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Friday, September 30, 2011

Quit Smoking




There are instances in your life where you experience an epiphany.  Sometimes the experience is filled with full knowledge and colored with gold.  Other times it is a glimpse of something just out of the corner of your eye until one day you can see the flower (idea) in full bloom.  You have missed it growing but felt it needling.  More often than not, my epiphanies occur after I have thought, dreamed, pondered, looked at from all sides, and then for some mysterious reason, I have a whole body eureka moment. 

Roughly a month ago, I made a list.  I had pondered this list, added to it as recollection allowed.  I had dreamed of the people on my list and they all tried to teach me the same lesson; quit smoking.

I hear my sister sing to me….no, just like me she couldn’t carry a tune if it was in a pocket that was buttoned…but, I hear her sing to me.  Mostly, she sings about where she is buried.  I know that sounds a little morbid, but that’s how she gets my attention.  Roses.  She sings a song with the wrong lyrics, inserting roses in lieu of the correct words.  My ADD has a problem with that. 

So, I made a list and have looked at all the people who touched my life and have fallen victim of this horrible disease. 

Blanche Mahan                  Maternal Grandmother               Ovarian
Sandra Isles (Sam)             Sister                                         Lung
Linda Hollenbeck               Sister-in-law                              Ovarian
Vicki Paulus                       Sister-in-law                               Breast
Cheryl Lull                         Sister Friend                               Breast
Nancy Hentchell                 Sister Friend                               Lung
Tim Viehl                            Friend                                        Colon
Hugo Madsen                     Friend                                        Prostate
Jim Brown                          School Chum                              Prostate
Marty Sause                       Ex-Husband                                Lung
Sue Young                          Sister Friend                               Precancerous melanoma
Todd Mesack                      Friend                                        Lung
Barb Nelson                        Neighbor                                    Lung
Robin Blake                        Sister Friend                               Colon
Karen Morgan                    Sister Friend                               Lung
Me                                                                                        Melanoma

About seven years ago, my doctor instructed me to take vitamin D3.  I thought, ok, one more I will take but not know what I am doing.  Then at a yard sale I bought an old book called “Vitamins and You” This particular book was written by a female doctor about 40 years ago.  It was fairly old, but my thought was that at least it wouldn’t be caught up with the vitamin fad of the day and I would have an opportunity to see whether or not our latest fashion vitamin was even thought of back then. 

Wow, was I surprised.  Yes, the vitamins you are urged to take today were known about back then.  That long ago and the need for vitamin D was for more than just rickets.  Rickets was the least of the problems….cancer was the real danger of not getting enough vitamin D.  Go figure. No wonder they added it to milk.  Even back then…all those years ago, they touted beets and especially eating beet greens in salads as a huge boon to the reduction of any cancerous cell growth. 

I have added beets to my diet.  I even found a few recipes that I really do like!  Aunt Nellies sweet and sour beets are probably my favorite.  I have been taking my vitamin D3, religiously since told to by my doctor all those years ago.  Back then I thought I was taking that vitamin for my “lady parts”….maybe. 
In this book, the author admonishes people to observe their skin.  The darker your skin the more you can stay outside to absorb your vitamin D from the sun…however, as people we no longer are outside.  Therefore, the darker your skin the more vitamin D you need to ingest.  As a blonde Caucasian, I need to take a minimum of 1000mg per day. 

I quit smoking a couple of weeks ago. 
Smoking cessation timeline – the health benefits over time
§  In 20 minutes, your blood pressure and pulse rate decrease, and the body temperature of your hands and feet increase.  Great like I wasn’t warm enough with Hot Flashes
§  Carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke reduces the blood’s ability to carry oxygen. At 8 hours, the carbon monoxide level in your blood decreases to normal. With the decrease in carbon monoxide, your blood oxygen level increases to normal. No wonder my head has felt woozie!
§  At 24 hours, your risk of having a heart attack decreases. That’s good, ‘cause sitting here listening to my butt get bigger has made my heart palpitate.
§  At 48 hours, nerve endings start to regrow and the ability to smell and taste is enhanced. That litter box!  Ohhh…to think I didn’t used to like chocolate!
§  Between 2 weeks and 3 months, your circulation improves, walking becomes easier and you don’t cough or wheeze as often. Phlegm production decreases. Within several months, you have significant improvement in lung function. Please don’t tell my family this….they already think I should wait on them hand and foot…to think I can walk easier, they will want me to do more!
§  In 1 to 9 months, coughs, sinus congestion, fatigue and shortness of breath decrease as you continue to see significant improvement in lung function. Cilia, tiny hair-like structures that move mucus out of the lungs, regain normal function. Like the hair in my nose doesn’t already grow fast enough….
I joke, but the truth is…it has been a few weeks and I can still taste ashes.  I can taste the charcoal of the cigarette. I can feel the heat in my mouth and lungs.  I walk and ride a stationary bike for exercise.  I try very hard to make my lungs labor.  I want that taste gone.  I want to worry about what to wear to my granddaughter’s wedding, not who will be my next friend to succumb to this horrendous disease.  
Watching my sister die was scary.  Listening to her, dreaming about her, maybe she will let me get some rest now that I have admonished all those who take the time to read this.  I plan to live to be 92 and would like to make sure there are people around who “get” my jokes!!

