Memory Lane

Image by Vinson Tan from Pixabay 

Don’t you just love happy memories? My grandmother passed away last August, and slowly but surely, my mom and I have been going through her things to decide what to do with them.

I came across a big plastic container holding several folders, each with the name of her children and grandchildren on them. I opened the folder with my name on it and was surprised to see what was in it.

It contained several notes, cards, letters, and poems that I had written to my grandparents over the years. It also had a few notes that my children had written to them.

Every year, my brothers and I made Christmas lists of the things we wanted for Christmas and gave them to our grandparents. I found some of the Christmas lists and had a good laugh. It’s funny to see what we wanted for Christmas back then.

I saved a handful of things that I found in the folders. I kept some old poems and drawings. I threw away the notes that I wrote telling my grandma I needed more floor cleaner, etc., when I used to clean her house as a teenager. I don’t know why she kept those.

I had no idea my grandma held on to these treasures, but my family and I got a kick out reading them. I only wish I had known about them when my grandma was alive, so we could’ve enjoyed them together.

Just One of Those Weeks

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

It’s been one of those weeks. You know, the kind where nothing seems to go the way you want it to. My week started off with with the water heater leaking, then my washer breaking.

The water heater leak was repaired. I bought a new washer and dryer set, but when my husband and my brother were moving them into the laundry room to install them, they put a big scratch in my wood floor. <Sigh.> Oh well. At least I got a pretty good deal on them, thanks to the store starting their 4th of July sale early!

I went and had lunch with my dad and ended up arguing about politics, of all things. It was weird, because we don’t usually talk about politics or anything we disagree on, but somehow it was brought up. It made our visit uncomfortable.

I signed up and was accepted into a study about the benefits of eating avocados. There are two groups: one where you have to eat an avocado every day for six months and one where you can’t have more than two avocados a month for six months. Research has shown that avocados help you lose weight and also helps with cognitive memory. This study is trying to prove those theories.

Image by FoodieFactor from Pixabay

I was excited to participate in the study, because I’d get free avocados every week and get paid at the end of six months. After having an MRI, blood work, and taking a cognitive exam, I went to a meeting to see which group I would be placed in. They use a randomizer that works to keep the two groups as even as possible. Well, I was placed in the control group, which means I can only eat up to two avocados a month. I am so bummed! I really wanted to be in the other group.

Being in the control group means there is less required of me. I only have to do the blood work two more times, and the MRI and cognitive exam again at the end of six months. At the end of the study I will get a box of avocados and a check. I guess it’s not so bad, but it just adds to things not going my way this week.

I need to get away! My husband and I are going away for the weekend to VEGAS! Yay, me! It will be nice to have some fun and come back refreshed! I have to remind myself that it’s just a bad week, not a bad life!

Image by Ryan McGuire from Pixabay

TV Talk

Image by Roy Buri from Pixabay

I hate this time of year, when a lot of TV shows are on rerun mode. I think that’s why I started watching reality shows, because the reality shows start new “seasons” frequently. So what have I been watching lately?

The basic channels are airing new seasons of “America’s Got Talent” and “So You Think You Can Dance.” SYTYCD doesn’t get good until after the auditions, at least for me. AGT is always great, because there’s something for everyone there. This new season does not disappoint. I’m confused about something though: It’s called “AMERICA’S Got Talent,” so why do acts from other countries compete? If an act wins from another country, then America didn’t have talent, did they? World of Dance has acts compete from other countries, but the name of the show is “WORLD of Dance,” not AMERICA of Dance.

One thing that bothers me about AGT is that the majority of acts that get the golden buzzer (which allows an act to skip auditions and go straight to the live shows where America votes) are singers. Singers don’t have to do much prep work to sing another song. However, acts that have to come up with new skits, choreography, computer images, etc., seldom get the golden buzzer.

Songland is a new show that’s got me hooked already. I love seeing what goes on behind the scenes when songwriters’ have their songs tweaked for a celebrity singer to record.

I can’t talk about TV shows without mentioning The Ellen Show. I love Ellen and love her show, but why is it so hard to get tickets to see it? I’ve requested tickets several times over the years and never have been able to get any. I finally gave up, but I would still love to see a taping of her show. I’ve seen tapings of other shows and didn’t have any problem getting tickets.

