Halfway Through the Week

29 Dec

Well, it’s Tuesday, December 29, 2020. Halfway through the longest week of the year, that week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. At least the sun is shining today, even though it’s only 27 degrees. But all the snow is finally melted, leaving a small lake in our front yard.

It’s that time of year where we’re supposed to look over the past year, find the good, forget the bad and move on to the new year. New Year’s Eve has always been a nostalgic day for me, bringing back memories from my years when I still lived at home with my parents and my younger sister and two brothers. Back then I couldn’t wait to get out on my own, but now I wish I wouldn’t have been in such a big hurry. As a lot of us do, I only realized what I had left after being away so long. Both of my parents are gone now, my sister and I are no longer as close as we were, my one brother isn’t very family oriented and the other one moved a couple hours away two years ago. Things could’ve been a lot different if it wasn’t for the coronavirus. We may have spent Christmas Eve with my far away brother, since we used to spend it at his house when he lived close. At least my son and his family could’ve spent some time with us. But who knows. So Christmas Eve and Christmas was spent at home with my husband. How things change.

I won’t make any resolutions for the new year. There’s nothing I can promise myself that I haven’t already been doing. This year has made me realize who and what is important to me. My family, even though it isn’t ideal, we get along ok. My cousins are awesome people and I wish we spent as much time together now as we did when we were kids. My friends, although my oldest and best friend lives on the other side of the country, we still manage to stay close after 50 years. We were just kids when we became friends and I couldn’t ask for a better one. This will sound silly, but I am also grateful for my Facebook friends. I’ve met a few of them, in Jamaica on vacation of all places! But they are as close to me as my “real” friends. I also have the best neighbors, and they have also become like family to me after living next to them for 28 years.

So, it’s halfway through this long, strange week and I feel adrift. The house is strangely quiet and unsettled. We unexpectedly lost our 12 year old cat Buster to lung cancer on December 7, 2020. That in itself is cause for another blog, but not until I’m ready. He deserves a great obituary and I intend to deliver one.

I hope the New Year brings more happiness than sorrow. This year has been so full of sadness and it’s almost too much for me to take. I know that the new year isn’t going to bring miracles, but can I hope for just a small one?

Thanksgiving 2020

27 Nov

Friday, November 27, 2020

Well, it’s Black Friday and Thanksgiving 2020, is now just a memory. This year wasn’t much different than years past. We roasted a turkey, potatoes and carrots, made a sausage zucchini dressing, made my mom’s homemade rolls and we had a brownie pie. Oh! and Jack made my dad’s wine slush. I made a pumpkin and an apple crumble pie for my son and his family. I always make way too much food, it must be the Italian in me πŸ™‚ But it’s ok, I gave my older, single neighbor a big plate to take home. He told me today he is requesting two brownie pies for next year! My son usually comes for a couple hours as he has other places to visit, but this year he stayed home with his girlfriend and they cooked. He always takes leftovers home with him. This year was just so disappointing that I couldn’t see them or my granddaughter.

So, this morning I got up, lifted and walked on the treadmill earlier than I normally do. We went outside after lunch and took down all of our fall decorations. I removed all the ears of corn from the cornstalks for the deer or raccoons, whoever gets here first! We then put up our Christmas lights and decorations outside. It is a little bit early for me, as I hate to rush the season. The Christmas tree farm nearby opened today, and they have made me three grave blankets that I need to go pick up. I definitely was not going out there today! It will be a total madhouse there. I think we’ll wait until Wednesday to go pick them up, then go next Wednesday for our tree. Yea, I’m still a holdout for a real tree, although every year I swear it’s the last one. I just can’t find an artificial tree that I like. I finished up my Christmas cards today too. After working 36 years at the post office, I still support them. I’ve already started my candy making and will start my cookies in a week or so. I send out 5-6 boxes to friends and relatives every year. Another thing I always say I’m going to cut back on, ha!

So, as Thanksgiving is but a memory, it was actually a nice quiet time alone with my husband. I’m wondering if Christmas will be the same? 2020 has definitely been different!

Invisible Progress

27 Nov

November 27, 2020

I had my bloodwork done last week and saw my endocrinologist and my family doctor yesterday. My bloodwork was excellent! Both doctors were happy with the labs but were equally happy about my weight loss, which was due to a huge change in my diet, which in turn gave me good results.
I was able to bring my A1c down .80 points over the last three months. For me this is just as good as my weight loss. Both doctors stressed that if I can keep this up, I may be able to get off some of my meds. I would LOVE that!
This is progress that is invisible. You can’t see what your cholesterol or triglycerides look like, but these things are just as, if not more important than physical changes like weight loss or fitting into a smaller size.
Getting older sure changes your perspective on things!