Leigh

Road Blocks and Detours


Writers Post
Blog Hop #16 Road Blocks



Road blocks come in many forms.  While typically the road block comes with a detour, sometimes the detour can be difficult to follow.  Detours seem the most difficult to follow when it is a new experience.  Weaving one’s way through unfamiliar territory.  Not all road blocks are physical.

For some of us road blocks and detours can bring on panic attacks.  Some of the panic attacks are small inconveniences while others are epic grand mal!  For those of us from rural America, aka: Kalkaska, a detour in Chicago is a really big deal. 

A detour in Chicago, without a co-pilot, in the middle of a hot summer in 1975.  Slowing down to try to see a map, read the road signs, and navigate the six lane roads, my panic really set in when a taxi driver pulled up and screamed obscenities at me.  I was most definitely lost! I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of cars crammed into a little space.  I was embarrassed for the turmoil I seemed to be creating on the streets of Chicago. I had heard rumors of the violence that could ensue from something as simple as driver ignorance. The weaving, jockeying, horns honking cacophony had my head spinning.  I began to retreat into myself, my own little hideaway I knew so well. Then that same taxi driver flipped me the finger and called me a dumb blonde.

I’m Scotch and Irish….grew up surrounded by little red-headed females.  Do not call me a dumb blonde. It can make my hair turn red! My head flew up, my driver’s side window was already down, out of my mouth spewed words I didn’t know I knew! I threw my blinker on. Blinkers were generally turned on in the middle of a lane change on those streets.  At that point it didn’t matter that I was lost, the lane I was in was ending so I had to move anyhow. I hollered to the driver that I was changing lanes in front of him and if he didn’t let me in I was going to get out of my dark green Plymouth Duster and kick his #%$#&^%$^%....needless to say the taxi driver acknowledged my new found determination and allowed my lane change in front of his vehicle. Just as the Grinch’s heart grew, my determination grew. It must have nearly been a physical transformation as I am pretty certain I got a nod and a wink from that taxi driver.

That one incident changed my life.  That one road block/detour incident altered my personal mode of addressing the mental and emotional road blocks I erect for myself.  I acknowledge the lesson that incident taught me each time I am in a similar emotional situation.  Rather than cow to the fear and panic of the unknown, I lift my head up and step into the situation.  Not all road blocks are physical. 



Leigh

Thursday, September 29, 2011

THE WIZARD OF OZ


BFF 127: Wizard of Oz




We sat in a semi-circle around the television set.  It was set in a blonde cabinet to match the rest of the living room furniture my parents had.  Not many people had blonde furniture, more had either the dark brown wood or the green stained wood.  Especially for a television cabinet. 

All six of us kids and my parents clustered around the television in the evening.  After our dinner was eaten, homework finished and the dishes all washed and put away.  Sometimes, for a special occasion just as this, we got popcorn.   The smell of freshly popped popcorn and melted butter doused with salt…mmmm….makes my mouth water just thinking about licking the warm butter dotted with salt from my fingers! 

I recall this as a Spring tradition.  A joyous occasion depicting the bleak black and white of winter manifesting into a wondrous colorful spring.  It impelled kids everywhere to turn off what we were watching on the tv, either Soupy Sales or The Three Stooges, and get outside.   We ran, jumped and burned off energy knowing the green season of Emerald City was just around the corner.  Climbing on top of the swing-set we watched the Wicked Witch’s henchmen march into the castle.  We plotted our castle take-over while peeking through over hurricane fence.  While none of us could hold our Toto, a large golden retriever by the name of Honey, she did follow us and wished to be held on our laps.  (mostly, she was food monitor….if you didn’t eat quickly she would take it from you) By bed-time, we could nearly smell the poppies ourselves as we lay our heads on our pillows for sleep.

