Sunday, January 22, 2012
There are two girls from the school you are visiting standing there as well. Watching. As your classmate, team member, continues to dig through the box. You say to him, to distract, to make him stop, for him to realize others are watching, "Hey, did you find your jacket you laid down in the gym?" He looks up, mumbles something under his breath but turns back into the box, and continues to dig. He pulls a purple jacket out of the heap, turns around and heads straight to the bus.
Several weeks ago you were asked to become an Assistant Coach for the Junior Varsity basketball team. You are excited, honored, and anxious to help. It requires that you are there for each practice, to mentor/help these young boys learn the fundamentals of the game. You are required to dress in suit and tie attire to properly represent your school and the team at all games.
Today you were not prepared for what came your way. You were not prepared for the decision that must be made. In a split second, that boy walked off with a jacket that did not belong to him and you didn't say a word. You didn't shout at him to put it back. You didn't take any steps toward him to take the jacket from him and put it back. You watched in stunned silence, as he walked off with that jacket and climbed onto the bus.
Many things would happen next. Disciplinary actions were set into place. You would be asked to step down from your Assistant Coaching duties for failure to show good moral judgement in a leadership role. You would be asked to write a letter of apology to the Athletic Director of the school you were visiting, and serve an in-school detention.
Calls would be made to your mother at work. Explaining all of the above. She would have a range of emotions from disappointment, unbelievably stunned, and sad. But she would realize that you are still a work in progress. You are sixteen years old, and you made a bad decision. She would realize you had a sixty second window of opportunity, and you did not take that opportunity to do the right thing.
Later she would be told, that you acted as a man. Accepting full responsibility for your actions, or lack of, and whatever punishment that were to come your way. She would be told what a fine young man you are, that pressures are tough at your age, and that all of those things were understood and taken into account regarding the situation.
You and your mother will discuss what happened several times, and several times more. You are more disappointed in yourself than your Mother ever could be. You will tell her you know what you did was not right, that you did not make the right decision, and that you let your sixty second window close without doing your moral duty as a man, as a person.
Your mother has no doubt that you meant every word you said. She does believe that, presented with the same situation again, the outcome would be different. She knows all of these things, because she knows how she has raised you. How she has preached, lectured and taught you, what is the right thing to do.
Joe Paterno, a coaching legend, a man legend, passed away last night. Your mother held such a staunch and steady opinion of his role in the whole nasty and sad situation at Penn State University. You will remember that she ranted for days that he did not fulfill his role as a man, as a human being. That in his sixty second window, he did not do the right thing.
Your mother does not change the rules for you. Because you are her son, she does not lessen the responsibility, nor does she accept such behavior as acceptable. She works hard to teach and re-teach these learnings. But she knows, you are sixteen years old. And you have growing to do and lessons left to learn. And her only hope, is that at eighty five years old, you never, ever have to learn a lesson about moral duty again.
Joe Paterno was a good man who made a bad decision. A decision that would bring further harm to people's lives and mar his image and career. For whatever were his reasons, because we shall surely never really know, he turned his head, and laid his moral duty as a man aside. May his mistake live on in the minds of others faced with similar situations in their lives. May his mistake not go unlearned, and may his legend of coaching greatness be remembered for what it was, without the shadows of regret for that lost sixty seconds.
Rest in Peace Joe Paterno. Even in the lingering shadows, you helped me to teach my son a lesson he will not soon forget.
Sunday, January 15, 2012
Now if this were an honest and completely open, written chronicle of my weight loss adventure, this being the first installment, I would tell you how much I weigh, possibly my measurements, and what I expect to achieve. But this is not The Biggest Loser. I have no intention of telling you my weight, because if you can't figure it out from what you see and pictures, you don't need to know anyway. And my measurements would only be needed if you were trying to decide how I get my fat ass which expands even the wildest of imaginations, into a pair of pants. All of that information is top secret and shall remain so.
But I will tell you, I am fatter than I have ever been in my entire life, including the 9th month of both pregnancies. I will tell you it is difficult to find cute tops in the size called "TENT". That the only comfortable pants I own have elastic waistbands. And that all jackets/coats for women as large as myself, are called "TARPS'.
I will be very honest and tell you that I am not comfortable in any stage of undress with my husband, anymore than I think he is any longer comfortable looking at it. He says he still loves me as much as ever before, and I think he does. However, I would be fooling myself to deny, he would love to see me as he did even five years ago and at least fifty pounds less.
