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Self-Checkout machines at the grocery stores are making us anti-social.

Self-Checkout machines at Target are forcing me to NOT have a pleasant conversation with the team member in the lane I chose as she scans my lip gloss.

Self-Checkout machines are pushing us farther away from one another in a time when we should be getting to know one another more.

I remember going to Kroger and standing in a line that yes, was a bit longer than the other lines were at the moment, but I stood in that long line because I liked the check out gal in that line.  She was always friendly and asked how my day was going.

A connection between people that has started to diminish in this day of self-checkouts.

Computers are all great and I appreciate the filters that Snapchat provides me as they give me hours upon hours of enjoyment, but the day of AI taking over our lives has begun

It all started with automatic car washes and it’s spreading fast.

Self-checkouts at the grocery store.

Drones delivering packages full of crap we don’t even need that we have bought using our laptop while we sit on our couch in our underwear.  In the dark.  Instead of going to the mall that’s full of color and music and other people.

Telecommunication with doctors instead of going into the office for a real sit-down chat about our aches and pains.  And our depression.

Online college courses instead of sitting in a room full of other people who have different views and who can help you learn new perspectives while you, in turn, hit them with your unique and thought provoking perspective as well.  Seeing different viewpoints and creating friendships.

Netflix at home to watch movies so you don’t have to go out and sit in a room full of people at the theater.  A theater where everyone laughs at the punch line together or screams when the monster jumps out one last time.

We are becoming more distant with one another on a daily basis and heck, we didn’t even know it was happening.

So, next time you are at your favorite store, DON’T use the self-checkout machine.

Stand in a line and chat up the people around you.  Chat it up with the checkout gal or guy once you get your turn to have your goodies scanned.

Go to the movie and laugh out loud during the funny parts because laughter is contagious.

Do it for humanity.

Do it for your sanity.

Now, I must confess, I do utilize technology to interact with my friends who live far away.  Texting and email and Snapchatting (my new favorite)…all of these methods of communication are my go-to ways to talk to my friends and family.

I like them because they are super easy to use, super fast to send, and super quick to get a response back from your audience.

And because no one uses a telephone to call one another anymore.
Except for my mom and her generation.
And my friend Mark.

Even my kids’ doctor appointments and appointments for the animals with their doctors are through text messages.

I have learned that even with all of the advances with technology though, some people still are too busy to communicate.

In this day of AI, communicating with those you care about is more important than ever.

I don’t want to be too busy to respond to an email.

I don’t want to be too busy to respond to a text.

I don’t EVER want to be too busy to be a good friend.

I don’t think people in my life who fail to communicate with me are too busy, either.

Maybe they are just stuck in self-checkout lines and their stuff isn’t scanning properly and they are waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting…

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Farm Notecards

I mentioned a while back that I was considering making photo notecards to sell at a new shop that opened in my town.

Well, after some trial and error, I managed to figure out HOW to create these photo notecards and have indeed begun selling them at the shop.

The shop is called The ArtFarm. It’s located in downtown Decatur, IL. It has a great location as it’s right across the street from the local historical site that Decatur is well known for, The Transfer House.

The Transfer House was originally located in the middle of an intersection a few blocks away from where it now resides. It was the main transportation hub/switcheroo to another streetcar line in your journey throughout Decatur beginning in 1896. It’s on the National Register of Historic Places.

So, I took my wares in one morning for the shop owner Peggy to display. Peggy is the ex-sister-in-law to one of my oldest friends. She’s a cool gal with big aspirations to bring local art to the masses.

Her new shop is da bomb!

It’s eclectic and hip and inspiring.

She gladly welcomed my photo notecards into the mix. My notecards feature photos of my farm pets. I’ve printed up the photos in a 4×4 size (processed through Shutterfly) and then used spray adhesive to fix them to the front of a blank notecard. The back of the notecard says “Cheshire Farm Photos–Decatur, IL”. I include an envelope and tie it all together with some colorful needlepoint floss. Simple and effective, I thought. I also included a few notecards featuring sunsets taken from my front yard. Sunsets featuring pink and orange and deep blue skies.