Who DID’NT want to be Glinda?!  So beautiful, so knowing, so cool traveling around in that pink bubble!  And what a crown.  I’m tellin’ ya, a role model like that was very empowering! She out shown the ruby slippers. (of course, there was a competition about shoes…Christmas Carole and her paten leathers….) If we didn’t have glitter encrusted ruby shoes we had red tennis shoes or almost even better, red flip-flops.
Since those innocent times of my youth, I have become a little more cynical of Dorothy’s innocence.  I have become a bit more jaded about the whole Dorothy gets to keep the witch’s shoes just because the witch died….what’s up with that?  Finder’s keepers?  I don’t think so.  What about heirs?  I begin to think the Wicked Witch of the East had a legitimate claim.  Glinda sending an overly young Dorothy off on a “quest” to prove herself worthy?   What a bunch of hog wash!  Although, I have met people who seem to learn best under fire.  Sometimes am one of them.

My favorite portion of the movie?  A horse of a different color!!  That was exciting.  That made me look at life through the skewed lens I still wear!  (just off to the side and with a smirk on my face) To this end, I have found a video for your viewing pleasure, hopefully.  It is created by Mad Magazine and I find it hilarious!  But then..consider the source….as you click on the link below....



Leigh

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Judgment - GBE 2



GBE 2: Blog On
WEEK #19 (9-25-11 to 10-1-11): JUDGMENT

Everyone judges every day regarding everything.  Here’s the rub, we judge others by what we would do ourselves…..kinda telling isn’t it!  We judge based on not only what we would do ourselves, but what we have experienced other’s to have done.

In this sense, I have passed judgment. I will not be participating in the viewing of a new “sitcom” scheduled to air tonight.  Pan Am.  I have judged this show and heaped in with another show I won’t watch, The Playboy Club.  Without having seen anything other than the trailers, I have made my judgment.  I deem these two weekly shows to be anti-feminist programs.  These two shows, in my view, have been created by over stimulated, under educated, over hormone-ized young men who would throw us back to the days when women were seen as simply chattel.

In most respects, it is still a “man’s world”.  If women are not diligent many men, men with power, would turn back to a time gone by.  To a time when women had to have permission from their husbands or fathers to make any decision. Oh certainly, women had legal rights, however, it was up to men to enforce the laws therefore the laws were often overlooked.

They would turn to a time when women were not management.  They would turn back to a time when women, in America, were seen as mindless property.  Property to be used for men’s pleasure or advancement.  Not only acting jobs were attained on the casting couch.  I, for one, would much rather be judged for my other assets than how I look in a tight skirt and sweater.

I have judged these two “sitcoms” as less than desirable to the advancement of all minorities and women in particular.  I refuse to give them my vote of confidence.  Right, wrong or indifferent, this is my judgement.  I am changing the channel to voice my judgment.

Leigh

An Exercise in Writing...


writercize:  Write four sentences based on the word "mountain."  Interpret it as you wish.  One sentence should be less than 5 words, one should be 6-10, one should be 11-20 words and one should be a minimum of 21 words.  Write in any order.  Sentences do not have to relate to one another.



Mountain:

If the argument lasts much longer I’m going to get violent and if it gets much louder the neighbors will call the cops.

What seems a mountain to you is a mole-hill to me.

I find your ideas obscured by your heated remarks.

Arguing seldom has positive results.

Leigh

Friday, September 23, 2011

What Do You Love


BFF 126:  What Do You Love




I am taken to the song by Louis Armstrong, “What a Wonderful World”.  I can’t help but be filled with love for thousands and thousands of things… and people… and ideas,  at any given time.  I love loving! To be filled with awe and wonder….how very uplifting.  To be eye-swollen giddy with life!  Those are the days when everything seems surreal.  Colors are more vibrant, trees nearly jumping as if viewed with 3-D glasses on.  Happy sounds are louder filling both my head and my heart.  The birds and the bees seem to dance to unheard music.  I love loving!

I think attitude is as noticeable as sound.  I think others, any life form whether human, animal or insect, can “see” you with your attitude more readily than if you were to speak.  I think those with the “ability to feel” or the “nose” can sense what type of attitude you have just as if they were smelling either a stinky toot, or a bouquet of flowers.

I have seen television footage of dogs locating cancer cells within humans as well as in overturned vials.  Yes, I think just as we “smell” the  pheromones of the person we are attracted to. 

