to be in response to something i posted you will not have the last word with me.

Explanation: This hasn't happened too often but my husband has a cousin who passively aggressively jumps on my Facebook page about some stuff i post. He is a born-again Christian and likes to take issue with me, as he did recently when i posted the funny GIF about the Poland First Lady passing by Trump's extended hand and instead shook Melanie's hand.

2. Three reasons i liked that handshake GIF a lot: The first being that she appears to snub Trump. The second is  that i like to think maybe she really didn't (Trump's hands are so tiny, maybe she didn't  see his little tiny hand!). And number three: If she later was mortified that she broke some protocol only to find out that so many of us made her some kind of hero and made a joke of it, because the GIF is hilarious...well then maybe that takes the sting out of her error.

3. So i turned 60 and my hands turned 85. Seriously after this blog i am going to take a photo of my hands to prove it. I understand why Diane Keaton always wears gloves! My doctor told me she could tell by looking at them they are getting arthritis. My knuckles are swollen and i can no longer get my wedding ring off though i have not gained weight.
My wedding ring is actually a man's ring that i had sized for my own because i don't like big diamonds. But those hands look 25 years older than i am and they feel it too.


4. It kind of creeps me out (in a claustrophobic way) that i can't get my ring off right now. I don't like feeling trapped our bound. I hope if i ever die it's not by being buried under rubble.

5. Ok, time for Happy-Doms! I've talked about my favorite nephew's (Brian) son Brady - the one i babysit with the Cheeto colored hair. Brady's sister turned 1 on July 7 and has THE EXACT SAME hair as Brady. (In secret i call them the Cheetos. As in "I'm babysitting the Cheetos today." But i don't say that to Brian or his wife Adrienne cause i'm not sure they would think it's as funny as i do.) I didn't know if i could love a kid as much as i did with Brady but Lauren is fabulously happy and so fun to babysit and i see now how you can be a parent and love your kids equally.  Because her initials are LOL, we call her Lolo.

6. Happy-Dom: When i rock Lolo to sleep i like to sing her the song by the Kinks "Lola". I change it to LoLo. And yes, it's about a transvestite, but she doesn't know that.

Ok, her hair is covered but i love this photo of her. Her dad is pulling her in a wagon.

6. Another Happy-Dom. I am remodeling my kitchen with custom built cabinets, quartz counters and subway tile wall backsplash and new electric can lights. Last time i did this i hired a contractor but my kitchen is so small and i'm retired so i'm organizing it. I love all four of the guys i hired. And their communication so far has been excellent. I don't even mind having to do all the weird little stuff buy all the lights, knobs, and i get to use their accounts where applicable. So yeah, lots of running around and what feels like100s of hours of Pinterest and Houzz research but i have to admit, i like having the project.

7. I can't spend all my retired time reading! Well, actually i can. But i'm not sure it's a good thing. And i'm behind on my one day a week goal that's i've met for awhile now. Just as i've been on this blog.

8. Happy-Dom: Great books i've read this year - Some of them heartbreaking like "Just Mercy"by Bryan Stevenson about the lack thereof of mercy for many minorities in the south. "Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk"; "Option B" - if you are dealing with grief, this book might really help. It helped my friend Rita who lost her daughter to breast cancer. And "Eleanor Oliphant"....

9. Happy-Dom: What i love most about retirement. My mornings. About half of the time i get up Brian is still home reading yesterday's newspaper before getting ready for work. I make coffee;  turn on all the lighting that i like and sit down to the newspaper (once it finally arrives from our disabled carrier) and after that i look online on my iPad, or read part of my book or watch ER reruns i've DVRd. Later I do some cleaning, laundry, researching stuff, or calling Sarah, anything to procrastinate going for a run. I go for a run about four days a week, sometimes five. (Edited to add : I don't know why i wrote 'five', i haven't run five since i quite training for that race.  And right now my other knee is also starting to bother me worrying me about how much longer i can do this.)

Sometimes I meet friends (Sarah and Drew and Marie) for a walk or lunch. I pop over at the pool if i see the screaming meanies aren't there or if some of my condo friends ARE, i babysit a few times a month. And in between all that other time .....i read books. And Facebook. And look up stuff online i want to know. (Right now my remodel is taking a lot of that time.)

10. Somewhere there was a survey... on Facebook i think...Probably...Most likely...Because i don't usually take surveys or tests anywhere but on Facebook... Anyway, on the survey the question was : "If you could have one superpower, what would it be?" ....For me that answer is so simple!  It would be "To remember absolutely everything i have ever read." I honestly don't get why some folks might want super strength or to fly or be invisible. I want instant recall.

Ok, on that note, i'm going to sign off and go scan a couple of photos not on Facebook and talk about those.

I am so proud of my nephew Brian! I always had hope for Brian since he was teenager when so many of us thought he was such a slacker.  Even though he lived a few miles from us I actually wrote him a couple of letters when he was a teen once after he got fired from a job.

I believed in him because even when he was only about 11 years old  he was always a kid who asked so many questions and seemed to care so much about what was going on in the world. Then his younger brother Josh committed suicide in 2009, in a way that nobody saw it coming. And i worried that he wouldn't make it either. But he did. It's probably a testament to his dad, my brother Troy, who has also amazed me in how he has recovered. They are both very close.

