Hi there. Happy New Year. 🙂 

2019. Wow. Jesus, that’s weird.

I have sucked at writing this blog and I have sucked at reading other people’s blogs. You know how every year at the beginning of a new year, everyone makes resolutions to do better? Well, I’d really like to write more on here and get acquainted with other bloggers. I find, along with everyone else I guess, that I waste too much time on Facebook. And for what, really. Yeah, it’s fun sometimes, but often I wonder what it would be like not to be connected to everyone all of the damn time. On a minute to minute basis, know what I mean?


I find myself thinking I should spend more time writing here, in my own little corner of the internets, instead of spending time on Facebook talking about the same old crap.

So today I thought I’d come here to tell you about something weird yet wonderful that I experienced this morning.

A few months ago, I found a You Tube channel I really like. It’s called https://yogawithadriene.com/

Adriene is a lovely yoga teacher–funny, real, and not a drill sergeant. She encourages movement in ways that feel good. Now there is a concept I can really get on board with.

Whenever I take my time to roll out my yoga mat to practice with her, I truly understand what she talks about. I totally get what we do. This is a fabulous thing on a few levels. One–I’ve always appreciated yoga, ever since I was a little girl in the 70’s and “Lilias, Yoga & You” would come on PBS after I watched “The Electric Company”. I would do the movements with Lilias, not really knowing what I was doing, but still enjoying it and knowing I was doing something good for myself. Also, I spent years practicing hardcore as a young mom, going to studios and being at the top of my athletic and fitness game. It was all about being “the best”, and doing everything “just so”. 

Then, in 2008, I had my ass handed to me. I ended up throwing in the towel with all self-care after the deaths of my parents.

I won’t go too into all that, but I will say I gave up being active for a long time. Kinda like for the entire duration of my 40’s.

So after last year, when I totally broke down and suffered in a whole lotta pain and I eventually went thru hell to heal, I gained a shit-ton of confidence in myself in the process. Nowadays I’m older, a little more laid back, and I’m no longer the wonder worker-outer I used to be.

And that is OKAY.

I still get around more often than not. I literally cannot tolerate being lazy.

So I discovered Adriene,  and I joined her new 30 Day Yoga challenge called “Dedicate”. It’s cool. You decide to go for it, you roll out your mat, you crank the videos and you go at your pace with this girl who is cool, nice, funny, and wants to help you learn more about yourself through the practice of yoga.

I was going to start yesterday when the program started, but I ended up spending my husband’s last holiday day off having fun with him, so I started Dedicate today.

In my room, which used to be my son’s bedroom, I climbed on my mat. And with Adriene’s guidance, I went at my own pace, listening to her lead, breathing deep, taking time for myself. I couldn’t ignore the fact that sitting on the mat hurt my lower back a little, but I just acknowledged how I felt, realized I feel sad because I am not as young as I used to be. I never had pain when I was young. I’m also no longer as athletic or flexible. But I kept going anyway. I was proud of myself, being able to keep up. A couple of times I took little breaks–preferring to lie on the ground while Adriene was doing some pose. 🙂 But, like I said, I got back up again and kept on going. At one point, I started to cry a little. Not from being in pain, but I experienced an emotional release from realizing that

I’m never going to get any younger. I am who I am. And who I am is a 51 year old woman who has already spent years being young and active and a busy mom who could run circles all over the place every day. And it’s okay that I am no longer her, well…like her, I mean…anymore.

I thought to myself…You know what, though? I’m not dead yet.

I’m just *different*.

Then, as I was bent over letting my tears and everything else go, I started thinking about what a great life I’ve had. I have an awesome husband and kids and house and life. Even though I am no longer some young pain-free chick anymore, I am still vibrant, I have tons of life left in me, and I have lots to offer and look forward to.

Then I thought about when I talk to other people about getting older, often people tell me stuff like–

You’re not old! 50 is the new 40! You’re still young!

Shit like that. 

I know they’re trying to be positive and nice, but that kind of stuff kinda bothers me.

I don’t want to “okay” growing old by making it something it’s not. Growing old is real and, in a lot of ways, it’s actually cool. So don’t candy-coat or cover up my aging process, but respect it. I think a lot of people are not okay with that. I get it. Aging can be scary, it’s true.

Maybe I shouldn’t try to commiserate with others about aging, huh. Probably not. Most people are trying like crazy to avoid it. I just want to make peace with it and maybe even embrace it. 

So I thought, you know–yoga might be a good practice to take up yet again to help me do just that.

I found that I had a good time on my yoga mat this morning, so much so that I shall return to that mat again tomorrow.

