The Curse

I finally realize my mother was probably right…

Picture this…

It’s about 1981 and I’m 10 years old. I’m in the fifth grade and it’s time for the much anticipated sex education curriculum at school. We are separated from the boys and told we are to bring our moms for a “special movie” to talk about growing up. Our bodies will be “changing”. We all heard about this “change” about to occur in our bodies. Most of us girls have older sisters who gave us the run down. I, however, didn’t have an older sister. I had my mom to tell me these things. And I had Judy Blume. Thank you, God, for moms and for Judy Blume.

judy

 

My mom sat me down and told me how in a couple of years, I would be “becoming a woman” and every month my uterus would shed it’s lining and I would bleed for a week.

I remember thinking, “WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? WHY WOULD I BLEED FOR A WEEK EVERY. SINGLE. MONTH?” I was the quintessential tomboy. I climbed trees and collected tadpoles, and played sports and did everything I could to keep up with my older brothers and their friends. I hated wearing a dress, had no interest in wearing a bra like some of my friends, and I sure didn’t have time to bleed for a week from “down there”. What a crock.

“Well, why?, “ I remember asking. “Why does this have to happen?”

My mom answered, “It’s Mother Nature’s way to prepare your body for having a child someday. When a baby is not created, your body has to get rid of the lining and the cycle starts all over again.”

So I asked the next question…”Well, how are babies made?”

Insert uncomfortable silence. “We don’t have to talk about that now,” she said. “Just know that it’s normal and natural for your body to do this as you grow older. I don’t want you to be scared or surprised.”

Mother Nature, huh? She must not like us much if she wants us to go through this. In fact, she must hate us. But if my mom said it was normal, then OK. I believed her.

But then she said, “In my day, we called it ‘The Curse’.”

“The Curse? Why?, “ I asked.

“Because Eve ate the apple in the Garden of Eden and now women are cursed with menstruation and pain during childbirth. And because every time you go on vacation or have something special planned or are wearing white, you’ll get your period.” My mom laughed when she said this.

“What???? I have to pay for Eve’s stupidity? And what does wearing white have to do with anything??? I guess I just won’t wear white, ever.” These are all the thoughts that went through my head. But again, I didn’t have time for this growing up stuff. There was a baseball game going on at the vacant field in my neighborhood and I was the pitcher and everyone was waiting for me.

Fast forward a couple years and I was still a tomboy, but I had a copy of “Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret.” I had read it about 4 times. Margaret was very excited to get her period. So maybe I should be, too.  I found out how babies were made, (thanks to our Encyclopedia Britannica and Amy Skrekrut who demonstrated on her hands what goes on…)

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My friends and I were curious about this period thing and when it would happen to us. We took bets on who it would happen to first. Our best bet were the ones who were “most developed”. We even sat around my friend Annie’s basement and asked the Ouija Board when it would happen to us. I put the notion of “The Curse” out of my head.

And then it happened to me…An innocent 12 year old girl/woman. Instead of celebrating my womanhood, I cried and cried.  My mom was there for me. “Why are you crying? This is normal and natural, it’s ok.”

But I wanted to GO SWIMMING WITH ALL MY FRIENDS IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD!!! And now I couldn’t for 5-7days!!!!

“Well,” my mom laughed. “I told you it was The Curse.”  I moped and moped. This becoming a woman thing sucked.

(On a good note, surprisingly an Atari gaming device was added to our household that day. I hung out at home playing Megamania while my friends hung out at the pool. I am still so thankful to my mom for that silent gesture. I knew it was a stretch in finances to buy it, but I think she just wanted to make me happy.)

So the years go by and periods come and go…

In Eighth Grade when I was a cheerleader, our uniforms were white and we had to wear white skivvies underneath. In the Big Game of the Year against our rivals, we had to perform a dance routine at halftime on the football field. Yup, you know who came to visit for that—Aunt Flow.

The night of the Sleepover of the Year with your friends and your brand new pink sleeping bag…there SHE is.

