she forced me to eat graham crackers

This summer I ate a lot of pie. . . and ice cream, and cake, and cookies, and candy.  When Labor Day hit, I knew I needed a sugar intervention, so I went cold-turkey on sweets and forced my family to deal with my grumpy mood swings.  I have been faithful to my new routine and have not had a speck of sugar in eleven days.

This morning, I got up early to take my husband to the hospital for scheduled shoulder surgery.  I have a history of being a very poor nurse.  If I had the choice between being a nurse and an indentured servant, I would have to go with indentured servitude.  I simply cannot stomach the sights, sounds, and smells of a hospital.  I would rather clean floors with a tooth-brush.

When my oldest daughter had oral surgery years ago to remove some teeth and make room for braces, I was instructed to replace the bloody gauze with fresh cotton.  I tried to complete this task, but had to stop, run to the bathroom, and vomit.

When one of my dogs had foot surgery in 2004, my mother had to drive over an hour to our house in order to change the dressing on my dogs wound, because every time I tried, I got sweaty and dizzy.

Today, at the hospital, while the nurse took out my husband’s IV and instructed me on his medications, I began to feel nauseous.  This sensation increased and was coupled with a light-headed, sweaty feeling.  The room began to swirl around me; I couldn’t look at my husband in his little hospital nighty and big black arm sling without feeling intensely ill.

The bad news is, I fainted.  The good news is my husband’s surgery was a success, and after I cleared my head, the nurse MADE me eat the sweetest, most delicious graham crackers I have ever had!



my lucky day

May 27th is a particularly lucky day for me.  On May 27, 2006, I met my husband.  On May 27, 2007, he asked me to marry him.  On May 27, 2008, I found out I was pregnant with our baby girl.  Obviously you can see why I celebrate the end of May, but I can tell you that it didn’t start out that way.

I went on my first date six months after my first husband died.  I know, that sounds wayyyyy tooooo early!  But, I had sound reasoning behind my decision.  I needed to meet new people.  My inner circle was so full of sorrow for me and my grief; they were so full of desire to help and their need to show support, that I began to feel unhealthy in my own life.  I was a young widow, and I was in danger of assuming that role for decades to come.  What if widowhood wasn’t just a chapter in my life, what if it was my entire book?  I felt desperate to ensure that I got unstuck.  I was determined to heal and decided the best way to start was to do the one thing I was most terrified of doing, dating.

I joined, and I signed up for a service called It’s Just Lunch, where I got set up for lunch dates a couple of times a month.  I had many first dates, and then, like a teenager, I never returned their calls.  In May a friend phoned and wanted to introduce me to Tim.  She invited both of us to a dinner party to see if we clicked.

Frankly, we didn’t talk much that night.  Still, I wasn’t completely surprised when he called me a few days later.

After a bit of small talk, Tim said, “So I don’t really know much about you; I mean except that you’re a tragic widow.”

A tragic widow?  A TRAGIC WIDOW!  “I’m not a tragic widow,” I snapped.  “And my children are definitely not tragic.”  I didn’t come right out and call Tim an asshole, but I implied it with my tone.

“So why did you agree to see him again?” you ask.

That is a very good question.  I agreed to see him again because of my girlfriend, Alex.  Alex was at the party the night I met Tim.  The next day she called me and said, “He’s totally your type.”

“What type is that?” I asked.

“If you went running across train tracks and fell just as the train approached, Tim looks like the kinda guy who would sprint to your side, scoop you up, and throw you out of the way.  That is totally your type.”

“Oh God, that IS totally my type!”

So I agreed to have dinner with Tim because he had massive biceps and looked strong enough to launch me off train tracks.

Still, it was not love at first sight.  Tim claims I didn’t talk for three weeks, and that is not completely untrue.  I am a bit shy and a rather hard nut to crack.  Tim, on the other hand, is a man with strong opinions and a strong sense of self.  He is easily irritated by stupidity, and unfortunately for him, the world is rather stupid.  Tim was like a pissed-off Energizer Bunny, with O.C.D. and a touch of road rage.  While he spent the first month waiting for me to talk, I spent the first month waiting for him to calm down.  Still, I kept seeing him because he had that bicep thing, and he kept seeing me because he felt obligated not to crush the spirit of the tragic widow, plus we made each other laugh.  We still laugh A LOT!