I am close to him too. I don't think of him as just my nephew - he is also like a close friend. Brian calls me often on his breaks between Comcast appointments and we love to talk about politics, football, books, movies, tv shows (he's the one that tells me about the best TV shows), stuff in the news, what happened on Bill Maher, etc. .. I learn a lot from him. I also get a lot of my political news from him because i quit watching much of it.

He is now 35. He married the right woman, (his long time girlfriend, who is a nurse who works graveyard shifts) so he has become a super-hands-on father of a boy and a girl. They bought a nice house in a nice neighborhood. And he has become very committed to the extended family. Many of our conversations are about Elodie!

 He's also a really good writer. I wish he wrote more. We used to talk about collaborating on a book of chapters about our family. Maybe we will someday. Anyway, his  35th birthday was July 14th this week... so that is a Happy-Dom. I am so happy he and my brother Troy are doing so well.
They do love their plaid. It's the Louvrak favorite family color!
Lolo is wearing Brady's old hat.


Thursday, June 15, 2017

I lost a friend today


Ramona as a child -the oldest one in the middle

1. Today a friend of mine, Ramona,  died of ovarian cancer. She wasn't a super close friend, though i've known her for over 30 years from our school district work. Her mom Hildegard lived in my condo community and was a good friend of our good friend Dorothy who died ten years ago so our paths kept crossing occasionally. (I always got a kick out of Hildegard.) 

When Hildegard died over a year and a half ago that's when Ramona and i started getting together. And a few months after, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She sent me a message and said she hoped i would be a part of her support team, but added that she understood if i was uncomfortable with that. That's the part that got me -  that Ramona knew it was not something people might be able to do. And truthfully i wasn't sure i was up to it, but i felt i might be ...because of my mom. So i wrote her back and said let's hook up. 

2. My 82 year mom Elodie is a survivor of ovarian cancer- She was diagnosed with stage 4 when she was 65 years old. I went to the doctor's appointment with her that day because Elodie doesn't listen well and doesn't ask questions. 

There were two doctors in the room at Madigan who told Elodie she had stage four. My dad i'm pretty sure did not know what that meant. But I did because i had researched before the appointment. And when my mom hugged the two doctors and seemed excited i was certain she didn't know either. It wasn't until later that i understood that she thought there were TEN stages. We never told her that stage 4 was the worst... (especially for ovarian cancer). And 17 years later my mom is still alive and i think it's in part because she had such a great attitude and didn't know. 

Ramona wasn't uniformed about her diagnosis of course, but she did have that same kind of positive attitude and i thought it would get her through too- maybe not like my mom, (because Elodie is indestructible, like a cockroach, and will outlive us all),  but i thought Ramona had lots more time. 

3. I was not expecting to be so sad today when i heard this news. She was not my very best friend. She's not my longest friend. And we didn't do a lot together until the last year and a half. 

But i realized what it was that i am missing already.... and it's selfish i have to admit.  I didn't do THAT much for her but she made me feel like i did a lot. I am not that funny, but she let me know that she thought i was, especially on Facebook. In other words, she made me feel like i was a better person than i feel i am. Only a few people make me feel that way, which i deserve - considering my personality. 

4. What i really came to like about her is that she was so positive about so much. AND i loved that she was in no way passive aggressive, or pouty, or seething.... if something bothered her, she said told you. Ramona was very straightforward. A long time ago i made an offhand remark - some jokey thing about her flirting with guys (this was before she was married to her husband Paul) - and she called me on the phone later that day and told me that she didn't appreciate it. And i thanked her because she was right. And we were okay all the times i saw her next. Ramona was pretty fucking low maintenance, even when she shouldn't have been. 

5. Here's something about her teaching: About 15 years ago she had a little girl in her classroom who just happened to live in my condo community. I knew the little girl and her older brother well as they were always at the pool during the summer. Nice kids. And they had a VERY nice dad who was devoted to those kids but who later was sent to jail for something i don't know. And you could see it in the kids that they were troubled and missed their dad. When Ramona noticed that the girl started coming to school wearing her older brother's clothes she called me and Dorothy since we knew them. She was raising money to take the girl shopping to get clothes. Recently Ramona and I talked about that and she told me the student never wore the clothes that were purchased from the fundraising and we both laughed that she may have gotten it wrong because she realized the girl liked wearing her brother's clothes. 

She retired from teaching elementary school a few years ago. I was thinking today how she made me feel better about who i am and how as a teacher how wonderfully that must have translated to her students, the ones who really count. 

Rest in Peace, Ramona. I'm grateful that I did get the chance to know you better beyond just Facebook and the school district and the union. I really thought we had at least a few more games of Scrabble at Bur's and many more cups of coffee at Starbucks. It's weird because I keep waiting for you to 'like' a post on Facebook or to send a text. I hope that somehow you are able to read all of the Facebook posts about how much you will be missed. I will miss you too. 

Saturday, May 27, 2017

She Died Doing Something She Hated..... (explained in # 3)

Let's just start the list.