The all day field trip to the state capitol and having to approach your teacher for some “supplies” because you are not prepared properly

The Prom…

The day you actually DID  wear white pants…

The much anticipated trip to the Bahamas in college…

Meeting my future in-laws for the first time and spending the weekend at their house…

Just some of the many moments that come to my mind. And my mom and I would always laugh…”Well, it’s the Curse.” (And we didn’t actually believe it was a Curse on women. It is more like Murphy’s Law.)

 

But now that I am in my mid ‘40s, I’m starting to wonder…because now I’m in another phase of my ‘womanly’ life…

 

Perimenopause

 

And I ask, “Why? Why Mother Nature? Why do you hate us so?” It’s night sweats and sleeplessness. It’s gaining weight around the middle. It’s irregular cycles and forgetfulness and hot flashes and “flooding”. It’s intense mood swings, crying spells,  irritability, headaches. My skin is drier, and oh shit! Is my hair thinning??? I’m not cute anymore! Dear God, it’s freaking awful! Maybe my mom was right?

But I can’t forget that even with all these symptoms and issues and what not, my body has been good to me. When the time felt right to conceive a child, boom! It happened. And the same for my second child. My womb held those babies safely and securely for nine months. I was able to successfully nurse both for over a year.   I never had issues with cramping or migraines or anything else my friends would complain about. I was always so amazed at what the female body could do, I spent my professional career in Maternal-Child Health.

I talk to my mom about these things…”Oh, it’s OK, you’re just going through the beginning of The Change.” (First, The Curse, now The Change).

“But it’s awful, Mom!”

“I know, honey,” she tells me. “But in a few years, this will all be done. You won’t have to deal with it anymore. This is normal and natural. Just another phase in your life.”

“Ok,” I believe her.

But then she pauses…”Yeah, soon you will be done with this phase of your life and you’ll be free.”

“Freedom,” I think. “That sounds nice.”

Another pause…”But then you’ll dry up like a prune.”

I laughed so hard I peed my pants.

I just love my mom so much.

And by the way… Thanks for nothing, Eve!

Adam-and-Eve

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New Year’s Eve—Then and Now

“By the time you realize what your father was telling you was true, your own kids are telling you you’re wrong”—Wayne Gretzky

 

Ahhh, Gretzky…the Great One, you are so right.

Christmas 2016 is over, wrapping paper shreds and empty shirt boxes litter my living room and my youngest asks me what the next holiday is. I tell him, “Valentine’s Day is next.”

My freshman reminds me New Year’s Eve is next.

New Year’s Eve…

To him, this counts as a holiday. He probably has plans for that night. “Uh oh,” I think. Because I remember how exciting New Year’s Eve was. Maybe not as a freshman in high school, but definitely my college years.

I remember one in particular, twenty five years ago, I was a sophomore in college and not yet even 21 years old. The world was quite different back then.

 

I believe it went something like this…

 

10:30 am- Wake up, think about and miss terribly my boyfriend who went back home to New Jersey for Christmas break. Think about how awful it is to have a whole month off between semesters till I get to see him again.  After tears and listening to “Love of a Lifetime” by Firehouse on the radio, head downstairs and peruse the recently acquired gifts and presents from parents and large extended family. Admire new overalls from The Gap, contemplate wearing them with one strap down.  Maybe watch some TV. Possibly eat breakfast, most likely not.

12:00 pm-Call one of my best friends, Amy, on the kitchen phone to find out what we’re doing tonight. Get mad because phone cord won’t reach into living room where there is more privacy.

Wall Phone Beige Telephone   by LavenderGardenCottag:

12:30-Decide that it’s a very good idea to drive down to Amy’s school, the University of Illinois, where there’s several parties we can go to. Only about 3 hours away down I-57, never mind that it is snowy, about 10 degrees, and I-57 is surrounded by farmland. Feel lucky because Amy’s roommate Mia will drive since she is the only one with a car. Tell parents what plans are so they don’t worry. Remind them you will be home “sometime” the next day.  Wonder what New Jersey boyfriend will be doing and pray he doesn’t meet a cute Jersey Girl and ring in the New Year with her.

