Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Generational Gap part 2

Unlike my sister, I don’t have kids, so I don’t have any experiences about people thinking I’m a grandmother. Though the other day I stopped by where one of our cousins works, but she wasn’t there. When one of her co-workers asked if she could help me I informed her I was still thinking then I asked after my cousin.

She informed me said cousin had gotten off early that day, then asked me if I was my cousin’s mother. I mean, dang, I am older than her. I am in fact older than all but one of my cousins, however, I’m not that much older than the one in question.

Considering I have cousins who were in grade school when I finally got married at the age of twenty-four, I can see where I could be mistaken for their mother, but the cousin in question isn’t that much younger than me.

But I figure the woman needed her eyes examined, since more often people don’t believe me when I tell them my age.

Like an incidence, admittedly a few years ago where I had arrived at church for a dinner just for the women, which hadn’t started yet, and a bunch of the women not on the committee to set it up were just sitting around visiting.

Most of these women were older, and somehow the topic turned to the joys of menopause. Then the daughter of another cousin of mine entered. At the time she was a newlywed, and one of the ladies looked from my cousin’s daughter to me then said, “This isn’t something you have to worry about, this is something your mothers are going through right now.”

I was dumbfounded. I mean I’ve never been able to spout off any witty comebacks on the spot, but this time I didn’t know what should I tell the lady. Should I say that my cousin whose daughter had just entered was younger than me? Or that said cousin’s daughter was not quite seven months old on my wedding day? Let alone that my doctor had informed me I had officially entered para-menopause earlier that very day.

And yes, the lady who made that comment knew the young lady was related to me. I just couldn’t figure out how she thought the granddaughter of my aunt, who was also present that day, was of the same generation as me.

Of course, not looking our age is something my twin and I have always dealt with, much to the annoyance of our older sister.

Once, when we were teenagers, our sister and our mother had been downtown shopping when they ran into someone our mother knew from work, and that someone asked our mother if our sister was her sister. Way back then our sister thought it was funny while our mother fumed.

The tables got turned a few decades later when said sister was helping me run some errands and we ran into an old acquaintance of hers. I stood there waiting as these two caught up on old times. When the woman finally took note of my presence, she asked my sister if I was her daughter!

Man was my sister mad. But I couldn’t stop laughing. She’s only sixteen months older than Konnie and I.

And since my husband died I’ve received tons of comments on how sad it is to be such a young widow, and few of those have even said something along the lines of how it wouldn’t be so bad if I were over fifty. Such a statement would make better sense if they’d said over sixty or over seventy, because I am a young widow, just not that young. :)

And I can certainly come up with a whole lot more stories where people thought I was younger, sometimes way younger, than I really am. So far, just my cousin’s co-worker has considered me older than I am, so I’m guessing she isn’t a good judge of age. What do you think?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Generational Gap

In recent months I’ve had a couple of funny experiences with my kids. One time I took my youngest to the eye doctor’s office to get his new glasses. The technician took him back to fit them for him and when he returned to me he look rather perplexed. He said the woman had said something about him going back to his ‘grandmother’.
He asked, “Do I even have a grandmother?”
The simple answer is yes, everyone has two. For my kids the answer is, they’re all dead. My youngest can’t remember those who died in his lifetime. But it got me thinking about how old I really looked.
Then I had the second experience. I was at the store with my youngest adult daughter. At one point as we neared the entrance she must have stepped past me without me noticing. I looked around to see where she was and couldn’t find her.
Then a young man nearby said, “Ma’am, ma’am. Your granddaughter is over here.”
I think I gave him a nasty look as I spotted my daughter getting a cart.
Do I really look old enough to be a grandmother? Of adults?
Okay, grant it most people wouldn’t assume any of my daughters are adults. So we’ll assume they thought I was the grandmother of a high school aged girl. Do I really look that old?
Okay, so I have visible grey hair. Not as much as I always thought I’d have at this age and I’ve earned every strand. I am in my fifties after all. And that’s probably the point. I was nearly 39 when my youngest was born. My three youngest all tell me about classmates with grandparents my age.
Assuming you waited to be an adult (18) to have children, and your child did the same, you could still be a grandparent at 36, and therefore at my age have grandkids in high school. Nowadays kids aren’t even waiting that long.
I got married at 28 and my oldest was born when I was 29. So yeah, I guess I am old enough to be a grandparent. Only thing is, unless you count those covered in fur or feathers, I’m not one.
So the whole situation got me wondering. When I’m out running around with my grandkids someday are people going to assume I’m their great grandmother? Or, since my kids aren’t rushing into marriage and family either, will people assume I’m their great-great grandmother?
Then again, even with the grey hair, people assume I’m younger than I am, though it’s been awhile since anyone has told me what they guessed my age to be. Although a couple of years ago a gentleman I know said something about his old body and I responded saying something about having arthritis in my back for over 40 years.
He said, “How can that be if you’re only 39?”
He may well have been teasing me, but I was over 50.