 I couldn't run one more step once i crossed that finish line. They caught me smiling but only because I am looking at Brian.

1. I turned 60 earlier this month. In January I decided to train for another half marathon AND I set a dream goal to place first in my age division. The race was last Sunday.

I gave it my all - to the point that i started to feel sick at mile 9 hill, so i slowed down.  It was a warm day, it was a hilly course, (which i  had totally forgotten from the time i ran it four years before). Crossing the finish line i still felt a bit ill, but at least not in danger of throwing up.

It was disappointing not to break two hours because i had been on track to do that before that 9 mile hill.  (My time was 2:03, five minutes slower 2013; average mile split time= 9:26).  When got home i received an email that evening congratulating me - my time was good enough to place first! AND when considering the younger division ahead of mine  - 85 runners both divisions, i placed 3rd. (Overall, including men, out of 1000+ runners, i was in the top third crossing the finish line, not too shabby for someone 60 years old. )

Running for me is mental as well as physical.  I kept a spreadsheet and compared it to my past training spreadsheets (no surprise for those who know me.) It's about time, not miles- i never have an idea of how fast i am running. I just record minutes.  This year i made sure i logged in more training time than i did four years ago because i knew i would need that mental advantage.

I cannot pretend to not be proud of what i accomplished.  I'm basically a lazy person (except for how cleaning and organizing stuff in my home) and I'm really not much of an overachiever or a competitor. Turning 60 this year was my motivation.

2. So i'm 60. And now i can retired from racing. I will NEVER run another one again. I have nothing more to prove to myself. It was too f*cking boring training that last couple of months during the long runs.

3. Here's the thing. I don't love running. I am not just saying that. Each morning i get up, put on my running clothes and then procrastinate for about three or four or five hours before i get out there. I've even been known to start dusting the whole house, under the beds, on top of the refrigerator and door jams - that kind of dusting, just to put it off.

I told Brian if i ever drop dead on a run ( like the famous Jim Fixx runner who wrote books) he should put in my obituary" "She died doing something she hated."

4. I do hope to be able to run just or exercise at least a couple of more years. I also am going to start yoga again, because it does make me feel better in the morning, even if it does stress me out with the folks who show up late and make noise at the Y. I might get some good blogging stories from yoga.

5 . Enough of running. Talking about running is as boring to people who don't run as it it would be to me if a Born Again Christian wanted to talk to me about Jesus.(Not that i don't love Jesus, i just don't like talking about Him as if He was my best friend.)  Truthfully, Jesus could very well be a best friend, considering that He can change water into wine. (Jesus are you reading my blog? )

6. Today Gregg Allman died. Chris Cornell last week. All so young. Makes me glad i am not so talented or married to someone who is super talented (though he is pretty talented). Too many demons, too short a life.

7. Today was about 84 degees outside. After THE WORST winter and spring on record. Not my opinion, it's a fact. Rained more these past seasons than 1895 or something like that. This week is the first time they have forecasted more than 5 days of sunshine with no rain since last September.

8. I love the sun, but i can't deny that i also love the rain. When you like to read a lot and binge watch Netflix and On Demand DVRs of ER (remember that show?)... you need a little rain and cloudy days so you don't feel guilty. (Last time i checked my DVR of ER there were 49 episodes saved! hahahahaha... See what i mean by lazy?)

9. The Best Thing that Happened: As mentioned, it was my birthday recently. My husband and i kind of go all out on each other's birthdays and Christmas, i think because we don't have kids.We have LOTS of gifts for each other, but some are funny, like for example - he knows i love Haribo gummie bears and so he always buys them and wraps them up. But the best thing he gave me this year is not a present at all. It's what he said.

We don't celebrate our anniversary with presents or cards or going out to dinner. I got this idea from the Yaya board years ago (I wish i knew whose idea it was.) I bought us each a very nice journal. Each year we write in it about our year, around our anniversary and capture what happened in the writing. We don't always exchange the journals and in fact haven't read them in i think two or three years, but we keep writing in them. What i like about this is that one day one of us will be dead and the other will have these journals to read for comfort. AND it also is a timeline and diary of what happened because we don't write flowery, poetic goofy shit, a lot of it is what we did in the way of remodeling - sometimes as silly as talking about bowling or watching American Idol, Brian's bands, etc.

This year he wrapped up the journal and said to me, "you don't have to read it yet but i wrote in there 60 things about you that i really like because you turned 60". And then he added this...and this WAS the present..... He said: "It was so easy to write 60 things."

I need to leave on that note. Baybee....I know you don't read this blog anymore but maybe if i die before you and you are reading this years from now, just know that THAT was the best gift ever. That you thought it was easy. Because i don't think many people, even my immediate family and friends think that.

More race photos:

Made it! 
First hill, around mile 2. Still with it. 


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Testing 1-2-3. I am going to start blogging again.

Even if no one is here, and why would they be since i have not been here since Dec. 3, 2016. But i think i want to start blogging more and doing Facebook less. I've been using FB as a blog anyway but i don't want some of the other stuff of FB so maybe if i blog i will check FB maybe less. I'll be back.