Life is Good.

Hello, world!

The summer has flown by, as I knew it would, and as I predicted, I only got about three posts up all summer.  Figures.

But life continues to be busy.  Since I got home from my grandparent’s house at the end of July, I hosted my college roommate and her family for a few days, was sick for two weeks with a nasty virus that closely resembled strep throat, threw a birthday party for my son and twenty of his closest six-year old friends, and got both of my kids back to school.  So yeah, life and children continue to dominate my time and attention.   Blogging has been on the back burner for a long time, and I’m hoping now that I have both of my kids in school full-time that I’ll have more time and attention for both myself and all of you.

cold germsBeing sick for two weeks wasn’t fun.  I went to the doctor about five days into it and she ran all the typical tests to rule out bacterial infections.  It felt like my head was going to explode, and every time I swallowed it felt like my eardrums were bursting and I was trying to swallow crushed glass.  Fever, fatigue, and all the glamorous parts of feeling like total shit.  My husband had to be out-of-town for work for several days, so taking care of the house, kids, and all the pets when all you want to do is lay down and die was no picnic.  Unfortunately, the doc couldn’t give me any drugs because it was a viral infection, and it took a solid two weeks before I felt human again.  To add insult to injury, going to the doctor in the first place is always such a mind-fuck.  I already felt like shit, and have you ever noticed that going to the doctor makes you fat?  Seriously.  I walk in and immediately feel like I’ve gained ten pounds.  Then the nurse puts you on the scale and you realize that in the two hours since you got dressed and hauled your sick-ass to the clinic, you really must have gained ten pounds because their ancient scale, that must be counter-balanced with massive invisible boulders, says so.  Why don’t doctors use modern digital scales that will weigh me the same as when I’m at home?  And now that I feel like a sick, ginormous, fat cow, I have to sit, forever, in the little room and wait.  imageAnd there’s a mirror in there that is now confirming what the scale said.  Somehow my face looks heavier.  My ass seems to be climbing up my back and my muffin top is more muffin-y.  And now I want to cry because my throat hurts, my ears hurt, I can’t get any meds, and just walking in the door made me feel like Martha Dump Truck.

Damn, I’m glad that’s over.

My son’s birthday party was fun, and humiliating.  But I found my self-respect at the top of a bounce house, so that was an unexpected bonus.  We had the party at Pump It Up.  If you’re unfamiliar with the Pump It Up franchise, it’s basically a party venue with giant inflatables.  Each room is a massive, two-story room with multiple indoor inflatables, like bounce houses, obstacle courses, rock climbing walls, and things like that.  We had the Glow Party, which is like a super cool rave for kids with music and glow in the dark everything.  I had promised my daughter that I would do some of the inflatables with her because as the big sister, she was the oldest kid at the party and didn’t really want to hang with the six-year olds.  Thank God it was dark in there.  I was a little dressed up for the party and my nice jeans were somewhat confining.  Also, you have to wear socks in these things, and I quickly realized that with

This looks a lot like the structure I was attempting to climb

This looks similar to the structure I was attempting to climb. The picture doesn’t do the height justice, though.

socks on it’s hard to get any grip on the structure with your feet.  So,  I was attempting to climb this two-story monstrosity that was part rock climbing wall and part slide in tight jeans and slippery socks.  You see where I’m going with this?  You had to put your feet on these small squares and then use alternating tether straps for your hands to climb up.  Well, the tiny-made-for-five-year-old-feet squares would collapse under you if you didn’t move fast enough.  Half-way up there was this ledge you had to get over, and then another ledge all the way at the top.  I fell trying to get over the first ledge.  Kids were flying past me and laughing as I flailed and dangled by the tether straps.  Did I mention it was also pretty steep?  And also that I’m not a ten-year old?  Anyway, I dug deep and hauled myself to the top, and as I was struggling to get over the second ledge, and considering saying fuck it and just letting go, my son’s friend from his class was sitting at the top of the ledge, and she was watching me as I hung on the tethers.  She’s an adorable little girl and she says, “Keep going Mrs. B!  You can do it!”  Sweet Jesus.  How do I fail in front of her now?  I couldn’t, and it was ugly, and I’m glad it was dark in that room, but I managed to get my fat ass over that ledge and to the top.  I was sweating and tired, and when I went down the slide it was so steep and fast it actually launched me out of the shoot and I landed in a heap in front of several parents watching from below.  There was no way to play it cool, so I laid there like a lump, catching my breath.  Thankfully, several parents said how impressed they were that I even attempted to get to the top, so at least I got some street cred out of it.  Or they were just trying to make me feel better.  Either way, only one other parent attempted the same structure and made it to the top, so that makes me one of the cool moms.

