Monday, November 27, 2023

"That tracks" Holiday Weekend Recap

Hello and welcome to your Monday folks!  I hope you had a lovely time with your families with lots of gratitude for the people surrounding your tables and those you were able to call/text with.  I did a lot of the work beforehand but as always life likes to throw some obstacles in there like it's the first season of Wipeout.  I cooked myself into hobbletown the night before finishing with grandma's noodles which I was in no mood to make but I got through it.  It also didn't help my website crapped the bed and I had to spend 3 hours fixing it when I was supposed to be doing food prep and potentially getting downstairs to paint the pantries (which are smelling more toxic by the day.)

Thanksgiving morning, we started with our Covid era tradition of my light pumpkin pie but this time we had it in bed and watched the CBS coverage of the parade about 9:30am while recording both.  When we got to 'halftime' we refueled with apple pie and proceeded with our bed rotting until 12:40pm.  I mean why not, everything was made!  Oh.  You silly little minion.  We came down so I could cut Grandma's egg noodles...that I left out on the counter overnight...and we were out of eggs.  So the Mr ran to the store while I mixed the dry ingredients because nothing says fun like doing something you kind of dread twice.  I got everything in the oven while he was at the store but no real sense of timing on any of it.  When it was time to pull everything out, the mashed potatoes turned into some gluten ball when I've made them this way forever without issue.  Thankfully, I had 1/2 cup of instant mashed potatoes left from the immediate post death era so I slightly beefed them back up.  It was all just irritating but this explains why most women who are hosting are snappy, irritated and/or drunk when everyone shows up, even if you're only hosting two.  We watched a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving while we ate our Thanksgiving linner on Mom's pumpkin placemats.  Then we were too full to move but did anyway by walking our almost 3 miles at the park at dusk.  





It was miserable as the inclines felt like we were going to yak.  We felt a little better by the 4th lap which was nice.  I saw another 2023 Hallmark movie...dead parents.  Eff off...OJ trial on Court TV it is.  At least I was going to be seeing my friend who flew up from the south for a s'more sesh in the park at the fireplace shelter.  I was so proud of us because we got everything loaded so all I needed to do was heat up the water and put it in the thermos and the Mr would join us after he got off work.  We really lucked out because her brother said he'd bring her over which meant I didn't have to waste 40 minutes going to and fro and could get the shelter all set up the way I wanted.  Woo hoo!

The next morning, I was running on about 4 hours sleep but nothing a shower couldn't fix.  I check my email and see a note from my friend saying "livid."  She's sick.  That tracks with how the weekend is shaping up.  She came in and her niece had been sick who now passed it on to her sister in law hacking up a lung and now 2 days later, she has the creeping crud.  So there went our gathering we'd been looking forward to.  😞  It just figured we finally got our crap together to be all loaded (and I mean LOADED) and ready to go to be on top of things and I should've known when I heard a mysterious universe chuckle in the wind it wouldn't happen.  We chatted for 45 minutes on the phone and I told her I would drop off the gift I got her and something I made for her brother on the door handle.  We loaded up Mom's wreath that I made for her grave since they live close to there and we got moving after the Mr got off work.  I dropped off her gift and we chatted from a good 20 ft away.  She said her brother was also starting to feel sick too.  The flu is rampant in her parts and she said she was feeling slightly off the day she left but thought it was her usual sinus issues so I have a feeling despite getting the flu shot, that might be what she has unless it's Covid from work.  Tis the season to spin the wheel o' sickness.  

Then we went to the cemetery to install Mom's wreath at her and grandma's grave.  (How the hell did I just type that sentence!?)   

(Protecting Mom's privacy but I made ornaments with memories and sealed them to hopefully be weather proof and used the poinsettias she bought but never got to use.)


It was bittersweet but I hope it helps anyone who goes to visit, if they do.  Then we went on our 3 miler and my legs are so shot between the constant walking and the cook fest.  We lounged a little then decided screw it, we'd have our leftovers for dinner but we'd already walked so it was pretty much watching the latest episode of Project Fear and trying not to fall asleep.  I taped a bunch of episodes of Bedtime Stories with Ryan (Reynolds) and I swear every time they put me to sleep!  I always wake up with him saying the sheep are asleep, am I?  Apparently I was sir.  They even purposely have low whisper commercials and no big flashing ones that basically make it impossible for someone like me to fall asleep to them without a pillow covering my eyes.  Then I was up for a while so I journaled to Mom since it had been a little while because I felt like every entry was the same.  Eventually I fell asleep but getting to sleep before 3am is a major victory.

Saturday was upon us and the last game of the season for the Mr's team so I knew there'd be 4 hours I'd be bored and should probably do something productive.  Should being the operative word.  You know what did get done?  Me only getting TWO of the four obscenely priced mugs from Williams Sonoma I reluctantly splurged on when I saw they weren't going on sale for Black Friday.  The two I did get were embarrassingly small and no way would it hold what we are used to drinking out of mugs.  I didn't have it in me to call because I knew I was going to just lose it crying.  We got a refund for the two we didn't receive after the Mr patiently dealt with the moron who was making it way harder than it needed to be.  I ordered two other mugs I was originally eyeing that I knew were on sale at Macy's so I scheduled those for pickup Sunday.  We drove to Mom's favorite donut shop on a whim they were still open because I got a strong craving out of nowhere and despite not answering their phone, they were open.  The Mr and I had a long weepy talk on the way over.  I saw this meme the other day that said "the holidays don't show us the empty chair, they magnify them."  Accurate.  We're in magnification stage and if we didn't feel her absence before, all we have lost but more importantly can never have again is just rubbed in your face with every Christmas song, gleeful family oriented commercial, the 6th Hallmark movie you've recorded with another dead parent even when it's not pertinent to the story.  The loss of Mom and the loss of what can never be the year we were supposed to finally get together is suffocating all over again.  We are eating to fill the void and despite walking three miles almost daily, it's not enough to out walk the crutches I have built in to our diets like packaged lunches because I can't be bothered with something that takes brain power to put together.  It's a shit show over here and I just have to watch people share pics with their families and pretend it doesn't gut me.  Pretend that every opportunity I ever had over my lifetime that I put off or turned down spending time with Mom because I had something else planned doesn't shred me into a thousand pieces now.  Knowing that the presents from her under our tree this Christmas Eve wrapped in her paper and paid for with her money, will only be there because we chose them for her.  