My doctor's are no longer happy with me. My twice annual visits have become an absolute dreaded necessity. They are certainly tired of telling a grown woman the same thing over and over. And I am tired of hearing it, along with the sad results of my blood tests and physical check tests.
So yesterday, I began walking. One mile. Today was mile two. My plan is to walk two weeks at one mile, then graduate to 1 1/2 miles at the two week mark, then at one month graduate to two miles. By the time the month arrives for the time to change and we gain an hour, I would like to be at three miles a day, with longer daylight to walk it. I once could and did for years, walk three miles in 42 minutes. I would like to see that time again.
If you were with me yesterday, as were Sara Allison Green and Holle Boykin, you would probably have a hard time believing that the three mile thing will ever happen. We were not even halfway into the first lap of four which equals a mile, and I was winded, and huffing with every word. Because of course, I was trying to talk the whole time. They were both probably eying me, wishing that at some point, one of them had taken that CPR course they had always talked about. Huffing and puffing tends to happen when you sit on your behind all day at work, your biggest move is down the hall to the copier and back, and plopping into your recliner when you get home. Save the time I spend cooking supper, the rest is spent in my recliner. During the Winter months anyway. Summer is a bit different, but not so much you'd would notice.
Today wasn't quite as bad. My breathing seemed to flow a little easier. Either that, or I talked a little less. My body parts are a little sore. But mostly just stiff. Yesterday when I got back from walking, and got home, I sat down in my recliner for a little better than an hour. My legs tucked up under me, not moving. When I started to get up, both of my legs felt like wooden logs that had rooted to my chair. It was slow moving getting up, and that hot shower later on, felt like drops of heaven raining down on me.
I'm determined to do this. To be able to walk from one end of the football field to the other without breaking a sweat. To gain my confidence back personally and professionally. I know my job like nobody's business, and I can truly say I love my job and am damn good at what I do. But to deny that my looks do not play a part in my confidence level would be less than honest. My phone negotiations cannot be beat. But to meet new people in person, brings about an anxiety that while is normal now, is very unfamiliar to the me of my past.
I used to love clothes, now they are just another disappointment for me. Nothing fits right or feels right. It's hard to wrap large rumpled up, lumps of rolls into material cloth of any kind and it look good. And color. I would like to be able to wear colors again without worrying about how much it electrifies just how large I am. Black is thinning and that is overrated. Besides, I've been wearing primarily black for so long, people probably think I am in a permanent mourning period.
And I'm tired of doing Ti Kwondo moves when a camera and its lens come anywhere around me. And if a picture does manage to get taken, I'm tired of sucking in my stomach until my face reflects a bluish tint, and tilting my chin so high, in the hope of making three chins appear as if there are only two.
Next year, both of my sons will graduate. One from college and the other from high school. As vain as it may sound, one of my main goals is to be back to a somewhat photogenic state. By somewhat, I mean, I can't help the general overall way I look, i.e; wrinkles, age spots, and obviously colored hair. But I fully intend to be slimmer, ready to enjoy myself, wear whatever color I choose, and finally, be in whatever "family" pictures there are that get taken, instead of my usual place, behind the camera.
This is my first installment. We won't speak of this again for at least the next 4 or 5 months. Wish me luck, say a prayer for my continued determination, and hopefully we'll both be able to holler out a HOORAH when I report in the next time. Cause I'm doing this thing, one way or another.
Sunday, January 8, 2012
I'm in Day Two of opening the house windows, letting the glass down on my storm doors and listening to the angelic sound of music coming through my windows, from the wind chimes scattered throughout my yard, on my carport and front porch.
And through all of this, my winter flag with the picture of a cup of hot chocolate sew onto it, that adorns the front porch, is flying with the breeze and would look out of place if not for the bare Dogwood trees and brown grass.
But in just a little while, we'll crank up the grill, roll some hamburger meat into patties, and as the smoke rolls through the yard, and into my windows, it will feel like summer time. If only for a little while, we can pretend that all those cold dreary days are gone. That the ground will soon be warm again and all of my flowers will begin to bloom.
All in due time. That's how it's always been and how it will always be. We'll enjoy this break from the cold for the few days that we can, and keep our jackets and gloves on stand by. All four of my dining room chairs are covered with coats of different thicknesses for the varying levels of cold we may encounter on any given day. Happy Spring in Winter, folks of Quincy. Enjoy it while you can!