I also took in a few earrings that I made. I have started to wear more dangly earrings and went to the craft store for supplies. I’ve made some tasseled earrings and some silver earrings. Nothing too fancy, but I think they are cute and they bring a smile to my face.

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The Farm

It’s been a while since I did a real farm post.

I thought I would share some pictures of the resident animals and a few shots of the human animals that reside at Cheshire Farm.

We moved the chicks out to the barn because they were getting too big to be in a cardboard brooder box in the dining room anymore.

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We moved them out after Easter weekend.  Easter weekend brought us a horrible snow storm late Sunday evening.  Horrible in that we are all ready for spring and no one (except the 9 year old who lives here) was loving the snow.

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The chicks seem to be acclimating well to life in the barn.  We did kick the ducks out of their house to move the chicks outside.  They are too little to be living directly with the hens and they still need a heat lamp to stay warm.  So, the ducks have to make their way into the horse stall in the evenings and they are sleeping in there with Buttercup and Tulip.  They have hay to lay on and their large roommates should keep them from getting eaten by nocturnal predators.  The female ducks are laying their eggs in the stall and it’s actually been much better for their eggs.  When they were laying in the duck house, the eggs were getting stepped on and were horribly dirty and we often just threw them out into the fields surrounding the pasture.  But, now, they are clean and we are keeping more of them.  They seem to be doing fine with the transition.  They have been wandering around in our yard more than ever.  They were seen wandering into the woods this morning, so I had to go corral them back into the pasture.  Their big friends, horse and goat, can’t help them if they are wandering that far away.

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The hens and the chicks do seem to be getting along.  There’s the whole situation of “pecking order” being established.  The white chickens, Pepper and Whistle, don’t seem to mind the babies as much as the red chickens.  Pepper is pretty blind so she may have no idea who they are, let alone where they are.  The red hens, George Washington and Genevieve, are in charge in the barn.  George is the self-appointed Queen and runs the show.  We have to watch that the large hens don’t peck TOO much on the chicks.  Hens (even the sweetest ones in the flock) will literally peck to death chicks to establish boundaries.

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As the weather has begun to slowly get warmer, our old gal hens are still laying eggs.  We get 1-3 eggs a day from them.  Hens will only lay for 4-5 years and I think our girls have been around for 4 years now.  That’s why we added to the flock.  The chicks should begin laying eggs probably in the early fall.  Fingers crossed we didn’t get any roosters this time around.  Or if we did, that he’s nicer than the last rooster we had.

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Once the weather really stays warm we can give the horse a bath.  She gets very dirty over the winter and the mud gets caked on in the spring.  We don’t have hot water in the barn, so we wait until it’s consistently warm out to bathe her.  For now, we brush her as best as can be done.

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And Tulip the one-horned goat is due for hoof trimming.  Man-Farmer’s favorite task…nope.

We are hoping spring will get here soon and stay here.  Man-Farmer said it will probably be one of those years that goes right from winter to summer.  It’s still chilly today and he thinks that one day it will hit 80 plus degrees and it will stay that way until late September.

We are leaving on our weeklong family vacation to Universal Studios when school gets out in May.  We are big fans of Harry Potter and will be spending four days with him in Florida.  And one day we will be basking in the sun on the Atlantic Ocean coast.  Gigi is the only member of our foursome family who hasn’t seen that ocean yet, so we are going to get some sand in our toes and watch the waves.  Something us people of the prairie don’t get to see on a daily basis.

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Underwear

I need new underwear, too.

If you read my last blog post about needing a bra you will realize that I have undergarment issues.

The older a lady gets the need to buy larger underpants comes into fruition.

Granny pants enter a woman’s life usually when she becomes pregnant.

And for some of us, they never leave the underwear drawer.

The need for larger underpants, for me anyway, is to help hold in some extra abdominal fat.

I guess I could do something to get rid of the extra abdominal fat, but that would mean exercise and sweating and water bottles and muscle aches and  workout clothes and geesh!

There’s so much involved in getting a Non-Granny Pants body.

