Have a Super Sunday!

As I’m sure most of you know, it’s Super Bowl Sunday.  And for those of you who know me well, you know that I’m not a particular fan of football.  Now please don’t start sending me hate responses telling me how un-American I am.  I like baseball, so there!  Besides, football is played outdoors in miserable weather and I greatly dislike the cold.

Anyway, last Sunday’s comic strip, The Born Loser, had me laughing out loud, as it was so “me.”  For those who missed it, Brutus and his wife, Gladys, are watching the Super Bowl.

Brutus says, “I’m glad you joined me.  It’s so much nicer having someone to share the experience with.”  Gladys says, “I’m glad I joined you, as well.”

Brutus replies, “So, you’re actually enjoying the Super Bowl?”

She says, “Absolutely!  And I would enjoy it even more if they didn’t keep interrupting the entertaining commercials with the stupid football game!”

Now in my defense, I want you to know that I went to every football game in high school and in college.  I had to.  I was in the band.  To me, that is what a football game is all about—the pregame and half-time shows, as well as the rousing pep songs when the team is taking a time out, which seems all the time.  (This is particularly annoying when there are only two seconds left on the clock).  The band, socializing, hitting up the snack bar, and hanging out with your friends are the whole purpose behind enduring a football game. I also went to most of the Lewis Middle School and Niceville High School games when my older son was in the band.  Now I dutifully go to all the Rocky Bayou games to watch my other son, who is one the team’s hydration monitors (water boy) hustle out to re-hydrate the team. I cheer when the fans cheer.  I chant with the cheerleaders.  But the fact is, I have never really “gotten” how the game is played.

Yes, I get that the point of the game is to get the football past the other team, who is lined up and waiting to mightily injure you, so you can get it to the end of the field and score a touchdown.  It doesn’t matter that you ruptured your ACL in the process. The only thing that matters are those six points.  I guess that’s where the term “take one for the team” originated.  But  it’s such an arduous process.  Unless one player manages to break away and run ninety yards to the goal line,  the majority of the game is spent setting up the sides, hiking the ball, and playing for two seconds until the ref’s whistle blows.  Football is the only game I know where it takes two hours to play five minutes.  And let’s face it—it is just plain boring watching a game played in two second increments, minus the fifteen second adrenaline rush when one player runs ninety yards for a touchdown.  To me, that fifteen seconds isn’t worth sitting on a hard, cold bleacher for four hours. My eyes are constantly drawn to the clock begging it to just count down and not stop every two seconds.

But after attending literally hundreds of football games, I made a concentrated effort to learn a little more about the game recently.  Now I “get” the four attempts to move the ball ten yards.  (I think).  I used to just yell, “First in ten, do it again,” because everybody else was yelling it.  I had no idea what it meant.  Again, arduous process.  I even learned (don’t laugh) that there are offensive and defensive players, and they don’t play at the same time.  I thought they were all out there together.  But that’s about it.  Sometimes I hear a word I don’t understand, usually in connection with some infraction on the field when I didn’t see anything wrong, and I ask my husband what it means.  His response is usually, “I don’t know.”  Seriously?  Isn’t football programmed into the Y chromosome?

Of course these are local school games, where it is normal to get into the spirit of rooting for your team (even if you secretly wish you were at home watching a Hallmark movie).  Professional football is even more difficult for me to understand.  Unlike their rabid fans, these players have no particular team loyalty.  They play for whichever team offers them the most outrageous sum of money.  They’ll even give up “taking a knee” if paid enough money.  Apparently even standing up (or kneeling) for your beliefs can be bought.  But this is America.  Where else in the world can you dis the country that pays you millions of dollars?  Pro-ball players can literally get away with anything, including murder (not naming names, here), as long as they can play football.  Hopefully they are smart enough to sock their millions away when they’re young, because all their body parts will give out from years of abuse by age thirty.

Gosh, I really didn’t mean to rain on your Super Bowl parade.  I’ve really tried to like the game, but I just can’t drum up the enthusiasm.  I realize that makes me a pariah among the vast majority of the people in this area.   So, please, just ignore me for the football-less freak I am, enjoy the game, and root for your choice of the Rams or the Patriots (for crying out loud can’t they ever give another team a chance at the big game)?  See?  I’m learning already!

 

 

 

The Criminals Among You

The other day I went to pick up a prescription for my son.

“I need to see your driver’s license,” the clerk informed me.