Friday, January 6, 2012
You come to expect to see your neighbors at certain times of the day. Everyone kind of learns each others routines. So you always know when something is not quite right. When too many days have passed that you haven't seen them. Too many days have passed that their vehicle hasn't moved from it's place under the carport.
And some neighbors you're close enough to, that you are occasionally asked to check their mail when they're out of town, watch over their house, and just watch out for them in general. Because it's just what neighbors do.
For the past couple of years, one of our elderly neighbors has had her share of health struggles. And from time to time, has needed to stay with one daughter or the other after sicknesses or surgery's. But as soon as she was able, she always wanted to come back home to her house. Where her things were, where she could sit in her chair and lay in her bed.
She was an independent soul for sure. Candid, frank, and outspoken. You never had to wonder or question where you stood with her. I'm a lot like that myself, so suffice it to say, I was pretty fond of her.
My neighbor Mrs. Juanita Kelley passed from this world last Friday morning. She had a massive stroke almost two weeks ago. Her health had been shaky for the past year, and the fierceness of the stroke was just too much for her body to take. She leaves two daughters, two sons, several grandchildren and great grandchildren as well as many other close relatives behind.
I sure will miss all the little things I have become so used to seeing. Her checking her mail by the side of the road, at the mailbox, every single day. And when I say checking the mail, I mean she sat right there at the curb, opening every single piece of mail, one by one until she had seen it all. Some days she would sit there thirty minutes or better, car still running and all. Then she would pull into the driveway, under the carport and go into the house.
I'll miss seeing her and her feisty self, with her walker, taking her own trash to the road. My son Zach would go over to help her, and she would politely but firmly tell him thank you, but she needed the exercise and could do it herself.
And I'll miss seeing the Lawn Rangers, my son Zach and my almost son Matt, across the street taking care of her lawn work every other week. She always wanted her lawn and drive way meticulously cleaned. Bushes trimmed and the lawn edged and free of leaves and limbs. And worry, my grand she would worry herself to pieces until she caught up with those boys to pay them their due. Several times when she was staying with her daughter Kathy, she would call me, making sure the boys had not forgot about getting paid. She wasn't even at home at the time, but it was important that her home stayed intact, with or without her there.
I'll miss that our phone number is on her home phone speed dial, but that our phone will never ring from there again. We'll never again hear her ask us to come kill a snake that has gotten under her carport.
And I'll miss her standing at the edge of her yard, talking to me about my Spring flowers, how pretty they are, and how good they make her feel when she drives up the road every day.
From all of us on Lowe Street, rest in peace Mrs. Kelley. You're finally free of pain and suffering. Yes sir, Heaven brings another pretty girl home, and I'm pretty sure, Mr. Kelley is sure glad to see his pretty bride again.
Monday, January 2, 2012
So for some of the things I love..here goes:
That Mims refers to dogs as the nationality of their owners, i.e; "That cute Mexican dog almost chewed my ankles off today."
That when my Mother is feeling especially soft, she pronounces my name like my Sara MaMa (her mother) did when I was a little girl "Meechelle".
That I can close, what is usually the worst day of the week, Monday, out with an episode of Mike and Molly.
That my absolute all-time favorite go-to sandwich is still a PB&J.
That when I walk by our boat shed in December, I can still smell the ever so faint scent of lake water.
That on the days I need a laugh the most, my Daddy always calls my Mama to the phone when I call by saying "Jean, Jean, it's your oldest daughter Michelle, the one who lives in Quincy. Jean, Jean, can you hear me"...as he turns back to the phone and tells me "I've had a hard time keeping her awake all day, you know how us old folks get". It still cracks me up, every single time.
That I have managed to raise one son, who has practically no temper at all. Ever.
That I can now afford a vehicle that cranks up, every single time I turn the key.
That my Pink Cherry Blossom trees bloom in late January, early February when everything else is cold, gray and dormant.
That even though I am miles ahead of them in years, both of my sons are already so much wiser than me.
That my MaMa Eloise passed on her insatiable love for words and books to me and that I was able to successfully pass the same onto my children.
That at least once a month, on some channel, I can see Sweet Home Alabama for the umpteenth zillion time.