My kids went back to school on August 31st, so I had three days last week of blissful alone time.  I’ve never had that, and I savored it.  I read several of your blogs, did some housework, ran errands without children, and met friends for lunch.  It was heaven.  I’m really looking forward to this school year.  And for the first time since my oldest daughter started school eight years ago, I didn’t cry at drop off on the first day.  I fucking celebrated and went out for sushi!

Life is good, people.  Life is Good!!!!!!

Getting Old is not for Sissies

At least that’s what my 95-year-old Nanny (grandmother) tells me, and after spending a little over a week with her in Illinois last week, I would whole-heartedly agree with her.

My daughter Bryn was going on vacation with her grandparents, so I flew her to St. Louis from LA, handed her off to her grandparents who were driving to Florida for a week of fun in the sun, and then drove the three hours north to my grandmother’s house in Bloomington, IL.

Upon my arrival, my grandmother burst into tears and announced how happy she was to see me.  I had just been to visit her the month before as part of our annual summer vacation, but sadly, at 95 years of age her memory is not what it used to be.  Although it had only been a month, she was unable to recall my previous visit.  This always breaks my heart.  She will say things like, “No one ever comes to visit me.”  I gently remind her that I see her every summer, and although she believes me, her reality is such that she cannot remember the visits, so for her it’s like it never happened.

10422269_10153164412434668_2062150226730818813_n[1]While my Nanny is very healthy physically, her memory loss and diminished capacity for independence grates on her self-esteem.  She hates that she can no longer stand at the stove and prepare full meals or bake the delicious cakes and desserts she always enjoyed having in the house.  Every time I came to visit she always had a cake, pie, or some amazing sugar creation waiting for whatever company happened to stop by.  She was always prepared for company.  Now, she is still able to care for her own physical needs, prepare light meals like sandwiches, and also do some very light housekeeping, but for the most part her recliner in the living room occupies most of her attention these days.

12019820_907152482686906_3905592130149668443_n[1]My Nanny is 95 and my grandfather turns 97 this week.  They don’t have computers, internet, Wi-Fi, or even a DVD player.  They have cable TV, but that’s about it for modern technology.  Their day consists of rolling out of bed around 9am, and sitting in their chairs in the living room all day long, watching baseball, Mass, Fox News, and AMC movie classics.  That’s it.  I imagine I will find that life pretty enjoyable if I make it to their advanced age, however, for a 41 year old active woman, it was enough to make me want to throw myself from a cliff.

I wanted to spend quality time with them, so that meant sitting with them in the living room.  For hours.  Every day.  For nine days.  Watching Fox News.  And Lawrence Welk.  For the love of God, Lawrence Welk.  Watching her sing along to songs she has known for fifty years was heartening, but it was also like nails on a chalkboard.  My grandmother sings beautifully, and it made me happy to see her happy, but an hour of Lawrence Welk is enough to make me want to grind my ears through a pencil sharpener.  Now imagine a week of that.  (If you are reading this and you don’t know who Lawrence Welk is, google it.  Right now.  Then drink a bottle of wine and thank your lucky stars you weren’t me last week.)  I used to watch it with her when I was in college, just because it made her happy.  I did the same thing this week, just to make her happy.  Damn, I’m a really good granddaughter.  One night I came upstairs to find them watching AMC Classics, and Animal House was on.  OMG!  Talk about awkward!  But I sat through the movie because it was two hours of something funny and relative to my age group.  At the end, my Nanny declared it to be “junk” and she stated that if people actually thought this movie was good, then she held little hope for the future of our country.  I informed her that Animal House is a cult classic and almost everyone loves this movie.  She was thoroughly disgusted with humanity and went to bed.