Other shows I’m watching now are Married at First Sight (the new season started a few weeks ago), 90 Day Fiance Happily Ever After (drama topped with drama, with extra drama on the side), 90 Day Fiance The Other Way (I can’t decide if I should cheer or pity some of these cast members), Life After Lockup (which is a continuation of the last season of Love After Lockup), and 90 Day Fiance Pillow Talk.

90 Day Fiance Pillow Talk is fun to watch, because you end up laughing through it. Some cast members from prior seasons of 90 Day Fiance watch the most recent episode of 90 Day Fiance Happily Ever After and share their thoughts. It’s pretty funny. My favorites are Tarik and his brother Dean. My husband and I literally laugh out loud when those two are on. I hope they continue to film Pillow Talk for future seasons of 90 Day Fiance!

Photo by JESHOOTS.com from Pexels

Tonight I’ll be watching Married at First Sight. The couples are on their honeymoons and the previews look pretty interesting. It’s too early to tell who I think will stay together or divorce. Time will tell, but sometimes they surprise me.

Until new episodes start airing on the basic channels, I’ll be watching the reality shows, which I know aren’t so real in some cases. I’m pretty sure MAFS is pretty real. 90 Day Fiance, I’m not so sure about and I think some of it is scripted. I still enjoy it. After all, it’s aired to entertain, right?

He’s Still My Dad.

Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

I’m sitting here dreading lunch with my dad. I don’t know why I always feel this way when we are meeting for lunch, but I do. I always go and I always get through it just fine, so why do I dread it so much?

My parents divorced when I was 11 years old. I didn’t like it at the time, but have grown to understand why as an adult. When I was little, I had a lot of fun with my dad. My dad played baseball on a men’s league and when we went to his games, my brothers and I played with the kids whose dads’ were on my dad’s team. We had a blast!

My dad and mom had a lot of friends and we were always surrounded by their families. I remember people coming over and music playing and everyone having fun. We also used to go to other families’ houses and play, too. I remember everyone getting together to swim at a hotel where one of my dad’s friends worked. We had barbecues, went on camping trips, and did a lot of fun things together.

One of my fondest childhood memories is the time my family had a HUGE water fight IN THE HOUSE!!! It started out as a small water fight between me and my brothers. We had squirt guns and were shooting each other, running in and out of the house. My dad got involved and started shooting a squirt gun at my mom, while she was washing dishes. My mom grabbed the spray nozzle on the faucet and squirted it at my dad. One of them, I don’t remember who, filled a pan with water and threw it at the other one. My dad ran outside and grabbed the hose, brought it inside, and started squirting everyone! It was a mess, but we had so much fun!

Another fun memory is this little game my dad played with me and my brothers. He would write hints down on little pieces of paper and hide them in the house. He’d give us the first hint: LOOK IN THE MAILBOX, for example. We’d run out to the mailbox and grab the hint that was sitting in there: LOOK IN THE BATHTUB. We’d follow the hints all over the house and yard until we found the “prize,” usually some change to get ice cream. I remember my dad hiding a hint on our dog’s collar! Those were the days!

After my parents divorced, everything changed. I didn’t see my dad very much. I saw him once in a while, but he didn’t put much effort into our relationship. I remember my dad picking me and my brothers up and taking us to his new girlfriend’s house. His new girlfriend had three children, two who were around my age. I remember her kids having some pretty cool toys and games, and one of her son’s telling me that my dad bought them all of those things. That was hurtful, because my dad didn’t do that for me or my brothers. My dad’s relationship with his girlfriend didn’t last very long.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

A little while later, my dad started dating and eventually married my stepmom. I never felt comfortable around her, because she made it pretty clear that my brothers and I were burdens. I remember her and her friend picking me and my brothers up from school to go shopping for clothes to wear to their wedding and her saying, “Ew, they’re so dirty!” She acted disgusted with us and I didn’t understand why, because I wasn’t dirty. It made me feel awful.

My dad and stepmom made very little effort to see me or my brothers. I maybe saw them once a year while I was a minor. I remember them taking me to a cheap restaurant for my birthday and while we were there, my stepmom bragged about the nice, elegant, expensive restaurant they took my stepsister to for her birthday. My stepsister is two years older than I am.

After about the age of 16, I didn’t see my dad at all for about ten years or so. By that time, I had my daughter, who was 5 and my first son, who was 3. When my kids were 3 and 1, my dad and stepmom sent me Christmas gifts for my kids. The gift tags said, “To the little girl” and “To the little boy.” They didn’t even know my children’s names!