Sunday we had coffee in bed after the Mr picked up groceries and watched some DVR stuff.  We went down and finished up our noodles and turkey then I got to work on those god forsaken pantries.  I got the Dixie Belle Boss white primer I bought which is supposed to work some kind of miracle that shellac doesn't ready to roll.  I do know the outside I treated with the clear doesn't smell so that's at least encouraging.  I coated the inside twice while the Mr cut the eucaboard for the new backs instead of the cheap ass one that came with it.  I'll have to give it two days before we can determine if this works or not and if it does, I'm going to have to use some poly on the shelves so it doesn't scratch off as things are moved in and out of it over time.  I swear they won't be done until Christmas.  Such a pain in my butt...our butts because it's taking over our workout space.

The Mr was kind enough to put up the tree.  I will fluff the gaps when I get a chance and then we'll decorate at some point.  I've got my annual check up today and the Mr is going with me since medical settings are still very triggering to me right now.  I will be having her check my prolactin levels in the regular blood test in which she tells me my blood is high fructose corn syrup.  I'm not going to go my whole life with a treatable prolactin issue that gives me a brain tumor like Mom had and no doctor gave a crap enough to treat when they knew about it 40 YEARS ago!  I'll be getting some shots too so just call me your friendly(ish) neighborhood pincushion.

That about wraps up our long weekend.

How was your holiday?  Do you remember how to do your job?  πŸ˜‚


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Friday, November 24, 2023

What I'm Reading This Week #47

Who is still in a turkey coma?

source


Who is Black Friday shopping today?
source

Regardless of what camp you may or may not be in today, I hope you are recovering from any holiday shenanigans you may have gotten into and are still getting into if you're hitting the streets early.  I mean is Black Friday even still relevant since they have BF sales the beginning of November?  I've found better prices outside of it than on it like when I was a kid.  I don't know that I ever did that stuff except maybe once.  I remember the Mr waiting in line for a game console or something a long time ago but yeah, so not ever my scene.  God speed to those of you out in it today.

For the rest of you, let's get to:




2 Alternatives That Are Just As Beneficial as Walking 10,000 Steps  (Wow, the first one we incorporate into our walk anyway when we approach them and I'll have to add a few more trips to the loo because that's not much at all!)

Rucking can help you burn fat, build muscle, and stay strong as you age — and you don't need a gym  (Hmm, Mr- maybe we need to start doing this with backpacks and 10 pounder?)

Nine Vegetables That Are Healthier for You When Cooked  (Still not gonna eat kale.  "How do we make kale taste worse?"  "I know!")

Maria Menounos reveals a pancreatic cancer symptom she noticed a year before diagnosis  (The second you get tests and they come back 'you're fine' get a friggin' MRI.  Better to pay toward your deductible and be wrong than catch it too late.)

The Depression Symptom We Don't Talk About Enough (Always had it and it's only gotten worse so that's fun!)


Menopause Is Having a Moment  (Anyone else get a flush on one side of their face?  That's been fun)

Gardeners aren't surprised as USDA updates key map  (Exciting if your region changed but also terrifying when you think about it.)

I’ve Been a Retirement Planner for 17 Years—Here Are the 18 Biggest Mistakes Most People Make  (Never too early to start planning because it sure as hell sneaks up on you sooner than you think if you're lucky enough to get there.)

64 Ways to Honor Deceased Loved Ones (Some lovely ideas, many I've already done.)

If you can believe it, we're STILL dealing with the pantries.  It has seriously hindered my plans for getting this place into some kind of order.  I mean our suitcases from Canada are still upstairs because we were supposed to be able to move stuff from that area elsewhere once the pantries were loaded up.  I was at least able to get my money back on them due to how much toxic gas they continue to emit 3 weeks later, having to shellac the inside (which did NOTHING), had to rip off the backing to replace that with Eucaboard and then get MORE odor blocking paint I'm waiting on due to the holiday and pray to God that works because I've looked all over the place for other stuff that will fit in that spot and they do not exist.  This is our only option so say a little prayer because dealing with these rat bastards is going to break me further.  I'm ready to set them ablaze and leaf blow them into oblivion.

My thought is to decorate for Christmas this weekend.  The Mr and I both agree while it's going to suck, neither of us are promised next Christmas so we should do it.  I just hope we get the place in order to be able to do it.  It feels like I finally just got it done for Fall.

How are you you spending this weekend?

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Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Happy early Thanksgiving!

Here's an oldie but goodie that always made Mom and I laugh.

(via Pinterest)

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday with your family and/or friends!  Enjoy your traditions, those special recipes, those silly games, the eye rolling moments or solitude if it's a celebration of gratitude for one or two.  

Grateful for all of you!



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Monday, November 20, 2023

Pizz off Hallmark Movies Weekend Recap

Tis Monday again.  At least it's a short week for many (or with a day off thrown in the middle...unless you work retail.  My condolences.)  I wish I had some exciting stuff to report but it was a blah weekend as most of them tend to be anymore.  Friday we went for a walk in the rain and the park had put up Christmas lights.  



The Mr said he couldn't even get excited about them and that's the first time he's ever felt that way.  I agreed.  We had some emotional talks about Mom and how it still is not registering that she's gone.  We both feel like the past two months have rocketed by with zero headspace to prepare for the first holidays without her.  We know we'd be meeting up with her at the cemetery to visit grandma this week and I never thought we were anywhere near visiting her at the cemetery with grandma.   I made a wreath for their grave with pictures and sealed them hoping the rain (sure as heck know it won't be snow) won't soak through.  It shouldn't be this way yet. 

Sometimes I can look at pictures and smile but last week my heart ached as every day was like getting the news all over again.  How are all of those wonderful family holidays the Mr and I loved (and groaned through depending on the year) gone?  Something so engrained in my soul and the heart of who I am is just never going to happen?  It was bad enough learning to adjust to them with grandma's condition and then passing but Mom gone?  No.  That wasn't even a thought.  She just turned 66 and now she's not here anymore?  It doesn't help every stupid Christmas movie I've recorded on GAC or Hallmark has at least one dead parent...usually the mom.  Thanks.  Who the hell wants to see that in a movie anyway?  We're trying to escape real life not be reminded of what we lost.  I told the Mr if I see one more dead mother movie on either of those effing channels I'm not recording any more of them.  Edit:  I recorded Navigating Christmas which was supposed to be about a divorcee but nope, throw in the lighthouse keeper with a dead dad and he's riddled with guilt about.  Effffff youuuuuuu!!!  Done.  Hell, we even watched A Christmas Carol and I silently cried because I'm Scrooge with no way to make any meaningful difference to anyone in our lives who count as much as Mom did.  This whole thing sucks and we both feel like constant crap.

