I bought a Jawbone – the little one that I can hook on a pocket or (more likely) on my bra – you know… the cheap one.  And why did I buy said device?

I bought the doggone thing because I’m 67 years old (not going to mention my age again – it’s a whole aging vs. getting older thing – which may be my next post), I weigh XXX lbs. (none of your business – until I get to a weight I can say out loud), I’ve had lupus for about 12 years (which has affected my joints/knees and eaten half of my lungs, leaving scar tissue in its wake – the combination making me way too sedentary), and I want to change my life.  Whew!  That was hard!

The way I figure it, no matter how discouraging it may be to actually quantify my current physical…. um… shape?  condition?  status? … I can’t get better until I know where I am.  Well, I guess I can get better, but how the hell will I know?  I’ve resigned myself to the truth that initial changes will be glacial – maybe all changes will be glacial.  Who knows about future changes.  I can barely handle today.


I bought the Jawbone, spent a half hour getting it out of the box and putting the battery in it.  All that time and energy and I couldn’t even get credit for it because I still hadn’t downloaded the app, synced it, and paired it with my phone!

Next, I had to set my freaking goals.  The average person from my state (according to Jawbone) takes 7,103 steps in a day.  I’m thinking I might be closer to…. say… 150 steps.  (I know! I know!  That’s why I bought the Jawbone!)

The lowest goal you can set for steps is 2,000.  2,000!  Really?  Me?  Walking with a cane and arthritis and screwed up lungs?  Not happening, Bucko!  So… I continue to read and I find that the ol’ JB will record a percentage of my goal.  I figure I can stretch to (maybe) 200 steps and register 10%.  (I’m an optimist by nature.)  But… I mean… hell… 20 steps would register as 1% so… I’m good.

“Step” goal set.  On to “sleep”.  I set my sleep goal to 7 hours (minimum recommended by the JB gurus)  I feel healthier already!

By then, the morning was gone, but I had my new Jawbone ready to go!  I hooked it on my bra… and took an hour nap.  (You don’t get “activity” credit for naps.)

I go through my day and at the end of the day the app says … 0% of goal… or to quote the cliche…. zip, zero, nada.  WTF????  0%????

I read everything I could read about what might be wrong, but of course I couldn’t find anything even close to an answer.

Convinced that for some reason, my JB and my bra and the app are not communicating, I gave up and went to bed (my JB hooked securely to my nightgown.)

This morning, the app on my phone and the JB decided to communicate and I found out that I slept 3 hours and 58 minutes – for me… not too shabby.  It took me 36 minutes to fall asleep and I woke up 3 times.  I was encouraged!

It is now 3:00 PM and again, the app says that I’ve walked…. are you ready?  0% – again. 0%.  So I find the little smiley face on the app that registers how you feel… and I make it frowny and I write “discouraged”.

Not sure where to go from here.  I guess I’ll start by moving the JB to another place on my bra to see if the JB will be my friend.  I’m no longer optimistic.

“f you are going through hell, keep going.”
– Winston Churchill

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Me:  Hey Dad!  How are you?  (emphasis on “you“)
Dad:  This hasn’t been a good day (He’s 91.  I’m glad he still has good days.)
Me:  What’s wrong? Dad:  I just feel… edgy.
Me:  What are you feeling edgy about?
Dad:  How should I know? What do people feel edgy about?? (cranky.. cranky)
Me:  I’m not edgy.  You are.  What’s making you edgy?  (This is like pulling teeth with tweezers)
Dad:  I’m just edgy.
Me:  Are you worried about something? Dad:  Of course I’m worried about something. Me:  What are you worried about?  (Progress – but glacial)
Dad:  I worry about everything.  I worry about all of the stuff in this house that I need to get rid of and I can’t.   (I’m 67 with lupus – and I don’t live close to him – I can only make suggestions for him to reject)
Me:  Why don’t you get what’s-his-name (my 57 year-old brother who lives there) to help you?  Maybe you could start with that little bedroom.
Dad:  I can’t get rid of anything in there.  For one thing, my stamp collection is in there. Me:  If you really want to start getting rid of things, you have to start somewhere.  Maybe you could sell it?
Dad:  No one would give me what it’s worth.
Me:  Maybe it’s worth more to you to get rid of it than it is to hang onto it forever.  If you never sell it, does it really have a monetary value?  You said that you were worried about getting rid of all of the “stuff” in the house, but no matter what I mention, there’s a reason to not get rid of it.
Dad:  It’s all good stuff! (Indignant) *sigh*

And… we go around the same circle again and again and again And this… was one of our better conversations. I can hardly wait until tomorrow.