That every time I open my Grandaddy's wallet, it still smells like him.
That my friend has turkeys simply for their awesomeness and the noises they make, and not to eat.
That after all these years, I still have the crayon written note my baby sister shoved under my door that said " If you don't play cards with me I will runny away".
That Mims can always tell, even in the dark, where he can't see me or hear me, that he's hurt my feelings.
That I was raised to never leave my kitchen in a mess. No matter what disaster may come, I will never have to worry about being part of a Channel 10 news story and anyone talking about my trashy, nasty kitchen.
That I know which male in my house has walked into a room before me, by the smell that lingers when they are gone.
That while I do not create or decorate as artistically as my Dad, I can copy and emulate like nobody's business and I've come to love my own method as much as his.
That of all the teapots I now have from purchases of my own or gifts, that my Sara MaMa's teapot that sat on her stove was the first I ever owned and I still have it on showcase with all my others.
That the slippery, jelly-like warm feeling I get in my stomach when Mims hugs me is still there. Just as strong. Even after thirteen years.
That I have three swings in my yard, so I can sit in a swing and look at the trees and smell the fresh air in my front yard, my back yard, and from my front porch.
That somebody invented sweat pants and comfy bedroom shoes. During the cold winter months, I am rarely without either.
That two women taught me in less than 365 days how to talk to Jesus again. Day after day, for someone other than myself. And reminded me, that prayer does work.
That no matter how many times it happens, when I cannot loosen the top on something, I began to question my manner of twisting and have to say in my mind "righty tighty, lefty loosey."
That both of my sons know me better than I know myself some days, and neither minds putting me in my place.
That Amazing Grace is still my favorite gospel song and can still make me cry when a group of people sing it.
Everybody should take the time to sit down and make a list some day. You'd be surprised what you come up with, some of the things on your list will be thoughts that never even cross your mind. Once you open the gateway, and unlock the memories, the thoughts will flow. And when you're done, it will be impossible not to get up and walk away feeling so much better than when you sat down. I enjoy breaking down my thoughts so that I can appreciate all the things I don't give enough credit. Write your own list. Let me know how it goes.
Sunday, January 1, 2012
Well, what I came to find out, was not a whole heck of a lot. I mean, I saw some of all the same do's and don'ts' but saw nowhere where any one person, society, or group decided all of these things. I went to Snopes.com which pretty much repeated most everything I had read elsewhere, but again, did not substantiate any origin for me to trace.
This is what I found..I think you'll find it interesting:
- Kissing at midnight: We kiss those dearest to us at midnight not only to share a moment of celebration with our favorite people, but also to ensure those affections and ties will continue throughout the next twelve months. To fail to smooch our significant others at the stroke of twelve would be to set the stage for a year of coldness.
- Stocking Up: The new year must not be seen in with bare cupboards, lest that be the way of things for the year. Larders must be topped up and plenty of money must be placed in every wallet in the home to guarantee prosperity.
- Paying Off Bills: The new year should not be begun with the household in debt, so checks should be written and mailed off prior to
January 1st.Likewise, personal debts should be settled before the New Year arrives.
- First Footing: The first person to enter your home after the stroke of midnight will influence the year you're about to have. Ideally, he should be dark-haired, tall, and good-looking, and it would be even better if he came bearing certain small gifts such as a lump of coal, a silver coin, a bit of bread, a sprig of evergreen, and some salt. Blonde and redhead first footers bring bad luck, and female first footers should be shooed away before they bring disaster down on the household. Aim a gun at them if you have to, but don't let them near your door before a man crosses the threshold. The first footer (sometimes called the "Lucky Bird") should knock and be let in rather than unceremoniously use a key, even if he is one of the householders. After greeting those in the house and dropping off whatever small tokens of luck he has brought with him, he should make his way through the house and leave by a different door than the one through which he entered. No one should leave the premises before the first footer arrives — the first traffic across the threshold must be headed in rather than striking out. First footers must not be cross-eyed or have flat feet or eyebrows that meet in the middle. Nothing prevents the cagey householder from stationing a dark-haired man outside the home just before midnight to ensure the speedy arrival of a suitable first footer as soon as the chimes sound. If one of the partygoers is recruited for this purpose, impress upon him the need to slip out quietly just prior to the witching hour.