Usually, I use my military ID card for identification, but in this case, she specifically asked for my driver’s license, so I fished it out and handed it to her.

“This is expired,” she informed me.

“What??” My stomach plummeted to my knees.

“Yes, in November.”  She handed it back.

Oh no!  Another one of those things I’m supposed to remember—like all those passwords for hundreds of websites that I visit every two years.  How am I supposed to keep track of all these things I’m expected to do?  At my age, my brain is full!  It can’t be responsible for squeezing in any more information.  Of course, it would be nice if the state of Florida sent a reminder that our driver’s license is about to expire and needs to be renewed.  But we are talking about a government department.  Why should they do any more work than necessary?  Besides, if they sent out reminders, they couldn’t collect the late fees on people who forget to renew their licenses.

The realization that I had been driving around with an invalid license sent a wave of terror down my spine.  At any time during the past two months, I could have been in an accident or pulled over by a policeman and potentially carted away to jail.  I’m a law-abiding citizen, for crying out loud.  How would I explained this to my Sunday school class?  I was suddenly paralyzed with the fear of driving home.  I just knew something bad was going to happen during the two mile trip. By the grace of God I made it home with the guilty knowledge I was breaking the law.  But I refused to drive to church that night.  I had to go with my husband, which meant getting there early and staying late—with a business meeting, no less.  Probably my punishment for being a criminal.

The next day was my husband’s birthday, which fell on his day off.  Instead of sleeping in, he had to get up and take our son to school and then drive me to the tax collector’s office.  There is a sign on the door that says, “Welcome to the Tax Collector’s Office.”  Somehow, that seemed like rubbing salt in an open wound.  Does anyone actually enjoy a trip to the tax collector?  Or feel welcome?  Usually it’s worse than a root canal without Novocain. Fortunately, however, there was no line and the lady who processed me was very nice.

So now you’ll be happy to know I’m driving legally again.  But who knows how long it would have taken me to realize I was driving around with an expired license if it hadn’t been for that astute clerk at the pharmacy?  Hopefully not as long as I as it took me to find out I had an expired DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) license.  It seems that when I quit my job at one veterinary clinic and moved to another, my mail didn’t get forwarded to me, so I never received notice of renewal for my DEA license.  I discovered this when I went to change my name on my license after I got married in ’91.   Apparently my license had been invalid for seven years!  I asked the representative in the government office what I should do until my new license was issued.  (This was back in the old days before instant online renewal).  She replied I shouldn’t write any prescriptions for controlled drugs until I got my new license in about three weeks.  Even though I hadn’t been caught for seven years, I was so nervous I didn’t write prescriptions for anything!   Just imagine what might have happened if I hadn’t gotten married!  My husband not only saved me the fate of being an old maid and a crazy cat lady, but also the fate of being a felon!

Help! I’ve fallen and can’t get up!

As I get older, there are a number of things I have begun to worry about which seemed way too far off in the future to concern myself with in younger years.  Of course when I was younger, I was never going to reach “old age”—although the alternative isn’t so appealing, either—and even if I did, I was going to be one of those cool old ladies who takes up rock climbing or white water rafting at the age of ninety.  But there is one thing I have prayed I would never become and that is one of those frail old people who falls all the time. That, along with about five hundred other things about aging, is one of my worst nightmares.

To that end, I try to stay active, exercise as much as my schedule will allow, and take calcium supplements and medication for my aging, osteoporotic bones.  So it was with a sense of dismay that I found myself flat on the floor the other day, like one of those old ladies in the commercials groaning, “Help!  I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”  Actually, I didn’t say those words.  I just lay on the floor and groaned.

What precipitated my fall was the need to return a pair of scissors to the desk drawer.  It seems I’m the only one in the house who is capable of returning anything to its proper place, and if I wanted to see those scissors in the future, it would be up to me to return them to where I could find them again.  I picked up said scissors—I don’t remember which hand they were in or which way they were pointed, but as I’m generally a careful person, they were probably pointed correctly.  As I started across the bedroom, the evil cord from the electric blanket on our bed reached out and grabbed my right foot.  The next thing I knew, I had face-planted on the hardwood floor and stabbed myself in the left ear with the scissors.  I wasn’t even running with scissors!  I knew it had to be bad since the sound of my body slamming into the floor actually roused my twelve year old son away from his Wii game to come see what happened.

“Are you all right?” he in fact asked. There might have even been the tiniest tinge of concern in his voice.  However, it was probably more geared toward hoping I said I was perfectly fine so he could get back to his game.