Over the years, my dad started making an effort to have a relationship with me. I see him a few times a year for lunch, and that’s about it. He feels remorse for not being there for us kids while we were growing up and he’s trying to make up for it. Unfortunately, it’s a little too late. Yes, I get together with him for lunch, but we don’t have very much to talk about. We usually end up talking about God or sports, because that’s all we have in common. It’s sad, really, but it is what it is. I do love my dad and I wish things were different, but for whatever reason, I have a hard time “wanting” to get together. After all this time, it still feels awkward. I go anyway, because he’s my dad.

Stuff Happens.

What a week, and it’s only Tuesday! Hopefully these are the worst two days of this week. It’s not that critical, but it seems like everything happens at once.

Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

Sunday, we heard strange noises coming from the water heater. My husband checked it out and there was a leak. Great. We didn’t want to pay an emergency fee, so we scheduled someone to come out on Monday to fix it.

The plumber we called was supposed to come fix the water heater yesterday, but called to tell us he had to push our repair out a day or two. Meanwhile, the water heater was dripping faster and I was worried we would have to turn the water off, which I did not want to do. I told my husband to call someone else, so he found another plumber who could fix it today.

Yesterday, the door on our front-load washing machine locked up and would not open. We tried everything: turned it off and on, unplugged it, ran the cycle again, and nothing worked. Yay, another repair! I started calling around for an appliance repair company. I must have called eight places before I found someone who could come out the same day.

Image by taraghb from Pixabay

The appliance repair guys showed up two hours early, which was awesome, because that never happens! So far, so good! They were able to get the washer door open, but as soon as it was closed, it locked again. After checking everything out, the guy tells me that the motherboard is broken and the parts to our washer aren’t available anymore. (The washer is about 13 years old. It belonged to my grandma and I’ll tell you why it ended up at my house in another blog.) He recommended we buy a new washer. We knew it was only a matter of time until that happened, so I wasn’t surprised.

Today, the plumber showed up to fix the water heater. He stopped the leak, but guess what? We need a new water heater! Our water heater is about 14 years old, so it’s about time for it to break. We bought our house about four-and-a-half years ago and the lovely water heater came with it. Since the leak was fixed, we’ll try to hold on to the water heater a little while and focus on getting a washer. After all, the washer door is broken, there’s a short, and it could catch on fire!

I’ve been looking online for good deals on a washer and dryer set. Fortunately, some stores already have 4th of July sales going on. I just need to get a washer soon, because we’re going away this weekend and I will want to do laundry as soon as we get home. I only wish things would take turns to break and not do it at the same time. Isn’t that the way it always seems to go? At least once we get the new stuff, we won’t have to worry about them for at least another ten years!

Internet Dating: “Old School” Tips that Still Make Sense.

Image by Kevin Phillips from Pixabay

I’ve mentioned before that I met my husband on the internet. Yes, I met people while out at the bars and nightclubs with my friends, and even dated a few, too, but I got tired of that scene and signed up for a few dating sites online.

I’ve met quite a few men from online dating sites. I wish I had kept track of how many, but who knew I would end up blogging about it? It’s been a little over 14 years since I’ve used online dating sites, but I think a lot of these tips are still relevant today.

When I was on the dating sites, I had a few rules that I set because I wanted be safe while meeting strangers:

  1. I had to speak to the person on the phone. You just can’t read someone as well when texting or emailing.
  2. The guy had to live within 50 miles from me. I’ve never been interested in long distance relationships.
  3. I had to know where the guy worked. If I could verify that, I knew I was talking to a real person who could be found if anything bad happened.
  4. I had to meet within a couple of weeks. I wasn’t looking for a pen pal.
  5. I only met in public places. I NEVER gave my address to anyone!
  6. I made sure that I told someone my plans and as much information about the guy I was meeting as possible. That person would call me about 30 minutes into the date so that if I wanted to leave, I could pretend I had just received an important call and had to go.

I can honestly say I never had any horrible experiences, but I did meet people who I knew I would never see again after the first meeting. I don’t know about you, but I can read people pretty quickly. I was nice about it, but there wasn’t any point in wasting anyone’s time.