I did try exercising a few years ago and almost died.

It wasn’t pretty.

And Gigi told me “I don’t think exercise is your thing, Mom.”

I DO wish it were my thing.

I DO wish I lived somewhere that had continuous warm weather.

If I AM going to exercise, I like to do it outside.

Walking.

Hiking.

Some light running.

Heck, city living makes a person more mobile that living out here in the country.

I do miss walking to get some groceries or walking a dog so it can pee.

Going to the gym is not my idea of fun at all.

Man-Farmer doesn’t like going to a gym, either.

He rides his bicycle to work when the weather is warm and he has the best legs.

I have so many excuses and can get down on myself for being this way.

I do walk with another mom when the weather is warm.

But, that weather is having a hard time settling in this spring.

It’s the first week of April and the weather report says it may snow this weekend.

How can I walk outside so that I can lose weight so that I don’t have to wear granny underwear if it’s snowing?!

It’s exasperating.

And there’s the whole hormonal thing that makes it harder for women to lose weight the older they get.

One of my college girlfriends has been digging through her life’s treasures in preparation for a move and has found all sorts of goodies that she’s been sharing with me and our other college friends.

It has sparked memories for all of us of days when we were carefree and much, much thinner.

I, too, found a box in my daughters’ closet when I was clearing it out to better arrange things like suitcases and sleeping bags in it.

Pictures of me and my college friends when we were in our mid-twenties.

Before we had husbands.

Before we had children.

Before we became who we are today.

It’s sparked many comments about time-warping back to 1996 and doing it all again.

But, most of the comments are about our weight.

We were all much thinner, I never weighed more than 120 pounds until I hit my 30s.

I used to be able to wear underwear that hit below my navel.

Now, all of my underwear (and my bathing suit bottoms) MUST sit above my navel.

MUST!

Do you have this problem, too?

Or, do you love exercise?

Does it give you those endorphins that scream Hell Yes!  I Am Going To Do This Everyday And I Will Not Wear Underwear That Sits Just Below My Armpits.

Are those endorphins stored up in DNA?

I don’t think I have those endorphins.

I don’t think they are in my genetic line.

Sigh…well, I need more underwear, remember?

The stuff in my drawer now is losing it’s elasticity.

It fits fine when I put a fresh pair on in the morning, but by the end of the day it feels all lose and rids up in all of the wrong places.

Maybe when my kids are grown and on their own, Man-Farmer and I will relocate to some area of the country (of the world!) that is always warm.

Somewhere that we can walk outside on a regular basis.

Somewhere that has smaller underwear in the dresser drawers.

How do you keep your exercise routine fresh and make it something that you actually WANT to participate in?

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A Bra

I need a new bra.

I hate to say that, but it’s the truth.

I dislike wearing a bra…ever.

I will wear a bra when I have to see other adults at my kids’ schools.

I don’t want them to go home (the other adults) and tell their kids “did you know Gigi’s/Zoe’s mom doesn’t wear a bra?  It’s so obvious and so icky.”

Because then those kids will tell my kids “I hear your mom doesn’t wear a bra!”

Total embarrassment.  Not for me, but for my kids.

I will wear a bra if I’m going to the mall or out to dinner, but if I can wear something over myself, like a jacket I can button over the breast area or my way-cool fleecy vest thing that zips up, I will go without a bra.

But, I’m going to be going on vacation soon.

And I think I should wear a bra.

I have one good bra.

Well, it used to be my good bra, but it’s starting to disappoint me.

The straps are sliding down off of my shoulders all of the time.

It’s a underwire bra and those things are starting to dig in too much.

It does make me look super perky, though.

I do like that.

I put on my one good bra and BAM–look at me!

I have some good boobs!

But, take it off and I see the effects of nursing a baby for 12 months.

That and general age, 47 years of wear and tear, will really drag some ladies down.

I was always very small chested…an A cup all through my life until I got pregnant in my early 30s.

A C CUP!

WOW!

Boy, did I love finally having cleavage!

But, those days are in my mini-van’s rearview mirror.

