Friday, August 30, 2013

Party like a rock star

     This was what was up on campus yesterday evening.

Not a very good pic, but if you can't tell, that is a gaggle of college students at a back to school party.  There was food. There was a DJ and music and dancing...drop it like it's hot and shuffle like cupid....

There was also volleyball, and some blow up things, and ziplining....

I was not invited to this party. I was on campus for this:

I took Grandbaby duck to cheer practice, which is held on the college campus. 

     I took a moment to sigh, and wish that I had been wise enough to do this college thing when I was young and unencumbered by grown up responsibilities, and could drop it without breaking it.

     Whoever was running this party was kind enough to let our cheerleaders take a turn on this contraption: 

Looks like fun!! 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Eat Mangos Naked

     This post really doesn't have anything to do with being naked, but it does mention mangos.
      Several entries down, you can find out about my laundry room urban farm. It isn't doing well, by the way. I have one anemic little tomato, some limp and fizzled herbs, a couple of bell pepper plants, and the sunflowers are just dead. I don't know why. They had soil, sun and water...what more do they want from me?? 
     Interestingly, I do have this:

That is a mango tree! Natalie (Grandbaby duck) and I started this project with mango juice dripping off our chins. Natalie said, "hey, Grammy, can we plant this seed?"  Good question! Google said that yes we could! Make a cut in the seed and put it in a jar of water, it instructed us. Change the water every day, and in two weeks, plant it in soil. So that's what we did, only it was about 5 weeks, and I sometimes didn't change the water every day.
     I sort of wish I had a picture of that seed when we finally got around to planting it. I did take a picture, but it was disturbing and I deleted it. It was rather pornographic in a plantish kind of way! Anyway! I got it in the soil and in just a couple of days, it looked like this;

And another couple of days, it looked like this:

That was about a week ago, and today it looks like this;

What we have here is a thriving little mango tree! Google has images of mature mango trees. Hint: a grown mango tree will not fit inside the house. Neither will it tolerate temps below 40 degrees. Now we have a problem. Here is this beautiful healthy  flourishing plant, but it's future is doomed! How tragic is that?! 
     I suppose we will let it grow for as long as it will fit inside, and worry about it later.
     For now, Natalie and I are so pumped by our mango success  that we are attempting a pineapple. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Old broad walking

     I don't know if this is weird, but honestly I do not feel like i'm old. Or even older. Or middle aged. Logically, i'm aware that 48 is on the downside of middle age, even if the longevity genes stick to me. (My great grandmother lived to age 96, and my grandmother is 91.) I don't feel middle aged. Even as I am definitely menopausal, I still don't FEEL like that could be true, because that happens to OLDER women, and I am not "older"!
     And then I go to class. Yep, I am "older". It feels very awkward that the professors are my peers, chronologically speaking. I feel very self conscious,  sitting in a class room full of young life....and i'm having a hot flash. ~resists urge to fan self~  There are quiet a number of  "older" students roaming the halls of SPC, but just special for me, because I am already on the edge, there are none in either of my classes. On the first day, we get to introduce ourselves. "Hi, i'm (insert name) and I graduated from such and such high school, and i'm studying architecture!" (Or psychology. or childhood education. or criminal justice. or engineering. or what have you.) Then there's me. "I'm Valerie, i've been out of high school for THIRTY YEARS, raised 5 kids, and I don't know what the heck i'm doing, my dead son made me come here."
    I might be having a crisis.


Friday, August 23, 2013

A duck of a different color

This is a duck:

It belonged to my daddy, and after he died my mom gave it to me. We are, after all, a duck family. I love having this duck, but as you can see it was very dark, and very dark has a way of making me feel suffocated. Also, it was way too much contrast, in my opinion, for the future look of my living room, where I plan for this duck to live. 
I woke up this morning with this duck on my mind. So, still in my jammies, I took this duck and a can of ivory spray paint into the back yard and did this: 

Wah lah, no longer a dark duck. I gave it a couple of coats, then lightly sanded it

And there it is. A two hour project (includes drying time) and I'm really pleased with the duck makeover. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Head Above Water

     I've been toying with the notion of doing some "Joey" blogs, and chronicling the past year. As it turns out, i'm just not there yet.
     Some where in my subconscious was the idea that "One Year" would be the magic number, that if we just hung on and made it through that year, it would all be less intense.
     In some ways, it even seems harder now. I don't know why. Perhaps all the shock, numbness, drama and trauma, adrenaline, etc are good and worn off, the dust is all settled, and now it's just down to day to day coping. I might be a little weary. I might miss him MORE now that I haven't seen him, talked to him, hugged him for over a year. Any one particular reason isn't clear. It just is, in some ways.
     So I can't talk extensively about Joey, or the circumstances of his death or all these months of learning to live with it, without getting intense and emotional and deep...
     It's just not time yet to go that deep.  I'm still eating that elephant one tiny little bite at a time.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Quacking good workout!

