Carry on Tuesday: Once Upon A Time

Out of fog Bay Bridge and Golden Gate Bridge a...

Out of fog Bay Bridge and Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco in fog and crepuscular rays. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There was a time once, not so long ago, when I was chubby, fat, or just pleasantly plump. In Italy I would have been a goddess. Men would have followed me down the cobble stoned streets, whistling and begging to touch my beautiful breasts and my bountiful behind. Unfortunately, I wasn’t living in Italy, I was here in the United States, where all I really wanted was to be slender. I thought if I was thin, all my problems would dissipate like the mysterious fog in San Francisco. I imagined the fog lifting while I watched, wearing a heavy knit red sweater and sitting peacefully on a huge rock.

A couple of months ago I was very sick, (on top of my chronic illnesses” Fibromyalgia, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, IBS) I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t leave my house or the bathroom for an entire four weeks. I was pale, gaunt and looked ill. People on the street would ask me guardedly “If I was okay?” Part of me, if I had a sense of humor back then wanted to say “Of course, I’m in the middle-aged super model competition” but I had no sense of humor at the time. The other part of me was scared to speak so I just said “I’m fine” which people accept with relief and don’t follow-up with questions.

All my life there was always something about me that I wanted to change and after I changed it, I thought I would be happy: my weight, my hair, my glasses, wearing make-up, dressing better, nice shoes, tinting my hair to cover the tiny amount of gray that swirled in front of my face. The gray hair that I had been so proud to have, to acknowledge my real place in the world, as someone who had already experienced a great deal of life and had earned them with pride.

Having been married for 24 years with two young adults doing well in college was proof enough and even though I did go through a time feeling sorry for myself that the kids ” didn’t need me anymore” I realized my husband and I had done a very good job of parenting. I admit, I needed to remind myself that loving and needing were two very different things, they would love me as their mom but their lives and our lives would be constantly changing. Yes, sometimes it changes so quickly it was hard to keep up, that’s when I found myself alone, crying into an old, soft, handkerchief and feeling sorry for myself. I learned to accept that too. You have no choice.

Six weeks ago I went from eating and being lively to not eating and not feeling well, I lost over 30 pounds and before you coo and ooh and ahhh and wish it was you I can tell you, you better take that back. I did not enjoy clothes falling from my body, or food flowing through me, and not being able to go outside of my house for four weeks. The doctor scheduled me for every “cancer” test known to humanity and that was not fun. The doctor, not known for his bedside matter, actually told me WHAT he was testing for when we first met him in his office. Thanks, Doc, nice touch.

I will be getting the results later this week, I’m hoping that everything will be fine, I’m ( fairly) certain that they will be. The symptoms stopped a few days after my office visit and while I haven’t gained a lot of weight back, I do get hungry and I feel better. My newest ( little ) problem is this: I went to shop for new jeans and found that there are no jeans for women of my age. They have skinny jeans, under the waist jeans and jeans for teenagers with lithe bodies. Basically, the clothes that I have are four sizes too big for me and the style out there now are for teenagers only. I have nothing to wear, I miss my “Mom jeans.” It is impossible to find them, anywhere. Suggestions?

All that I have accomplished in this quest are the lack of clothes to wear and the acquisition of numerous wrinkles. I sat outside in the sun for a few moments, noticing all the wrinkles on my knees and thighs that were not there before. As I sat, warming my face, was I thinking about the good things in my life in a delighted way? No. I was thinking about the barium test (drinking chalk) that I have to drink tomorrow morning at eight am and where to aim my projectile vomiting. That, at least, is amusing me.

Be happy with what you have and who you are. As my dad used to say “Health is the most important thing.”  It’s the only thing, be grateful.

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Plinky Prompt: If you could visit any city in the world, which city would you pick?

English: Venice, Italy

English: Venice, Italy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • If you could visit any city in the world, which city would you pick and why? See all answers
    • Off To Venice, Back In 3 Weeks, Or Not….
    • Imagine gondolas, gliding through canals, my husband and I are on a much-needed vacation, there seems to be so much stress in our lives but on vacation they melt like milk chocolate in the sunshine. We are in Venice, Italy, there is nothing on our minds except pleasure: where will we eat, sleep, visit or walk.What flavor gelato shall we have today? Hazelnut? Strawberry? These are the only decisions we have to make.The strong Italian coffee is addicting, We yearn for it each morning and sometimes we have it in the afternoon as well.

      We don’t know anyone here, and that’s just lovely. There are no bills piling up, no dog barking incessantly, no dirty laundry piles waiting to be washed. There are rotten food items in our refrigerator back home and we both didn’t want to deal with it so we shut the doors firmly and left, hoping it will fix itself even though we know it will be there when we get back. (My true fantasy is to say IF we come back.)