2:30-Pack for the overnight. Be sure to include a scrunchie or two for a quick and easy ponytail for the ride home. Also include acid wash jeans, maybe a plaid flannel shirt, wish that I had some Doc Martens.

doc martens

Double check for toothbrush, don’t bother with glasses or contact lens case because sleeping with contacts in eyes for one night won’t hurt anything. Triple check for fake ID. Have about $30 in cash from summer job working at Bennigan’s in case there’s an emergency.

4:30pm-Get picked up for road trip. Check once again that fake ID is in backpack. (Who bothered with a purse or wallet?) Wave bye to the parents. Admire Mia’s vintage car with her dead hamster on the dashboard that she stuffed herself. (One of Mia’s hobbies was taxidermy). Have backseat of car all to myself and stretch out. No seatbelt for me! (I wonder if that vintage car even had seatbelts?) Think how wonderful Amy is that she thought to bring  a Baker’s Square French Silk Pie with her.

5:00pm-While on the road, listen to mixed cassette tape Amy made filled with a variety of hits like, “Gonna Make You Sweat” by C+C  Music Factory, “Unbelievable” by EMF, “Good Vibrations” by Markie Mark and the Funky Bunch, “I Wanna Sex You Up” by Color Me Badd. Talk about a new kind of music hitting the radio from Seattle and a band by the name of Nirvana. Hit rewind and play “Right Here Right Now” by Jesus Jones and think about how prophetic it is. Keep wondering about Jersey Boy. Mention his name frequently.

Right Here, Right Now

5:45pm- Wonder why Amy included The Partridge Family Greatest Hits on cassette…

6:00pm-Talk and chat and chat and talk about things like if Dylan and Brenda will ever do it, the latest Cheers episode, and a little something we heard about called “the internet.”   Reminisce about The Bulls winning the Championship over the summer and how awesome Michael Jordan is, worry about  something called Operation Desert Storm, really worry about the AIDS epidemic and be sad about Freddie Mercury’s passing.

6:30pm-Stop all conversation as the car starts sputtering and coughing and comes to a halt on the side of the road. The side of I-57. In the middle of Illinois cornfields. Where it is very, very dark. And very, very cold.

6:33pm-Figure out that Mia’s vintage car has a broken gas gauge and, in our New Year’s Eve excitement, we forgot to put gas in the car before we left home. Come to the conclusion that we are out of gas. Wish Jersey Boy was here.

6:35pm-Decide to flag down a truck driver who is parked on the OTHER SIDE OF THE HIGHWAY!!! Hide in the back of the car under a blanket as two other friends CROSS HIGHWAY to speak to truck driver. Think about eating Baker’s Square French Silk Pie.  Try not to think of one of my favorite movies that year…

hanibel

 

6:45pm-Wait for State Trooper to show up and talk about how nice the truck driver was and how convenient it is that he has a CB and can radio a police car for us. Laugh about how silly we are to forget to put in gas.

7:00pm-Ride safely in the back of the police car to the nearest town where the trooper drops us off at a McDonald’s so we can use the phone to call friends from U of I to pick us up. Buy some french fries so we have some change for the pay phone. Be sad about the fact that I don’t have enough change to make a long-distance phone call to New Jersey. Talk about how fortunate we are that we ran out of gas so close to U of I and don’t have to travel much longer.

8:00pm-Finally arrive at Amy’s apartment at U of I with car full of gas, backpacks and Baker’s Square French Silk Pie. Run up stairs to apartment and watch as Amy trips up the stairs and lands right on the Baker’s Square French Silk Pie. Laugh till I pee my pants. Try to salvage what is left of pie and place it in fridge.

8:30pm-Take nap.

9:30pm-Have a beer or two before getting ready.

