Senior Sisters Reunion

In twelve days I’ll see my sister whom I haven’t seen in twenty years. It’s time. Two weeks ago she posted on Facebook, pretty much our sole form of communication, that she had a near death experience as a reaction to a new medication.

What am I waiting for, I thought, the funeral! I think not. I shot off an instant message to see if she was open for a visit. No response. Great. She’s either dead or doesn’t want to see me.

I had tried to word my message with an appropriate amount of interest in visiting with her while also indicating a desire to see New Orleans. My goal was to take any pressure off her to feel like she had to entertain me. I mean how do you say, I want to see you before one of us dies.  Viewing her body in a casket is not how I want to remember her.

JB - Tammy wedding 1996
The two of us in 1996

 

For two days I moped around convinced that a reunion with my baby sister was not going to happen. Then a response!

Why had I stressed! She’s the one who always made us late. She’s the one who put off everything, and I mean everything, until it was usually too late to do it.  Oh yeah, and everyone loved her. She’s the baby, unbelievably nice, sickeningly sweet but always late.

She wants me to come! She’s excited about my coming. She’s telling all her friends I’m coming! Whoopee! Definitely the response I was hoping for.

The last time Tammy and I saw each other we were young, at least relatively speaking. Tammy was in her early forties and I was a month away from 50. Do the math, the reunion of two senior sisters!

The countdown begins. In twelve days I’ll be on my way from the hot, dry Southern California desert to the hot and humid City of New Orleans. I’m going to see my sister. Day 12 and counting down!

 

 

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A dash of this and a dash of that

 

Daily Post: Dash

A dash of this and a dash of that! Hah! What a joke. Even with a very specific recipe, there’s a better than 70% chance the dish won’t be edible. This is one of those stories.

It all started one bright and sunny, okay “hot,” Thanksgiving in Southern California. You might say ended, but that would be getting ahead of the story.

Most families have their traditional holiday meals, and mine was no exception. Southern cooking—oh yeah. I dream of the shreds of ham hock floating in a sea of collard greens. candied yams, black-eyed peas, and cornbread. “Yum” doesn’t even begin to cover it.

I don’t need a recipe to cook Southern. I can cook Southern blindfolded. It comes natural, even after having been away from the South for 40 years.

This year I decided to add a little variety and make a staple of many other families—cranberry gelatin mold.

My girlfriend assured me this was a “never fail” recipe, even for me. Right! “There’re only five ingredients, and one of them is water. Basically two steps. You can do it!” I can do this. I envisioned this beautiful, red cranberry mold sitting in the center of the table—decorative and delicious!

cranberry jello mold
In My Dreams

 

I followed the simple directions to the letter; I didn’t miss a single one.  Hope springs eternal, right?

Everyone is milling around the kitchen, setting the table, finding serving utensils and checking to see if anything is forgotten.

“Oh, I made jello mold,” I announced triumphantly. I slid it gingerly from the fridge. The platter was ready. This was such an unusual event—by that I meant me cooking something new. Does jello mold count as cooking? Not sure, but anyway. Everyone was watching as I deftly inverted the mold on the platter. I gave the mold a little shake, just to make sure it was loose. I began to remove the mold.

It was obvious immediately—this was not going well. There was a pink, primordial like ooze seeping from beneath the mold. Should I lift it off more? I had no choice. The mold was free and so was the jello ooze. There are no words to describe the hideous, unappetizing goop on the platter. My son was laughing uncontrollably. Everyone else was smiling with a few snickers, but for the most part polite. But this was not the first cooking debacle my son had witnessed.

melted cranberry mold
In Reality

 

He grabbed his phone. “I’ve got to post a picture of this on FaceBook!”

“No! No!” I lunged for him and his phone. He’s got a good six inches on me, but my daughter-in-law in a sympathetic moment, grabbed the phone from behind. I sighed.

I mean really, it’s November in the desert and still hot! Anything could melt, right?

In the closet, under the bed

Daily Post: Tremble

“Get under the bed, get under the bed.” If we weren’t scared before Martha said that, we were then.

My two younger sisters, shorter and faster than I, skittered under and left no room for me..

hiding-under-bed

“Where do I go? Where can I hide?” My nine-year-old voice trembled in fear.

“In the closet. Get way in the back.” As Martha  shoved me, I was overwhelmed by the comforting smell of Mom’s Tweed cologne. I sure wish she were here. She could make this stop. I know she could.

Then we heard the loudest noise I’d ever heard-bang! “I’m going to shoot somebody!” His voice was deep and loud. His Southern accent was stronger than ours. Like “Ahm gonna shoooot sumbuddy.”

We cowered. “Are you alright?” Martha whispered to my sisters.

“Uh huh.” I could tell they were crying. I wasn’t crying—yet, but I was hugging Martha so tight, she could hardly breathe and she was trying to pry my fingers away from her waist. I just squeezed tighter. What was happening?