- Nothing Goes Out: Nothing — absolutely nothing, not even
garbage — isto leave the
- Food: A tradition common to the southern states of the USA dictates that the eating of black-eyed peas on New Year's Day will attract both general good luck and financial good fortune in particular to the one doing the dining. Some choose to add other Southern fare (such as ham hocks, collard greens, or cabbage) to this tradition, but the black-eyed peas are key. Other "lucky" foods are lentil soup (because lentils supposedly look like coins), pork (because poultry scratches backwards, a cow stands still, but a pig roots forward, ergo those who dine upon pork will be moving forward in the new year), and sauerkraut (probably because it goes so well with pork). Another oft-repeated belief holds that one must not eat chicken or turkey on the first day of the year lest, like the birds in question, diners fate themselves to scratch in the dirt all year for their dinner (that is, bring poverty upon themselves).
- Work Also, do not do the laundry on New Year's Day, lest a member of the family be 'washed away' (die) in the upcoming months. The more cautious eschew even washing dishes.
- New Clothes: Wear something new on
January 1to increase the likelihood of your receiving more new garments during the year to follow.
- Money: Do not pay back loans or lend money or other precious items on New Year's Day. To do so is to guarantee you'll be paying out all year.
- Breakage: Avoid breaking things on that first day lest wreckage be part of your year. Also, avoid crying on the first day of the year lest that activity set the tone for the next twelve months.
- Letting the Old Year Out: At midnight, all the doors of a house must be opened to let the old year escape unimpeded. He must leave before the New Year can come in, says popular wisdom, so doors are flung open to assist him in finding his way out.
- Loud Noise: Make as much noise as possible at midnight. You're not just celebrating; you're scaring away evil spirits, so do a darned good job of it!
According to widespread superstition, evil spirits and the Devil himself hate loud noise. We celebrate by making as much of a din as possible not just as an expression of joy at having a new year at our disposal, but also to make sure Old Scratch and his minions don't stick around. (Church bells are rung on a couple's wedding day for the same reason.)
- The Weather: Examine the weather in the early hours of New Year's Day. If the wind blows from the south, there will be fine weather and prosperous times in the year ahead. If it comes from the north, it will be a year of bad weather. The wind blowing from the east brings famine and calamities. Strangest of all, if the wind blows from the west, the year will witness plentiful supplies of milk and fish but will also see the death of a very important person. If there's no wind at all, a joyful and prosperous year may be expected by all.
- Born on January 1: Babies born on this day will always have luck on their side.
Now, what I got from ALL of the above is this...people just want to be happier, richer, more in love, luckier, and have plenty of food. But who knew so many things would determine how my life would go from one year to the next. And apparently, if I were to stray from the path on any of these items, my whole life could be shot to hell and back! Quite frankly folks, it's a crap shoot at best.
So after reading all of that information this is what I decided to do on my New Years Day:
1. Cook the foods that I like and eat them.
2. Not clean anything or wash any clothes, mostly because someone said something awful would happen and I'm ALWAYS looking for an excuse not to do either one.
3. I went to sleep before midnight, so all I can do is hope that I will still love Mims for the next year until I get another shot at that Midnight Kiss thing.
4. I have no idea which way the wind was blowing so that's out for any kind of determination.
5. I didn't leave my door wide open because I live in Quincy. I thought it would be counter-productive if someone stole all my things, as I should be trying to prosper in the new year.
6. Eat pork seven days a week, no matter what the doctor says it does to my blood pressure, because pigs root forward while every other animal scratches dirt or goes backward.
7. Not watch any sad movies or talk to people who will hurt my feelings, because if I cry today, I will be crying all year long.
8. If I owe anybody any money, they're not getting it today, or else I'll be paying somebody all my money all year long.
9. I will not be taking out the trash, no matter that it is overflowing onto my floor, because that causes bad things to happen.
And finally Number Ten:
10. Unless I can somehow arrange to be literally, born again, I am just shitz out of luck (pun intended) because I will never be born on the first day of the year, January 1st.
I hope this clears things up for all of you. I'll be honest and tell you that I don't see that any of this changes anything. None of my friends or relatives have struck it rich since I've known them, no matter what they've eaten, who they've kissed, if they washed clothes, or broke a nail on New Years Day. So just live the way you should, treat others as you would like to be treated, and keep your minds and hearts open at all times. I think those things work the best anyway. Keep all that "what goes around comes around" going in a positive direction. Don't you think?