“You can’t calm the storm, so stop trying.  What you can do is calm yourself.  The storm will pass.”  ~Timber Hawkeye~

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Project: Helping Hand

The task today is to write using a writing prompt from The Daily Post.  I chose “Helping Hand:  Tell about the most surprising helping hand you’ve ever received…”

So!  Many, many years ago, when Internet access was not available in schools (Oh yes!  There was such a time) and my children (now 42, 41, and 35) were young, I had a friend named Cinderella, or Cindy for short who had 3 children (Names have not been changed to protect the innocent, but they have been changed to protect me from a lawsuit. Good thinkin’?).

You need to know that Cindy’s husband treated her like a damn princess (hence the name, “Cindy”, get it???).  You also need to know that I love “making things” and that whatever “art” I’m creating at the moment is always reflected in the condition of my house in the form of clutter – and my house at the time of this event was very small – less than 1,000 square feet.  Two adults. Three sons.  One dog.  You got it.

To focus the picture even more clearly… One afternoon, my son, who was in kindergarten, invited a friend home for lunch after school.  When the friend walked through the door, he screamed with alarm… “A robber was here!!!”.  Please!  The child obviously mistook “clutter” for “ransacked”.  Easy mistake to make.   On to Cindy…

The time of year was early fall… shortly after the start of school.

Cindy called, sobbing about being depressed – so depressed that all she could to was sit and cry.

Me:  “Oh Cindy… I’m so sorry!  I’ll be right over.  You obviously need a hug!” (Sarcastic?  Maybe, but hey… I went.)

When I got to Cindy’s house and looked into her kitchen through her open back door, I heard her through the screen door before I saw her – sitting at her kitchen table, head in hands, sobbing… “They ARE a blessing… they ARE a blessing… they ARE a blessing…”  over and over like a mantra.  I am not proud to tell you that I had to cover my mouth to stifle the laughter.  I mean… I felt sympathy…. but for anyone with children… we’ve all been there.  Most of us, though, just take a deep breath and keep going.  (It was almost as if I were jealous because those were feelings I couldn’t afford to indulge.  Nah, that couldn’t be it.)

Hugs… more tears… more hugs… more tears.  I’m outta there!

This scene repeated itself several times – SEVERAL times over the next few weeks!  And then one afternoon…

Phone… Cindy… sobbing… “Oh! I’m so depressed….”  Because Cindy counted on my friendship, she called, hoping again, for a little more sympathy and kindness. Not happening!  I was up to my neck in my own frustrations, and to be honest… sick to death of hers.

Me (sweetly, of course):  “Hey Cindy!  Why don’t you get off your ass and do something for someone else for a change instead of spending your life crying?!?  With an adoring husband – great house – happy, healthy kids – good friends – knock it off!”

I was on a roll… “You have a new friend who just moved here from some other country.  She’s living out of boxes in a tiny apartment.  She has no family and very few friends.  Maybe she’s sitting at her kitchen table crying.  Who knows!  Why don’t you go help her???  The best way to get un-depressed is to get your mind off yourself and do something for someone else.  Go forth and help!  Don’t call me again until you do one thing for someone else!”   …. and I hung up on her.  (sweetly, of course)

And then I wondered… what the hell did I do?  And I call myself “friend”?  Before I had a chance to find the phone to call Cindy (I did mention the clutter, right?) and apologize, there was a knock at my door.  Normally, I would pretend that I wasn’t home, but I was upset and impulsively opened the door to find…



There she stood… smiling from ear to ear… broom, mop, and bucket in hand.


Cindy (sweetly, of course):  “I decided that you’re right – and that the person I most want to help… is you.”

Me:  “I uh… well… me?  No… I think…. sorry… I’m good… why would you… I don’t need… help… I’m good…  yup… help someone else… I’m good…  why me?”