My friends' Christmas gifts mostly arrived with the last two coming today but the Mr and I stayed in bed until 1pm watching SNL and Sunday Morning.  Motivation level- zero.  I made brunch which frustrated me because the pancakes stuck to the ceramic green pan because it's shot to hell so I felt like the universe was pointing and laughing.  I have uncomfortable weight gain because of the way certain things fit.  We were supposed to reign it in this weekend...didn't happen.  The Mr has his annual today and I've got mine a week from today where she'll probably tell me my blood is made of high fructose corn syrup and she wants to put me on statins.  Take a leap, lady.  My body is under constant stress under the best of circumstances but the past few months it is hanging on to weight like it's being paid for it.  I'm tired of being uncomfortable but I'm also walking the line of 'who cares?'  Not a good place to be.  I guess the only good thing is we've kept up our 3 mile walks every day so there's something.

We put on the Menendez trial because apparently nothing soothes me these days than old trials and procedural reruns.  Before we knew it, it was time to go for said 3 miler and forgot it was the tree lighting.  Luckily, no one was interested much in walking the areas we were so we didn't encounter too many people but we did enjoy hearing the clip clops of the horses pulling bougie mom's with their brats to and fro.



We dropped off a book I'm mailing out to my engaged family member that I like to give my engaged peeps now called We Do.  I figure it's worth giving someone the tools to a happy marriage especially when you have a first hand peek into potential issues that you could see coming a mile away but they may not.  Who knows if she'll actually read it or not but consider it my attempt to stay relevant in the family.

That bring us to now.  I know...party hell in these parts.

How was your weekend?

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Friday, November 17, 2023

What I'm Reading This Week #46

Howdy do all?  Finally Friday and I'm ready for the weekend.  I FINALLY got mom's friggin' headstone ordered!  Those bastards at the cemetery had been dragging their feet for over 2 months getting me the proof I needed to sign off on it.  When I followed up two weeks ago, I got radio silence.  As I was ready to steady myself for a phone call where I wasn't going to let anyone off the hook, for some reason I decided to look up reviews for them online.  One of them was a 1 star (like I'd give if asked) and the owner responded apologizing and asked the person to please reach out to her and gave her email address.  Her name was the exact name of my aunt who passed the morning of her senior prom back in 1988.  I knew it was a sign.  I emailed her explaining how I got her info and would she be open to chatting with the problems I'm having with my mom's final resting place.  Within 4 minutes she was calling me and within an hour I was e-signing the proof the headstone company was waiting on that the other woman had been sitting on for 3 weeks.  I am so thankful to my aunt for very clearly putting that in my path.  She was literally the sweetest girl ever and it was like she said "I've got this."  It is a huge relief having that off of my plate.

I also made a Christmas wreath for Mom/Grandma's grave that we'll take over on Thanksgiving.  Something I've been putting off but needed done asap.  I really just don't even know how we're halfway through November.  I swear I am losing days.

Now let's get to:





20 Foods That Can Help Prevent Clogged Arteries  (So these are like culinary Drano?)


What Happens to Your Body When You Use Magnesium Daily?  (I need to constantly check mine after logging as I'm always low.  I, along with forums of others, were so ticked when TJ's discontinued their magnesium as they were effective and super affordable.  Using something with similar ingredients but am ticked I have to pay more for it.  Eff you JOE!)

10 Ways to Boost Serotonin Naturally and Without Medication  (It always makes me chuckle when they throw "manage stress" in there like it's so easy.)



5 Things to Understand About Love After Loss (Maybe also mind your own damn business after someone's spouse passes.  Encouraging them to 'get back out there' or '(insert spouse's name) wouldn't want you to be sad' so that they are who YOU think they should be at that point in time is rude and can actually do more harm than good.  When/if they're ready to move on, they will.  That said, this is literally the only Bachelor we've ever watched.  Still not a fan of the process but it's thankfully not as cringe as we feared.)

Cheddar-Apple Cracker Bites Are a New Twist on a Classic Combination  (Oooh, this sounds good.  Can anyone recommend truly FLAVORFUL reduced fat cheese because the ones I've tried all taste like nothing which defeats the purpose.)


Assisted living may not be what you think: 5 crucial facts to know  (That's why the Mr and I need to get some damn muscles and just hope for the best.  These places suck and #4 is reason enough to not depend on them.)

20 Cozy Christmas Aesthetic Ideas to Bring in the Holidays  (In case you need some ideas to gear up.)

I'm considering making Christmas cookie doughs soon as I know it's all going to rocket toward me with as fast as this year has gone.  I did myself a solid back in June by mixing the dry ingredients for most of the doughs and put them in mason jars.  Seems like the universe knew I was going to need that head start this year or they probably weren't going to happen.   I was able to get my bestie's gifts wrapped which is good.  Now I just need my other friend to get me the list I asked for over 2 weeks ago to me and my beau needs to update his list or start looking for ideas. 

What's on tap for your weekend?  Getting ready for the holidays yet?

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Wednesday, November 15, 2023

The "In Thing" That Cost Me Everything


The following is a post on what has become a series.  If you have been through an illness or death of a parent/loved one, consider this what the young'uns call a 'trigger warning' as it deals with the raw emotions of an unexpected death which may include cursing, dark humor and not holding back my feelings about my experience.  If that's offensive, go elsewhere as this post isn't likely going to benefit you.  If you are new here and want to see the posts leading up to this one, you can start with posts on July 7th and go forward.