     I did a new workout today! It was featured in a Sparkpeople email, so I thought I would check it out and see what was up. The same ol same ol gets really boring and then I don't want to do it anymore, so i'm always on the look out for something new. I'v been looking at the "Spartacus" and "look better naked" workouts from Women's Health as my next new DVD, after my budget recovers from having to buy a new heatpump system, of course.  I have changed my mind, however, and this is going to be my next workout DVD purchase.

Why, you may ask, did I love this? Well, first and foremost, one of the leaders is named Chanelle, as is my baby duck #3.  Secondly, the main leader woman appears to be more in my age category, and is very fit. This is important because us elderly ladies can't relate very well to a twenty-something hottie. News flash! We aren't twenty-something anymore, and we are never going to be again, and we are never ever ever going to look like THAT! However, give us an instructor that is relate-able in at least age category, well then...we have a little more hope.  Thirdly, and this is very important: she is not loud, giggly, smiley, annoying...I did not want to smack her in the head with my hand weights. She is calm, quiet, low key, while leading a lovely sweaty challenging workout, but not so challenging that you feel like you have to get in shape before you attempt to get in shape.
    Some day, i am going to do the "Spartacus" workout, just because it would be a rush to train like a warrior, after which, I will already look better naked.  I AM WARRIOR V, QUEEN OF ME!
     That day is not today. Today, I am just one quacking mama duck, shaking my tail feathers!

Quackity quack!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Oilfield "widow", figuratively speaking.

     Today was "leaving" day. "Leaving" day is the sad sad day when I pack up the Chief's suitcase, he hauls it out to his truck, kisses me bye, then is gone. Nobody really knows when he might be back. It might be just a few days, but probably it will be at least a week. Maybe two. I hate leaving day. 
     This is what he does when he's gone;


     He is an "operator". He operates that big tractor drill thingy. (A deep hole rathole machine). My oilfield man does not work on the rigs. He digs the starter hole, the mouse hole, and the rat hole, and sets conductor pipe. I don't really know what all that means, except these are the initial holes on new locations, before the rig moves in.  He does this, too....

I don't know what he is doing there. 
     Anyway. He lives in a FEMA trailer in a man camp when he's gone. As an operator, he is responsible for digging these holes in the right places and at the right depth and circumference, and he also looks after the maintenance of the yard and the trailers, and he supervises his 2 man crew, arranges for cement and whatnot, and also does a ton of paperwork. 

If he actually worked on a rig, he would probably work hitches...meaning he would have x days on and x off. 7/7,  21/21, etc) As it is, he works until he is told to come in. Most often, he comes in on a Friday or Saturday and leaves again on Sunday. This passed weekend is rare in that he got home Friday night, and didn't leave until Monday morning! It's not possible to plan anything. When we try, inevitably something comes up at work and there he goes. 
     Here at the girl camp, we get into our own estrogen driven routine. (My daughter's husband works on the Chief's crew)We don't really answer to anyone.  Then we get the call! You've never seen such a flurry of house cleaning, leg shaving, man food buying activity! 
     The interesting thing is, we have our own thing going on, and then the guys come home, and we have a whole different routine.  And we want to go DO STUFF together, and they want to catch up on sleep. 

My OFM is my hero. He works really hard and makes a lot of sacrifices in order to provide for us. 

I think he's pretty cute, too. 

Which is why I really would like to find my place as a wage earner...I would like to hang out with him sometime, and still pay our bills.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Hawt Granny gets hotter: A girlie sort of post.

Puberty was not fun.
Child bearing came with a whole new set of discomforts and indignities.
The other end of that road is a whole new adventure!