Now ask my identical twin about people assuming she was closer in age to our cousin’s adult daughter than to our cousin. Our younger cousin.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Momma Bear Part 2

I have mentioned in the past that I grew up protecting my shy quiet twin, and after her post of last week, you might be a little confused, since shy and quiet doesn’t seem to coincide with a momma bear personality, but I can attest they do.

The first hint I had of this side of my twin was in our early teens. At the time, we had several cats of various ages and sizes and one day Konnie got mad at one our bigger cats that kept attacking her kitten.

At the time, I was heading toward our front door to enter the house, when suddenly the door flew open banging against the metal siding of the trailer and the offending cat in question went sailing past my head while from inside came a rather loudly pronounced swear word. And I wasn’t the only neighborhood kid staring, stunned. One of the boys nearby turned to me and asked, “Was that Konnie?”

I answered, “It wasn’t me,” which only added to the oddity of the event, you see, me swearing in anger was pretty common back then, but to this day it’s the only time I’ve heard Konnie swear.
Though it isn’t the only time I’ve seen her lose her temper. The next time was in our late teens and the victim was the oldest of our brothers. He deserved it, but instead of helping, I decided I was safer to let her have at it. Meek and mild Konnie is scary when she’s that mad!

And I found that very confusing, since I’m known for flying off the handle. Back in our early teens, one of my tirades was a fairly regular thing, generally about once a month.

In fact, I knew my husband was the perfect man for me when he took one of my tirades all in stride – before we were married. He didn’t run and hide, but he didn’t try to stop me, he just calmly waited until I took a break then he’d ask me if I was finished, feeling better, or whatever fit the situation, which did get annoying sometimes, but then so did his approach to unsatisfactory service. Instead of voicing a complaint, he just never returned to that establishment. My opinion was they can’t improve if you don’t tell them what they did wrong, but sometimes that isn’t needed.

A case in point is an incidence, which happened while he was stationed at Great Lakes. We decided to go out and found a local branch of a national chain. The host seated us and a couple minutes later seated a family of four not too far away from us.

And we waited. A few minutes later, a waiter approached the family and took their order, passing right by us without stopping. After he’d served the family their drinks, I stopped him and informed him no one had taken our order yet. He informed me we weren’t his table and that he’d tell our waitress and we waited some more.

When that family of four got their meal, Tom announced he’d had it and we left. Which is when I learned maybe Tom’s way did work, as we left the parking lot I spotted the manager storm out the back of the building and start to berate a waitress having a smoke break, and I learned to calm down.

Of course, I also don’t have anyone who needs my protection anymore. I think that helps.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Momma Bear’s Ready to Roar

I’m sitting here coughing and sniffling and it suddenly hits me that I have to write the blog this week. With my body aching, writing anything is, well, a chore.
I’ve seriously started this three times in some attempt to come up with something. Anything. But since my own health is currently taking a slight blow, my brain is stuck on the subject of, well, health.
I do have some chronic health conditions, which are currently well controlled and I’m actually in good health, generally speaking. Bonnie has serious chronic health conditions and has to monitor her conditions daily. Now that she lives alone I have reasons to worry, though she has friends nearby who worry faster than I do, which is good.
But if you were to see either one of us, say at Walmart, you wouldn’t be inclined to describe us as young and healthy. Well, unless you were already an adult back in the early sixties when we were born and therefore could still consider us kids.
On the other hand, if you were to see any of my adult daughters you could describe all of them as young and healthy. People do it all the time. And the men in my family, especially my two boys, get so frustrated when I let the two who still live at home get out of chores because they don’t feel well or it makes them sick.
You see, both of my younger two daughters have auto-immune diseases.
My youngest daughter has migraines and Fibromyalgia. ‘Flares’ mean muscle soreness which could be all over or localized, or sensitivity to light and sound. Sometimes she gets them both at the same time. Now imagine doing dishes or cooking dinner for a family of six under those conditions.
Yeah. Not happening.
The older of the two girls, my middle daughter, actually has two auto-immune diseases. Fibromyalgia and Lupus. So she not only gets the muscle pain, but she is also sensitive to sun and florescent lights, and Lupus is known for sapping energy. She can’t do yard work and we can’t use the florescent lights in our kitchen. Plus she often doesn’t have the energy to spend a half an hour or more doing dishes or cooking dinner.
Through her Lupus support group she found a post, a blog or something, by someone trying to explain what Lupus was to a friend. This woman told her friend something she dubbed “The Spoon Theory”. This theory is basically that those with auto-immune diseases, in this case Lupus, though I think it applies to all of them, wake up each day and have only so many spoons. Spoons represent energy, and if you don’t have any you can’t do your chores, or much else.
The thing is, just looking at someone, you can’t see auto-immune diseases. Unless you can recognize a Malar, or Butterfly, rash for what it is, how would you know someone has Lupus? How many people realize Michael Jackson had Lupus? You can’t see someone’s reactions to pressure points unless you actually touch them so how would you know by just looking that they have Fibromyalgia? And how about those times when they aren’t experiencing any symptoms?
It all comes back to what I’ve always said. Don’t judge a book by its cover.
If you want to make this momma bear, currently pumped with menopausal hormones, really ticked off, tell one of these two beautiful young ladies they look young and healthy or that their health problems are all in their head.