***

This post is about how "cut off culture" cost me everything.   I know I don't have to post this for my regulars but some rogue schmuck is going to stumble onto this post and try to poke the bear because they don't read it all before commenting.  There are families that are truly toxic in ways no one should tolerate.  I'm talking sexual (borderline and full on), physical and hardcore verbal abuse.  This post isn't about those people.  This post is about grief and what putting distance instead of just having hard conversations can cost you when it's too late.  I respect the choices of those who feel they are happier with their decisions to distance or cut off certain family members,  I'm asking for the same with my experience. If I feel attacked by someone by expressing what I am going through, your comment will go bye-bye.

***

Most of you know, I'm a child of divorce.  Dad left when I was 9, cut off contact with me for 3 months and then when settled into his new life expected me to fall in line and give his new wife what she wanted which was a perfect family of four.  When I spent most of those weekends with him sobbing in bed or resentful of the fact I was being court ordered into time with a man who never even acknowledged the divorce or what it was very obviously doing to me, it did more damage than what had already been done when they were married.  I never felt good enough for him.  I always figured he wanted a boy and then when he got one with his 2nd wife, he screwed that up too so it clearly wasn't just me.  I'm not a Pink Floyd fan at all but it truly was the beginning of living my life 'another brick in the wall' style.  His lack of parenting, forcing Mom and I into essentially a life of fight or flight and his own parental issues that became glaring the older I got screwed me up royally.  It set up coping mechanisms in me that only amplified as I got older.  From that point on, Mom was my best friend and going through her stuff only cements that.  TONS of cards, notes, letters from age 5 on about how she was my very best friend.  It's the kind of thing every mother would want to get from their kid and she kept every single one of them.  My favorite great aunt told me very matter of fact at age 10 "I don't know how your mom does it, you be a good girl for her, okay?  She's got a lot on her plate."  I took that like it was orders from the president.  I never wanted to give her more trouble than she was already going through to make sure we survived.  When the Mr came along, she welcomed him with open arms and wallet even though she really didn't have the money to be feeding another kid which I didn't even think about until the Mr brought it up.  I wish I'd thought of it earlier because I would've made sure we paid her back when we were married.  Not that we didn't buy her things outside of typical gift giving times of year but it kind of put another light on just how generous she was.

So I reminded you of all of that to get to my topic.  How many times, particularly over the past 5-10 years have we seen phrases like these:

"Some people are so delusional.  They think it's disrespectful when you don't sit back and allow them to disrespect you."

"Stay away from people who make you feel like you're hard to love."

"When you ask the universe to go to the next level, don't be surprised when every person preventing progress is removed from your life."

"You don't have to explain why you want what you want, do what you do, love what you love or need what you need.  You're allowed to live a life some people don't understand."

Do I agree with these?  Yes.  

Here's the problem.  

When you grow up in a 'suck it up' family in the 70's on his side, watch your family fracture through your grandparents divorce at 5, being thrust into adulthood before you hit double digits (which is how it felt when having to watch Mom sweat it each month and learning after she passed just how close we came to not making it that first year), being abandoned by your father and his whole side of the family so essentially losing 10 people and not only one and so many other things, you develop filters.  These filters are either coping/defense mechanisms or when new situations you are presented with throughout your life bring up old, undealt with feelings or fears.  Therefore you may have a hard time distinguishing what is actual disrespect or what feels like disrespect which has been processed through your filters.  This can be something as simple as someone disagreeing with you which we all know isn't actual disrespect though you wouldn't know that looking at today's climate.  I digress.  Sometimes we project the lack of love for ourselves onto other people.  I have always considered myself a burden though not ONE PERSON has ever said that to my face.  I would think "if they didn't have me as teenagers, Mom wouldn't have to struggle right now" or other similar thoughts.  When anything hard comes up in life...I am always apologizing for it whether I had anything to do with it or not.  When you think others are preventing your progress, sayings like the above make it very easy to justify distancing yourself from people you refuse to reveal your true self to in order to prevent yourself from being hurt or rejected.  And no, you don't owe people an explanation of why you are the way you are or do the things you do but let me tell you something, you can't expect people to ever fully love all of you if you don't explain why some things that are minor to everyone else go deeper for you.  Like if a couple are having communication issues that are severely affecting their happiness and threatening their marriage and they go to therapy or read books to better understand each other, they are praised.  Why is this not encouraged in the other relationships with people that are closest to us?  It sucks to be vulnerable because you're handing yourself to someone on a silver platter and the way someone reacts to what you say can cut you to the bone even if what they said was delivered with the force of a paper cut.

But if you find yourself scrolling IG or Facebook or wherever you hang out online and you find something that hits the nail on the head for you when you're feeling rejected or disrespected and YOU have filled in the blanks as to what that person's intent was without asking or giving them the same courtesy of clarification that you want from them, talk about adding gasoline to some smoldering embers.  Then the algorithm shows you more and more just reinforcing the pain you already feel whether real or perceived.  Before you know it, you are putting distance with people when you haven't even had an actual difficult conversation with them because what you think they're saying/thinking has become the narrative.  The families many of us grew up with are gone.  The ones that gathered in droves with cousins overflowing every crevice laughing and playing together.  The ones with adults all gathered playing cards, board games or listening to music, laughing together.  Technology has made it so kids and adults alike can't even sit at a table together without checking their phones giving off the vibe they'd rather be doing anything but spending time together unless there are presents to be opened.  I'd give anything for those gatherings pre-technology but the algorithm finds you one click and one like at a time.  "Oh, they're feeling like no one understands them...send  more of that stuff so they knows other people feel the same!  Make sure to put the ones saying all they have to do is ignore the problem because others don't and never will understand them under the guise of personal peace!"  Yes, it's our choice whether or not to believe those things but when it is seemingly everywhere, you feel like everyone feels that way.  Clearly we have more information now than when we were kids about mental health and attitudes but it's shifting to a place where the goal is to avoid conflict even if you have to weed the friends and family garden for any (potentially perceived) infraction.