Cindy just laughed and pushed her way through the clutter.  “Where do we start?,” she asked enthusiastically?  I’ve always been someone who finds giving much, much easier than receiving.  This was tough.

“How about the kitchen?.” I suggested, head down, fighting tears, having a hard time answering.  She hugged me as she walked past me to the kitchen.

I quickly recovered (I’m no fool) and we had a great day… cleaning… laughing… blasting music loud enough to hear at the house next door (Never mind how I know that).

When Cindy left, she thanked me!  Imagine!   Her gratitude seemed totally upside down.  I was the one who was grateful!  My house had never looked so good! (And it helped that she expressed her amazement that I was willing to live in such a tiny house.)  I was also pretty embarrassed about the way I had talked to her on the phone.

I made a pact with myself right then to work on those social skills.  I know.  I’m still working on them, but give me a break!  It’s a process!!!!  As long as there’s breath, there’s hope, right??

“I feel a very unusual sensation.  If it is not indigestion, I think it must be gratitude.” ~ Benjamin Disraeli ~

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Lemons to Lemonade (and other skills I haven’t mastered) – For my dream reader

The task for today is to write to your dream reader.  Not easy!  I was going to choose God because He knows exactly who I am and loves me anyway.. BUT… He’s already fully aware (and often discouraged) by what’s in my head so I’ll cut him a break on this one.

SO… who’s the (un)lucky target???  My grandmother drew the short straw!  She was my rock and the reason for the tiny (and I mean… REALLY tiny) sliver of sanity that resides deep… deep… deep in my brain.  She died in 1986 and I miss her every day (and no… I don’t think she died to escape me —- probably).  So… here we go…

Lemons to Lemonade (and other skills I haven’t mastered)

My life sucks – and it’s my fault.  I’m usually not a whiner (primarily, because people start to yawn and wander away when I whine).  I usually “buck up”… “find gratitude”… “look for the damn silver lining”.  Today?  Not so much!  No happy face here.

I think about the life you had – the clueless people who were your supporting cast – the ones who mistook your kindness for weakness.  (Being kind to assholes definitely takes strength. Swearing and flipping them off is my the easy way out.)

When I was a kid oh-those-many-years-ago and I did something that REALLY pissed her off, my mother (your darling, oldest daughter) would scream at me… “You’re exactly like your grandmother!!!”  If she only knew that her scorching accusation was the ONLY thing that could take the bite out of her constant disapproval (now there’s an understatement) and give me hope.  Even as a child, I knew who you were and if I were like you in any way, there had to be hope for me.

You were kind to everyone – never spoke an unkind word – never raised your voice.  I tried that once.  It lasted for about 2 hours (it was a good day) – then I folded.  (If I’d had even an eighth of your strength, I’d have made it to lunch time.)

So here I am… 66 years old… counting on genetics (I know you’re somewhere inside me) and the knowledge that even I can learn from my mistakes (maybe – hopefully) – suck it up and change crappy to snappy.

We lived hundreds of miles apart and so I didn’t get to see you nearly often enough, but the sound of your voice on the phone was enough to carry me through another day.

When life seems impossible, I can still hear you… “Jane… Have you heard that song by Stevie Wonder… “I just called to say I love you”?  That’s our song, you know.”

I knew it then… and I know it now.

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Yo, car! Wazzup!

My car talks to me.  Really.  I’m not talking about the Navigation Bitch in my dashboard who refuses to let me find my own shortcuts (or more cosmically speaking – my own path).

NB:   As soon as possible make a legal U-turn.
Me:   Yeah, right!  Watch me.
NB repeats:  As soon as possible make a legal U-turn.
Me:  Whatever (with a shrug) — (everyone knows that “whatever” really means “F**k you”)

I’m not talking about the Phone Lady, either.  She’s sweet, accommodating, and helpful (if a little wordy).

I’m talking about the polite Message Lady who reads me all of my text messages while I’m driving. She’s a new experience for me and one that taught me how very different my oldest and youngest sons are.

