Celebrating Moms and Daughters

On my mom’s side of the family, the “boy” cousins outnumber the “girl” cousins ten to six. Growing up, I didn’t get to know most of my cousins all that well, except for Becky. Becky is a month older than me and she’s the “oops” baby of her family. My mom was herself an “oops” baby, which meant by the time she had  us kids, there was enough of an age gap between us and our cousins that we were never all that close.

One of the benefits of growing older is that such age gaps begin to close. For the past several years, each time there is a family gathering, the bond between the cousins seems to grow stronger. My oldest cousin is fifteen or more years older than me and he’s been a grandpa for several years. “Oops” babies seem to be a trend in this family. My oldest cousin’s youngest child is just a year older than my youngest child. And I love that because having children of similar ages is a one of the things that ties us all closer together.

Lately, the girl cousins have been proposing that we start a tradition of girl-cousin get-togethers. It always seems like a great idea when we’re together, but when we go our separate ways, life gets in the way and these girl-cousin parties never seem to transpire; that is, until this past weekend. Well over a month ago, my cousin, Jean emailed all of us girls and proposed not just a girl-cousin party, but a moms and daughters and daughters-in-law and granddaughters party in honor of Mothers Day. Last Saturday was the day it all came together.

It was a gorgeous, warm day and we all gathered at Jean’s house for brunch. Everyone contributed a salad or dessert. There was much hugging and talking, laughing and reminiscing. There was plenty of picture-taking and story-swapping. My mom was feeling well and it was great to see her together with all three of her sisters, enjoying her family who she doesn’t see often enough. It was one of those beautiful times that reminded me what a  precious gift family can be.

Moms, daughters, granddaughters, great-granddaughters and one great-grandson!

My beautiful mom and her beautiful granddaughters

Mom with all of her daughters, daughters-in-law and granddaughters

My beautiful Kacey and me

Me and my favorite (and only) sister!

The Problem with Purses

So I bought a new purse yesterday. I decided that my old purse was just too darn big. I bought the old one about six months ago and it was a little bigger than I normally like. But I wanted something big enough to hold my Nook e-reader as well as all of the other normal stuff. And it looked like this.

Etienne Aigner Handbag, A Logo Tote - HandbagsAnd it was big enough to hold my Nook. And my wallet. And my cheater glasses. And my sunglasses. And some hand sanitizer and lip balm and lipstick that I rarely use and some Ibuprofen and some Acetaminophen and some miscellaneous papers and about sixty pens  and a fingernail file and my cell phone and gum and the kitchen sink.

Google Images

Well,there really wasn’t a kitchen sink in my purse but I think I could have probably fit a small child in there if I tried hard enough. It looked quite similar to the one in the photo above. That sucker was heavy! Sometimes I’d have to switch shoulders because the weight of the bag was too much and became painful.

What is it with us women? Why do we have to carry so much stuff around with us? And I have learned that the bigger the purse, the more stuff you’ll put in there. When I was carrying my gargantuan purse, people came to know that if they were in need of something, they could ask me because it was a pretty good bet I had everything anyone could possibly need ever in my purse. Ever!

Last summer I was working on a project at work that required me to relocate to a conference room for a couple of months so I could work closely with the team. It got so that I hardly ever even went to my desk. I just went straight to the conference room each morning with my jacket, purse and all. Favorite IT Guy, Dale made an observation about the women in the group one day. He was absolutely fascinated with the amount of stuff we hauled to and from work each day in our purses. I remember entering the room just after the conversation had begun and he looked at me and pointed. With wide eyes and awe in his voice, he said, “You have two of them! Why do you have two purses?”

“I don’t have two purses,” I argued. “I have one purse and one tote bag.There is a difference.”

Dale was confused. “What do you need to carry in the tote bag that isn’t already in the purse?”

“My lunch,” I said. “And sometimes my breakfast, and magazines I might have a chance to read over lunch break, the charging cord for my Nook, ear buds, multi-vitamins…”

I could tell Dale had already checked out as I listed the contents of my bags. It was that day that I began to realize that Dale had a very good point. What is with all the stuff? I’m nearly breaking my back hauling around all of the stuff I just might need at some point, but 99% of the time I don’t. I mean really! What do I really use on a daily basis out of all that stuff in my purse? My keys, my check card, my cell phone and the lip balm. What’s the worst that can happen if I lighten the load? Is there going to be a hair emergency if I don’t keep that travel-size bottle of hair spray on me at all times? I doubt it.

So I bought a new purse. I made sure my Nook wouldn’t fit in it. The new purse would actually fit in the old purse! And I swore I was going to pare down the stuff to just the essentials. Oh yes, I was making great strides in gaining control of my purse again. I couldn’t wait to sit down last night and clean out the old one. I was ready to have a reasonable purse again with a reasonable amount of stuff inside. I carefully sorted through the contents of my purse. I threw a lot of stuff away and eliminated the non-essentials. There would be no non-essentials in the new purse.

Now that I’ve made the switch to the new purse, there’s only one problem… I can’t get the zipper closed.