10:00pm-Start getting ready to go out. Put on acid wash jeans and colorful sweatshirt. Make hair as big as possible and spray with Aqua Net. Put on some eye-liner and mascara, maybe some blush, and ready to go. Lace up the Reebok High tops. Be happy because we looked like this:

jeans

10:30pm-Go to party. Meet new people. Play various drinking games like Quarters. Lose a lot. Think about Jersey Boy and wonder where he is.

10:59pm-Go outside on balcony as the clock rings 11pm Central Time and stare up at stars knowing it is now 1992 for Jersey Boy because he lives in the Eastern Time Zone. Make Amy celebrate East Coast New Year’s too. Don’t understand when she looks at you like you’re weird.

11:03pm-Think about drowning sorrows of long distance relationship woes by eating entire Baker’s Square French Silk Pie, but have a beer instead. Laugh as Amy plays Partridge Family cassette and party stops to figure out what went wrong with the music.

12:00am-Toast to the New Year, sing Auld Lang Syne, dance like no one is watching, hug my new friends from the party, be sure they will be my friends for the rest of my life. (Amy still is.)

3:30am-Walk back to Amy’s apartment and marvel how it doesn’t feel cold outside anymore. Don’t make connection that perhaps we had too much to drink and can’t feel the cold.

4:00am-Eat Baker’s Square French Silk Pie but don’t bother to cut it up. Just take a fork and eat what’s left of it after it fell down the stairs. Think about how yummy it is.

4:30am-fall asleep on the couch. Whisper good night to Jersey Boy.

12:00pm-Make sure there is enough gas in tank for ride home. Drive home with less conversation, stop at a White Castle’s for some nourishment. Start to notice eyes feel dry and make mental note to take out contacts when I get home.

3:00pm-Arrive home, and when parents ask how night was, say truthfully that it was a lot of fun. Leave out several key details.

3:15pm-Take a nap. For as long as I want.

 

I can guarantee my New Year’s Eve twenty five years later is much different. It will probably consist of trying to make dinner reservations somewhere and being pissed because I waited till the last minute. I will probably end up putting on my new flannel pj’s from Vermont at about 7pm( which are A-MAZ-ING and a gift from my Jersey Boy, who is now my husband of twenty years, by the way.) I will probably have my contacts out and be wearing my glasses. I will probably surf the internet and check my Facebook pages. I will probably wonder if maybe I should’ve asked for Botox for Christmas. I will be mad I didn’t make an appointment to have my roots colored.  There won’t be a Baker’s Square French Silk Pie anywhere near my fork.  I will probably keep checking my “find my iPhone” app to confirm the whereabouts of my teenage son. I will probably have called the parents of where he will be to make sure they will be home and no alcohol is allowed.  I will probably spend a lot of time praying he makes good choices and is safe. I will probably wish my younger son would like to hang out with his mom for a little while. I will probably snuggle up with my Jersey Boy and watch a movie and fall asleep half way through.

Amazing how the years fly by, isn’t it?

I wonder what Amy is doing?

 

Peace and Love in 2017

Kathy

Catching Up With Blogging U…

I’m having a hard time completing my daily assignments.

Between all the real world stuff I have to accomplish on a daily basis, I’m finding it difficult to find the time to invest into my blog. I’m hoping I could catch up this weekend, but it looks like this might be a hard task to accomplish.

Case in point…Right now I have a group of 10-11 year old boys in my basement celebrating my youngest’s birthday with a sleepover.

My husband and older son are away at a hockey tournament and I am home to organize the chaos.

I hear Nerf guns going off, yells and squeals, video game challenges, negotiations, a very loud TV, air hockey games, etc. You get the picture.

 

Assignment #9: Be Inspired by the Neighbors

This follows Assignment #8 which is to Be a Good Neighbor. To be a good blog neighbor, the task was to comment of 4 blogs you’ve never commented on before.

I did that assignment, but couldn’t remember which four blogs I had commented on! (Oh my gosh! I can hardly remember where I put my car keys!) Luckily, I found my comments by scrolling through my history on WordPress.