**I feel this is a part that is going to set some people off so I need you again to stop and take a breath and listen to what I said.  If someone has not said something to your face and you are filling in the blanks of what you think they meant!  Therefore you are possibly creating a toxic relationship that may not truly even exist or at minimum only needs a gentle nudge back in the right direction.  If someone literally abuses you sexually, physically then yes, get the f*ck out...no questions.  Someone constantly making fun of you or comparing you to someone else, you stick up for yourself and they continue to go at it or double down, then yes, set the boundary and decide how you want to handle that even if that means cutting them out.  Those examples are not what I'm talking about.**

Let me give you an example of what I am talking about.  Mom and I were big time criers especially in the years after the divorce.  We felt safe being emotional with each other and I felt that way most of my life.  After all of the caregiver burnout with grandma over 7 years but 6 months before she passed, Mom was over for a visit and the subject turned to grandma.  I was very sensitive not only about grandma's condition but the horrible way I felt her husband was handling the situation.  I also felt like our opinions were no longer being considered when I asked about why what they said would happen for her care was no longer happening to save her husband money he very much had for grandma's care.  It had been a great visit and as I started talking about Grandma, I began crying.  It may not have even been something particularly cry worthy but I think just talking to someone else other than the poor Mr who had to basically endure all of my feelings in truly endless circles for years, got me weepy.  

She laughed a little and looked at the Mr and said "someone's emotional."

Me:  Initiate emotional shutdown sequence. Brain deems you unsafe on this topic...slap up another brick. 

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Was it the best response she could've given?  No but I also know that when you're uncomfortable,  sometimes you just blurt out the first thing to shut down discomfort when it's been a happy visit overall.  Maybe she wasn't in a place she wanted to get emotional about her mother because she felt it's all she ever did and wanted a break from it.  Maybe because of my basically going quiet any time the subject was brought up, she wondered why I always have such a visceral response when her husband is brought up?  Maybe...maybe...maybe.  Instead, I viewed her saying I was "emotional" when I listened to her cry during hard times in our life as hypocritical and why wasn't I allowed to feel the same?  Why couldn't she comfort me instead of feeling like she was criticizing me with two words?  It stirred up feelings of rejection which take me right back to Dad the day he made her do the dirty work and tell me they were getting divorced while he hid in the bathroom, too chicken shit to take responsibility for the rubble he was leaving behind.   We both reacted poorly based on what filters we had in place because of our own experiences.

My point is NEITHER of us said the hard thing which may have been "what upsets you when we talk about her care because I feel like you're judging the way we're taking care of her?" (no idea if she felt that way or not but it was assumed and you know what they say about that) or if I'd said "why is me crying uncomfortable for you now?  We never had a problem with it as a kid or teen, what changed?"  Instead we both shut down and I viewed one bad moment- literally 30 seconds- as the whole visit being ruined.  As they say, 99 people can compliment you but it's the one that says you look like a pile of dog crap that sticks with you.  Then it becomes a matter of me looking for it, being ready for the fight or ready to disconnect if she made a snappy comment that isn't even really that snappy but my filters perceive it as worse than it was.  Make no mistake, like everyone, she could get snippy when frustrated but she gets it honestly which means I get it honestly but then pile it on with a fly off the handle at a moments notice from my dad's side while waiting for life to yank the rug out from me and that is how I've lived my life.  Through my filters based on my experiences.

But it's okay, right?  Someone makes you uncomfortable then you distance yourself from them or cut them off!  That's what everyone says now.  They talked about the 80's being the "me" generation?!  Pshht... they've got nothing on the 2020's!  I saw a different meme that really brought it to my attention too because it said "this generation would rather cut everyone off in their life than have a difficult conversation for 5 minutes and fix it and y'all wonder why you're lonely."  That was on a Gen Z page!  I know we're all responsible for our actions.  I know there are also plenty of things that say stop playing the victim and blaming everyone else for your life or whatever.  Well, guess what, sometimes circumstances of life alter your way of living so hard that it feels impossible to change or improve it no matter how hard you try.  That tape is on hard loop over and over and it filters the way you see, move through and perceive the world.  So you isolate.  When you live always feeling like the rug is going to be pulled out from under you because history has proven it usually happens, then you are constantly looking for something to go wrong.

Mom's sib has always been her best friend since childhood and that bond only got stronger as they got older.  Part of the reason I wasn't as open with her as I used to be was because of their closeness.   I knew pretty much what I told her, she may tell her sib and that would mean her sib told their spouse.   Sorry but I don't need everyone knowing my business so I was always very guarded on what I told her if I wasn't something I wanted two other people to potentially know as well.  When she was 50, she met a great group of ladies who became like sisters to her and her social calendar was always full.  I won't lie, I envied how close they all were because I felt like we used to be that close and now it felt like she wanted to spend her time with everyone but me.  (I know that isn't true.  Try to tell my brain that.)  A few of the times I asked if she wanted to get together for dinner and if she had something planned already and didn't give me a concrete answer on when she could, I perceived it as rejection.  When I say her calendar was full, I mean FULL.  I really don't know how she held down a full time job and still did so much but it's not like her daughter was knocking down her door to spend time with her so why wouldn't she spend time with people who literally clamored to be around her?  I remember a particularly bad Thanksgiving where everyone was utterly and completely miserable.  Grandma was laid out in the living room, people were already in moods, some drunk, others looking around like "how is this our holiday now?" and we choked through it.  (It was the year I decided we were going to start going away to VT every other year because I couldn't take it anymore.)  The next day on social media, there was mom, her sib and best friends completely losing it laughing, yucking it up and dressing up in silly shirts.  I was mad.  Where were those people the day before?  When they were all snapping at each other, no one cracking a smile like their face would break and everyone in every age group basically miserable to be there?  Yes, she was entitled to let loose, laugh and smile but wasn't the point of Thanksgiving to make memories and be thankful?  That year it felt like no one was thankful for anything and I really resented that we didn't even get a 2 minute peek at those happy people.  It felt like "well, you're not here for the weekly caregiving stuff so we're going to shove it all in your face" by all of grandma's kids.  (Again...filters!)  

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Then here I am scrolling my empath sites where the key is supposed to be empathy but if you look a little harder, nowhere do they actually encourage you to have the hard conversations.  The ones that could be anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour that could literally undo years of crap thinking and burn those filters.  But you know, you've found your 'tribe' and people who understand and encourage you to keep your distance, set boundaries and such without ever really telling people why those boundaries need set in the first place and then wonder why you feel like people don't understand you.  Yes, there ARE people who literally give zero fucks about understanding you or caring about why things make you feel certain ways... that's not who I mean.  There are also times when you go into a dangerous self preservation mode that basically is code for isolation and since social media is telling us out of one side of its mouth isolating from people is okay while out of the other side of its mouth it's reporting about an epidemic of loneliness how the HELL do we ever do what is truly right for us long term??