As a kid, to go via land to visit our friends, we had to walk past George King’s house.  George had two big dogs.  A giant black lab, aptly named Blackie.  And a mix breed that had long ratty black and brown hair.  Ratty haired dog’s name was Boots.  Both dogs were territorial.  Both dogs would lunge at you as you walked past their house, then bark within millimeters of the back of your legs until you were past them. The feel of their breath as they barked at the back of your heels was terrifying!  If you ran, you got bit.  How do I know you would get bit?  Well, Wendell Gabler ran, the seat of his britches had patches the next day.

 I did discover, if I sang or whistled out loud or in my head, the dogs lost interest far more quickly.  They even began not to bark, just run out and wag their tail.  I wasn’t thinking frightened thoughts, therefore they were more at ease with me and I with them.  Catch 22. 

I love watching the hummingbirds waltz around the Rose of Sharon in our back yard.  I love the sound of joy when my daughter’s beau calls her in the evening.  I love chatting my granddaughter and grandson on the telephone.  I love reading about the exploits of my friends and family.  I love life!  I love loving!

Leigh

I Believe In Cupcakes


I believe in the healing power of cupcakes. Cupcakes are part of a group of foods called “comfort food”. It is impossible to be angry while you are eating cupcakes. Perhaps if everyone would take the few moments to fully enjoy a cupcake, the world would be a calmer, more peaceful place to live.
Everyone smiles when looking through a batch of cupcakes, carefully selecting just the right one. Expertly eyeing the tone and texture of each hand-frosted delight. Most of us prefer the cupcakes with frosting slathered high on the top and along the sides. Selecting just the right cupcake is just the beginning of a mood altering, blood pressure-reducing, and giddy feeling.
Anyone who has ever peeled the carefully selected paper exterior, revealing the moist heavy cake like interior, that is thinly veiled by the warmly browned skin, and heaped with wonderfully rich frosting, knows exactly the comfortable feeling that envelopes you from head to toe. Eating a cupcake is a “homey” feeling: relaxed, nestled, calmed.
By the very nature of the cupcake, it is hand held for the application of the frosting. This personal touch, filled with love and kindness, is automatically transferred to the eager participant. Whether you are a nibbler, a picker, or a gobbler, the covert infusion of good-will is ingested.
That first bite, as you hold the mixture of moist cake with rich frosting on your tongue, rolling it ever so slightly, melts the aching stiffness from your neck. The second bite, depositing a dollop of frosting onto the end of your nose, begins to ease that sore spot between the shoulders. With each and every bite of a cupcake, tension sloughs away. The last bite is always the smallest bite. Should there be a surprise in the middle; perhaps some sweet cream cheese, chocolate chips, or even caramel shavings, the overwhelming feeling of winning the lottery gushes through your veins. With that last little nibble, the crumbs on the inside of the paper are inhaled and every pleat in the paper lining is licked clean.
I believe that cupcakes are a relaxing, joyful food that should be eaten with abandon. Partake of that good-will, love and kindness, and then pass that attitude along. Perhaps if we each ate more cupcakes, the world would be a more peaceful, less tense world.

Leigh

Do You Want to Know a Secret?


BFF 125:  Do You Want to Know a Secret?



  


Aren’t secrets wonderful?!  I love them!  Secrets are empowering.  Secrets are titillating.  Secrets are emotionally binding.  Secrets are the most fun when you share them!

Bob’s sister, Linda, passed away a few years ago.  It was incredibly stressful on her kids.  Her two daughters, Christy (on the left) and Julie (on the right) floundered for a while afterwards.  Bob and I tried to fill the void of their loss, but living on the other side of the state really put some obstacles in our path. Bob and I tried valiantly to make certain they both felt adored.  EVERY time we hugged either of them, we whispered in their ear, “You will always be my favorite”.  Naturally, as the favorite, they in turn kept the secret not to make the other feel badly.

Christie and Julie
In a concerted effort to keep everyone as “together” as we could, we made Blue Lake Wine Tour a fall event.  We rake leaves and clean up the outside of the house in general.  We put away the lawn furniture and take care of the fishing poles.  Then we clean up and head to Traverse City!  Woot-woot.  Look out vineyards, here we come!  We wine taste our way up the Traverse Peninsula. Shop in the eclectic downtown Traverse City shops.  Eat dinner at a local restaurant. Then head our way to Side Traxx.  Side Traxx is a local Traverse City pub owned by our good friend Ron Harrington.  It’s been one of the best kept secrets of Traverse City. 