About a week ago, my youngest son (who is 34) was buckling his oldest child into my back seat (talk about trust!).   My son looked at the screen on my dashboard that said… “You have a message from “X”.   There are two buttons below that.  One button says “Play” (which I interpret as “Permission to speak?”) and the other says “Ignore”.  We all know what that means.

My son immediately pushed the “play” button and the Message Lady proceeded to read the message out loud, interpreting the emoticon at the end as “happy smiley face”.  Scott (my youngest son) laughed and immediately took out his phone to send me a text message.   The message consisted of every emoticon on his phone.  He hit “send”… waited… and then gave ML permission to speak.  Poor ML had a very hard time reading those emoticons and made noises I hadn’t heard before from a human (or humanoid) voice.  My son (Scott) thought that was pretty funny.  I just shook my head.  This child is my seed??

Time ticks by.

Two days later, my oldest son (who is 42) texted me to see if I had time for lunch.  I always say “yes”.  If I pick him up in front of his office, it saves him from having to re-park in the parking garage plus we get a few extra minutes to talk on the way to lunch- so… I picked him up in front of his office.  (Okay… so I’m an enabler.  Take me off your Christmas list.)

The text message that he had just sent me was on that little screen on my dashboard.  He hit the “Play” button and good old ML read the message.  (Does anyone notice how sure these kids are that they’re not going to run into a text message that they’re sorry they found??? Like… maybe I have a secret life they don’t know about.)

He (Rich…my oldest son) laughed because my car talked to me and immediately he took out his phone and sent me a text message?  Did he send emoticons?   Nope.  This son decided to text me every swear word he could think of.  He waited a few seconds for ML to receive the message… and then he pushed the “Play” button and laughed hysterically while ML read CLEARLY every one of those swear words.  Again, I wondered… where did this one come from???  (Now I have two sons who make me wonder who their real mother might be!)

I’d like to tell you that I was shocked… cried… all that stuff, but after being married for 30+ years and raising 3 sons, I don’t shock easily.  But I did have one of those moments where I felt that  I was on the outside of my life looking in – like an observer – wondering… what the hell???

… and laughing – so hard!

In the end, I’m grateful that I raised those “kids” (no matter who their real mother is)!

“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.” ~Thornton Wilder~

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Why I’m Here?

I can’t quite decide why I’m here.  I could use some help if you’re up to it.  Otherwise, I might still be contemplating this decision years from now.  (This blog was created so long ago, I can’t even remember when and until today… it has remained empty.) Help!

Here are my options so far…

1.  Balance – I have a (private) family blog where I post photos of the kiddies (my grandchildren) and write syrupy-sweet posts about their obviously superior genetic heritage and their general Amazingness,  (You should know up front that those great genes  are not mine – for sure.  I’m just a carrier of the genes passed down from my grandmother – kind of like a channeling thing.)  This could be my opportunity to say what I REALLY think – about the grandkids – the kids – motherhood/grandmotherhood.

2.  Privacy – I used to keep a hand-written journal – until my husband died and I realized that eventually those journals would not be private.  When I die/croak/kick-it someone will find those journals.  I’m thinking specifically about the journal entry I entered after a less-than-satisfying visit to one of my son’s houses where I wrote:  “I can’t believe that I could have given birth to such an asshole! Obviously, his assholism comes from his father’s influence.”  It went on and one, but I’ll spare you.  ANYWAY… I figure this will pretty much be private.  I mean… it would never occur to them that the old lady could be techno-current.  They would NEVER look online for my me.  Shhhhh!

3.  Lupus – I’ve had lupus (no capital “L” for ol’ lupus) for about 12 years.  Life with lupus is not always pretty – or easy – or fun – or inspiring.  Sometimes it just plain sucks. I mean… who wouldn’t love to hear about THAT?  Fun City!!! And then there’s…

4.  My journey for 2015 – You might be fascinated to find out things like… I am giving up any use of the word “amazing” for the entire year (except for the beginning of this post).  That includes my number one unfavorite… “Uh-mazing”. Ugh!

If none of those work, let me know and I’ll come up with more.  It’s much easier to come up with ideas than to actually carry through with the blogging part.

“For today, I live and love without fear.
For today, I experience without judgement.
For today, I allow with compassion.”
~ Rita French ~

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