Even though I cried today, it was a good cry. I felt totally thankful and alive.

It’s such good stuff. And I deserve good stuff.

We all do.

If you’ve never checked Adriene out and you like yoga, get your butt to her channel soon.

I promise—you will not be sorry.

I’ll finish this post by saying thank you so much for reading, and–

<hands to heart>

Namaste.

 

 

I’m getting a slow start to my day today. I love Thursdays because they’re my laziest day of the week. We had our first wintry mix precipitation fall early this morning and we lost power for a bit. I’ve been puttering around, reading my book by flashlight. I also put together a grocery list since today is grocery day. Got a hold of my son and found out he is joining us for dinner the night before Thanksgiving, so that’s a nice little surprise.

Power came back on after a few calm and quiet hours.

You know, normal every-day life stuff. Nothing crazy.

But you know what I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this week?

How sick I was this time last year.

Truth is I was a mess. This was before I knew…or before I could 100% verify…what was causing my pain that I was living with every single day.

As I walked our dog yesterday, I recalled the awful nagging pain in my pelvis. It was always there, sometimes horrible, sometimes not, sometimes it would go away for a short time. I’d wake up most days feeling okay, but scared, because I knew the pain would eventually come and it always did. If anything remotely stressful happened, my pain flared. It was, at times, excruciating.

I got through last Thanksgiving (and most of late last year) thanks to anxiety and pain medications. I was walking through a labyrinth of hell, wondering why this had happened to me, and trying to find quality caring doctors who believed what I was telling them or had any sympathy for me at all.

I felt lost and like hardly anyone cared about me.

And I hurt basically all of the time.

It was the most frightening time of my life.

I didn’t know if I’d ever feel right again and I wondered if I would make it through okay.

That’s a scary-ass thing to have to ponder, in case you didn’t know.

I was able to put on a brave face and get through the holidays with my family, even though they all knew I was ill and I wasn’t able to do everything I wanted. They were very sweet and understanding. But it all made me incredibly sad.

I remember.

I don’t think I will ever forget.

My illness has been one of my life’s biggest and most important teachers.

I’d like to say I am thankful for my pain, but truly, I wish I would have never had to go through all of that just to learn the lessons I did. Perhaps a more pain-free way to learn would have been nice. But, really, I guess a real kick in the ass is one way to get to figuring shit out, you know?

Speaking of my ass, I’m so thankful I can sit here on it, pain-free, and write this blog post.

I’m thankful I can get up, go out the door and walk my dog all over the place and not feel the nagging burning pressure pain with every step.

I’m thankful I can grocery shop and manage to stand in line waiting for my turn to check out without feeling like my bottom is going to fall out onto the floor, basically wanting to choke the other shoppers and cashiers for living normal lives while I’m dying just trying to buy freaking food.

I’m thankful I can stay up past 6:00 pm with my husband and watch tv and eat dinner with him instead of being in bed for an hour already, sad, unable to get up and enjoy his excellent company.

I’m glad I’m able to be among the general population and even if someone pisses me off, my pelvis won’t spasm and bring me to my knees.

I’m thankful I no longer have to take pain medication just so I can feel normal for a little while.

I’m thankful that I no longer need anxiety medication and that I naturally don’t shake from fear all day long anymore.

I’m thankful for those who remained my people when I was not my normal happy-go-lucky self. I know I was hard to listen to then, but they stuck around.

I’m thankful for my kids–human and fur–who waited and were sweet to me while I fought to come back.

I’m thankful for my friend who took care of me mentally and spiritually and physically. Great massage therapist, great listener, great sharer of guacamole.

I’m thankful for my husband who saw the very worst of me last year but never left me alone and helped me every single second of every single day til I was back. And still. And apparently, after all of that, he always will.

And lastly, I’m thankful for my persistence and my bravery and my intuition and

my self-orchestrated recovery.

Next Thursday, I’ll sit for a spell on a restaurant chair and eat Thanksgiving dinner with people I love and there will be no pain.

Just happiness. And lots of food.

Last year, fear had a hold on me. This year, I know how to wrestle the fear and keep it pinned to the ground.

Thankful.

 

 

All right. So good morning, everyone. Happy Monday and all that happy horse shit.
I want to ask you all–Is anyone else mildly baffled by the fact that freaking Thanksgiving is next week? Honestly, weren’t we all just lounging out in the summer sun, enjoying long days and cold frosty brews and balmy starlit nights?

That time passage crap gets really apparent and sort of annoying the older I get.

In honor of the upcoming celebration of stealing this land from the indigenous people, I’d like to share my favorite Thanksgiving story with you.

