Sunday, October 30, 2011

Worst fears

If you imagine your worst dark fears, they won't happen. Right?

I found a Facebook message I sent my niece, Anna, a few weeks before the wedding. She had asked how the mother of the bride was doing. This is what I said:

Mom of the bride is good. Haven't been too stressed, but that's only because I've been in denial. Now my stomach gets occasional twinges and I feel like I need to go pee. Nerves.

It has started to hit. We are throwing a party for 250 and feeding them dinner. And two very different extended families will be partying together. It might all cumbust. Figuratively and/or literally.

Grandpa is sitting in his lazy boy and worrying about the candles burning the place down. And then I get worried about that. And, I wonder if they have a sprinkler system. And the horror of the sprinkler system being set off from the smoke of 200 burning candles.

Or, some little kid tipping over one of the candle jars and the tablecloth going up in flames and the fire jumping from one table to the next.

Or, Amber getting a migraine and passing out at the altar.

There. I think that covers my worst fears. I think if you verbalize your worst dark fears, they won't happen. Right?


You'd think after being around this long I wouldn't still be imagining the worst possible scenario. But I do. I think the worst and hope for the better. It seems to work for me except that I'm neurotic most of the time.

I think I come by worry naturally. My dad was a worrier. When we were growing up, he was a ball of nerves. He worried about the farm, the cows getting out, possible hail damage. He worried about the country going in the wrong direction, his kids going astray...well, he worried about everything.

He still worries, but it's more out of habit. It's mostly about things like if he's taken his pills on time. Or, if the candles will burn the church down. On the biggies, he seems to have a peace. He's no longer taking on the worries of the world. 

My dad's time on this earth is coming to an end. He's 83. He has a long list of health problems. But he has a grateful, sweet spirit with his personality intact--minus the anxiety. Recently, when I was visiting my parents, I asked him if he was worried about where he'd be going after he died. He said with absolute confidence, "Not a bit." I asked him if he wondered what it would be like in heaven. And, he said, "Oh, sometimes I wonder a little." He gave a small shrug and then smiled. "But I'm looking forward to it."

Really, there's only one thing that is worthy of our worry and that's spending an eternity being separated from God. My dad knows where he's going. He's put his trust in Christ for his salvation.

My dad has no worries.


If you like my Mama Drama blog, check out my first blog: Losing It: A mom's story of weight loss and transformation:
http://jacci-clark.blogspot.com/2011/04/diving-for-pie.html













Sunday, October 23, 2011

Here until I have a dried apple face

I just turned 49. Next year is supposed to be the milestone. I think my milestone began two years ago. My great Aunt Bernice was turning 99. It occurred to me that Bernice had been old for as long as I could remember. I hadn't even reached half of Bernice's age. All my great aunts lived to be at least in their 90s and many in their 100s. If I inherited the longevity gene, and barring sickness or an unfortunate event like being run over by the shuttle bus (which isn't all that unlikely since the driver's just about taken me out several times), I'll be doing my life as a do-over--but as an old person. Yeesh.

This was the trigger of my midlife angst. I know, I know, it's a privilege to live so long, especially when many pass before their lives get started. I feel guilty for even ruing getting old. I can hear the protests now: But you're not old. You are only as old as you feel. True that. I don't feel old.  But I can't seem to help it. I am growing older. If God allows me to stay here for another 50, I gotta accept that one day my face will look like a canned, spiced shriveled apple. My mom used to make those when I was a kid. When you're little, you see things with a certain clarity. I thought an old lady's face looked like one of those shriveled apples.

I have been blessed with much: good health, a wonderful family, and parents who are still living. Our son is becoming a confident young adult thinking about colleges. Our daughters are marrying guys of whom we approve and adore. I'm a lucky gal. So what's my problem?