Well, I'm here to tell you to have the hard conversation and screw what is floating through your feed.  What's in your heart?  Is it broken?  Why?  What would help fix it?  Would it be having that closer relationship with someone and did you play a part in making it weird?  Own it.  Do you know how many times I wanted to have that hard conversation and then Covid happened and then it was like "well, I don't see her very much so I don't want to ruin the time we do see each other."  Excuses.  Because then you know the next call I end up getting a few years into it?  "Your mom has stage 4 cancer" and 30 days later she's gone.  There is no fixing it then.  Did she know I was there for her?  Yes.  I still see her smile when we'd walk into the room.  The random times she would grab me and hug me holding on for dear life.  The time she told the Mr and I halfway through her ordeal to sit at the end of her bed so she could see us both before she took a nap so we were the last things she saw if she didn't wake up.  To see the look come over her face remembering why she was there and saying "who would've ever thought I'd be going through this?" and having no way to comfort her and tell her I could help make it better.  Watching her ability to communicate with us slip away knowing she had so much left to say that her body wouldn't allow her as it was shutting down.  To know she told her sib 'how good it was to see my kids.'  To feel like shit knowing that I saw her more in the final month of her life than I saw her in the previous three years.  Inundating her with memories the day before she passed as people came in and out to say their goodbyes to let her know how much they all meant to me, what SHE meant to me with faint little hand squeezes on particularly funny ones.  To sit with her playing her favorite artists and singing to her and that she was trying to sing back even though she was basically in a coma from the meds the last time we saw her alive.    

You want to know the worst part?  The snappy part of her...the one we all blamed on unregulated hormones after her hysterectomy that she never really evened out from?  The part of her personality that made me brace up in case she said something that hurt my wittle feelings between her tone and my filtering of that tone that lasted 5 seconds?  She had a brain tumor.  I'm talking a lifelong brain tumor that I found out after she died that she was scanned for and her prolactin level was at 201 in 1981 and it should've been 15.  When it was found in July, her levels were 1150+!!!!  What is one of the side effects of this tumor and where it was?  Irritability.  "Oh you have no way of knowing that's what did it."  Wanna bet?  2 days after she began medication to treat the condition, her personality (which was quite snappy the first day or two rightly so given what she was going through) completely evened out.  It was like having my old mom back... and I could barely breathe.  This thing I had put up walls with her about was not even her fault and I'd wasted every day for over a decade feeling a certain way for something she couldn't even help! 

Now there is a Mt. Everest of regret, shame and guilt I now get to climb in addition to 'regular' grief.  I get to try to find a way to forgive myself which I doubt will happen and beat myself up for something I never could've known.  I'd like to think even if I'd gotten over myself enough to say something and try not to let our defenses go up that it would've made a difference.  That if she saw I wanted to get back to that point of being as close to her as she was with her friends and sib, I know 1000% she would've been on board with that.  That she would've been just as open to it because I know she filled in the blanks about us as much as we did about her and that stopped us from being able to truly go deep at times.  That cuts me like a knife now.  I know when I told her and the rest of the family to please not save up computer issues to talk to the Mr about for hours on a holiday that she seemed to interpret that as we didn't want to help her.  Not what we said.  What accountant wants to crunch numbers on Easter?  What attorney wants to give free advice on Thanksgiving?  The holidays are for rest and family, that's all.  So then I would see posts about an in-law or nephew coming to do this or that around the house and we were never asked.  We would feel like shit about it and then get our undies in a twist about why when we set what we considered a reasonable request, it appeared to be blown out of proportion and you guessed it, another brick.  I guess we both sucked at not wanting to step on each others toes because we thought we knew how the other would react.  Now she's gone and there's no way to fix it, talk about it, hug it out and generally have better communication.  I don't want you to think we had a bad relationship, we didn't.  We laughed a lot, hugged a lot, made stupid faces, got in hilarious situations that had us doubled over laughing, talked about all kinds of things, she loved looking through pictures of our travels, said we always knew how to have fun or find some off the beaten path thing to try.  But it still felt like it was not as good as it could've been at times.  Matter of fact, when I lamented over these things with my closest girlfriends, they all said they'd been through the same with their mom's and it's that mother/daughter dynamic that comes into play even in the best relationships.  But I didn't know how to approach it without wondering if she'd feel attacked, it would make things worse or that I would be rocking the boat.  

ROCK. THE. FUCKING. BOAT.  You must go in with an open mind and heart and tell them you understand if they need to process things once the ball is rolling and come back to it.  However you need to approach it so that it's done with love, care for everyone's feelings and not in a confrontational way will hopefully get the best results.  Otherwise, you may find yourself sitting in the rubble of your old life as your parent, child or spouse is gone wondering why you weren't brave enough to say the uncomfortable thing and stop believing a bunch of morons who just want likes.  I hope no one else ever has to go through the anguish I feel of wishing I'd done things differently.  No one is guaranteed old age and you think you have time to improve things.  

You don't.

Let me repeat that...YOU. DON'T.  

With anyone.

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If you or someone you know is going through a grief process, you may find these resources given to me by a friend helpful:

Crisis Text Line or text 741741

Books I'm currently reading:



(The above are affiliate links.  Should you buy through them, I may receive a few shekels commission at no cost to you to help keep the blog up and running.)

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Monday, November 13, 2023

Cracka-Shellackin' Weekend Recap

And just like that, the weekend is over.  Hello and here's a Monday just for you.  Don't say I never got you anything.  

The Mr had Friday off so we went to the historic district for a 3 miler on uneven sidewalks to throw the hips, calves and knees outta whack.



About halfway through, he got dizzy from what he thinks was low blood sugar since he didn't eat right before we left.  So he put on his hangry pants after that and any feel good endorphins went out the window for both of us.  When we got home, I let him start on his lunch while I peeled off my bra and got back into my PJs at 1:30pm.  To brighten my day, a care package arrived from my bestie...