      Our children are not children anymore, they are young adults with lives of their own. They don’t need us very much at all and for me, honestly, it’s an adjustment. I’ve never been good at saying good-bye in any shape or form.

      I would also like to rent a car (my husband will drive it) and go to the country side and pluck purple grapes with my fingers and take photographs of the rolling green hills and the animals that live there. I don’t care at all about going to Rome or shopping there, I have been to Rome before with my parents but I would go with my husband so he can see all the historic magnificence while I enjoy the present.

    • Previous Answer

Living in Other Countries

A 4 x 1 segment panorama of the Toledo Skyline...

Image via Wikipedia

Invite Us, Please.

If the opportunity presented itself to my husband and I we would definitely go. Where? England, Italy, Spain, The Netherlands….etc. we are really open. I always thought it would be wonderful to live in another country for a year. Maybe two….

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Living in Other Countries

Bruce Springsteen - Born In The USA

Image by Piano Piano! via Flickr

I had the proud distinction when I was little of being the “only born American” and I wore that honor with pride. My parents and my older sister were all born in different countries and even though my parents and sister came to the United States when my sister was 9 months old, I still felt special.

At this point in my life, with my husband and our two almost grown children, I would love to live in another country for a few years. Italy, Spain, England, Holland? Greece, Israel, Japan? I love to visit different countries when we can afford it. The only place I wouldn’t want to live? Paris. I would be such an American outcast, wearing my blue jeans and long-sleeved gray GAP shirt, sneakers and clogs. There’s no way I’m wearing high-heeled stilettos and expensive outfits for any city. However, the French countryside is breathtakingly beautiful and I wouldn’t mind learning how to make cheese. For now, I think I’ll stay right here in the USA where I can wear what I want and still drink strong coffee and pastries. If, however, the opportunity came up…..I can pack quickly.

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My Freckles Are Spreading, No Really

Ashton Kutcher at Time 100 Gala

Image via Wikipedia

I was in a small shopping mall last week and I passed a mirror and I thought, for a quick second, that I saw my reflection. No, that couldn’t be me. I must have seen someone else. Whoever it was, looked bloated, tired, pale and cranky. She was wearing a green shirt, and mom jeans with protruding stomach rolls, and she was frowning furiously that showed deep wrinkle lines.  That’s NOT me! Um, but I am wearing the same outfit and my eyes are green…..

Maybe the mirror I looked in was one of those funny mirrors that they use in amusement parks, or pranks!  I looked around for Ashton Kutcher because I thought I was being  “Punked”or at the very least, pranked. Ashton, however  was no where in sight and the only camera looking at me was a security camera following my every, suspicious move.

That old, sad, mad, fat person warily looking back at me made me want to weep and hide in some stranger’s musty attic or move to Canada or better yet, Italy. I can give good advice to others about positive body image but it wasn’t working for me today.  Today, I flunked the course.  I  ordered a chopped salad for lunch (appetizer size) and I had that lovely tiny slice of Italian cheesecake with the essence of orange, but don’t those things cancel each other out?

If big, cranky, frowning lady wasn’t enough I also saw that there is now something quite wrong with my skin. I’ve always had that pale, cream-cheese complexion but things are changing.  My freckles are joining together; I’m sure that’s what it must be.  It couldn’t be the dreaded old age spots, could it? This day just keeps getting better and better.

Just one more thing: I remembered the cashier at A & P  who asked me my age. I was so confused…..until she told me that Seniors, 55 and older get 5% off their bill on Tuesdays. It was Tuesday and while I am not 55, I’m really damn close. So, thanks for the discount but your people skills stink.

I know all the reasons why women gain weight in their, (cough, cough) mid to later years and I lend these pearls of wisdom to friends as easily as I would a  button-down blue sweater. My own body crashed with Menopause, followed closely by an Underactive Thyroid condition and an Auto-immune Disease called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. After that, I was diagnosed with  Fibromyalgia. But, today I’m just not buying it. I don’t care, I just know how awful I feel. Today, I am allowing myself to sulk.

Maybe tomorrow I will be able to put things in perspective. I will remember that good health is more important than weight, that I have a wonderful family and I am grateful for so many things. As for the cheesecake? It was worth every bite. The mirror? That, was pure evil.

“Eat, Pray, Love” Or Don’t Love In My Case

I’m a book kind of girl. I read a lot of books, buy a lot of books, borrow and lend a lot of books. That’s why I always say to myself, once you’ve read the book, DO NOT see the movie. I say it, I mean it, I don’t listen to myself and I regret it. So, in my opinion the title of this movie should be “Eat, Pray, Don’t Love. That’s how I felt after seeing “Eat, Pray, Love” based on the book by Elizabeth Gilbert. WHY didn’t I listen to myself?  Because I think I know myself better than I really do; and I am usually wrong. So, once again, I am saying visualize on your own, don’t see the movie afterwards, it ruins the images you have.