I am a 'tween. Midlife is just like the stage of being a two-year old or a gangly teenager. It's awkward. I have an emptying house and no grandchildren yet. What to do, what to do?  I've become very shallow.  I'm working out to stave off the eventual menopausal stomach pot. Using a lot of concealer to cover up the darkening circles under my eyes. Noticing a new crop of age spots from years of baking in the sun. And considering face tape to pull up the growing turkey waddle under my chin.

But besides all that, I'm also thinking more about eternity. Looking at the stars at night and being in awe at how vast God is.  Praying that I will be useful in God's kingdom no matter what age I am.

The older women who loved and prayed for me when I was growing up were characterized by selflessness and an inner grace and beauty. Like my friend, Marcie, or my Aunt Betty. They laughed at their wrinkles, gave generous hugs, invited you to stay awhile. I hope to be like that. Less self-focused. Living more for eternity. Even when I have a dried up apple face.

Giving a generous hug to my niece, Anna

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

These are not your mother's granny panties

This one is a girl post. Boys, stay out...

Call 'em underwear, unders, grunders, chonies, boxers, drawers, boy shorts or girl shorts--just don't call them panties. My mom called them panties and to this day the word grosses me out. My sister feels the same way about the pantie word. So it's not just me.

It was how our mom said panties. Before we left for church, she'd whisper, "Jacci, do you have clean panties on?" Eew. Or worse, she'd call clean ones, fresh panties. Double eew...

Panties had the association with another word: nasty. Once when I was little I thought I'd be clever. When Mom asked if I had clean ones I giggled and said I wasn't wearing any. She scolded me, "Jacci, that's nasty!" So the next time we were at church, I hiked up my dress to show everyone I was wearing big girl panties. I found out that was nasty too. Whatever nasty meant.

I don't know. I guess moms just have a hangup about underwear. For a time I was on a crusade against thongs. I'd start in every time I saw one on the laundry room floor or when our dog, Ozzie, had one in his mouth running around the living room. Good grief, why would anyone wear something like that? That has to be so uncomfortable. Why would anybody intentionally put something up there? I even used the word nasty I think.

Finally, one of my daughters put an end to my thong tirade. "Mom, they're underwear. No one sees them. You wear them so you don't have lines. Thongs aren't going away. Get over it."

She had a point. I tried to be more open minded. When I went down several pant sizes and got to wear something other than mom jeans, I figured it was time to give it a twirl. I bought one. 

Only thing, when I pulled the thing on, it went right up the hoo ha. Ouch. I hopped around for awhile before I yanked it off. I told my girls how sick it was. They asked me which side the pink ribbon was on. Then they laughed 'till they cried. They informed me I had put it on backwards.

After I got it right, it wasn't too bad. A little creepy, if you know what I mean. But you get used to it. I still prefer hipsters, but I do the thong thing when the jeans necessitate it.  At least they're not called panties.

*If you like my Mama Drama blog, you might like my first blog: Losing It: A Mom's Story of Weight Loss and Transformation
http://jacci-clark.blogspot.com/2011/04/diving-for-pie.html

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Jacked up on coffee


I've had a love affair with coffee ever since college. When I was a sleep-deprived nursing mother, I survived on coffee, lots and lots of coffee. I got my kids addicted early.

It's my only bad vice. Except I don't think it's so bad. The pros outweigh any cons I think.

PROS:
  1. It's something to get you out of bed in the morning. Sometimes it's the only thing.
  2. It gives you a caffeine jolt, which is kind of fun. After a strong cup of joe, I feel manic, excited, and awake. For like 15 minutes. Then I crash and am groggy and sloth-like until my next fix. I guess that should be on the con list.
  3. You get to go out for coffee with friends. Sorry, but going out for tea, or going out for water, just doesn't have the same sound or draw. Maybe going out for drinks does, but I usually don't drink nor do my friends, so we'd be going out for water at a bar.
  4. The whip cream. I drink my coffee black unless I'm going to Starbucks. And then I savor the taste of good, tongue-burning espresso mixed with a dollop of whip. Lately I've been asking for a double shot of whip cream. I'd really like to order all whip with one shot of espresso. But I know that's worse than ordering skim milk in a latte with whip cream (which is what I do when I order a latte).
  5. I like it.
CONS:

  1. Stained teeth. Solution: buy Crest whitener strips.
  2. Spills. I've tipped over cups on car upholstery, my clothes, tablecloths, homework, the church carpet, and all over library books. For the latter I press the pages out the best that I can. The pages will be pasted together and a little crunchy, but usually the print is still legible. I say nothing to the librarian. I haven't been fined yet. I think the librarian drinks coffee herself so she understands.
  3. Bad breath. I fix this with gum. I don't really like chewing gum because I start chomping it like a cow chewing its cud. So I pop in a piece, chew it for a minute, and then spit it out.
  4. Expense. It's not bad if you buy coffee in a can. There used to be five pounds in the can. But then coffee producers started putting less and less in each can figuring consumers wouldn't notice. Now the weight is measured in grams. And since Americans have never actually mastered the metric system, who knows how much is actually in the can. So, we're not really getting much coffee for the ten bucks we pay for the can. But it's still cheaper than Starbucks. If you do Starbucks (Four Bucks, now maybe Five Bucks) every day, your coffee is as expensive as a pack-a-day cigarette habit. And, if you add the $1.27 for the pack of gum needed to cover up the bad coffee breath, it's actually more than a cigarette habit.
  5. Shakiness. Now this is bad on my job which involves doing an invasive procedure with a needle. When my hand is shaking while I'm holding a sharp instrument, it makes people nervous.
So, there's my list. It's a tie. If you want to argue about it being bad, we can talk about it over coffee.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Examining my belly button

Going through midlife crisis is a lot like examining your own belly button. You look at your life long and hard and take inventory. Too much introspection, if you know what I mean. Much less, all you're likely to find is lint.

I always heard about people going nuts when they got in their mid-40s, 50s. I was sure I'd be above such silliness. Besides I thought midlife crisis applied mostly to men. You know, they buy a Porsche, unbutton their shirts to show off their nasty chest hair, put bling around their neck, and do other foolish things.

And, here I am doing almost the same thing. Shoot. Maybe I've been as bad. I hope not. But then there was that lapse of judgment when I squeezed into a bikini, squeezed being the operative word. I think that a midlife mom wearing a bikini is the equivalent of a midlife man wearing a speedo. It's just plain wrong, unnatural even.  See my previous blog, Losing It: Bikini Summer and the Last Hurrah: (http://jacci-clark.blogspot.com/2011/05/bikini-summerthe-last-hurrah.html .)

And I've done other crazy things. I don't know what's driving me. It's like one day you look in the mirror and say, "And, so it has come to this."  The kids are leaving, your parents are in assisted living, and you're getting this stretchy thingy under your chin.

But, even worse, you find a long, black hair sprouting out the side of your cheek at a 90-degree angle. And, you're horrified when you wonder how long it's been there. Is it some kind of mutant hybrid caused by a surge or a plummet of hormones (I never know how the hormone thing works at my age). Either way, you're beyond mortified. And, you demand from your best friend why she didn't tell you when she admits seeing it earlier that day. She says she forgot.  How do you forget something like that?! And, you tell her that if she ever, ever sees something hanging off your face again and she doesn't tell you, you'll cross her off your favorite persons' list.

Where was I? Oh, yeah, I need to get over myself. I know it's selfish not to want to get old. I think of all the older people in my life who were there for me. My Grandma O'Hara who had a soft bosom and jiggly arms. And I wouldn't have wanted her any other way. When Grandma enveloped me into those soft arms and ample chest, I felt secure and loved.

I now wonder, did Grandma ever have a midlife crisis? Did she try to get into a bikini? How come I think she didn't?

I've found the best way to get through anything is to laugh until you snort. So, that's what I've been doing. That's why I'm writing this blog. Hopefully, it will give some other midlifers a few chuckles. And, even if it doesn't, I'll have fun laughing at my own expense. And, by my last post I think I may just be done with picking the lint out of my belly button.