11870911_511767202313147_6626111183102035627_n[1]Oh, and did I mention that many people tend to lose their filter when they hit advanced ages?  Well, my Nanny is no different.  This is a Christian Catholic woman who took her responsibility as a Christian seriously, and my whole life she refrained from talking trash about others because she felt it was a horrible sin.  However, that is no longer the case.  She has become brutally honest and says whatever pops into her head.  For example, among other shocking statements, she told me one day that I was the fattest she had ever seen me, and what the hell did I think I was doing letting my body go to shit like that.  I’m totally serious, and this is a woman who never cussed.   I reminded her that I’m not 25 anymore, I’m almost 42 years old and I usually work out 3-4 days per week.  She said, “Well, whatever you’re doing, it’s not working for you.”  One day I came upstairs wearing fashionably distressed jeans.  She said, “Are those the best clothes your husband can afford to buy for you?”  So I said, “Yes Nanny, and can you believe I bought these jeans with the patches already sewed into them?”  She rolled her eyes in disgust.  I winked at her.  We both laughed.

Due to her memory loss, we also had many repeated conversations.  She would ask me the same questions every few minutes, and I would give her the same answer, every time she asked.  We did this every day.  Several hours per day.  I was kind to her.  I was gentle.  I tried to remind her that she was still pretty and valuable.  Whenever I told her she was beautiful, she would say, “Yeah, pretty ugly, and pretty apt to stay that way.”  I’m laughing as I type this because her sense of humor is awesome.

IMG_1163I had to leave the house for a little while each day to maintain my sanity.  I found myself falling asleep on the couch with them at 6:30pm.  I was sleeping until 9am in the morning.  I was becoming an old person.  One day I looked at my VivoFit and saw that in the entire day, I had only walked 892 steps.  In a whole day!  The next day I went for a four mile walk just to combat the sedentary inclination.  I also went to the local campus, Illinois State University, my alma mater, and walked the quad.  It felt good to see the buildings, the new renovations and the efforts made to beautify and modernize the campus.  I found myself thinking, “Damn, I went to a nice school.”  I relived a lot of great memories that day and refreshed my old lady soul.

One day, Nanny let me take her for a drive.  She was alive with excitement driving around this town where she had spent her entire life.  She was seeing old and new buildings, construction and modern architecture, as if she were a young child in a new and enchanting land.  She was filled with memories and emotion as we drove past homes where she lived as a young woman with my grandfather, and cried when she observed new buildings where her old favorites no longer existed.  She lamented the time when she also would no longer exist, torn down and forgotten like an old, worn out building.

The day I left we said a tearful good-bye.  We are both painfully aware that at the end of each visit there is a very real possibility that it will be our last.  Before I left she looked at me and said, “You know I may not remember you at all next year.”  I held back my tears and said, “Yes, but I will remember you.”  And I drove away watching her in my side mirror as she stood in the driveway, beautiful and proud, with her hand raised in the air.  As she always does when I leave her.

So yes, whether you are 41 or 95, getting old is most definitely not for sissies.

Another Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary, world!

Today marks the two year anniversary of A Girl Named Wanda!  I can’t believe it’s been two years, and I continue to be blown away by the fact that so many of you continue to read my non-sense and ramblings. Thank you for your support, encouragement, and the endless hours of entertainment I’ve enjoyed by reading your blogs and sharing in your experiences.

Currently, I am visiting my grandparents in central Illinois and I am without Internet. 😳They are 95 and 97 years old, so computers and wi-fi isn’t really their thing. I’ve used 20% of my cell phone battery in typing these two paragraphs into the WordPress app.  Awesome. While I can’t go into great detail at this time, after spending a week here away from my family and no access to modern technology outside of my phone, you can rest assured that my next post will be worth the wait. 😜

Thank you again for reading!

Priorities, and stuff.

Don’t pay the ransom!  I escaped!

Just kidding.  No one would kidnap me.