I found an admirable post about Ebola Fighters on the blog Faradays Candle. It’s a blog written by two grade school sisters who find Science fascinating. That’s right, I said grade school sisters.

The post is about Ebola volunteers in West Africa and how deserving it was that they were named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year.

I couldn’t agree more!

In my twenty years as a Registered Nurse, I have been pooped on, peed on and vomited on too many times to count…

I’ve been harassed, teased, punched by a detoxing drunk, cursed at, yelled at and shouted at…

I’ve worked days, evenings, nights, holidays, and weekends…

Most days I scarf down my food during my break and sometimes I have to wait an ungodly amount of time to go to the bathroom.

I continue to do all this because I really love being a a nurse. With all the bad that goes along with this profession, there is so much more good that comes out of it. I really feel I am contributing something to this world. I truly feel I am happiest when I am serving others.

However, with all my good intentions, I would never volunteer to work with Ebola patients. Is that selfish of me? Whether it is or isn’t, I really don’t care. I just wouldn’t do it…I have a husband and children who I love very much and who love me back. I’m not willing to sacrifice like that.

It reminds me of how I feel about the firefighters who lost their lives on 9/11…Knowing you just might not make it out, that you might not ever see your family again, that your wife might be a widow, your children fatherless…What gave them the courage to go in and try to help? I can’t even fathom it. Truthfully, I would’ve ran the other way.

Which is why I hold in highest regards those that do this kind of work. They are really a special and unique breed of people who have far more courage and internal fortitude than most of the rest of the human race. I admire them but I also ask myself, “Are they crazy?”

Most of all, I am truly and immensely thankful for people like this who are nothing short of Heroic.

Peace,

K

Guest Furniture Re-dos

I must introduce you to my friend Anne…

 

We met while our sons played on the same hockey team a couple of seasons ago but discovered we had more in common than just the highs and lows of youth hockey and stinky-smelly hockey bags.

She likes to re-do furniture too and has an incredible talent for taking old and used furniture to fabulous and amazing pieces anyone would be proud to have in their home.

She shared with me some of her Before and After’s and I think she does a marvelous job.

She took this scratched and dinged up dresser and transformed it beautifully.

anne

anne

This transformation came out so Beautiful!

Here’s another great one…

From this-

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To this!

white dresser

What a difference!

And one of my favorites…

unfinished

Blah and Boring to Elegant and Embellished

bird dresser

How sweet is that?

Isn’t Anne truly talented? I know she uses one of my favorite paints to paint her furniture (Annie Sloan Chalk Paint) and puts a lot of elbow grease into fixing these babies up.  I honestly admire her work and can’t wait for spring to come so we could hit up some estate sales together and maybe work on some projects together.

You can find more of her curbside finds and furniture re-dos on her Facebook page. If you live in the Chicago land area, she might be able to help you take an old, worn out piece of furniture and turn it into something lovely.

In the meantime, I hope she has inspired you like she has inspired me.

Keep up the good work, Anne!

Peace,

K

Linking up this week with:

The Dedicated House

The Turquoise Home

Miss Mustard Seed

Chic on a Shoestring Budget

A “Girlfriend’s Weekend” and a Little Man tagged Along…

 

A friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future and accepts you today just the way you are.

 

This spring my three oldest and dearest friends and I took a little trip to Nashville! 

Yup, we left the lovely husbands and beautiful children behind and drove to Music City.

Confession…I’m not a huge country music fan but I do know all the words to Garth Brooks’ “Friends in Low Places”.  I did see Alabama in concert once, back in 1989.  I do own a pair of cowboy boots purchased in 1991, a gift from my then-boyfriend and now-husband.  (Those dang boots have held up ever so well.)

And through the years, my friends have held up well also.

The Background—Four Fabulous Forty-(ish) Women

Annie, Maribel, Amy and Me

Annie and I met and became friends in Kindergarten.