The movie started with Julia Roberts’  luminous face, all toothy grin and natural beauty. She’s a great actress but a little too showy, too pretty and shiny for this movie.  Light softly silhouettes her face, there is beautiful scenery which of course showcases again the light of Julia’s pretty face. She’s beautiful even when she is supposed to be an emotional wreck. I wanted more authenticity instead of Julia Roberts playing Pretty Woman Now Middle-Aged. It was Julia Roberts on Julia Roberts, in just about every scene.

Another thing for us real women; if i had gone to Italy for a month of carbs and conversation I would have gained 30 lbs. and would have worn sweat pants instead of the teeny-tiny jeans she was wearing before and after in the film. If you are going to love your pizza, and your pasta, your wine, bread etc. keep it real. Most women don’t giggle lying down in a fitting room buying only the tiniest of jeans. Yes, we’ve all done the zipper trick  at home, on our beds, alone, but most of us would show we have gained weight, which is how real life is. Embrace your body? Not with those size 0 or 2 or 4 jeans, not even close.

The other incredibly annoying thing about the movie, which I found totally inappropriate, was the sound track. As soon as I heard the first song, my mouth was wide open, aghast. I’m sure the songs themselves will be hits but they just didn’t belong to the movie. Did Elizabeth Gilbert hear those songs in her mind? Somehow, I doubt it.

Pretty woman, you’re still pretty, and beautiful  but you’re amazingly privileged in the movie. I know a lot of people who go through marital troubles and they don’t get paid a nice salary for taking off time and traveling abroad. I understand the chaos you went through, I ‘m just not buying Julia Roberts feeling it.

Running Away: My “Rachel Green” (Friends) Moment

Friends Season 2

Image by IvanTortuga via Flickr

It’s no secret that being an adult can be very stressful at times for a variety of reasons. It could be parenting, it could be employment or unemployment,  marriage, illness or a combination of the above.  Parenting, to me, is utterly delicious but not always easy especially when you have two teenagers in High School at the same time.  Adulthood in itself can also be extremely overwhelming; you are older and things are not as easy as they used to be.  Everything is harder and more difficult however, if you live with a chronic illness. Your energy level is low, you feel weak, you feel pain, tiredness and sometimes sad and discouraged. That is the world I live in.

My husband and I had agreed to meet for lunch in the city where he was working.  I was coming from one of  many doctor appointments and feeling very discouraged. I think I had been to my  Opthamologist who had to relaser my eyes for the umpteenth time for my narrow- angled glaucoma. Or,  It could have been to see my Rheumatologist who is in charge of auto -immune diseases for my Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.  It could have been both.

We ordered our food and then I excused myself to go to the ladies room. Once I got inside I saw a big, wide open window,   leading to the street. Yes, I admit it,  I had a moment. I had a Rachel Green moment ( for those of you who don’t know the tv episode of Friends, she climbs out of the window at her wedding and runs away). For a few seconds I pictured myself climbing out that window;  I was absolutely stunned. Shocked. Eerily quiet.  For a split second I thought to myself, “I could just leave through this window and escape.”   I saw myself in  France or Italy,  eating warm, dense, freshly baked bread, pulling it apart and dunking it in olive oil.  I laid in the soft green velvet grass surrounded by leafy, gorgeous trees and rolling hills. There were wildflowers of every color, purple, yellow, pink and white.  I was alone. I was another person and, I was happy, feeling marvelous and buoyant and free. Free of illness, free of worry, I had just stepped into the colorized version of my life; I had entered into my own personal  Wizard of Oz.

No one could have been more shocked than me!  I shook my head quickly at the notion, but as I was returning to the table (and confessing to my husband) I still saw that image in my mind.  The sweetest thing was the feedback my husband gave me which was “I don’t blame you!!” I would NEVER do it,  would NEVER leave my family, but the fact that the thought popped into my mind was absolutely startling.

My husband and I finished our lunch and my husband led me to the train, the pain in my eyes like sharp, steel wires under attack, unable to see clearly and with a severe headache that pounded  the entire right side of my face. I stumbled to  Starbucks and bought a cup of coffee and a densely rich, moist,  brown sugar and molasses cookie for the ride. As  the train doors shut, I settled in, seated next to a window, in a chair facing my home and away from the city. Taking small, sugary bites from my molasses cookie I tried to relax.  My back nestled in the old, worn, smelly quilted chair. I sat quietly, listening to the  slow, chug-chug beat of the train like a song that was stuck on only one phrase, repeatedly. I sat in the train, the 2:48  that was delivering me back home.