Since my last post over a month ago, life has been ridiculously busy, and clearly I’m not good at finding the time to write while managing all that must come first.  For example, I’ve already been interrupted ten times in the last seven minutes since I sat down to write this post.  At this rate I’ll be lucky to get three posts up this summer.  In the past six weeks or so we’ve had my son’s Kindergarten graduation, a new puppy, our annual vacation back home to the Midwest, my wedding anniversary and my mother-in-law flew in to spend the 4th of July weekend with us.  It’s been a whirlwind, but it’s all been good.

FullSizeRender (1)And I know what you’re thinking….”Did she say she got a new puppy?!”  Yes, and she has taken up the bulk of my time and attention since she joined our family.  I didn’t mean to get a puppy.  I didn’t want a new puppy.  We already have three cats and a large dog.  But the universe sort of thrust her at me, and when the universe hands you an adorable little baby like that, well, you just can’t hand it back.

This is Mavis.  The last week of school while I was waiting to pick Bryce up, another mom from our class showed up holding this adorable little baby girl.  I took one look at her and my soul screamed, “Mine!”  I immediately asked the mom if she had gotten a new dog and she explained that her cocker-spaniel had “accidentally” mated with her sister’s Chihuahua.  The IMG_0086result was four of the most adorable Chi-Spaniel (that’s apparently what they’re called) babies you have ever seen, and they were giving them away to good homes.  Done!  I took a picture of her with my phone and texted the photo to Dan.  I took her home with me that day.  And now I remember why we decided we were done having kids.  She is adorable but exhausting.  Having a new puppy is just like having a new baby in the house.  I can’t turn my back on her for a second.  One second she is my Sweet Mavis, and the next she is Mavis the Destroyer.  Potty training sucks.  My only consolation is that when she’s FINALLY potty trained, I’m getting all new area rugs.

FullSizeRender (2)

I don’t usually post personal photos, but I think we look hot in this picture, so Happy Anniversary to us!!

Everything else seems a bit trivial in comparison to Mavis.  Our vacation back home was good.  I love the Midwest, I just can’t live there full time.  But summers there are heaven.  My anniversary was awesome, until it wasn’t.  Dan and I had tickets to a private chef’s table dinner at our favorite ocean-side resort.  Twelve couples enjoyed a five course gourmet dinner over-looking the ocean.  We had yellow-fin tuna ceviche that had been caught that morning off the coast of San Diego.  We enjoyed freshly caught and prepared lobster and other fresh sustainable foods that had been grown on the property of the resort along with wine pairings from a local vineyard.  It was fantastic.  We made some new friends and enjoyed drinks and live music in the hotel lobby bar after dinner.  And then I had to haul ass back to our room and spent the rest of the night praying to the porcelain god.   It wasn’t food poisoning because nobody else got sick.  It wasn’t alcohol because, sadly, I wasn’t drunk yet.  Whatever caused it ruined my night and I’m still a little pissed about it because when I get to eat food that amazing and that expensive, you bet your ass I want to hang on to it.  I need a do-over.

Now that life has returned to a normal speed for me, I’m trying to play catch up.  I’m reconsidering my rule about not posting my personal opinions about politics and/or religion on social media.  The world is going crazy and I might need to talk about it.  We’ll see.  In the meantime, I look forward to stalking all the blogs I’ve neglected over the past month.  I’ve missed you guys!  🙂

See!  She was meant to be my dog!

See! She was meant to be my dog!

Baseball and Itchy Butts

23777071_sMy five-year old son, Bryce, just finished his first regular season of Little League Baseball.  It was a fun season and all the boys seemed to learn a lot and have a good time.  They slowly progressed from chaotic dog piling on every ball to learning to work as a team, and for the most part, learn the boundaries of each position to support each other on the field.

During our last game of the season Bryce was placed in the position of pitcher.  He didn’t really have to pitch to the kid at bat, but he maintained that position for his team.  There was a coach positioned several feet in front of him and the coach pitched to the kids since the five-year old division is a combination of live pitch and t-ball.

So imagine this adorable five-year old kid in ‘baseball ready’ position, on the pitcher’s mound, in plain sight of everyone.  (I was watching the game from the dugout, helping another mom to manage the boys and organize them during each inning transition.)  I’m watching Bryce, shouting encouragement to him and the rest of the team, and then I see him use his ungloved hand to go in for a deep and prolonged wedgie grab.  His hand was on the outside of his pants but he was working the angles, maneuvering  his hips to get a good handful of whatever he was looking for.