Yeah, that can rile me, even as sick as I am. How’s that for a picture?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


I haven’t been able to write all week. Actually, I haven’t been able to write for a couple of weeks. Chores have been falling by the wayside too, this week at least. Most of what I’ve been doing is reading.


Well, for starters I got a couple of new books, the next two in a series (which honestly I shouldn’t have purchased but I had a strong urge to keep reading) I actually reread what I already had as well. Except when I finished those books, instead of doing the chores I’d been ignoring, or trying my hand at some writing, I found another book to read.


Well, I didn’t know then, but I do now. This final book’s title is “The Happiest Season,” and it’s by Rosemarie Naramore. I’ve read it before, and I’ve had it on my reader for a while, but I honestly have no idea why I suddenly had to read that particular story again.
I mean it’s nice enough. It is in fact a sweet romance set at Christmas time, but I’d never before been inclined to reread it, since it’s a story about a young widow and her son. So it seemed a little weird that I’d WANT to reread it.

But this isn’t the only weird thing that’s happened this week. You see, all week, every time I looked at my clock above my TV, which shows the date, day, and temp along with the time, I got the feeling I’d forgotten something. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve pulled out my planner thinking I must have spaced some appointment or other. This was particularly true last Thursday, the fifteenth.

Then I started reading “The Happiest Season” and right in the middle of it the heroine’s best friend brings up that the heroine was having so much trouble emotionally because her husband died at that time of year, and Bam!

I looked at that clock then closed my eyes fighting tears.
Yeah, I forgot something. Why did I have to have a reminder?
Probably because burying myself in one book after another wasn’t good for me, or my house. I wasn’t going to get past it until I faced it. My husband is not only dead he has now been dead a year. I’d been hiding in books instead of facing it.

It isn’t as if this is the only time in this past year I’ve mourned him. It isn’t.

I miss him horribly every time I climb into the bed we used to share. I missed him on Valentine’s Day, Easter, the last weekend in May (which is weird since that was his Rendezvous weekend and my health issues had prevented me from going with him for several years before his death, but I felt pangs of regret that he wasn’t there with his friends). I also missed him on my birthday. I missed him on the anniversary of our first date and his birthday and the anniversary of when he proposed. In fact, that whole week back in August had been a bad week for me too.

Then came November. Gearing up for National Novel Writing month (NaNoWriMo or NaNo for short), I sorely missed that he would no longer be griping about how much time I was spending writing. Let’s face it I missed my husband.

Now though I’ve been in the group for several years, while only seeing them during NaNo, a few of them, the leaders most particularly knew in the past I had a man in my life. It was kind of hard to miss since for the last few years, I couldn’t drive for health reasons.

Anyway, as I’ve mentioned before, this local group does scheduled write-ins throughout the month and one of them was set for November 8th. I went. And well, the leader present that day asked what happened to him. I did tell them, no reason not to. Cancer is an awful thing, but it’s a fact of life. I even pointed out that we only learned he had cancer after Christmas the previous year.

Everything was going fine, I answered all their questions about how and when he died without a tear, then one of the ladies present asked, “How long were you together?”

I looked at her and said, “You had to ask,” then tears welled in my eyes. It took me a minute before I could tell them that that day would have been our 28th anniversary. I even mentioned that I’d hoped focusing on my writing at least on that day would have helped me through it. What actually helped me was the hug our leader gave me.

I also got through Thanksgiving — thanks to his sister who reminisced with me over our holiday feast. We both cried.
And I’ll admit to fighting tears at one point while at my sister’s over Christmas both because I missed my husband and because I knew he’d wanted to swing enough money for us to be able to spend the holiday with her, but hadn’t been able to. I only managed it because, well, I don’t have him anymore.