I see why women get boob jobs to bring the lift back.

I would love a boob job.

Can I get a two-fer of a boob lift and a nose job?

Can I win the lottery, please?

I do have a few other bras lying around.

One is (I am so sorry to tell you this) a nursing bra.

My baby is 9 years old now.

It does have good support so I still wear it.

The other one is in a sorry, sorry state.

The lining is ripping on the inside.

The whole back has been stretched out and I feel that it needs two more latches in it to really pull it all together.

Sigh…

The struggle is so real ladies.

Do any of you suffer from Bra-Hate-Itis?

I was looking at bras at Target the other day.

I don’t want to spend oodles of money on something I hate, but that society deems necessary.

Twenty bucks…I’ll spend twenty bucks on a new bra.

I found a few that had no underwire, that you pulled on over your head, but were not those super-tight sports bras makes your boobs look like a log under your shirt so that you have a uniboob.

No, these were supposed to support without underwire and you could change the straps to regular or criss-cross in the back.

Do I need criss-cross straps?

That sounds complicated.

One of my boobs does sit funnier than the other one.

Doesn’t everyone (yes, everyone…I have seen guys with boobs) have a boob that just doesn’t sit right?  Just like some people who have two different sized feet or an eye that just doesn’t seem to look symmetrical with the other eye?

I do have a good reason for my wonky sitting boob, though.

I had open heart surgery when I was very young, 3 or 4 years old.

I have no memory of it and if you ask my parents they won’t remember either and will say “I don’t know you were 3 or 4.”  My surgery was in St. Louis at the Children’s Hospital with the green roof.  You can see the building off to the south if you are driving past Busch Stadium and heading to IKEA.  I had a condition called patent ductus arteriosus I have no idea why it took 3 or 4 years for this condition to be found in me.  Poor little me.  My mom has said “your hair never really wanted to grow and your little fingers and toes were a bit blue.”

Huh.

So, when I got the surgery (at the hospital with the green roof and where I punched a nurse…that was the story my grandma Louise always told me because both of my grandmas were there, too) the doctor gave me this horizontal incision that started just left of my sternum and went all the way around to my back about a 1/4 of the way around.  This was done so that I would be able to wear a bikini bathing suit top when I was older and I wouldn’t have a large scar that ran vertically down my chest.  What a guy.  Thanks Dr. WhoeverYouWere.  My early twenties thank you.

That trip to Miami in my mid-twenties REALLY thanks you.

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But, It did make for one whopper of a scar that hasn’t allowed for breast tissue to settle down a bit farther as it should.

Therefore, I have a slightly wonky left boob.

But, a perfectly functioning heart without a hole in it.

So, even after all of that, finding a bra that settles nicely with my left boob has been a bit of a challenge.

Maybe that’s why I hate bras?

Nah, I just hate bras.

 

 

Long Earrings-Short Hair

Yesterday was my birthday.

I’m three years closer now to the big 5-0.

Which is so weird to think.

Especially since I feel like I’m 30 most days.

Don’t most people feel that way as they get older?

Our bodies start the physical changes that appear with age…wrinkles sprout near your eyes that wear bifocals now…the fingers get stiffer when gripping a paint brush…the cold outside feels colder and the heat of summer hits us harder…back pain…knee pain…

But, mentally we still feel bright and alert and younger than our body feels.

But, now I’m 47 years old.

And I have young children.

A teen daughter and a daughter who will hit double digits in the fall.

They keep me young.  Man-Farmer, too.

We would indubitably be A LOT older without these youngsters in our home.

Since I have young daughters who are keeping me on my toes and who I don’t want to embarrass by being an old mom, I have vowed to do a few things differently now that I’m three years shy of 50.

Things like…

wearing longer earrings.

Since I have short hair, longer earring would look very cool with my style.

And I do have some longer earrings, but never find myself reaching for them.  I usually put on stud earrings or none at all.  Man-Farmer and the girls presented me with great long earrings yesterday.  Bought at The ArtFarm where I sell my Cheshire Farm photo notecards.  They are lightweight embossed gold leather earrings that feel as if I’m not wearing earrings at all.