I met a few men who posted old pictures when they clearly didn’t look that way anymore. I always made sure I had current pictures posted and available, because I only wanted to meet men who were interested in ME. Why would I want to set someone up for disappointment? Nowadays, you can video chat with people, which eliminates all of the second-guessing. I wish video chat was available when I was meeting people! Honestly, I don’t see how people get away with “catfishing” other people when video chat is available. If I were on dating sites today, I would NOT meet anyone unless we video chatted a few times first. Period.

My experience with online dating was pretty successful. I dated a few men for a few months and had two long-term relationships. Now, I’m married to someone I met online. The few “bad” meetings I had weren’t all that bad. They were nice guys, but just not for me. I also met a couple of men who I was interested in meeting again, but I wasn’t their cup of tea. It wasn’t a big deal.

There were a couple of men who didn’t like me keeping my dating profile up or communicating with other men online after I started talking to them. I didn’t care. In my opinion, if a guy is going to get possessive before we even meet in person, that’s a huge red flag! I was not going to take my profile down until I met someone and started a real-life relationship with him. I continued communicating with people and when I started actually dating someone, I turned my profile off.

Image by PIRO4D from Pixabay

When I was on dating sites, I could have a profile up, but couldn’t contact anyone without paying a membership fee. I didn’t pay fees. I figured that if a guy was interested in me, he would contact me. I stuck to that and never paid a dime, until I saw my husband’s dating profile. I thought he was cute, he lived about 10 miles from me, and worked nearby. I liked the answers he filled out on his dating profile survey, too! I don’t remember all of his answers, but one question asked, “What’s your favorite meat?” His reply was, “YES!” It made me laugh! I was very attracted to his sense of humor.

So, for the first time ever, I reached out first on a dating site. I paid the fee and sent an email. I got a reply later that day. We talked on the phone and decided to meet for dinner at a local restaurant. We had great conversation and sat there for two hours, so we decided to take our date to a local bar for a drink. From there, we went to a nearby casino for a couple of hours. We had a great time! We saw each other every day after that and were married about three-and-a-half months later! It was fast, but felt right, and we’re still married to this day.

Image by Holger Detje from Pixabay

I know there are people who frown on couples getting married after dating for only a few months, but I don’t feel there is any specific “waiting period,” and it depends on the couple. I’ve been in a relationship for two years before and never wanted to marry that person. My relationship with my husband was very comfortable and we saw no reason to wait. I’d say we made the right decision!

Finding Me

How did I end up here? Where has everyone gone? I remember the good ole days, when I had many friends and was always doing things and going places. What happened to us? What happened to me?

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

I used to be carefree and spontaneous. I loved traveling, going to concerts, football games, dancing, karaoke, you name it. Not anymore. I’m falling apart and my world is closing in. I can’t let it.

The more pain I am in, the less I want to do. People just don’t wait around for people like me. My friendships have faded to only existing on social media. I see the pictures they post and they see mine, and that’s the extent of our relationships. My friends have distanced themselves and I don’t blame them. They want to do fun things and I’m physically limited. I get it.

I hate what’s happened to me. I still do some things, but I have to work around my illnesses. It’s annoying. I can’t be spontaneous anymore, everything is planned, partly due to pain, partly due to OCD.

Pain has affected my attitude, too. I’m positive the OCD adds to it, but I find that I get angry, frustrated, and stressed out over small, stupid things. I’ve mentioned before that I like things to be done a certain way and things kept in their place, and it upsets me when that doesn’t happen.

Every day when I wake up, I literally plan my whole day in my head. It’s ridiculous, really. If anything unexpected throws my plans off, I react negatively. I know I’m not the easiest person to live with because of it. I’ve found that I overreact by freaking out, then calm down about it, and then feel embarrassed for my actions and have to apologize to the recipient(s) of my wrath. It’s all so unnecessary.

I regret giving in to my pain and irrational frustrations. I gave up on me and spent the majority of my waking hours in a recliner watching TV, reading, or surfing the internet on my laptop. My doctors kept telling me to exercise and lose weight, but I didn’t listen. Until now.

I’m ready to find myself again. I’m ready to stop wasting time. Yes, I suffer from chronic pain, but I can’t let it control my life. I can’t sit here and merely exist while life passes me by. I am taking steps to improve my health and increase my activity. I’m going to try not to let little things bother me. I will think about things before I react. I have to practice patience, because things aren’t going to change overnight, but I am committed to getting mentally and physically healthier. I will find me again.

Image by lena dolch from Pixabay