As weeks turned into months, we stayed together.  After that first summerXmas2012 443 Tim said, “I believe all women are crazy and eventually, given enough time, they will unpack their crazy and show you just how insane they are.  Then, a guy has to decide whether he can live with that level of dysfunction.  I keep waiting for you to unpack your crazy, but now I realize you are completely up-front with your insanity.”

“Yes,” I said.  “All my crazy was unpacked by our third date.  And I keep waiting for you to chill out, but now I accept that you are simply not capable of relaxation.”

And we lived happily ever after.

I apologize for my inappropriate husband

My four-year-old daughter has a set of toys she plays with in the bathtub, which includes Naked Barbie.  Over the past several months, I have often found Naked Barbie in very compromising positions, and when this happens, I always blame my husband.  I am convinced that Tim is manipulating Naked Barbie into promiscuous poses in an attempt to scandalize me, but no matter how often I accuse him, he always vehemently denies it.

Today when I got in the shower I found Naked Barbie canoodling with My Pretty Pony.  I immediately phoned my husband and when he answered his cell I said, “There is NO WAY My Pretty Pony simply fell in that position.”

Tim laughed and laughed and laughed.  “It was me!” he admitted.  “It was totally me.”

I apologize to Naked Barbie and My Pretty Pony on behalf of my entire family.

I apologize to Naked Barbie and My Pretty Pony on behalf of my entire family.

golf (with a twist)

Tiger Woods has been in the spotlight lately as he competes for his position as greatest golfer of all time.

I don’t really get the appeal of golf.  I understand the desire to play a few rounds on the weekend, hang out with friends, and possibly improve your game.  I don’t understand why anyone would watch golf on television.

Many sports have a vein of similarity.  For example, in soccer one attempts to get the ball in the net while his opponent tries to trip him.  In basketball, one attempts to get the ball in the net while his opponent tries to embarrass him with impressive maneuvering (and occasionally trip him).  In  water polo one attempts to get the ball in the net while his opponent tries to drown him.  In lacrosse one attempts to get the ball in the net while his opponent tries to elbow him in the throat.

In golf, one attempts to get the ball in the hole while his opponent silently waits on the sideline.  How is this entertaining to watch?  What would be entertaining is if Tiger Woods attempted to sink a putt while his ex-wife came flying at him with a golf club in her hand.

my marriage benefits package

I am not an entirely squeamish girl.  I don’t like blood or frogs, but I can handle poop and vomit.  I prefer not to deal with rodents, bugs, or dead birds, but when forced  into action, I can manage without too much unnecessary drama. However, one of the advantages of being married to Tim is that I don’t have to.

This is not a one-sided street.  Tim reaps many benefits being married to me.  For example, I am the one who told him that “just because you can still fit into the jeans and striped polo you purchased in 1992, doesn’t mean you should wear them.”  And, I am the one who gently mentioned that “just because you know how to efficiently kill a chicken doesn’t mean you should use those details as your go-to bedtime story.”

I believe I do my part to make Tim’s life better, and so when I find a fat hairy spider in the bathtub, I call in the big guns.  It is part of my marriage benefits package.  I get health insurance, car maintenance, guard-dog protection, and spider rescuing.  I also get heavy lifting, drain de-clogging, and chauffeur services.

Tim was recently travelling for work and while he was gone, my four-year-old found a GIGANTIC spider in the bathtub.  I got a cup and piece of cardboard and used these tools to trap and transport the spider to our porch; I confess that I emitted a rather girly shriek as I released him to the backyard.  He was massive, hairy, and pissed off.

The night Tim returned home, I filled him in on our week.  “Oh, and I captured an arachnid.  Not just any arachnid, a steroid-taking, wife-beating, prison-escapee spider who wanted to eat our baby.”

Tim was obviously impressed.  Today he sent this photo to my inbox:

House Spider by Harold Taylor.  Winner of the 2012 Nikon small world photography competition.

House Spider by Harold Taylor. Winner of the 2012 Nikon small world photography competition.


Check out the other winners of the Nikon small world photography competition.

winter weight

I am not the kind of woman who obsesses over her weight.  In general, I am pretty lucky, with a fairly fast metabolism, and tend to gain weight slowly, if at all.  I rarely weigh myself but did hop on the scale yesterday, and discovered I had gained three pounds (FINE! I gained five pounds, you’re all so critical.)