We met Maribel in Junior High, though she attended our rival school and we didn’t become “friends” till High School. 

In High School, we met Amy and the four of us have been friends since…sure there were highs and lows, fights and misunderstandings along the way, you know how girls can be.  But we stuck together and I love these women like sisters.

We over packed…clothes, shoes, snacks, candy, Pepsi (Annie), curling irons, flat irons, make-up, hot-rollers (me), i-pods, i-pads, work lap-tops (Maribel), little cartons of milk (Amy)  that froze and someone (Amy) tried to thaw out by using a blow-dryer.

We talked about the old days, the present days, and the future days…what our kids were up to, husbands up to, careers were up to…

But I brought along a little guy to enhance the fun and mischief of a Girl’s Only Weekend.

photo 5

My Antique Charlie McCarthy hung out with us all weekend.

It’s weird, I know, but he added so much laughter.  We soul-sisters dragged him around town.

 

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nashville

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How weird are we?  Well, very weird, although I like to think of us as “unique”.  After all, no one else in Nashville was running around with a ventriloquist doll.  At least, not that I was aware of…

nashville hotel

I’m sure people must have thought, “Look at those women…why are they posing for pictures and why are they including that scary doll in them?” 

 

nashville car

nashville moose

Good times…we danced, laughed, had a few drinks, ate, slept late (except me, I’m not able to do that anymore.  Sucks),  listened to a lot of music, walked the strip, danced some more, ate some more.  We bonded, shopped, did some touristy things like The Grand Ol Opry House tour….

All in all, it was a fantastic time, memories made, laughed till we cried at times. And some of us probably laughed so hard, we peed our pants. That’s how you know you are REALLY having a good time when you are over 40 and have had children…

I hope everyone has some friends like these…friends who accept you for who you are, friends who know your past and want only the best for your future.  Friends who you know you can call up in the middle of the night, and they will be there for you.

Friends who will help you carry a Charlie McCarthy doll around a rockin’ city and not bat an eye…

Peace,

K

He had me at the jingle…

 

 

A couple weekends ago, I was waving good-bye to my husband and kids as they headed out the door to do some errands and I heard this jingle, jingle, jingle.  Getting louder and closer.  Sounded a little like Christmas in October.

 

Imagine my surprise when I saw what it was!…An older gentlemen peddling through my very suburban neighborhood with a green and red cart, jingling as he walked along.

 

Meet Tony…

100_0864

 

He’s a bona-fide, one-in-a-million, old-fashioned knife sharpener!

How cool is that?  Of course I had to stop him and give him some business.  He sharpened knives for me that were duller than dull, and now they once again cut like buttah. 

(I also gave him several pairs of my sewing scissors to sharpen and they work like new.)

While he sharpened away, we chatted of course.  I asked him about his cart.

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He said it’s from the 1920’s, been in his family a long time, since they came over from Italy.  He had the best Italian accent…I told him I always wanted to go there…He looked at me and said, “Don’t you-a worry!  You-a have a plenty of time-a”.

He asked me who I was going to vote for.  I honestly told him I didn’t know.  We talked about the economy.  He told me he lost $82,000.00 from his pension.  I wanted to cry.  I almost did.  (Ok, I did.)

He told me what neighborhood he lives in…let me tell you-it’s about 15 miles from my house on the outskirts of Chicago.  I hoped and prayed he didn’t walk all that way pushing his cart.  (Thankfully, he didn’t. He has a truck that he uses to transport.)

The cart itself is on two wagon wheels, as you can see.  The third wheel in the middle goes around by foot power.  Tony slides in, sits down and uses the foot pedals to make the wheel move.  As the wheel moves, it makes the rubber belt move, which then turns the stone for sharpening.  Pretty clever, huh?

What a treat it was to meet this man.  I enjoyed my time with Tony.  I  hope he stops in my neighborhood again.  When I hear that jingle getting louder and closer,  I will smile, grab some knives and scissors and catch up with him.

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Thank you, Tony, where ever you are!