First, let me share a picture I took not 10 minutes ago. I have a cat I adore very much. She’s the pretty girl pictured grooming in the sun here on my blog.

Look at this.

Sitting on my laptop.

Mid-giant yawn!

What a little booger. I love her so.

titteryawn

Lucky for us, she has moved on to some nook somewhere else to nap for the next 8 hours.

Okay, back to my Thanksgiving story.

Back in 1972, I was a little tomboy hellion with a face full of freckles and an unfortunate pixie haircut given to me by a neighborhood friend. I was super rough-and-tumble, living the life, never having too many things go wrong in my tiny suburban experience. That is until September rolled around and my world was turned upside down when I had to stop my free-wheeling lifestyle and go off to freaking kindergarten. I was not pleased by this mandatory infringement on my personal liberties. My little sister got to stay home with our mom. I was jealous and pissed and, believe me, I let my family and my new teacher know it. Sure, it was only for a couple of hours every weekday morning, but I still hated it.

So, there I was, a little girl putting in my time in the big gymnasium, sitting at the “diamond table”.

I got spanked in kindergarten a couple of times by both my teacher and the school principal. So you see–I was what they might have considered a “pain in the ass”.

Thanksgiving time rolled around. By then, I was kinda-sorta trying to conform. We were going to have a big “feast” with the other morning kindergarten class on the other side of the gymnasium. We all had to pick if we wanted to be a pilgrim or an Indian.

Fun fact about me—ever since birth, I’ve been a HUGE American Indian fan. I LOVED them. I wanted so badly to be one, but I’m not. Still, I loved (love) their cultures. I took books about them out of the local library as often as I could. I used to set up all of my Indian “artifacts” in my bedroom and invite my mom to come in and look around like it was a museum. I remember riding in the front of a shopping cart once begging my mom for some red plaid trousers for sale because I had seen a photo of Geronimo wearing some just like them. (Mom bought them. They were cool as fuck.)

You get the picture.

So imagine my surprise when I opted to be a pilgrim woman for our kindergarten feast. I clearly recall trying to think outside the box and opening myself up to new ideas and opportunities. My skinny blonde Mary Tyler Moore flipped-hairdo black horn-rimmed glasses teacher gave me a black construction paper hat with a shiny white paper trim. I was like–this hat is bleak and weird, dammit, I wish I would have gone for the feather in the headband like my heart really desired, but there I was–ready to belly up to the table adorned with food. All I remember from the menu lineup that day was popcorn and whole red apples.

I got a paper plate and lined up.

I don’t know if I was irritated by being a pilgrim woman, or if I was just trying to be cool or what, but I remember a room mother piling popcorn on my plate which I decided to hold

with one hand.

I got up to my teacher, who I think kinda hated me at this point, and she was going to place a big red apple on my plate.

She said to me–hold your plate with both hands.

I refused.

She made her request again.

And I refused once more. I could handle it all with only one hand. I mean, I had just crossed the damn ocean on the freaking Mayflower! I knew what I was doing.

I remember my teacher being flustered with me, but she went ahead and placed the apple on my plate

and the weight of the fruit toppled the paper to one side and all the contents of my holiday feast poured off onto the floor.

I was left with an empty plate and it was my own damn fault.

I wasn’t distraught. I knew I had to live with the consequences of my own actions. Damn it, I hadn’t given in. That was what was important.

I bet that teacher was laughing at me on the inside when that happened. Whatever. She was mean. I know I made her life hard that year.

And that’s my favorite Thanksgiving story.

Here in about a month I’ll come back and tell you the story of when I made that same teacher mad while creating my walnut on a piece of red yarn Christmas ornament because I would not rest until she got the blue paint out of the art closet because I was NOT going to paint my ornament red or green like everyone else.

No sirree.

All right. I’m outa here for now. I’ve got stuff to do. I’m making dinner for friends tomorrow night, so I have to hit the grocery store.

Maybe I’ll buy some popcorn, apples and paper plates.

Thanks for reading 🙂

Hi there!

I was just sitting here wondering if you like delicious pumpkin chocolate chip muffins?

If you answered YES I DO, then have I got a treat for you.

The following recipe has been in my arsenal of deliciousness for a super-long time. Everyone who has tasted these pumpkin chocolate chip muffins loves them. That is not an exaggeration.

!00% of the time, 100% of the people who have sampled them say they’re the best.

I baked a batch today.

I thought–hey. I should post this recipe on my wildly popular blog so all can enjoy these small but hefty bringers of gourdular chocolatey goodness.

So, may I present to you:

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins!