Bob, Julie, Sue, Leigh and Christie
At one point, this quaint pup was dubbed “the gay bar” and had a few slanderous phrases written across the front of the bar.  Little did those “haters” realize, that was some of the best advertising Side Traxx had ever gotten!  Splattered across the news for weeks, the bar was highlighted every evening. That was a couple of years ago.  Yes, Ron still embraces GLBT and anyone else who would like to stop in for a good time!  Music, laughter, dancing, libation, comradery, and of course center stage. as any good ring master is, Ron Harrington.  Big as life.  

Sue (twin) Ron and Julie
Last year, there were so many people visiting the pub, we decided to list the different celebratory venues each group came from.  There was the” bridal shower” (included over 20 young ladies), the “I just got employed” party,  the I’m just here to play pool (yeah right, whatever excuse you need to ogle the patrons is fine), the I just lost my job party, the just want to dance and hang out party, the homeless guy that Ron feeds and supplies with coffee on the weekends, and of course (nope, we were not the loudest of all this time) US.  Best kept secret is now out….have fun!  This was one secret worthy of sharing with others.


Julie, Cain and Christie
Back to Julie and Christie and our secret.  Last year, there were so many people visiting the pub.  Last year, we got a little huggy with one another.  Last year I whispered and Julies said she couldn’t hear me, so I raised my voice….last year Christie heard me tell Julie THE SECRET!!  The LOOK!  Omg!!  Aghast!  Eyes flew open wide! 

They are my favorites.  They have such wonderfully developed funny bones!  Now, there is competition…”No, I’m the favorite, tell her Antleigh and Uncle Bob, tell her I’m the favorite”.  They jostle for position.  I love it.  I love them.  They are my favorite. 

Now, my grandchildren….it’s already begun…”You will always be my favorite”…

Leigh

Thoughts on Loyalty


GBE 2: Blog On – Loyalty

The ability to be unswerving in allegiance.  The ability to be unswerving in allegiance.  It matters not to whom, what, when or where.  Simply the ability….to be unswerving….in allegiance. 
I don’t know that I am a very loyal patriot.  I’m not very “unswerving” in my concerns about what people say regarding patriotism. Not that much grinds my gears.  Go ahead, make a joke about the United States.  Go ahead, make a joke about our president.  Go ahead make a joke about our educational system….oooohhh…now…for me, there is a hot spot.
 
I don’t know that I am a very loyal employee.  I’m not unswerving in my concerns about a company that has little to no compassion for me as an individual.  I am fairly loyal to some employers some of my peers, but the “company”, not so much.  Go ahead, make a joke about the money they are retaining and not hiring.  Go ahead, make a joke about how the company will get a better tax break than the employees.  Go ahead, make a joke about the educational system preparing students to enter the real world work place…oooohhh…now…for me, there’s a hot spot.

I don’t get my knickers in a knot when someone jokes about my family.  Talk bad, and I will defend to the bitter end!  I will defend that you do NOT have the right to say whatever negative idea pops into your head about my family…I DO!  They are MY family.  Family is family: husband, children, siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, etcetera. Think what you will, keep your internal dialogue, internal.  So, I guess I’m moderately loyal to my kin.  And, I’m guessing most of my friends are my kin….they just don’t know they are “kissin’ cousins”.

Do we consider ourselves loyal to ideals or things?  I guess that would depend on the person.  I’m fairly shallow.  Yeah, I’ll admit it.  I don’t think I am very loyal to things. It takes up too much of my energy to worry about a “thing”, when I have windmills to joust with. I try to buy local first, then expand my purchasing power outward.  Then, I get to the point where my pocket book needs to have at least one dollar in it.  It feels naked without at least one dollar.  Sometimes, the purchase must be made for an item that is not local in order to appease my pocket book.  I don’t really have any particular “brand” that I am loyal to.

I think loyalty, as many other emotions, comes on many levels and encompasses many “people, place or things”.

Leigh

Thursday Blog Hop #15 - Changes


Writers Post:  Blog Hop #15
Picture and a word:  Changes




The end of summer.  The end of the overheated, bug riddled, can’t take enough clothes off to get cooled down time of year.  Thankfully!  Sweat shirts shrugged on over shorts and flip-flops.  The weather is perfect.

We walked hand-in-hand down the lane.  The fall colors breath taking.  My favorite time of the color change is when there are still trees with plenty of green to accentuate the colors.  The gold of the poplar and birch trees, the reds and oranges of the maples, the burnt orange of the oaks before they turn golden brown.  I enjoy the ground foliage color changes also. 