... with a lovely card that made me sob about her holding my hand through the holidays and my Mom and Grandma's favorite candies, cinnamon tea, along with my mom's discontinued body spray that was in one of her purses.  I bought one on eBay for that horrible day her pillow won't smell like her anymore and I must've mentioned it to her and she made a mental note as she does.  It will be nice to have one that I can actually use on occasion if I want to smell like her.  I wish she'd had a true signature fragrance like Grandma's White Diamonds.  She loved Beekman's ylang ylang and tuberose but they discontinued it right after she passed.  πŸ˜”  I have some lotions and a spritzer of it that's almost gone.  So it was nice to get such a lovely, thoughtful gift especially when she is going through a tough time of her own and into the foreseeable future.  I've seen this meme lately that says something like "when someone checks in on you and is there for you when they are going through their own hell, that is love" and I always think of her when I see it.  She's always been so thoughtful and selfless and I don't know what I'd do without her.  

As I was poking around Mom's Pinterest boards, I stumbled upon this:




The note to go with it?  "Anele - I love you!!"  I sobbed so hard.  I never knew she was on Pinterest until after she passed.  She never mentioned it and had tons of boards for her crafts and dishes to make for her gatherings with her friends.  It was pinned a long time ago but it was nice to know at some point, she was thinking of me and wanted that for me even if I'd never see it as far as she knew.  It made me happy and sad and so many emotions in between.  We rounded out the night with a new Project Fear episode and a new Rachel Maksy video before conking out for an hour.  Then it was insomnia city for me until 4:15ish.

Saturday, I just didn't have it in me to get up and at 'em so we stayed in bed until 1pm.  I kind of love mornings like that because you truly feel like an adult getting away with something.  So we had breakfast in bed and watched the documentary about the kidnapped lady from the series A Friend of the Family mini series we finished the night before.  I like Jake Lacy and the trailer was good...too bad Anna Paquin's piss poor acting took away from it.  She looked like she was constantly fighting a burrito fart in church.  

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The Mr was kind enough to do a slew of pickups and one of them was for a furring strip so we could jerry rig a yoga mat holder.



I opened the doors to the pantry I was hoping would be stank free after 5 nights of airing out and 3 boxes of baking soda and was greeted by a smell equally as strong if not stankier than we started with. 

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I grabbed some polyurethane I had on hand to attempt to seal in the smell.  I was only going to do one because if it didn't work, I wasn't going to waste my time on the other.  I knew I may need to use primer too but I let that dry with a fan on it for a few hours then shut the door so I could see how it smelled in the morning.  Why can't something just go right with no extra crap for once??  Then it was time for dinner and we'd agreed we were going to use Mom's gift card to one of her restaurants she didn't get to use.  I silently ate her favorite dishes, so sad she wasn't here to be using the cards herself like whomever got them for her intended.  I cried on and off all night just like every night until it was time to go up and come 3am when it was apparent I wasn't going to sleep, I started on this.

Sunday it was time to check the pantry to see what plan of action I was going to have to take.  When the Mr was down getting the clothes I asked him to smell the pantry and he said now it smelled like fish oil.  (???)  I sent him to the Depot to get Zinsser white shellac since some research said that was really my only option.  I grabbed a foam roller from the garage and got to rolling.  It may be 'white' in general terms but my eye said more 'baby formula light beige' but ask me if I cared at that point.  I got in there and coated everything including the horribly cheap backboard which could be where the problem is anyway.  I about gagged out as shellac is vaporous as hell and I have no clue how Mom worked with it so much back in the 70's.   I got two coats on everything and now apparently have to wait at least until tomorrow for it to cure before I can use it...that is if it works.  Ask me if I was going to cook dinner after that.  

No.  The answer is no.  

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Then I was just done and that about did me in for the night.

How was your weekend?


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Friday, November 10, 2023

What I'm Reading This Week #45

Happy Friday y'all!  The holidays are creeping ever closer or at least Thanksgiving is.  I've been adding things to the grocery cart over the past month so when the run on everything happens, we've got what we need for our now permanent celebration of two.  Wow...we got there waaaay sooner than we could've ever predicted.  Though I guess I should've listened to the Mr when we started going to Vermont that we didn't know how many family holidays we had left with everyone and he wasn't ready for that to end.  Sadly, caregiver burnout from all of Grandma's kids/spouses, husband, and the general suck of having her there but not there had killed all holiday cheer a few years earlier to the point I dreaded them.  We always knew this day was coming but assumed it would be adjusting to grandma, then we only got two holiday seasons before Covid hit.  As you can imagine, the first one was sad then there was the second one then nothing.  It was supposed to be at minimum a decade from now that we would have to even entertain the idea of Mom not being here.  So if you're lucky enough to be able to safely celebrate the holiday, be extra thankful for those sitting around the table with you.

Don't worry, I'm not gonna leave ya hanging in the abyss with me, watch this to level back up and pray he's not in a townhome because you know he practiced a LOT.

Now let's get into:





Everything You Need to Know About Cardio Zones and Heart Rate Training  (Good because that crap is confusing sometimes even with a good watch to attempt to explain it!)

8 Great Lower-Body Exercises for People With Knee Pain  (I can vouch for the first one as it's part of my physical therapy)

The 11 Best Natural Remedies for a Sore Throat and 2 to Skip  (Tis the season πŸ™„ Always use this bad boy after gatherings or traveling.)


11 Signs You May Have Lung Cancer  (Also that doesn't mean that's where it originated from and if you're told someone has lung cancer PLEASE don't ask "did they smoke?"  You wouldn't believe how many people asked me that like somehow if Mom had smoked it would've made sense or like smoking somehow means the person deserved it.  Over 20% of lung cancer cases are non-smokers and radon is the 2nd leading cause of lung cancer after smoking.  Do a quick test to find out if your home has it.)

Feel Like Someone Is in the Room When You're Sleeping? Here's What That Means  (It means stop watching Criminal Minds reruns before bed to lull you to sleep.  I know I'm not the only one.)

6 Key Signs You’re in a Toxic Relationship With Yourself  (Quite a few line up which should be no shocker but just in case anyone else needs a relationship check.)

How Bad Is It Really to Get Into Bed in Your 'Outside' Clothes?  (Never really thought about it but just another reason to rip off the bra and get your cozies on when you get home!  Just hang them on the coat rack and drop trou in the foyer.)


The Family Recipes That Live On in Cemeteries  (I absolutely love this!  I've seen where people will get the recipes off of them, bake them and come back and take a pic and leave it for the family.  It would be cool to create a specific hashtag for people to tag them when they make them for the family all over the world to see the joy their loved ones recipe brings.)