“No,” I panted.  “Look and see if my ear is bleeding.”  Having had extensive experience with cut ears in my animal patients, I know they bleed like stuck pigs.  I could just visualize a scene that resembled something out of a hacker movie.  If so, I was done for, as I can’t stand the sight of human blood, especially mine.  (I know, I know, I treat grisly animal emergencies and do surgeries for a living. Human blood is different, trust me).  As it was, I was feeling rather queasy from having the wind knocked out of me, shearing the skin off the side of my left hand, and the pain of stabbing myself in the ear.  The only good thing in this whole episode was the pullout shelves on the desk were shoved in, as my head would have made kindling out of them on the way down.  As it was, my head missed the desk by about an inch.

Two seconds later, my husband called to tell me he was on his way home from work.

“Answer the phone,” I instructed my clueless son, who stood there staring at me, letting the phone ring.

He answered and told his father I couldn’t come to the phone because I was lying on the floor where I fell.  Of course my husband immediately demanded to talk to me, so I panted and gasped out the whole story to him.

“Is your ear bleeding?” he asked.

“I don’t know,” I whined.  “I’m afraid to look at it.”  Or even touch it, for that matter. For all I knew, my whole ear was lying on the floor in a pool of blood.

“Well get something and—”

“Just come home!” I cut him off and disconnected.

Somehow, by the time he got home, I had made it off the floor and onto the bed.  My son was back playing Wii.  The sensation that I was going to faint had pretty much gone away, and my face was no longer ashen and covered in cold sweat.  Although I felt beat up, I realized I wasn’t seriously hurt.

“Well, I’ve done it,” I complained to my husband.  “I’m now officially one of those old people who falls.  At least I didn’t break my hip.”

“You didn’t fall,” he pointed out.  “You tripped.  There’s a difference.”

“You’re right!”  My attitude brightened.  “I’m not old.  I’m just a klutz!”

 

 

 

Waste not, Want not

It has occurred to me more than once as I’ve gotten older that I’ve become my mother.  Not that it’s a bad thing—my mother was a remarkable woman.  But she was also a product of the Great Depression, which meant that literally nothing was ever wasted in our house while I was growing up.  A leftover teaspoon of vegetables at dinner got tossed into a large container in the freezer.  When the container was full, she made vegetable soup.  My sister-in-law once commented that my mother’s vegetable soup never tasted the same twice.  Little did she know.

Growing up, we recycled boxes, Christmas wrapping paper, ribbons, and bows. This meant gifts had to be opened carefully so as not to tear the paper.  I can remember reusing the same paper for several years in a row.  Throwing out a cardboard box was an offense punishable by death.  (Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit.  You just wished you were dead after the tongue lashing for wasting a perfectly good box).  We had a whole collection of boxes in the attic—nothing that was ever the right size or shape for what you needed, but nevertheless, a shrine to cardboard.

It has taken me years to actually throw out salvageable wrapping paper after opening a present.  I finally rationalized that I can buy several new rolls of paper on sale after Christmas for half-price, which cost next to nothing.  The boxes have taken me a bit longer.  When I couldn’t get into the storage room over the holidays because of all the empty boxes, I made the bold and painful decision to get rid of half of them—but only half.  Baby steps.  I even threw out a few oft recycled gift boxes, which had been repeatedly taped to hold them together.  I’m sure my mother is turning over in her grave, but my storage room looks much better.

I admit I will occasionally recycle plastic silverware after running it through the dishwasher.  Old ratty clothes which are too worn out to take to Goodwill get left in the closet.  I can’t stand the thought of throwing away clothes.  Besides, I might need them for painting projects and such.  Yes, I really need all fifty stained and holey shirts and pants.  And leftovers don’t get tossed out unless they are no longer recognizable or resemble a science project.  The one thing I have put my foot down on, however, is reusing plastic bags.  I simply refuse to wash out baggies and reuse them as my mother did.  In the first place, I can buy a box of 100 new baggies at the dollar store.  In the second place, it is a tedious waste of time to wash and dry baggies.  In the third place, it grosses me out to think of reusing them.  For some reason, my mother-in-law did the same thing, so it must be generational. However, she went so far as to reuse Styrofoam drinking cups.  I don’t care how many times those things went through the dishwasher, there was still an “odor” that lived in the porous material of those cups.  Plus teeth marks.  As gross as reused baggies are, they don’t compare to the grossness of reused Styrofoam cups.