The other mom starts cracking up, and I shout to Bryce and give him the what-the-heck-are-you-doing-face.   He looks up at me, smiles and gives me a thumbs up.  And then he goes right back into the ass-grabby position, but this time he takes his glove off and is digging at his butt from both the front and the back.  He’s bent forward, looking between his legs as he attacks himself, and he’s digging for gold like a marathon miner.  He’s in the middle of the field just going to town, completely oblivious to the game continuing around him.  Balls are flying past him and he’s more concerned about whatever is going on in his pants than the rest of the inning.  He ignores my shouts to pay attention to the game.

At the end of the inning the kids all run back to the dugout and I start checking his pants, thinking (hoping) that surely all that ass-grabbing had to do with his sliding shorts either riding up or being bunched wrong under his pants.  So I ask, “Why were you digging at your bottom out there?  Are your sliding shorts riding up?”  And in front of everyone he says, “Nope, I was itching my butt.  I think I sharted and I need to wipe it.”

IMG_1115My kid used the word sharted in front of his team and other parents.  The other mom next to me is thoroughly losing her shit with laughter.  As my face turned red with shame, I looked at her and said, “Please inform the Delegation of Perfect Parents that I will have to forfeit my membership and my Parent of the Year award…again.”

Happy Mother’s Day…mostly.

WORLD-S-OKAYEST-MOM-Women-s-T-ShirtsHappy Mother’s Day world!

Today my family gave me the most wonderful, relaxing morning.  They spoiled me with lovely cards, perfect gifts and my husband made breakfast with mimosa’s AND cleaned it all up.  I took a leisurely shower and took my time getting ready for my special day.

And then one of the cat’s threw up in my freshly washed hair.  I guess she decided I needed to be reminded that I am not a Queen, and just a mother, after all.  😉

Locker Room Ladies

So I went to the gym today, and while I was unloading my stuff into a locker I got sucked into the most bizarre conversation with two elderly women.  I’m guessing they were in their 70’s?????

naked towel ladyI’ve talked before about the hilarity of the old ladies in the gym locker room.  They just stand around naked and exchange recipes, acting like group nudity in the locker room is the new sewing circle.  And don’t even get me started on their bizarre habits with the hair dryers.  The management at the gym has now put up signs asking that the hair dryers only be used for the hair on your head.  I’ll just let that sink in for a second….

Anyway, this older woman was having a conversation with another woman about thong underwear.  She was explaining to her friend how she prefers to wear thongs.  The other woman was looking at her like she was crazy and basically said, “At our age, why in the hell would want to wear a thong?  Aren’t they uncomfortable?”  And the other woman is going on and on about how you just get used to the discomfort of it.  Then she takes her thong underwear out of her gym bag and starts waving it around and saying, “Look how small they are!”  And they were small.  They had a small triangle of fabric and basically three strings attached to it.  So her friend says, “Why do you even bother to wear underwear then?”  And the other woman looks at me and says, “Well, I bet you wear thong underwear?”

big eyesWTH?  How did I get sucked into this discussion?

So I replied, “Actually, I don’t.  I’ve never been comfortable with the general construction of thong underwear, and I don’t care for how they feel.  I prefer regular underwear.”  And the one woman chimes in, “Me too!  I’ll take panty lines any day rather than have a string up my ass!”

(I’m laughing at the absurdity of having this conversation with two seventy + year old ladies.)

At this point, another woman is listening to the conversation as well.  The woman who wears the thong continues to chat about her preference of intimate apparel while trying to wrench her sports bra over her head.  And then she got stuck.  She’s flailing around, her boobies are bouncing back and forth and she’s basically trapped in her sports bra with her arms stuck over her head.  So the other lady asks her if she needs help, and the two of them have to wrestle this woman out of her bra.

laughing emojiI swear to God, I can’t make this shit up.

As I’m leaving the locker room, I said to the fourth woman who is laughing quietly in front of her locker, “You know it’s a bad day when you get trapped in your underwear at the gym and you need to call for an assist.”