EDIT: originally written 9/29/20

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Goodbye Twizzlers!

30 Jul

Diabetes is hard! I saw my endocrinologist on Monday and was basically threatened with insulin if things didn’t change. Things will be changing.

My A1c was 7.4% and it was up from 6.7% in December. I usually see her every 3 months, but my March visit was canceled due to that little corona thing happening across the world. I finally saw her after 6 months. Things were ugly. My lab work was the worst it’s ever been concerning my diabetes. And it’s all my fault. I can blame the virus, I can blame quarantine, or any other convenient thing happening, but I know it’s my fault. I was of the mindset that as long as my labs were ok, then I could just eat whatever I wanted as long as I was working out. Well, that sure didn’t work out for me! I can’t outrun my fork!

As of Monday, June 22, 2020, I have finally taken my health into my own hands and will be doing what’s best for me! I am going to try to give up sugar completely if possible. I did it once before and lost 45 pounds. I have the biggest sweet tooth ever, so this will be no easy thing. I love baking and I always have to sample what I make. Now all I need to do is limit it to just a sample! I am addicted to cherry Twizzlers. My husband bought me a two pack at Sam’s club, a pound in each package! Twice. No lie, I could eat those morning, noon and night! It’s definitely a trigger food for me and if they are in the house, they will be calling out my name! Even though I tracked them, I know they are not what I need.
So, goodbye my sweet Twizzlers.

The Eve of Christmas Eve 2019

24 Dec

Well, it’s the eve of Christmas Eve and I am feeling relaxed. All of the shopping, baking, decorating and wrapping are done, so I have a day or two to straighten the house up for visitors.

I didn’t used to be this organized, I worked at the post office for 37 Christmas seasons and there literally was no time for anything! We started work at 5:30 or 6:00pm, just in time for all the collections from all the local offices were dropped off to us to be sorted. The only machine we had back then was a cancelling machine that put the postmark on each piece of mail. We sorted it all by shape, size and thickness, whether it was a letter, a flat or a spur and hand cancelled the odd or thick letters. It was a LONG night of this, sorting manually into letter cases, bundling it up, then sorting it into sacks or tray to be dispatched by truck to various cities and the airport. Once that was done, we then started sorting the local mail that was pulled out from the mail we already did. That went on all night and was once again shipped out to the local small offices. We then sorted our own mail and shipped it to our main office for the carriers to deliver. These were 12 hour days/night for 3-4 weeks and by Christmas, I was exhausted!

By the time of my last Christmas at the post office, everything was done by machine. It was way more efficient than us sorting manually, but we found that it was not as accurate πŸ™‚
Technology makes the mail move faster, and it takes less people to do the work, but it’s not near as accurate as when we did it manually.

So, on this eve of Eve, I hope you are feeling as relaxed as I am. Tomorrow will be a busy day cooking, as will Christmas day, but I’m ready.

Merry Christmas to everyone!

“Blackie”

6 Nov

AΒ long time ago when I was a kid, my Aunt Helen had a dog named Blackie. I bet you can’t guess what color he was. He was a black mutt of a dog, but also a huge sweetheart. I liked to pretend that he was mine since we didn’t have a dog.

I loved to visit my aunts and my grandparents when I was little. My two aunts lived together and my Aunt Mamie was widowed and worked at the local hospital. My Aunt Helen was single and had been crippled from a fall when she was two years old. My grandparents lived right next door to them and my other aunt, Eleanor, lived with my Uncle Bill two doors over from them. I loved having family all together like that and I cherish those days of togetherness.

Blackie was an outdoor dog, which was very common back in the early ’60’s. Although my Aunt Helen used to sneak him inside when Aunt Mamie was at work and feed him table scraps. I loved being in on the secret of letting him inside! And boy did he enjoy it, his tail wagged the whole time he was inside. While he was outside, he could usually be found lying on the back patio. It was made of dark gray slate and I’m sure it was either cool or hot depending on the weather.

My Aunt Eleanor was a walker by necessity. My Uncle Bill worked at the steel mill and it wasn’t very far from their house, so he walked to work. The grocery store was just down the hill too, so there was no need for a car, so Aunt Eleanor walked everywhere. She did this well in to her late ’80’s too.