My friend Karla always wears super, cute long earrings with her super, cute short hairdo and she rocks the look every time I see her.

I told her a while back that I want to wear longer earrings, too.  She said “YES!  You can do it!”

It seems kind of silly and superficial when you think about it.

Of all of the things that I could be doing to improve upon myself, coaxing myself into wearing longer earrings seems trivial.

But, when you think that you look good, you feel good, and you do good.

Our looks do define us.  Unless you are a hermit and never see other humans, how you present yourself to the world does matter and says a lot about you.

It doesn’t matter if we are thin or have some extra pounds on our body.

It doesn’t matter if we shop at designer stores or at a thrift shop.

It doesn’t matter if we live in a bustling big city or a more rural area.

What matters is how we carry ourselves.  It matters in how happy we are in our own skin.  It matters in how our happiness spreads to others.

I try very hard to be positive and upbeat and full of energy.

I want my daughters to see a thankful woman who yes, may be a bit overweight and who may need some skincare help and who wouldn’t mind getting a nose job, but who is happy in her day to day.

I do dare to say these things to my daughters…things about me that I don’t like.  I know some people never say “fat” or “ugly” or “I need to be better” in front of their daughters.  That’s not me and I’m not going to pretend that it is.  My kids know that I see flaws within myself and they know that I work to improve on myself.  If I can be open with them then I hope that they will always be open with me about whatever worries them.

I strive to make a happy and open environment for my daughters to grow up in.

And for me, today, that happiness starts with my ears.

In the form of dangly earrings that I made myself.

I went to the craft store yesterday on my birthday, just me, all alone, and bought supplies to make long earrings.

I bought fishhook earwires, jump rings, beads, and charms.

I bought a pair of pointy ended jewelry pliers to bend the rings and wires to assemble my creations.

And my own teen daughter asked to wear one of my new creations to school today.

I’m cool!

And I’m happy.

So, even though I am sitting in my house in the country today, not daring to go out because it’s raining cats and dogs, I am wearing my “homemade on my 47th birthday” earrings.

To help me feel good about my age.

To remind me that a number shouldn’t define who I am, but how I present myself to MYSELF matters the most.

What makes you feel good about yourself?

 

 

Crepey Skin On A Sunday Morning

A while back Man-Farmer and I were sitting around the dining rom able drinking our morning coffee on a quiet Sunday morning.

The television that sits on the piano was on.

We were waiting to watch CBS Sunday Morning.  One of our favorite programs to watch each week.  We normally don’t watch regular television anymore.  We use Roku on our living room tv where we can add apps of our favorite channels and watch what we want, when we want.  And there are very few commercials.  Gigi can even watch herself on a big screen in her YouTube videos.  Catch her channel if you canRainbow Pandas.

I’m off on a tangent.

The television in the kitchen is hooked up to an antennae.  The basic rabbit ears of yesteryear.

We were waiting to watch our CBS, channel 3, show when an infomercial came on.

They were selling cream for your skin…Do You Have Crepey Skin?

Crepey skin?

We laughed out loud at that!

“What in the hell is crepey skin?” Man-Farmer shouted through laughter.

We only know of crepes…the amazing French, thin pancake that you can stuff with sweet stuff or even eat as a savory meal.

Crepey skin?  The pictures they were presenting showed tissue paper skin on the back of women’s hands.  This was, of course, an infomercial selling cream geared towards women.  Men probably don’t really care if they have crepey skin.  Aren’t most beauty products geared towards women?  Well, I guess that was before the millennial generation.  Now, everyone and their cousin needs to look fab 24/7.

Anyway, I digress…

We laughed for quite a while about the crepey skin show.

We laughed that people would buy a cream for such a problem.

And then I got into bed a few nights later and looked down.

Looked down at my hands resting on my chest and saw it.

Crepey skin.

I have crepey skin on the back of my hands.

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How did this happen?!

I was laughing about this with my husband and then WHAM, there were my own crepey, tissue paper, crumpled hands staring back at me.