I knew I’d miss him, but why does it have to come at me in waves like this? And will I always have this hard of a time with it? Should I plan on having a bad time the week of his birthday and the week he died for the rest of my life?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Twin Depiction

Since Bonnie posted her comments on authors and how they portray twins I’ve been looking at how twins are depicted in media.  Twins don’t ever seem to be shown as same gender fraternal twins, and only rarely do they do boy/girl fraternal twins. My assumption is that these types tend to come across as regular siblings and it’s harder to define and depict the twin thing whereas with identical twins there is more to work with, just show how they are alike and special. The problem is too many authors forget that they aren’t carbon copies.
Far too often you find stories where no one can tell the twins apart, and as a twin I can tell you, that doesn’t happen. Someone is going to be able to tell them apart even when they are attempting to fool you.
Recently I was reading Richard Paul Evans’ first two Michael Vey books. In them, he has a set of twins, one of which is Michael Vey’s girlfriend. The other is one of the enemy. I know, classic good twin/evil twin. But not really. See the “evil twin” has been brainwashed by the bad guy since she was young girl. One would assume had she grown up with a loving family as her twin had, she wouldn’t be twisted, like the man who raised her.
At first I thought Mr. Evans’ fell into the same twin trap everyone else seems to with the people around them periodically getting them mixed up and always commenting on how alike they are. Then near the end of the second book the bad guy, in one of his attempts to break Mrs. Vey, has the bad twin impersonate Michael’s girlfriend. Mrs. Vey is at first fooled, but then realizes the eyes aren’t quite right. She spotted the dissimilarity and pointed out that the trick didn’t work. The fun part was when the bad guy attempted a similar thing on Michael who eventually just told the bad guy that his girlfriend was prettier. Both the Vey’s could tell them apart.
Mr. Evans got it right.
Yes, people get twins mixed up, but there are going to be a few, who can tell the difference. Both my husband and Bonnie’s could always tell us apart. The weekend we started dating my husband saw a picture of our family and easily picked me out. My brother-in-law never once confused me for his wife.
No two people are exactly alike.
There are variations. It’s not impossible to find them and thereby tell the difference. That’s why I find it highly implausible that a twin could step into their twin’s life and impersonate them for any length of time without someone figuring it out.
So anyone who wants to can pass this on to Richard Paul Evans. I admire him.
Here is an author who knows how to weave a good tale, and made it big even with his first book even after all the publishers rejected him.
Here is a man who is faithful to his wife, children, family, and church.
Here is a man who didn’t let Tourette’s syndrome stop him or slow him down, he’s even used it to write his books. I think he could truly stand tall next to men like Nephi and Helaman (and yes, he’d know who they are). (I once dated a man with Tourette’s, so I do know a little about it.)
Here is a man who gets twins.

The more I learn about him, the more I like him.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Happy New Year

Okay, Bonnie was supposed to post this morning but apparently isn’t feeling well so it’s been dumped in my lap, only being the busy mother that I am, I’m swamped. I just returned from a doctor’s appointment (not mine) and am currently trying to fix lunch while typing this and hoping I have enough time to pay the bills before I have to pick-up my son from school. (Something my husband normally does but he’s out of commission too.)  And I still have to run to the store, a normal chore for me.
But while trying to encourage Bonnie to write something I thought of New Year’s Resolutions. I know people do those every year but I’ve long since not bothered. I figure IF I’m going to bother setting a goal and working toward it I don’t need a special day of the year to start on. But my approach to changing me tends to be a slow process.
As an example I decided once I needed to improve my diet, make it healthier, so I started working on it, and I’ve made several changes since then. Most notably I switched to nonfat milk. That was roughly eighteen years ago. My diet is still a work in progress. This last year I worked on decreasing the amount of treats I ate. I still need to work on that, but I’m getting better. Now if I could just get my diet closer in line with a diabetic diet I might be getting somewhere.
While for most things a little at a time is how I approach it, with my writing, it tends to take a back burner because I don’t have large blocks of time to devote to it. When I go to work on a story I need time to re-read the story so I can get the next scene refreshed in my memory. Generally by the time I’ve done that much my writing time evaporates. Either the reading took all my time or some catastrophe requiring my attention befell my household and I have to drop everything and attend to it. Sometimes it’s not actually important, but my family thinks it is, and it’s been something major, like an ER visit, enough times that I always drop what I’m doing.

I know writing goals down and having a support system helps you to accomplish your goals. So, I’m asking you. Do you set New Year’s Resolutions? Do you write your goals down? And what kind of support system do you have?