She used to take all of us kids, all my cousins, for long walks from the house on Hill Avenue, across Spring Avenue, and down the steps into Beatty Park. From there, we walked the length of the park, then up the old cemetery road, now a path, and out to Sunset Blvd., then across Lawson Avenue, back to Spring and then home. As a child, this was one of my very favorite things to do. In the park, we walked the creek, picking up stones and rocks to take home. I guess we were easily amused back then! I painted one of those rocks for my Dad once and remembered seeing it on his desk at work. When he died, I was amazed and touched that he still had it.

Blackie would always come with us. He was always in the lead and we followed. It was like he knew where we were going. He never got too far ahead of us and never lagged behind. He was our leader and we followed. Although Aunt Eleanor thought she was the leader, we knew who it really was. He stopped with us when we all got into the itchweed and had to put mud on our legs. He knew when to start out again when we finished. He obeyed without anyone ever yelling or telling him what to do. He was a good dog.

Well, the day came when Blackie died. I don’t really remember what happened, I want to believe it was old age, as he’d been around for most of my younger years. I was 10 when he died and it was my first real experience with death that I can remember. My poor Aunt Helen was a mess. Her dog was her life, as she had no kids and no husband. I remember her crying and moaning outside in the back yard while my dad dug the hole. It was then that I was awakened to real grief. Blackie was really gone, and he left the first hole in my heart.

I’ve been thinking of him for a few weeks and I don’t know why, but I thought I’d share a small part of his life here. He really was a good dog πŸ™‚

Cooking Blog?

11 Jul

So, my good friend Hank, who I’ve never met in person, but is my go to guy when I’m emotionally wrecked, has suggested I do a cooking blog. I’ve thought about it in the past, but there are just SO many out there. He says my stuff is amazing and he doesn’t tell lies πŸ™‚Β  Actually, I’ve been told that I should open a bakery by a lot of my friends and co-workers. I’d love to have a try at it, but after putting in a lot of years working, I’m not sure I really want to go back to the daily grind. So, the quest for a recipe to kick it off this blog is on! Oh! and I’ve already got the perfect name LOL! Thanks Hank, for giving me that little nudge into uncharted territory, hope you’ll stay along with me for the ride!

EDIT: after fighting to get my pictures posted, I gave up on the cooking blog 😦

Valentine’s Day Sucks

15 Feb

Well, not for me anyway. My husband showered me with cupcakes, cake, caramel clusters and chocolate covered strawberries πŸ™‚ but this isn’t about me or him today.

I got a text from my son yesterday after he had worked 12 hours. Very nice, telling me Happy Valentine’s Day and that he loves me. This is coming from my 30 year old son, nice huh? πŸ™‚

Ten minutes later I get another one from him, he’s home and says that all of his fiancee’s stuff is gone and she’s left him. He is CRUSHED, said he was blind sided and had no idea what was wrong. We text back and forth awhile and it’s killing me that my child is hurting like this even though he’s a grown man. He tells me that he’s talked to her and she says he doesn’t support her. She teaches and coaches an 8th grade girl’s basketball team, and told him he should have gone to more of her games. She recently inherited $10,000 from an uncle and wants to pursue her masters, and with another $5,000 from her parents, she can do this. She said my son didn’t support her decision to do this. He told me that he told her that it was her decision. So, what I’m thinking is that why didn’t she tell him during the season that she wanted him to go watch her coach? As for the masters? That IS her choice and why would he ever tell her not to further her education? I’m thinking there is more to this than meets the eye. A couple of lame ass excuses, in my opinion!

So, here he is, on Valentine’s Day no less, dealing with an unforeseen breakup, just being totally fucked by someone he’s been with for almost 7 years. He just started a new job, working weekends, usually 12 hour days, which they discussed before he took the job. Now he is left having to find an alternative way to see his daughter, since weekends are out now, or find someone to stay with her while he works. She also left him with two dogs that need care during the days when he works. Needless to say, he is overwhelmed with hurt and worry for his future. I’ve let him know that I will do whatever I can to help him through this, like before. Oh yea, I forgot to mention she did this one other time just before Thanksgiving. What kind of woman (and I say that loosely) would do that to someone, let alone on Valentine’s Day?

Blog Virgin

18 Jan

OK, so this is my first blog, hence the title. I’m probably going to ramble a bit here, but bear with me.