So what got me thinking about this topic?  It seems I spent a good forty-five minutes with my salad shooter today grinding up old bread heels into bread crumbs. Nobody in our house eats the heels, so into the freezer they go.  When I can’t find anything in the freezer because of all the bread heels, I take them out and make bread crumbs out of them.  It saves a lot of money.  Well, actually, I can buy a can of ready-made bread crumbs pretty cheaply, so I probably saved us about $1.59 for all my effort today. I don’t know how long bread crumbs last in the freezer, but I have enough for the next couple of years or so.  These bread crumbs will never be thrown out, no matter how frostbitten they become.  As my mother taught me, waste not, want not.

 

Good-bye to Christmas 2018

Is there anything more depressing than “de-decorating” after Christmas is over?  Well, yes, I suppose there is, but it’s always such a letdown to finally admit the holidays are over.  There is such a sense of anticipation building up to Christmas.  There is the shopping, decorating, Christmas programs, Christmas parties, the once a year Christmas music, special goodies to eat, and everything else that goes into the climax of having everything come together on Christmas morning.  (Or, if you cheat, Christmas Eve.  But you folks who open your presents on Christmas Eve are doing things all wrong.  Just sayin’).

Putting up Christmas decorations takes a lot of time and energy, but in the end, it is worth it.  This year, with Thanksgiving coming early, we had almost a whole extra week to enjoy our decorations.  Over the years, we seem to have accumulated a lot of decorations—six large plastic tubs in the shed, not counting the several boxes in the storage closet—and each decoration must be displayed, as it has special significance.  Even the ones that don’t look quite so good anymore, ie., shabby and pathetic.  Our Christmas ornaments are mostly collections from places we’ve been, with a smattering of ornaments that were gifts, or made by the kids, so each one must hang on the tree, no matter how ugly.

Our New Year’s tradition is de-decorating.  Yeah, I know we are wild and crazy people, but if you read my blog from last week, you already know that.  This year, however, was a little different.  On the Friday before New Year’s, we came home from work to find our Christmas tree had fallen over.  This was in spite of the heavy twine anchoring it to the hook in the wall.  We learned to anchor the tree to the wall after a similar episode a few years ago.  Of course all the pretty ornaments were in the front, so they took the biggest hit, including the delicate hand-painted one we bought just this past summer in Tuscon and the porcelain wooden shoes Doug brought me from the Netherlands in 1993.  Okay, I guess technically, you can’t have porcelain wooden shoes.  To clarify, they were shaped like wooden shoes, but made out of porcelain.  A couple of the ornaments took double hits, having survived being glued back together after the first incident.  Anyway, at that point, it just made sense to take the tree down early and leave everything else up until New Year’s.

But after spending three hours taking down decorations and packing them away, yet again, I got to thinking. This business of putting up and taking down decorations is a lot of work.  And it seems like time goes faster and faster these days, so before we know it, Christmas will be here again.  Plus, you may not realize this, but I’m not as young as I used to be, so decorating and de-decorating is more of an effort than it used to be.  So here’s what I’m thinking for next year.  I’ve been in the homes of elderly people who leave their Christmas decorations up year round and I’m about to the age where I can start getting away with elderly eccentricities.

Thus, next year, after decorating for Christmas, I’m leaving everything up.  I’ll be able to continue enjoying my Christmas decorations all year and I won’t have the depression that accompanies taking everything down.  Nor will there be the work of putting everything up again the following year. There’s only one problem.  We always buy a real Christmas tree.  I wonder what it will look like in a year, provided it doesn’t fall over.

HAPPY NEW YEAR

Back in the day—and I’m talking way back, like forty-plus years ago—there was nothing worse than not having New Year’s Eve plans.  Anyone under the age of thirty without a social function to attend on the big night was sure to elicit a smidgen of pity with a heap-load of disdain.  After all, there must be something really wrong with a person who didn’t have somewhere to go on New Year’s Eve, and it was best not to associate with said person, lest you be condemned to the same fate next year.

Aside from the year when I was fifteen and held a New Year’s Eve party at my house to which my date never showed up (so I spent most of the party crying in my bedroom), my younger New Year’s Eves were fun-filled and exciting. One of the organizations I belonged to always held a formal dance on New Year’s Eve, which was eagerly anticipated. Later, in college and vet school, there was always a party to go to.