When I told my husband I gained three (or five) pounds, he brushed me off by saying, “You hide it well.”

YOU HIDE IT WELL!  You hide it well is like saying, “Yes, your are an enormous elephant, but clothes camouflage your heft.”

So I said, “Yeah! Well, you have a receding hairline, and you can’t hide that AT ALL!”

Ok, I didn’t actually say that because I didn’t think of it until right this minute, damn!  What I did was take a Hershey’s bar from the cupboard, sit down next to my husband on the sofa, and proceed to slowly eat the candy.  perhaps not the best strategy in hind sight.

This conversation reminded me of a similar event with my first husband.  Those of you who follow my blog know that Scott died in 2005.  I remember a time when I told him I had gained three pounds.  His response was to laugh and say, “Three pounds?  I can poop three pounds.”

OK, I know that’s gross, but it totally made me laugh, although it did not make me feel better about my weight gain.

So, I am going to try to lose my three (or five) pounds during the month of March.  Exercise is not my issue; I go to the gym all the time.  My issue is a rather serious candy adiction.  In the past when I have decreased my candy intake, I simply increased my brownie intake, but this time I am going to attempt to eat only one serving of candy a day; that equates to five chocolate Dove Promises.

I will keep you posted on my progress, but if I fall short, you have to support me, and I don’t want to hear that all my followers had a party and placed bets on my failure.  That would hurt my feelings and force me to down a bag of chocolate.

I’m entitled to a cheeseburger

In my twenties, I did a lot of hiking and camping.  Once my kids were born, I decided hiking and camping with children was a dirty chaotic experience, and I packed up my sleeping bag until my babies were old enough to pitch their own tents.  In 1993, my first husband, Scott, and I took a road trip to Glacier National Park in Montana.  We spent a week in the mountains, and I have great memories from that trip.

One night, I shifted restlessly in our tent.  I was hungry, I couldn’t get to sleep, and I really really really wanted a cheeseburger.  Sometimes when you are twenty, and it’s a random Thursday night in August, and you’ve been hiking all day, you need a midnight cheeseburger, and nothing else will fill the void.  The problem was I am historically terrible at starting campfires, so I wanted Scott to get up and make me the burger.

Now, I know this sounds like a diva-move on my part, but I would like to note here that we had a very successful thirteen-year marriage, and I did lots of nice things for him, including delivering his son who weighed over ten pounds.  Personally, enduring two pregnancies and giving birth to a semi-truck entitles me to a cheeseburger retroactively.  (So, stop judging me!)

Scott finally agreed to make me the burger.  He left the tent, started the fire, dug out a pan, cooked the meat, found a bun, (“Don’t forget ketchup and mustard,” I yelled from my sleeping bag) and he brought me the finished product.  It was as delicious as any burger I have ever eaten.  Full and satisfied, I hunkered down for bed, but I kept smelling the delicious burger, and I kept thinking about all the bear warnings posted, and I made the connection that if I could smell the delicious meat in the air, surely Smokey the Bear could smell it too.

To make a long story short, I made Scott drive me all the way back to the main area in the park where we could both take a shower and rinse away any left-over cooking smells.  While we were gone, we aired out the tent, and decided that if bears had not torn it to shreds in the hour it took us for our round-trip shower expedition, it would probably be safe to fall asleep.

Me hiking in Montana, 1993.  BTW, I bought the boots I am wearing in this photo at REI.  I swear; I not lying about this.

Me hiking in Montana, 1993. BTW, I bought the boots I am wearing in this photo at REI. I swear; I not lying about this.

This is a long way around to the main intention of my story, but I was thinking about this Montana trip yesterday while I was on the treadmill watching CNN.  Obama nominated Sally Jewell as his new Interior Secretary.  I took note of this because I am a Washingtonian and Sally is a Washingtonian, the CEO of REI.  To be clear, I don’t know Sally; we have never gone hiking together; I’ve never asked her to cut me a deal on a water-proof tent.  Still, I am happy to know a local woman will now be in charge of the national parks across the country and surely will monitor the bear activity in Montana.  And, you know, if she wants to hook me up with some discount gear, that would be totally appreciated.

 Obama's pick for Interior Secretary: Recreational Equipment, Inc. CEO Sally Jewell in 2006. IMAGE

Sally Jewell, REI CEO and nominee for Interior Secretary