I think the ferns curling back into themselves and turning a dusky brown against the backdrop of a stand of colorful sumac can be one of the most calming scenes a person can visually take in.    The paper dollars are finally distinct against a colorful backdrop.  The lantern plant shows off it’s wonderful orange lantern alongside the wild red wintergreen berries.  A delight to the senses! And the smell is pure heaven!

We walked to the wooden foot bridge, reveling in the fall views of the lake.  There has been a footbridge across the channel between the two lakes for as long as I can remember.  The first time I saw “the bridge”, I was probably around six or seven years old.  The first bridge was something movies are made around.  The rungs were not planks, they were logs.  The logs didn’t fit neatly together, there were actual gaps that a seven year old had to leap across. (the water below was a good eight feet down, and a couple of feet deep) There was a rope railing to grab onto that was incredibly grubby and frayed. The whole bridge had a list to it off to the north.  As though the winds had blown the water against the lower half, knocking it’s legs out from under it.  That bridge has been replaced, more than once.  Over the years, I have been involved in the bridge repair and rebuild. (oh yeah, and the destruction by virtue of too many names having been carved into the planks leaving them weakened and distressed)

We sought some quiet time.  Some time to reflect on the events of our lives.  Time to reflect on where we had been, within our relationship, and where we were heading. We had a house full of friends and family for this “get away” weekend.  We needed some laughter and hugs.  Some time to visit with family who live scattered across the state.  Some time to relive past stories and create new memories.  We sat on the bridge and watched the minnows race back and forth beneath us.  They dart back and forth staying in the shallows in massive schools, hoping for shelter from the large fish, turtles and birds patrolling the waters.  We drink in the colors as they reflect off the water, in sharp contrast to the blue sky reflecting on the azure waters. We would begin the “clean up” party when we returned.  The kids, I use that term extremely loosely, were gathering up all the gardening tools we would need; rakes, leaf blowers, tarp for moving the piles of leaves, and a lighter to ignite the leaves….too late in the season for marshmallows and s’mores….

Change happens.  As much as we hate to admit it, as much as we typically fight to avoid acknowledging it, change happens every day.  We grow older, and not necessarily wiser.  The world “ripens” just a little.  We watch the kids bring in the raft.  We watch the “kids” dismantle the dock and haul it piece by piece onto the shore for winter storage.  We smirk at one another…nee – ner, nee – ner…we slipped away and didn’t have to wade in the cold water!!!  We cat-call to the kids.  Watch your step!  They see us and begin waving and gesturing.  We pull up our legs from dangling where we sat, over the side of the bridge and turn to look at the path that brought us to where we now stood. Contemplation.  Change….


Leigh

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Serenity - Blog Hop #14 - and a pic


Blog Hop #14 Writers Post
Serenity


Do you see me there?  I’m in the upper left hand side of the photo?  Yes, yes, there, you can just make out my foot on the pedal.   No, this is not the front line of the racers….we are pretty much at the back of the pack.  This was taken shortly before my spill….

You’ve done them, the benefit race.  Most are run/walk sort of thing.  I and my twin sister Sue thought it would be a “good” thing to do, ride bikes in a benefit ride.  I don’t know why I agree to most of what she suggests.  I know better.  I have learned.  And yet, I am addicted to the laughter that ensues every time we “do” something! Sue is riding just behind me….not a good place to keep an instigator….out of eye sight!

No, we aren’t really twin sisters…more like I’m Ethel to her Lucille Ball!!  As you can see, she got us matching muumuus…flattering!  They do have cool pockets at the side, large enough to stow a bottle in!  Not that I would ever do that…back to the race and my spill…

Sue stopped by the other day, she plied me with gifts (she thrives on re-gifting as a way to de-clutter HER house) then asked if I had gotten my flu shot yet.  Actually, no I hadn’t.  Well, would I please go with her.  She said the needle didn’t bother her.  She said she didn’t care it if hurt. She said she just hated “taking the time” to go get the shot.  Right….not allowing for any excuses.  No stuttering, no stammering on her part.  I grabbed my purse and said “Ok, let’s go right now”.  Low and behold, after a few “Whaddameans?” she acquiesced and we struck off to Walgreens to get our shots.   
Twins!  Sue and Leigh Young


Sue had come over with her flu shot paperwork already filled out, as I leaned on the Walgreen’s counter filling out my paperwork, she was over rummaging through the Clearance shelves.  Proud as a peacock, she ran back to show me her 100 count band aids for $1.00!  “I got the last box”, she crowed. 
We walked up and down the aisles for a little while, then settled into the “waiting area” chairs.  I always imagine those arm rests are just breeding grounds for every germ out there!  Anyhow, there was a sweet young thing being flirty with the needle bearing torturer.  “I’m just sayin’ my Dad got the flu right after he got the shot last year.  Tee-hee-hee”.  Her skinny jeans did look good.  I leaned over to Sue and whispered, “I don’t know her, but I hate her”. 