Ingredients:

4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 15 oz. can pumpkin
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
3 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

How to put ’em together:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Beat eggs, mix in sugar, pumpkin and vegetable oil.
Stir in flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.

Mix it all up real good.

Fold in chocolate chips.

Mix up real good some more.

Draw a star in the batter and psychically seal your message of love through the comfort of food that you’ve created.

Pour into paper-lined muffin tins and bake for 19 minutes exactly.

They’re done when a sacrificial toothpick inserted comes out clean and really happy.

Last steps:

Serve these delights to you and yours.

Watch the pure sugary bliss unfold.

And there you have it–the best pumpkin chocolate chip muffin recipe IN THE UNIVERSE.

(cue homey-looking muffin batter pretty bowl and antique spoon photograph)

pumpkin muffins

A couple of weeks ago while my now-25 year old daughter was visiting New York City,  I was up late one night scrolling through Facebook when I saw a post for an upcoming event that immediately made me contact my out-having-fun-in-the-Big-Apple child.

The event was none other than the 10th Anniversary screening of the movie Twilight in theaters nationwide.

10 years?

What the?

I forwarded the event page to Maria and not one second later she texted back:

OMG. THIS IS IMPORTANT.

That made me chuckle, and while feeling a wave of nostalgia, I pressed the purchase tickets button.

She and I are going tonight.

I’m writing this post while listening to music from all of the Twilight movies and as I do so, not only am I really looking forward to this date with my kid tonight, I’m feeling little melancholy about the whole thing.

10 years ago I was only 41 years old. My husband was 45. Our kids were 15 and 16. Our old cat Cosmo and our old dog Maggie were still alive.

So was my mother. But not for long.

2008 was a horrible year. We found out my mom had colon cancer that January. My dad died in March. My mom had about 300 surgeries and spent most of the year in a bunch of hospitals. My sisters and I were run ragged taking care of our parents. I was an emotional mess. My regular life was on the back burner and even though I have no regrets in taking care of my parents, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss my husband and kids and normal every day life a lot that year.

I was so busy, I really had no time to even think about anything but cancer and death.

It was rough. At the time, it was the hardest year I had ever experienced.

So one night, when my daughter brought me her copy of the book Twilight and told me I HAD to read it, I told her I had no time for that.

Really?, I thought. A book about vampires? Not exactly my cup of tea, ya know? I thought I would hate it.

I resisted. But she persisted. And one thing I have never been good at is telling my kids no.

So I took the book and agreed to read it so she and I could talk about it.

Guess what.

I read it during my precious downtime–before bed, before getting up for the day and at my mom’s bedside while she slept.

And I BURNED THROUGH THAT BOOK LIKE A FIRE BUILT TO BURN THE REMAINS OF DESTROYED DECAPITATED VAMPIRES.

To say I loved it is an understatement. I finished it in no time flat and went on to read the rest of the series as fast as I could.

It was funny. I would finish a book, go knock on Maria’s bedroom door, she would open it and collect the book I finished and hand me the next one.

My own mother, who was a life-long avid reader took an interest in the books I had at the hospital. I remember keeping her updated on the story I was into. I remember mom being pissed when Edward didn’t want Bella to be pregnant with their baby. Twilight was the last story my mom knew about before she moved on from this world

I just paused writing this and took a look around my room (which used to be my son’s) and looked at the pic on my desk of my kids when they were little when we were at Disney. Then I looked down at my phone cover photo which is a shot of my daughter just a few months ago hugging her dad…

And I’m like–

everything is different now.

My parents have been gone 10 years now. My kids are grown adults with jobs and their own places. My son is getting married next year. All of the kids who grew up with my kids are grown and have taken off. One of them has even passed away. Cosmo the cat and Maggie the dog have gone and now we have Dali and Penny–two of the most spoiled pets you’ve ever seen because hey– my husband and I have to parent somebody.

Speaking of that husband, he’s 55 and I am 51.

And I feel 51. It feels different than 41, that’s for sure.

Anyway, I owe my daughter for turning me on to Twilight all those years ago when I desperately needed an escape.

My Mom ended up passing away right before the premier of the first movie. The time immersed in the book and the movie with my own daughter gave me the only bright spot I experienced that year. Maria and I went to the midnight premier and had an absolute blast. We were so geeked up during our first viewing (we eventually went 10 times total-tonight will make 11), we totally neglected the pretzel bites and nacho cheese we purchased. By the end of the movie, the bites had congealed into a giant pretzel ball that we deposited in the trash.

Maria and I ended up going to every Twilight saga midnight premier together. We always had fun.