If you can believe it, still airing out those damn pantries so I'm hoping I can get some stuff in there over the weekend at some point.  Zero idea what's on the agenda for the weekend.  I suppose I should get Christmas shopping done but I still need lists. 
🀨  

Anything planned for your weekend?

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Wednesday, November 8, 2023

A Little Catch Up

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Happy Hump Day everyone!  I hope you enjoyed the pics from our little out of the country stint.  I kind of wish we could go back to see it all done up for Christmas in a few weeks because they don't really go all out for Halloween there.  Maybe five houses with any kind of decorations out front but the rest not even really pumpkins.  I guess they let the leaves fall where they may and say 'voila...dΓ©cor!"  

It's been a rough time of it since we got back.  Obviously the holiday commercials are in full force and Walmart using Sisters from mom's favorite, White Christmas can suck it.  I burst into tears and try to remember to keep commercials muted especially on Paramount+ where it seems to be on heavy rotation and likely will be until Christmas Day.  To try to pull ourselves out of the gutter last weekend the Mr was kind enough to put together some small pantries/bathroom cabinets/coffee bar cabinets, whatever you want to call them I bought for the basement.



They were a little smaller than expected but what was more unexpected was how horrible they smelled.  We've had many MDF pieces over the years and this by far was the worst smelling ones EVER.  I couldn't even be down there because it gave me a migraine.  I wiped down every piece of it with cleaning wipes which didn't help.  We had the fan on them overnight and then the smell morphed from 'this will kill you' to that new carpet smell which is a step down but still a drop kick to sensitive sniffers like mine.  Then because the A/C pulls from the basement, we got to smell that whenever it was on.  I swear it smelled like pickles at one point which is weird since it didn't smell like that downstairs.  Cue the sandalwood incense I bought so I didn't yarf just sitting in the living room.  I bought a 12 pack of baking soda with the rippable sides so I could put like 4 of them in per pantry and see how that does before I DARE put anything that isn't canned in there to soak into bags/boxes, etc.  Unreal yet par for our course. 😣

I also saw this little rolling cart thingy that I measured and saw would fit between the two of them so I got that too for the Mr to have yet one more thing to assemble.  I think once I started trying to put Mom's stuff in their new homes, I realized just how little space we had for it all so I wanted some extra storage options to free up some of the in place shelving.  It's going to be a lot of rearranging once the stank is gone but once I can safely move stuff in there without fear of what is infiltrating then I should be able to play Tetris with a lot of things and make it work better for us.  I think I want to move Mom's stuff to a spot in the back corner where no chance of water damage should be possible and also have them at the ready so if I want to get some more stuff scanned, I can.  I also know I have pictures that will be coming too so I'll have those scanned and then properly store them upstairs out of humidity.  

I pre-cooked our Thanksgiving turkey and got it all Food Saved so we'll have that, the mashed potatoes and stuffing kind of at the ready.  The Mr kindly gave me an out for the pie making but I think I may just short cut the crust for the apple pie but I like our light pumpkin pie and it's not too much trouble to make.  We'll have leftovers to take into the weekend so it should be fine.  I'll have to get the ingredients for Grandma's noodles in a mason jar so all I have to do is mix in the wet but that's never really the part that is daunting, it's rolling them out and waiting for them to dry a bit before sticking them in the big plastic bag for the next day but it's not Thanksgiving without them.  The Mr has offered to make them but sometimes I feel grandma next to me as I run my hand over the dough and I don't want to miss that moment.  I wish I had Mom's sweet potato recipe.  I know she used those canned Bruce's yams but I don't know what she put in them because I never ate them as a kid.  Now, of course, I'd like to have them but she's not here to ask and I know her sib didn't pay attention because they never ate them either.  Sigh.  WRITE IT ALL DOWN!  Every friggin' recipe people in your family make, even the ones you didn't/don't care for because they all become precious when they're gone.  Those recipes are the only connection of something tangible you may have left of them to make sure they're at the holiday table.  No one wants to think about that but your relatives or friends aren't guaranteed old age so just get over thinking it's morbid and use my story as an example if people get weird about it.  

I know this holiday season is going to be hard and I've been told many times 'you think the first one is bad, wait until the second'...thanks?  I know I will still decorate but it all feels colorless and full of panic.  Lots of feelings about the holidays we missed from being in Vermont but were unfortunately necessary on several levels which I'm likely going to formulate a post on because it's one of those deals where you see the destruction of your family as you know it based on several diseases that you could never see f*cking you down the not so distant line.  It's so not 'regular ol' grief' but so many layers by so many different things that I truly don't know how I'm ever going to sort through them.  There is so much PTSD from what the medical community did and didn't do and knowing that she didn't have to die and hearing from so many that they too went through the same thing.  Decisions will need to be made after the holidays to see if we want to pursue anything after someone with knowledge of those kinds of things looks over what was pulled off before they closed access to her medical records literally two hours after she died.  So if you have ANYONE in the hospital or even don't have a copy of your own medical records every so often...GET THEM.  We've read horrifying tales of records being changed after the fact to make it look like it was the patients fault and it made me sick.  

Also, with it going into open season for health care, make sure you review your options and really look at not just the lowest plans but look at what you're actually paying for.  Mom's situation really opened our eyes to what our plan which we always thought was the best, actually paid.  It turns out after running through our medical expenses this and last year with the high deductible which gives us a $2K rebate toward the deductible that we could've saved almost $2k per year both years and we aren't sick people.  The Mr has MRI's he needs to get, he had a vein surgery done with potentially more this year but the hospital stuff alone in a catastrophic situation like Mom's that is covered after deductible would be a huge relief if the worst happened.  While I was initially against it, after he ran the numbers, it was too apparent that we'd be nuts to pass it up.  So just urging you all to run the numbers, make sure your money is working for you and that what seems like a good thing up front actually is so you can get the best health care.  PLEASE consider allowing someone you love and trust whether family or close friend to go over any 'routine' tests because sometimes they've been through situations that would've raised a huge red flag that you may not see and that your doctor may not consider a big deal but it turns out it is.

Off my soapbox now!

How is your week treating you so far?  Anyone got their tree up yet?  Seems to be the trend this year.


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