Instigator that my twin sister is…she said loudly, “I don’t know what you mean, I think those jeans look really good on her”.  Yeah, that kind of friend.  I just looked away….

We were tee-heeing ourselves when the needle bearing torturer called my name.  Well, he didn’t actually call MY name since he mispronounced it and called me Lay…(Leigh is pronounced Lee as in Janet Leigh or Vivian Leigh…) .  My mother is from Oklahoma, but she wouldn’t name a daughter a name like Lay! I digress…  The young fella became a little flustered when I called Sue over to watch….after a very quick jab, he said I was his first “bleeder”….yeah, ‘cause my jeans weren’t the same cut as the sweet young thing! Ok, so even if they were the same cut, they certainly wouldn’t hang the same!!!!  Anyhow, to prove that my sweet twin really didn’t want to go get the shot, she had worn a long sleeve t-shirt that I had to help hold up so she could actually get her shot.  She looked at me and said, in her best Kung Fu Master voice, “Grasshopper, you should have relaxed, you should have allowed the serenity to flow within you.” She didn’t bleed.  She said it didn’t hurt.  I don’t believe her…..

Oh yeah, my spill…..for this particular benefit, we actually plied ourselves…asked other people for donations and everything.  Yeah, usually we just show up flip a few bucks and call it a day.  This time we really tried.  This time we were really proud of ourselves.  We talked other people into entrusting US with their $$$$money$$$$!  Suckas!!! 

Sue is the friend that rearranged Dan’s home, while we were only supposed to be walking his dog, while he was gone to the other side of the state to go shopping with a “date”.  And after all the decorating we did, he didn’t even buy us anything…..we were giggling so much, neither of us remembered to take a camera…duh! 
Sue belongs to a gang.  Yeah, I said a gang.  My four-foot nuthin’ red-headed friend is a gang member. They call themselves the Dillard’s.  Eight or nine women, of a certain age, who get together several times a year for the sole purpose of reaffirming their friendship.  They have given themselves “alter ego” names.  Their alternate first names are all different, but to be a part of the Dillard’s, their last names are all Dillard.  I know…. And you thought Secrets of the Ya Ya Club was a show…well, this is the real deal.  I hope someday one of them writes a book telling us all of their secrets!!  I bet they have a handshake and everything!!  Ooh la-la! Based on the small excerpts she has shared, they terrorize where ever they go!

Sue recently quit smoking also.  No, I didn’t quit just to “be like Sue”.  Gee whiz!  But, between her and my husband, Bob…..I thought it was the path of least resistance on my part….anyhow, Sue told me she too could smell much better.  She came to my house and verified that normal people couldn’t smell the kitty litter box.  Thank you Sue!  She confessed the smell she can’t get rid of.  She has an older dog, Amos.  Amos has the worst breath you have ever thought of!  He is really pretty old, can’t see, can’t hear….every once in a while he finds a nugget laying in the grass…and eats it!!!!  THAT’S how his breath smells!!  I’m glad my cats think not using a litter box is barbaric! They may eat a bug now and then…but no NUGGETS!

Oh yeah, my spill….Well, Sue and I decided to actually pedal during the “race”.  Like I would actually dart around the race track…those days left a long time ago…hello!  So, while making certain all the racers were ahead of us…yes, we checked out more than a few behinds…she pulled a small flask from some secret hidden place in her “biker” outfit.  I think she must have been a girl-scout, she is always prepared.  We passed the flask back and forth, slogging down the nectar within, when suddenly I hit a gravel patch!  Crap, I was holding the flask!  Crap, I was losing control!  Crap, I was starting to fall over!  One handed bike control… one handed flask control…no one was watching the brain!!  Good heavens, luckily for my knees (grew up not knowing you weren’t supposed to have skinned up knees)  we were barely moving along.  I hopped off the bike allowing it to lie down and slide a few feet.  But what of the flask??  Well, I spilt a few drops while gaining my balance.  Sue said that was my turn, then I swallowed her turn too!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Smoking...or Rather Nonsmoking



I am into my third day of nonsmoking.  I don’t miss the taste of the cigarette or the smell.  I have always been one of those odd ducks who would really rather smell a cigar or a pipe.  I miss the “commitment”.  