When the last installment, Breaking Dawn II, came out, we were there for the end too. And what an ending it was! The whole audience erupted that night, my daughter and me included. That is my #1 all time favorite movie-going experience ever. And I’ll always have that awesome memory of us losing our shit together with everyone else during the epic fight scene.

When the very end of the movie played out on the big screen that night, I cried.

Partly because of the story, but also because it was the end.

The end of something I really loved and got to share with my little girl.

I still get emotional when I see the end of that movie. It always take me back to those days.

Tonight, Maria and I will head to the theater together and go back in time for just a little while. Just me and her and Bella and Edward and Jacob and the gang back in Forks, under a near-constant cover of clouds…

And I’m living for it. Because I love Twilight.

I love the memories.

And I love my daughter.

mensis

Here’s the ending from Breaking Dawn II that always makes me a little emotional.

Enjoy, ❤

Hi.

Not sure if anyone out there will read this, but here’s hoping someone might find it helpful or interesting.  I’ve been wanting to write it for a long time now. I suck at writing anymore. I never make time for it, even though it’s all I really want to do.

Anyway, it feels good to be sitting here with my cup of coffee in my newly redecorated room, typing away.

I wanted to pop in to say hello again and to let you know after 10 months of suffering from scary pelvic pain, I am better.

I think…no, I KNOW…people who have no experience with pelvic pain hear that and think–huh. That sucks. But how bad can that be?

Before I had it, I had never really heard of pelvic floor dysfunction. I had no idea how or why someone would get chronic pelvic pain. And given the fact that I’ve always been a physically healthy person, I figured I was immune from ever getting something like that.

I was wrong.

Turns out I developed chronic pelvic pain created by stress and anxiety. I had what they call a hypertonic pelvic floor, meaning my muscles that compose my pelvic floor were constantly clenched until they went ballistic and started spasming. Which, if you can’t imagine what that feels like–ever have a Charley horse in your leg? Or a muscle spasm in your back? You know how that kind of pain knocks the wind out of you and brings you to your knees? It’s the same thing, but in the muscles that surround your nether-regions.

Yes, it’s as fucking horrible as it sounds.

Just thinking about it freaks me out. My pain was so bad for so long, just remembering it now scares the heck out of me.

I went from being someone who woke up every day and did a million + things to someone who woke up and instantly thought–I don’t want this day to begin. And I’d stay in bed, sometimes all day. Because I was afraid to move. I was scared to death of the pain. I was scared of the idea of always being that way–sick and unable to do anything the way I used to and afraid I would never feel better or happy again.

I thought life as I had always known it was over.

I had a very hard time talking to anyone who wasn’t my husband or my friend who understood and had true sympathy for me. Everyone else didn’t understand, didn’t care to understand, and my tolerance for people wanting things from me–even if it was just a conversation with the “old Susan”–was non-existent. I mean, if they couldn’t help me, or even just shut up and listen, I couldn’t have anything to do with them. I was envious of people who felt fine and were able to take their lives for granted. I resented people who only wanted me in their lives when I could be the funny girl they were all used to. I know I freaked a lot of people out when I got sick.

Oh well.

I was no longer the girl I used to be. And I thought above all else I really wanted to get back to being that girl. Little did I know, my brain and my body set me on a course to intense discoveries and changes I didn’t even know (or more like didn’t want to know) I needed.

Anyway, I have to stop tip-typing away here and start getting ready to go to my in-laws to visit for my father-in-law’s birthday.

I’ll come back soon to tell you more about this experience I’ve been through. I know there are people out there who suffer with pain every day like I used to. I’d like to put my story out there so people know they can get better. I know when I was sick, I spent all day and night online, trying to find some sort of hope and camaraderie for what I was going through.

I’ll also talk about fun stuff here because I love fun stuff and today I can enjoy fun stuff once again.

Speaking of fun stuff, I’m off to do all kinds of it today.  So I’ll talk to you again soon.

Before I go, please enjoy a picture of my dog. This is what it’s like for me every time I try to do…well, anything.

She’s cute though, huh.

penny in my face

I was just sifting through my phone’s pictures and came across one I’d like to share here today.

The red-head blowing a kiss in this picture is my daughter. She’s almost 25 years old. She is my baby. Therefore I believe I will always say whenever she turns another year on her calendar–where has the time gone?

Anyway, I’m proud of my kids. Actually, they’re what I am most proud of in the world.

I love this picture.

Maria has been dancing since she was 2 years old. These days, she dances in drag shows, and my husband and I go to every single one.

At the last one, at the end of the show, Maria came out for the encore wearing this shirt.

It made me cry tiny tears of happiness.

A. that she thinks of me as a strong female and

B. I know she is one.

LOVE.

sis strong female