Really staring at me.

I was pulling at the skin and it was not taut at all.  Just slippin’ around with no where important to go.  And so dry looking.  Like the desert.

I quickly leaned over and opened the top drawer of my bedside table where I retrieved a tube of whatever lotion was in there.  I began to slather the backs of my hands.

Then putting my hands very close to my face, looking closely at them, putting them close to the light sitting on my table.  Rubbing more lotion into them.  Looking closer and closer.

Still dry.  Still loose.  Still crepey.

“What in the hell are you doing?” declared Man-Farmer who sleeps to my left in the bed.

I looked over and put my hands right up into his face…“LOOK!”

“What?  Look at what?”

“My hands!  Look at the back of my hands!”

He looked at my hand, and then looked at my face, and then blankly stared at me, just like a man who doesn’t know what he’s supposed to say would stare.

“I HAVE CREPEY HANDS!”

“Damn…” was his response.

“We were laughing about it just a few a days ago and it’s real!  Crepey hands are real and I have them!”

I about died.

Then Man-Farmer looked at his hands.

He has a lot of sun spots on his hands.  He rides his bicycle to work during the warm months, never wears gloves, never wears sunscreen on his hands, and it’s all starting to show.

We turned our heads towards one another, both of us laying prone on our backs in our shared bed and we both had frowns.

Frowns that we are old.  We have crepey skin and sun spots.  We have wrinkles and extra fat that won’t go away.  We both need to take our glasses off to look at words up close.  We creak and groan and have back pain and ugh…

We are in our mid-forties now.  We have young kids.  We had kids in our thirties and tried to live our life as much as we could before we added to our duo.  Now we are a quad and while our kids DO keep us young…we ride roller coasters and hold swimming races in our pool with them, sometimes they will call us old.

Age is just a number, right?

I am going to be 47 next week.  I guess I can try to forget the crepey skin on my hands.

Or I should get some of that infomercial cream, toot sweet!

Reading List

Books that I have read recently…

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I love all things Julia Child.  I have no idea why.  I did watch her show on PBS as a kid.  She seemed like a really cool lady.  Her life was quite fascinating.  And I love butter just as much as her.  This book did not disappoint.  Her grandnephew (from her husband’s side of the family) finished this book after she passed away in 2004 .  It draws on her early career in television, her ongoing love affair with her husband Paul.  Her love of food and friendship can be felt throughout this book.  She was a mentor to so many amazing chefs that we know today.  She was, by and large, the most influential person in American-French food.

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We had the honor of meeting the author of this book, Hiddensee, in our hometown last year.  We received this book for free just for attending the author’s lecture.  Gregory Maguire, the author of the literary hit Wicked, writes to our always present, yet often hidden away child.  We took our own copy of Wicked and he signed both books for us.  In Hiddensee he tells us the “back story” of a beloved character from the Tchaikovsky ballet, The Nutcracker.  It took a while for me to get into this story.  The beginning (about 1/4 of the way in) was pretty dull.  But, I forged ahead.  And found that I didn’t want it to end.  The sad and thoughtful life of the beloved Drosselmeier who carved the Nutcracker, a toy that took on a life of its own was sad, yet full of hope.

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I had high hopes for this book because I really loved The Japanese Lover by this author.  This was a bit predictable.  Three people thrown into a story that don’t seem to belong together.  There was no chemistry even though two of the characters were supposed to be in love.  Meh.

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Another book by Gregory Maguire.  This book is in the young adult section at our library.  It was really good.  It’s about two teenage girls, one poor and one wealthy, whose lives are switched after a fateful meeting at a train station.  This is the second book by Maguire that I’ve read that the Baba Yaga character is featured.   She’s a witch from Russian folklore who lives in a house that walks on chicken legs.  This Baba Yaga was hysterical, but we had a glimpse into a possible soft side to her.  Great characters.  Great laughs.  The imagery that Maguire set forth with his words provided me with a magical and very real setting within my mind.