The time I would spend smoking a cigarette in the morning, was the time I would sit out on the porch and listen to either the birds, the neighborhood kids, or the radio.  The time I spent smoking a cigarette in the evening was time I would sit out on the porch and listen to either the tree frogs, the neighborhood kids, or the radio.  Other than social smoking, I really never smoked much during the day.


Today marks my third day of being just a little edgy, not in the good way. The first day I brooded.  I was so very melancholy I wanted to slap myself!  I whined and cried and blamed the Gods for all my ills. I cried when the cats bothered me.  They were crying not because of me, heaven’s no not those self-centered the world spins around me divas.  They were crying because I hadn’t tended to their wants, yet.  I had actually had the gall to change a routine!  I didn’t wait on the porch (normally smoking) to let them go outside for a while. They come first and foremost…don’t they??!! Who would have ever thought I would want a cup of coffee at the computer instead of waiting for them?  Just when they thought they had me trained….  

Yesterday I had no patience and was tired. My sister’s grandchildren called me.  They seem to have a knack of knowing when Antleigh needs a little pick-me-up. Usually, when I get a call from them, I hang up the phone and grin like a lizard for hours.  There are five kids…typically they pass the phone nicely and you get to speak with all of them.  I didn’t want to snap at them, so I said goodbye and hung up.  I slept a lot yesterday.  I slept about fifteen hours total, if you add up all the nap times.  

Today, I am filled with pep and vigor.  Ok, not as much pep as when I was a teenager, and the vigor is a little lacking too…but, I do feel pretty good.  The cats didn’t complain too much about the altered morning routine. It’s a little cooler today, so my morning walk is a bit brisk.  The sun is trying to shine (I’m with ya on that one buddy!).  The first day of the rest of my life and all that blah, blah, blah stuff. 


One thing I have noticed.  “They” were right.  I actually can smell better.  That’s good AND bad.  I had a pretty good blood hound nose to start with.  Now????  That litter box is beginning to make me resentful towards those two cats.  It’s all I can smell.  I lit candles, I sprayed Fabreeze, I have room deodorizers, I can’t seem to get rid of the smell…too many parts per million!  Yes, I cleaned it too...The old fat one played with his toys this morning (both old, just one is fat and the other skinny…Jack Sprat and all that)…good thing,..euthanasia….ok, not until they are decrepit…..good thing he got that toy out…slippers...


 My sister, Holly, and my daughter, Chris, told me I should make certain everyone knows the withdrawal I am experiencing so they know I’m not as down as the last post portrayed.  I’m just tryin’ ta kick the habit, man!  Thankfully, cigarettes are all I have to quit at this time.  Eating…..well, let’s just say we aren’t going to worry about that until February.  Look out Halloween candy!! Omar the tent maker…we have an appointment for new clothes next March!

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Year Ago -


GBE 2: Blog On
WEEK #17 (9-11-11 to 9-17-11): ONE YEAR AGO




One year ago today, I lost my job.  One year ago, I was fighting my last employer for Unemployment, and won.  One year ago, my baby sister was still alive.  One year ago, I will filled with optimistic assurance that I would be employed very soon.  One year ago, I still had a lot of hope for the future.  One year ago, I was filled with determination.  One year ago, I was a year younger.

I’m a little sad today.  It is the one year anniversary of losing my job. 

I spent ten months with a goal of applying for a minimum of seven jobs per day.  Most days I made that quota.  Most days I spent 8 to 10 hours at the computer.  Yep, I had a couple interviews.  Mostly, the young pups wanted to glean information from me, without employing me.  Although the oddest interview I have ever been on was for Toys-R-Us. 

I had applied for a Department Supervisor position at Toys-R-US.  I was actually rather elated that they called me in within just a few days.  I got to the store and was told to go to the furthest corner and stand under an emergency exit sign, that someone would be with me soon.  I walked back to the exit sign , stood and waited, then heard an announcement over the loud speakers that “anyone who was there for an employment interview please come to the Customer Service window”.  Seeing the other nine people waiting for interviews, I was a little hang-jaw.  To my utter dismay, we were herded into a sweltering room and told to color then play with play dough, for an hour and a half.  At which time the 22 year old human resource supervisor told us “I’m not certain what type of a job you all applied for, but we ONLY hire seasonal  part time people to work the floor”.  I stayed the full two and a half hours for the interview, and got my rejection e-mail within two days.

One year ago today, I began my career as a job seeker/story teller. Gotta find something that pays….