But something changed as I got older.  Well, actually, a lot of things changed as I got older, but I don’t need to go into detail.  The hubby and I still got invited to New Year’s Eve parties, but the thrill just wasn’t there, anymore.  Usually these parties started around eight o’clock, so after arriving, eating, and making small talk for a while, there was really nothing else to do until midnight.  Unfortunately, however, if you are at a New Year’s Eve party, you can’t just leave by ten o’clock when you grow tired or bored, because the whole point is to celebrate the New Year.  To be truthful, however, I’m not sure what this manufactured celebration is actually celebrating.  So you’re stuck for another two hours, watching the clock hands move slowly towards the magic hour when you can gracefully take your leave.  Plus, if you don’t drink and everyone around you does, the evening becomes even less fun as the hours drag by.  There is nothing less amusing than being sober in a crowd of drunks.

I knew I had hit the official definition of “old” when my idea of a great New Year’s Eve was to stay home and do nothing.  I don’t even feel the need to stay up until midnight.  I mean, seriously, what’s the big deal?  Watching the big ball drop in Times Square on TV—which, in reality, it did an hour earlier in the eastern time zone—just doesn’t do anything for me.  Whoopty-do!   Besides, if I go to bed at nine o’clock, it’s already New Year’s Day somewhere in the world, right?  So I can just celebrate with the folks in that area, yell “Happy New Year,” kiss my husband, and go to sleep.

But to show I’m not a total old fogey, I may stay up all the way until 11:00 o’clock this year, providing, of course, I don’t fall asleep on the couch watching the Hallmark movie.

Happy New Year!

 

 

 

‘Tis the Season for Sharing

I don’t check my Facebook every hour.  I don’t even check it every day.  Sometimes I go for a week or more without checking Facebook.  That’s how I happened to miss a post from a friend who left one of those guilt-tripping, “Share if you care” messages.  You know the ones—”If you’re truly my friend you will leave a comment and share this with all your friends (who don’t even know me), and dye your hair purple in honor of my favorite color and post a selfie, and donate all your money to my favorite charity (me).  Only my real friends will bother.  If you don’t reply, I’ll know you don’t care about me.  You never cared about me.  Our friendship meant absolutely nothing to you.  I might as well be dead. In fact, I may just go kill myself now.”

Oh my gosh!  I don’t need that type of pressure in my life!  I can’t go through my days stressed out about the possibility of missing a post that is designed to make me prove my friendship with someone and if I don’t respond, I will be on that person’s black list for all eternity.  What if my lack of a reply causes that person to start drinking?  Or get so depressed they sit around their house all day in their underwear, not bothering to shower or brush their teeth? Or binge watch episodes of Sponge Bob?  Or dig out their old disco albums and try to resurrect their John Travolta years?  I don’t need that on my conscience.  I have enough drama to deal with in my own life.  Come to think of it, the post I missed was from more of an acquaintance than a friend.  I mean, I care and all that, but not enough to lose sleep over.  I guess I’m not a “real friend.”

The ones I really hate are the ones that admonish me, “If you love Jesus, you will send this to everyone you know, including back to me.”  Let me get this straight.  So if I don’t forward the post to everyone I know, does that mean I don’t love Jesus?  I can’t have people thinking I don’t love Jesus!  I’m a pastor’s wife!  I teach Sunday school! Plus the people who challenged me will know if I don’t resend the message because they stipulated I had to send it back to them!  Then they will think I don’t love Jesus.  What a quandary.  I certainly don’t want people thinking I don’t love Jesus, but on the other hand, I don’t necessarily want my faith being tested by whether or not I forward something another person guilts me into posting.  Besides, I doubt whether Jesus cares if I forward it or not.

True friends are those who don’t make your friendship contingent upon you completing a challenge to prove it.  So for those whom I have failed by not carrying out the assigned task of reposting, I apologize for failing to live up to your expectations.  If you agree with me, please share this with all your friends, including me, or I’ll know you never bothered to read this blog.

Speaking of loving Jesus, remember He is the Reason for the Season.  He loved us so much that He left Heaven and came to earth as a helpless baby, grew up, lived a sinless life, and fulfilled His ultimate purpose by dying on the cross for our sins.  To all who receive Him as Lord and Savior, He gives the right to become children of God.  Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.”  I pray everyone reading this has accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior.  If not, this Christmas season would be a good time to do so.  Give yourself the ultimate gift—the assurance of knowing you will spend eternity in Heaven.

Merry Christmas!