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This book was about a fictional family (though the struggle’s these characters endured did happen to real people a few decades ago in China) who lived during Chairman Mao’s reign in China.  And how ordinary people can live amongst tumultuous times and ideas that they don’t agree with and overcome.  And how the power of love and hope overrides what struggles they come face to face with.  The bond of family is very strong in this novel.

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I really liked this book.  It’s about the author George Sand, which was the pen name of Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin.  She lived and worked in France during the 1800s.  She had affairs with many artists, including Chopin and Musset.  She was feminist and a strong believer in personal freedom, even for a mother, which can still be seen as a taboo subject in the 21st century.  It is historical fiction, but most everything written is about true events that occurred centuries ago, with dialogue that I hope was almost spot-on.  That lady had spirit!

Lime Green Walls

I’m airing my dirty laundry today.

I’m a tad bit embarrassed to tell you about this…the shame doesn’t go very deep though.

Here it goes…

I sleep in a kiddie bedroom.

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Man-Farmer and I need a serious bedroom re-do.

I want to paint the walls…well, I will pick the paint color and help Man-Farmer paint it, but I’m sure I’ll get distracted by something a quarter of the way through the task and let him finish on his own.

I want to get a new dresser or paint the one we have.

The curtains are old Ikea models. I’m not really a fan of curtains in general.  None of our windows have full size curtains in them.  But, I like curtains in bedrooms to keep things dark and to prevent a possible visitor puling up in our driveway from seeing a nude human rushing to the bedroom dresser to get underwear on after a shower.

The décor on the walls are just a hodgepodge of things.  A Scream mask signed by Wes Craven, a pencil sketch of Zoe as a baby done by her cousin Molly, drawings of our family that Zoe made when she was a toddler.

Our bedding consists of comforters the kids don’t use anymore and pillowcases that they get from summer camp and cases that Zoe got when she was hospitalized years ago.  Every time she entered for a day visit or an overnight stay, she was given a new handmade pillowcase.  Which means my husband and I put our brains to bed each night resting on Scooby Doo, Miley Cyrus, and farm animal pillows.

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It’s just been easier to not think about what happens in our bedroom and to just use what I have sitting around.  And it’s ridiculous.

I am feeling as if this part of our house is the only part that isn’t in line with the rest of the décor I have going on.  I have tried hard to make the living room and kitchen/dining, even our lone bathroom, areas more grown up.  As the kids are getting older, their toys are dwindling in number and what they do have I try to corral into their shared bedroom.  When they do go away for long periods of time…i.e. summer camp, I throw things away in their room that they never look at.  I have been doing the throw away plan for almost 7 years now and I have yet to hear “where’s my *insert stupid toy name here* that I love so much?!”  They never miss the discarded crap.  Ever.

Man-Farmer and I’s bedroom is this horrible lime green color.  Because at one point, he and I had the larger of the two bedrooms.  And the room we use now belonged to two small girls.  But, as they got bigger we agreed to switch with them to give them the bigger closet.  So, we are shoved into a small room with a small closet and it’s lime green walls.

Last night as we lay in bed, with our heads on pillows covered in purple cats and fat pink pigs, I looked around at the neon color that shot into my brain as I was trying to relax and get into the sleep mode and said to Man-Farmer “we need to paint this room.”

He began to snore.

Fake snoring would not get him out of this new idea of mine.  He doesn’t really like the green room.  Yet, he doesn’t really care that much about changing it.  He’s ambivalent.  I’m ready to give him that little push to change it.

It’s time for an adult bedroom.  Time to make a more peaceful sleeping spot.  Serenity needs to make it’s way into the front bedroom in our old farmhouse.  The green needs to be replaced by a more neutral color.  I’m thinking grays and creams and pale blues.  Soft pinks and pale, pale yellows.  Maybe Man-Farmer and I would sleep a bit better.  We both wake up before the sun rises.  Me, usually between 3 and 4 in the morning.  He, usually at 5am.  Maybe we need a new mattress.  Or maybe our brains are shouting at us that we need a calmer and more serene environment to relax in.

Get your paintin’ pants on Man-Farmer!

I’m cleaning out the bedroom so you we can get to work!