And then we heard it again. It seemed louder this time. We waited, not breathing. Nothing. What happened? Was he coming inside. Were we the somebodies he was going to kill. I felt sticky all over and my throat hurt from clenching my teeth.

Finally, Martha said, “wait here.” “Don’t go, don’t go.” We were crying loudly. So what if he heard us. “Don’t leave us. We’re scared.”

Martha hugged me and pried my fingers away. “I’ll be right back.” Then she kissed the top of my head.

“Come over here. Come get in the closet with me.” Shaking and trembling, my sisters tentatively snaked the short distance from the bed to the closet. We huddled tightly.

Then we heard the back door close. “It’s okay. Come on out.”

Martha took us into the living room and sat us down on the sofa. “Your mom will be here any minute. Everything’s okay.” We heard the sirens and wanted to jump up and run out and look. “Stay here!” Martha was shouting and tears ran down her face. Martha had never raised her voice at us, ever.

pic-for-trembling

Later, much later, Mom told us that our neighbor, whom we had never met, killed himself with a shot-gun. We didn’t even know what that meant. We didn’t know anything about dying or being killed. But we nodded like we did. We didn’t ask any questions. We knew we didn’t want the answers.

 

 

I “like” your post

Remember those little squares of paper we folded up to flip out with questions like, “do you like me?” You move your fingers to flip the squares to get the answer. Ideally a “yes.” I need one of those little things for blogging.fortune teller paper.jpg

When I like what you have to say, hey, that’s easy. Just click “like.” If I’m lucky, a link will show up and ask for my comment. Most of the time, that doesn’t happen and then I’m searching all over the site to find where I can make a comment on what you said. I really like you and want to say something to you. Geeze, it’s like standing on your front porch and banging on your door. Where are you? I know you’re there somewhere. Open the darn door.

Don’t you want to talk to me? Or the worst question, don’t you like me? It took me a while to find the little “star” on, I think it’s the WP Admin, I’m not sure, but whatever. But I found it, and now I can find your comments to me without scrolling through every post on my blog to see if anybody liked me or wanted to say something to me. It was just a little tedious. I’m rolling my eyes now.

Here’s the point of this post, sorry it took me so long to get here. I’m going to select one blog that I follow or want to follow and read it all, or least a month or two if you’ve been blogging all your life, of your blog. Isn’t that a super idea. Okay. It’s not my idea. I stole it from Sele Moir.

I’m only giving him a little of the credit though. Some credit belongs to Kids and Life After 40

She told me (commented) that we must be related because we had so much in common. I was a little embarrassed because I wasn’t “following” her and she must have been following me, or at least finding me wandering out there somewhere. Well, what if we were related. I always thought I was adopted, so somewhere out there is my real family. Naturally, I had to check it out, so I read her whole blog. Fortunately, for me she’s only been blogging for three months.

I couldn’t believe it! We might be sisters! Well, sister, I’m following you now. It will be easy because we have a best friend in common, sugar. The three of us should probably set up a date for shopping, especially if there are coupons or “two-for-ones” and we can squeeze in a stop at the food court. Both our minds tend to be a little busy and jump around a lot, but hopefully, we’ll be a good influence on each other because we want to write and blog better.

You’ll like my friends. Hopefully, I’ve pinged or linked or hooked or whatever so you can meet them.

https://kidsandlifeafter40.wordpress.com/

https://selemoir.wordpress.com/

 

 

 

Cyberstalking starts at home

When I started writing this post, I couldn’t decide whether to title it “Cyberstalking Starts at Home” or “My Husband, the Felon.” You can tell which one I chose. And yep, my husband is now a felon. At least he will be if I have anything to say about it.

He has been opening and reading my email, probably for months. Can you believe that. He never asked permission and he never told me that he was doing it. He invaded my privacy and intruded on my conversations with friends and business associates. And he didn’t tell me! That makes it sneaky and clandestine. That’s stalking.

What was he hoping to find? Evidence of an affair? I wish! Evidence of excessive spending? Not my style. How do I know he’s reading my email, you ask? He let something slip, something that was only accessible in an email.

I don’t think he is a criminal or has intentions of doing me harm, at least I hope not. But I do think he’s crossed over the line that married couples draw to have a few morsels of privacy. We need boundaries.

Years ago (we’ve been married over 20) I asked hubby specifically to not open mail or packages unless both our names are on it. No problem. Mutual respect. Great!

Now, here it comes, wouldn’t you think the same directive applies to email? Well, I do. And so does Oprah. That’s good enough for me. That practically makes it relationship law. The consensus of Oprah followers is that even if your spouse gives you his/her password, it’s still your spouse’s “personal” email and should be respected and left alone.

It gets even better. In Florida, I don’t live there, but I could move. Anyway, in Florida if you read someone else’s email and disclose it to someone else you could go to prison for five years. Five years! If you read it without the permission of the owner, even if you keep it to yourself, you could still be guilty of a misdemeanor and get a year in prison. I gotta tell you, that sounds about right.cyber stalking

Reading someone’s email without their permission is illegal! But you know what is worse, the violation of trust. How can you fix that?