Mall Slippers

I did something really dumb. I went to the mall on Friday, with plans for at least a few hours of shopping, wearing these:

Nickels Women's Flight Boot

And it wasn’t just any mall that I went to. It was the Mall of America, with multiple levels and over 400 stores to peruse. And it wasn’t just any day of shopping. It was a special day, as I was meeting my way-back-in-high-school friend, Kendra and we had a lot of catching up to do.

I met Kendra in the parking ramp at 10:00 a.m. and we started our day. We both had a ton of shopping to do for Christmas so we just worked our way around each level. Along the way, Kendra would point out many lovely (read “hideous”) articles of clothing she thought I should try on. These included an orange paisley print dress, under which she recommended I wear a purple turtleneck. There was also a leopard print blouse with ruffly sleeves and matching leggings. I think my favorite was the black lace, sparkly bra top with coordinating mini-skirt, reminiscent of the Madonna years. I thanked her for her suggestions but passed on all of them, citing my need to spend my money on gifts for others, not myself. (Kendra’s sense of humor hasn’t changed a bit since we were in high school!)

As we collected our Christmas purchases, we made a few trips back to the parking ramp to deposit the bags in our cars, then would return in search of more gifts for those on our lists. Several hours passed quickly and I noticed my feet were starting to ache. Actually, I think they were beyond “starting to ache.” They were well into the “killing me” stage.

And it seems I wasn’t the only stupid one that day. Kendra had worn a very similar pair of boots and the realization that my feet were killing me came with her announcement that her feet were killing her. So we came up with a plan of action. We took a break for lunch and a much-needed foot rest.

It was difficult getting back on our feet after lunch, but we had a mission. We left the restaurant and headed straight for DSW Shoe Warehouse.  We browsed all over DSW, where Kendra was quick to point out a pair of tall rubber boots in a lovely giraffe print to go with my orange paisley dress and purple turtleneck. I am in need of something to wear for Christmas. I may have to go back and snatch up these lovely items!

Our visit to DSW though, was not about giraffe-print rain boots. It was about finding comfortable (and cheap) footwear to get us through the remainder of our shopping without causing blisters and bunions. We strolled through the flats and the athletic footwear. We browsed through practical shoes and fingered the flip-flops. And then, the perfect footwear appeared, ensconced in a halo of golden light like a gift from heaven above!

Smartdogs Women's Faith Hoodback SlippersYes, it was a pair of slippers and I swear I heard a choir of angels singing as I slipped my tortured foot into its fleecy softness.  It was a pair of SmartDog slippers, to be more precise, with a soft, thickly padded lining and built-in arch support with a patented, air-cushioned, honeycomb foot bed and full shock absorption that moves naturally with your stride. These slippers are a foot’s best friend.  And with a DSW coupon, they were only $16.95, a small price to pay for some major relief.

Kendra and I each bought a pair and proudly wore them through the mall for the remainder of our shopping excursion, which turned out to be a grand total of NINE HOURS and a highly successful mission. My Christmas shopping is almost done! And my feet? They are happy!

Adventures in Bowling

Bowling was a blast last night, as always.

Shannon and I have developed a routine of going straight from work to the bowling alley. We order dinner and a beer and wind down a bit before the games begin. I guess we’re becoming regulars. It’s gotten so that we’ve hardly pulled up a seat before two Mich Golden Lights are plopped down on the bar in front of us along with a couple of menus. Ben, the bartender, even went so far as to let us know that he charged us for our second beers before we finished our meals because that way we’d get the happy hour price on our next round. We love Ben! I told Shannon we’ve become Norm and Cliff and Ben is our Sammy.

We were pitted against the Mattie’s Lanes team again last night and though we fought hard, they kept us pinned securely in that second place position. But the Ball Busters know what’s really important and in spite of the scores, we had a good time.

It seems that every week, there is some story, the retelling of which requires me to protect someone’s anonymity. This week there was an incident with the under wire in one of the girls’ bras earlier in the day. Rather than spend the day having her boob poked, she simply removed the bra and kept a hooded sweatshirt on all day. She made the mistake of sharing this story with the team and for the duration of the evening, there were nippin’-out and sweaty-boob jokes aimed at this particular woman. Any time she bowled a bad frame, it was blamed on her boobs.

Another team mate may have had a little too much to drink. I’m not saying who, but her name starts with “Gina.” (Oops! Oh well…) Thankfully, this week she didn’t belch at the top of her lungs, then point at me when the guys from the men’s league looked over in shock.

Gina kept wandering over to the table of “more mature” women, the team with whom we had so much fun two weeks ago. These women have taken to referring to Gina as “Ohio” since there’s been so much talk of her moving there, yet she returns to bowling week after week. (Looks like she’s staying through the end of the school year now. YAY!) Anyway, Alishea and I had to keep calling Gina back to our lane to take her turn. At one point, she was sitting on the lap of a tiny little older woman who didn’t look equipped to have anyone sitting on her lap, even a petite little thing like Gina. Those women were like a magnet for Gina. It got so that every time we turned around, she was gone again. Alishea and I were shouting out in unison, “GINA” when it was her turn to bowl again. And when that didn’t work…”GYNA!” (As in vagina. She loves it when we call her that. <=== Sarcasm again…) I’m not sure why, but Alishea and I found this so funny and we were laughing so hard, our stomachs hurt. Apparently, I am a third-grader at heart.