I’ve worked in the same place for almost 36 of my almost 55 years and have had ups and downs, like everyone else. I started working at the post office in 1977, when I had just turned 19 and never thought I would still be there after all this time. It’s not an easy job, as most people think. You either see the mailman delivering mail, or you see the clerk selling stamps, but most people never get to see the real workings of what goes on behind the scenes, during the afternoons and nights, when most people have finished up with their day jobs.

We all started out as PTFs (part-time flexibles) and that’s exactly what it was. You rarely knew what your schedule would be, management would only post a day or two in advance, but when you’re 19 and making decent money, you put up with it. I was scheduled to work at 5:30p on my first day and that would usually be my time, unless I was scheduled for a split shift, meaning I would work from 10am-2pm, then come back at 5;30 until the mail was finished. Not a great schedule for a young girl! My first day there, I had to “face mail” where you sorted letters, flats, parcels, metered mail, stamped mail and every other kind of mail you could imagine! I worked next to a girl my age, who told me the whole bible story of Adam and Eve. I went to Catholic school for 12 years, so I kind of knew the story πŸ™‚ I was worried that this kind of thing would happen all the time, so I tried to work near other people, but she came back and invited me to her church. I ended up going because in my experience, church was all holy with priests and nuns who liked to shush us up and smack us on the back of our heads when we didn’t hear them. Anyway, her church was upstairs in a building above a tailor, which was kind of strange to me. It wasn’t church as I knew it, but I could see that it was holy too, just in a different way than mine. We ended up working together all these years, she became a supervisor and I stayed a clerk. Management wasn’t going to entice me with that quarter more per hour!

The years went by, I married, became a mom, divorced, had a huge love affair with my current husband, and still I stayed working. I dabbled in management for a couple of years, but the post office really doesn’t allow you to manage, they NEED to micromanage from above, which I didn’t like one bit. If I was going to be the boss, I wanted to make my own decisions, whether they were good or bad, and then deal with the consequences. I did enjoy managing the carriers for those couple of years though and learned how to get along with people who worked for me. They are a great bunch of men and women and I made some very close friends while doing it. I also learned that people have no idea how a post office is run. It’s nothing like an ordinary business at all. We weren’t meant to make a profit; we’re a service. There are so many things the average person doesn’t know. We have a 24 hour clock and things are supposed to be done at certain times, mail has to be sorted and ran on our machines then make sure it’s on the truck and at the airport by the time the planes leave in the evening. Then the mail starts coming in at night to be sorted to our local offices and have it ready for the trucks to take to the offices for the carriers to deliver. I had a love/hate relationship with my job. Not bragging, but I am really good a what I do. I am OCD and make sure everything I do is right, meaning I sort the manual/residual city mail to the carriers and I do it faster and more accurately than anyone else in our office. The carriers HATE when I’m on vacation or take a day off, because they get held up in the office later, due to my replacement not being as good as I am. I’m really not being big headed, even though it sounds that way. My bosses tell me the same thing. I’m going to miss all those guys πŸ™‚

Now I am in the last couple of weeks of my work life (8 more working days!) and am struggling to be positive about this. I am still a young 54, in decent physical shape and am looking forward to this change. The problem is my husband. I met him at work, had an unforgettable courtship with him, knew him a year before we got married and celebrated our 25th this past October. So what could be the problem you ask? We worked together all these years, in the same office, but in different sections, and now we’re both retiring due to a buyout. I was able to see him whenever I wanted and he could do the same. People always asked me how I worked with him and then went home with him, wanting to know how we did it. It wasn’t easy. He is extremely jealous and watched every move I made, who I talked to, who I was texting and who I was calling, wanting to know where I was all the time. I put up with it because I was stupid and thought that this was how he showed he cared. It really wasn’t. I never gave him a reason to be that way, other than the fact that we were both married when we met. We both knew what we were doing was wrong, but it was one of those things that I knew in my heart was what was meant to be. He felt the same way. Now I’m so afraid of being with him 24 hours a day, and I’m afraid of losing what little freedom I had due to work. I’ve even told him this, but he thinks we’ll be ok. I want to be able to walk out my front door without him knowing every place I’m going and then questioning me when I get back later than what he thinks. I don’t want to be called and texted, asking where I am and how long I’ll be. I just don’t know if I can do this, and talking to him doesn’t always work. He sees thing differently than I do. He worries that something has happened when I’m late, that’s why he calls and texts me. He sends me texts telling me he misses me. It’s scary to mean so much to someone.Β  So there is my dilemma. Can I be happy with my husband of 25 years or will I be unhappy with him? It’s a bit unsettling to say the least, and I guess my answer will come in 8 days.