First thing I did, no brainer—changed the password. What next? Do I say anything? Do I just go on like I don’t know he’s been reading my book club list and the recipes my girlfriend sends me? Will he say anything when he tries to access my email again and my old password doesn’t work? Probably not unless he wants to fess up to the crime. The chief of police is a personal friend. I could call him. Tempting.

What to do? What to do? There is no conclusion to this post, no summary, no pulling together of thoughts. Wow! Writing a blog is better than therapy. I feel better already.

The New and Improved “About Me”

Today’s “Fundamentals of Blogging” is to revise/re-write my blog’s “About.” According to the lesson plan, I needed less of a list and more of a story; more of what the blog is about and not so much about me; more of what I want to accomplish with this blog and not so much about what I’ve already accomplished. 

If you have time would you read my old “About” and let me know if you think I should change it to the new one? (Gotta say I’m pretty impressed with myself for being able to figure out how to create a link to my “about” page. This course is amazing.)

Here’s my new “About”

I blamed my dislike for all things physical on gym suits.  They were baggy and disgustingly ugly. Did I say they were one piece? No one, not even the really pretty girls, looked good in them. I became a professional at devising ways not to “dress out” for PE.

Then I met a guy. He liked to run—all the time. So I started running. I don’t even remember his name. But after he was gone, I kept running. Then I wanted to run better so I started going to the gym and, well one thing lead to another, and I became a fitness junkie. I was obnoxious about it—all I wanted to do was workout, run, swim, bike, play racquetball o! r talk about doing something physical. Like I said obnoxious. Screenshot (22).png

I’ve done a lot of other things—got a Phd, run marathons, raised a remarkable son, had good jobs, lost good jobs, made some good decisions and some seriously bad ones. As a result I’ve  re-invented my life many times. My friends say that I’m an inspiration. I say, “Really?” But I’m still here, and that certainly says something.

That’s what this blog is about—re-inventing life, rising above circumstances and situations, becoming a better person. I’d like to think that what I write about can inspire you, or someone you know, to do things you never thought you could.

Today, at age 68, I’m a personal trainer. Can you believe it! And I’m good at it.  The girl who never went to PE now spends her entire day doing PE. Wow. Can it get any stranger than this?

Parts of my life are great, maybe even better than great. But then there are the other parts. There is always work to do, and I want inspiration. That’s why I need you.

Tell me (in 50 or words or less—just kidding) how did you do it? How did you transform yourself, turn things around, make lemonade—you know what I mean?

Drop me a line.

Who are you, anyway?

My ideal reader–Who are you, anyway?

When I told some friends that I was writing a blog, their first response was, “are you making any money yet?”

“Money?” I thought. “Blogs are for making money?” But I didn’t say that because I figured they must know more about blogging than I did. Heck, almost anyone knows more about blogging than I do. That won’t be the case for long though. In case you haven’t noticed, this “Fundamentals of Blogging Course” is actually paying off. Go figure, huh?

Sadly, but not surprisingly, none of my friends asked to read my blog or even where they could find it. Good thing I’m not counting on them to buy anything!

One of my co-workers asked me if I was going to be published. “Published? Well, I’m publishing posts when I can remember how.” That was the end of that conversation.

JB Tonette Alisha Jaz_3
My workout gal pals: Jasmine, 25; Alisha, 37; me, 68; Tonette, 50. The Fab Four

 

I’m still no closer to finding my ideal reader, but I know you’re not a shopper or a publisher.

In real life, meaning physical not virtual, who are my friends? If you are my friend, there’s an almost 100% probability that you are fit and healthy or that you want to be. That’s what I do almost all day every day. I am a personal trainer. I work out, and I eat healthy most of the time.

If clubbing is one of your main weekend activities, chances are we’ve never met.

I also do yoga. This is probable is not surprising—fitness and all. But yoga ceased to be merely a physical activity for me several years ago. Yoga is part of my spiritual life now, and, yeah, I have spiritual friends.

Now we’re making progress—a physically healthy, spiritual person who doesn’t live a party lifestyle.

What else? Oh yeah, the age thing. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know age is just a number and old is a state of mind. But I’m 68. While that may not be interesting in and of itself, it is a big attraction for the event called “JB”—that is me. I never intended to be old, but hey, if I’m going to be old, I’m going to be the best old person out here. Old people like me; I inspire them. Young people like me because they think I’m proof that getting old may not suck. For whatever reason, many of my friends think their age or my age or anything about age is important.

Making big strides here: my ideal reader is a healthy, spiritual person who doesn’t party and is mindful of aging.

But enough about me! Who are you! Finding our who you are has got to be the most unexpected benefit of blogging. I had no idea you were there. I’m excited about getting to know you. And if you’ve even read this far—well, I’m not sure we can be friends. Most of my friends have shorter attention spans than I do, and I can read blogs of about 500 words before …