I became a grandmother the year I turned 38. That is the same year that I had my midlife crises. I became obsessed with not looking/feeling/acting like a grandma. Hahahahahaha! It was ridiculous, really, but it all came to an end when I saw a very attractive woman ahead of me in line at the grocery store. Short cut offs, nice tan, long blond hair...then she turned around and had the face of a 90 year old, caked with makeup, and was showing about a mile of wrinkly 90 year old cleavage.  It was pretty scary, and I vowed to myself  right then and there that I would make every effort to age gracefully, and I made my daughters promise that they would never ever let me be ridiculous.  So far, so good. Except sometimes they tell me how CUTE I look, and then i see myself reflected in a window or full length mirror, and realize that they have blatantly lied to me.
Anyway! That was, coincidentally, the same year that i started noticing....things....changing. It has been a 10 year ride down a long hill with some uncomfortable bumps and ruts along the way.  A few hot flashes/night sweats occurred during that time,  but just very occasionally and randomly. A little something here, a little something there...
In the past couple of years, I have noted the dramatic increase in normal symptoms. Like moodiness. And pain.
This past year, the exact opposite of what I imagined: Tom started ringing my doorbell more frequently and sticking around longer, and generally being annoying, persistent, and much more unwelcome.
In the past 6 months, I have been moodier still, and the migraines I thought I had pretty much banished with a far healthier lifestyle returned.
And now Tom has missed a couple of visits.

And the hot flashes...(why in the world are they called "flashes"!!).... are apparently here to stay, and with a vengeance!

I have read the funny little ha-ha that says something about not thinking about them as hot flashes but about personal mini vacays to the tropics. I don't laugh at that anymore. In fact, I think it's about the stupidest thing i'v ever heard! It's more like mini bouts of the flu multiple times a day!! !!!!! !!

I was so confused at Tom's absence, after having been a double time nuisance for so long, and I have some pain in the...uh....chest, and one day I had a wave of nausea at the odor of cooking broccoli, and I had a terrible horrible thought.
Even though my baby factory has been closed for 16.5 years.
My g-ma had two after she thought she closed her factory.
My sis in law is two months out, give or take, from giving birth after thinking her factory was closed.
If anybody had a factory repair after 16.5 years and almost being done with child rearing after 29 long years, it would be me.
So I did something that I haven't done for 17ish years, and haven't really missed. I waited nervously for 2 minutes to see how many lines showed up in the little window. I admit that somewhere in the middle of that time, for about 30 seconds, I thought that it wouldn't be so bad to replenish my children supply to it's rightful number.  However, by the time the timer dinged I was back to being desperate for that not to be the case!
I have to say, that is the first pregnancy test that I ever failed!
I feel sort of silly about that episode now.

I am also feeling a little old again. I might be about to have a second midlife crises. Coincidentally, my second grandchild will be out and about in two-ish months.
I hope that my baby ducks remember to never ever let me look ridiculous.


Wednesday, August 7, 2013


I am a little bit of a hippie, insofar as
going natural whenever possible. Where health is concerned, prevention is preferable to treatment, in my opinion. 
This is why iv read a lot lately about the benefits of coconut oil. After some research, I went on the hunt for unrefined "virgin" coconut oil, without anything added or harmful processing. Forget about getting it at Walmart. I found it online, and in a health food store, and frankly, the cost is prohibitive to trying out all it's advertised usages. (As is the case with many "natural" alternative therapies.)
A case could be made that one would save money on traditional medical care by using alternatives. I'm sure that this is true. However, that is not true for me, because I don't seek traditional medical care. I haven't been to a dr. in 5 years. Before that, I hadn't been to one in 12 years. Then, it was only for childbirth.  It's not that I have anything against traditional care when necessary. Modern medicine certainly has its place. It's just that I seriously hate going to a doctor. So, I try to eat nutritiously, limit processed supposed food, take my vitamins, manage my weight, get some sunshine, fresh air, and exercise, and practice meditation and stress management. And then I look into things like essential oils and coconut oil.

This is a fairly large tub that I found at the health food store. It was $17.00. If used it for everything it could be used for, it would not last long. I just use it instead of body lotion. I seriously love it. 
Pros: It is an excellent moisturizer!! I get very dry and flakey, and this stuff nips that right in the bud! I purposely sought out "unrefined", so it has a light coconut scent. It soaks in pretty quickly, so I don't feel all greasy. 
Cons: This stuff is rock solid! Getting it out of the jar and onto the skin is an adventure. I did follow advice and whipped it up in my KitchenAid, and that solved the problem, except my A/C is misbehaving, and it gets warm enough up in here to melt it, which reduces it to it's natural state. 
That is the hole I have dug in the middle.
Another draw back is this; once one is freshly showered and coconut oiled up, any canines in residence will become obsessed with licking one's ankles. Or knees, depending on the size of the dog. 

     I mixed some coconut oil with a few drops of frankincense, both of which are supposed to be beneficial to cougar -er, I mean mature-skin.  I'm not excited about putting oil on my face. Whereas the rest of me tends toward dry, my face leans to the oily side. I used some of this concoction around my eyes once, and it melted a little and actually ran INTO my eyes, which wasn't awesome. 
So there is my coconut oil adventure.  Try it. You might like it!