Tune in again next week at this time for more adventures in bowling!

The Ball Busters Report

IMG_1033The Ball Busters are tearing up the lanes again! As of Monday night, we were solidly in second place after four weeks of play. (Damn that Mattie’s Lanes team – always a step ahead of us!)

We had the best time this week! I think we won, but I’m not entirely sure. I was too busy crying from the hysterical laughter to worry about things like the final score. My girls are a riot! There was a story that was shared several times over. (And I’ll refrain from naming names or being too specific so as not to embarrass anyone…) This story involved someone’s state of commando-ness while at work, a sneeze, an unexpected personal accident, some of those Clorox disinfecting wipes and a small personal fan placed in a strategic location. Use your imagination.

(And no, this was not my story. You know it wasn’t my story. There’s no way I’d ever admit such a thing to anyone! But the one who did share it is a brave soul and a good sport for letting us laugh at and with her!) And the story got more and more funny every time it was told!

Consider the fact, also, that there is usually beer in the equation when bowling. And when there is beer in the equation, most conversations lead to sex. (Yes, girls definitely talk about sex. I think Shannon scared Gina’s husband away. Poor guy just wanted to watch his wife bowl, but he started blushing and went to join the guys in the bar instead.) And the most innocent of comments become a source of hysterical laughter. For example…

Whose is the blue ball?

Blue ball! Ha ha ha ha! She said “blue ball!”

or

My finger doesn’t fit in the hole!

…Ha ha ha ha! She said her finger doesn’t fit in the hole!

Yes we are juvenile, but we have fun. We even got the other team in on our antics. And the other team was, shall we say, somewhat of the more mature persuasion. They seemed a little stuffy at first, but soon we had them whooping and hollering just as much as we did.

And then there are the antics. We all get quite animated after throwing the ball. There are gestures such as little leg kicks and something akin to “backing the truck up.” (Stick your booty out and push outward with your hands.) It is widely believed that these antics will encourage more pins to fall.  And there is the good luck stance when we’re trying to help a team mate make a good throw. It involves standing on one foot, facing away from the player, with the right pinkie finger pointed at the right temple and left arm extended outward to the side.

What? It works. On occasion.

The stomach muscles got a great workout after all the laughter this week! Who needs sit-ups?

So, no, I don’t remember the final scores, but can you see why it doesn’t really matter?

Eye Daggers

Wreggie thinks women need to come with a “check engine” light. His hypothesis is that this light would give men fair warning when “hormones exceed a safe level.” He thinks this warning light would allow him to escape to safety before all female-crazy-hormonal-hell breaks loose.

Hey! Do you ever watch That 70’s Show? I was watching tonight. It was episode 53, Red Sees Red, to be exact. Are you all familiar with this show?  The cast of characters includes Red, the cynical, no-frills dad and Kitty, the sweet, kind, loving mom and the kids, Lori and Eric who are fairly typical teenage kids (who happen to wear a lot of ugly bell-bottomed pants) and a whole host of Eric’s teenage bell-bottom clad friends. Lori and Eric and the friends are always getting in trouble for things like smoking pot, or getting caught making out in Red’s car or some such thing. In episode 53, Red decided to inflict a curfew on the kids for their bad behavior. The kids kept pushing the limits and Red kept inflicting harsher punishments. Red was not succeeding in getting the kids to see the error of their ways. They kept sneaking out of the house so the punishments just got bigger and more over-the-top. Red continued to yell and punish and was only contributing to the kids’ desire to run away from home. Red was nailing windows shut, performing bedroom checks to make sure no members of the opposite sex had snuck in, and hanging jingle bells on all the doors so he could hear if anyone tried to sneak out. Kitty hoped that Red would try reasoning with the kids but could only watch as the wedge between her family grew and grew. At one point she looked at Red and said, “Stop it already! Enough with all this discipline!”

Red looked at her impatiently and asked, “Kitty, what would you like me to do?”

“I don’t know,” Kitty replied. “Maybe you could act more…  LOVING?”

You see, Kitty was growing more frustrated by the day because she wanted her family to communicate and love each other and all they were doing is digging in their heels and fighting harder. (Hmmmm!) Kitty wanted Red to impose logical consequences and discuss the problems with the kids calmly instead of acting like the alpha-male and threatening to plant his foot in their *sses. (His signature threat.)

I love that show.

The moral of the story? Wreg, the thing you don’t understand is that it’s not going to matter if you can equip us with the hormonal warning light. It is not going to help you because you are going to HAVE TO come back at some point and WE… we  women have the ability to shoot DAGGERS with our eyes. You know that uncomfortable feeling you get when you suspect you’re being watched, but every time you look to see, your wife is just minding her own business? Mmm hmmm. Eye daggers.

And it IS your fault.

Maybe it’s NOT hormones.

You brought this on yourself.

And also…

“Fine.”

“Whatever.”

“Nothing.”

“And I have a headache.”

Hey! I have an idea! Instead of a warning light, how about you just give us a foot rub instead?