To be continued…

Syncing With My Tribe

I know many moms who have many daughters.

It seems like you start to get pulled by some unforeseen force towards other large groups of females when you yourself are surrounded at home by other females.

I have two daughters.

Many of my mom friends have 2-4 daughters.

I have few friends with just sons.

My son-only friends are people I have known forever and we became friends before we started having sex with our partners in order to create more humans.

So, there’s a different bond there to start things off with.  But, it’s nice to have these friends with sons that I can shoot ideas off on…but, I will never know what it’s like to have to buy large amounts of food.  I have heard some horror stories about grocery bills from moms of multiple boys.

As strange and as stereotypical as it sounds…girls don’t eat as much as boys.

Well, my girls don’t.

They are snackers.  They pick at food.  They eat like birds.

Very much like I did as a kid.

And throughout college.

In college, I lived in an all-girls dorm.

We converged together weekly to watch ThirtySomething while drinking Diet Coke Big Gulps.

Then we moved to a large house that, at one point, housed probably 11 females-give or take a few sporadic non-resident friends who never seemed to leave.

I think some of them were eaters, but since we were poor college students, we only ever consumed large amounts of food when someone’s parents came to town and took us all out to dinner or we decided to pile into our cars (we had four cars parked in the driveway) where we drove to the Bonanza steakhouse to fill up on a chopped steak with unlimited salad bar (including that giant hunk of cheddar that sat under the warm lights that you could shave a piece off of) for $6.99 a person.

When you live with large numbers of other females, something strange happens.

You get in sync.

And by in sync, I mean you all start getting your periods at the same time.

I have ZERO idea how this happens.  I have ZERO idea why it happens.

Is it a planet thing?

An inner-wiring connection thing?

An ice-cream shop conspiracy thing?

I don’t know.

I just know it happens.

You all get mood swings at the same time.

You buy pads and tampons in bulk because they are all going to get used sooner than later.  You will NEVER be short of tampons if you live with other girls…“HELP!  Who has a tampon STAT!”  A statement heard reverberating from the bathroom numerous times in a female driven home.

You all want to watch sappy, tear-jerker romantic films where you can all sob together without judgement.

You all scream at one another about “who’s not doing the dishes, who’s boyfriend better start wearing his damn underwear when going from the bathroom to the bedroom, or you know you owe me some money, so pay up now…just don’t dump a Ziploc full of pennies on my bed this time!”

Things can get down-right scary.

A tribe was born during college.

A tribe that still exists and a tribe that has survived the syncing.

But, Man-Farmer…and other dads who live with large numbers of females in their homes…watch out.

I already start my body feeling like it’s trying to sync with my teen daughter’s hormonal cycle.

Now, I’m an older mom.

But,  I still get my period every month.

It may stop within the next 3-8 years.

If it does, then there may be some solace coming for my husband.

He may only have to deal with two females with louder voices, stronger opinions, more emotions, instead of three.

Well, I’m a pretty passionate person.

Maybe, monthly period or not,  I will still be using my voice loudly, shouting my strong opinions in my own personal parades, and showing emotions like they may go out of style tomorrow.

Because I can.

Because I’m a woman and I can do and say and be who I want to be.

I don’t want to become a mean menopausal woman.

My own mom was downright SCARY to people when she was going through menopause.

I remember being at a professional baseball game with her and watching as she squashed some poor young guy, who was just selling some shirts at a stand inside the stadium, into nothingness because he didn’t know what size toddler shirts he had.

And my mom, during her entire tirade, had no idea how she sounded.

Why our hormones create so much of our personality are somewhat of a mystery to me.

It’s the same hormonal discrepancy that allows my husband to only do ONE thing at a time.  He can’t multi-task.  I blame his large amounts of testosterone.

I ask him numerous amounts of thought-provoking questions as soon as we turn off the lights to go to sleep at night.  He blames my large amounts of estrogen.

Moms of large numbers of daughters…my hat goes off to you.

You are living and surviving with versions of yourself.

And moms of large numbers of sons…I hear the smell is unbearable.

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