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Granny Panties?

I’ve written about a lot of weird stuff in my life, but today is probably up there on the list. That being said, this morning was deemed a granny panty day. For the record, I abhor the word “panty” and typically only use it only in combination with the aforementioned “granny” before it. I assume I’ll break that rule multiple times by the end of this post. Before we delve into the story, for the record, I own about one pair of granny panties, and usually prefer to go the thong route myself.

So, there are these panties that I’ve had for YEARS. They aren’t huge panties, by any stretch, but as a thong user, these don’t get much use because they are butt-cover panties. I already have a sad excuse for a rear end (all boobs, no ass at all) so I have always decided to go with no panty lines and keep things back there as neat and tidy as possible. No panty lines, no wedgies…just smooth. These panties were a gift from my mom’s mom, and I’ve had them probably 20 years. That being said, they have remained in my drawer, and despite having them so long, they haven’t seen much wear until somewhat recently. My grandmother always got my mom beautiful, dainty and lacy underwear for Christmas each year. I can’t tell you which year I received my first pair of undies from her, but this pair was it. They were black, covered my butt, and had some lace. These were not sexy panties…oh no. These were practical panties with a little lace to convince yourself you weren’t going full on practical.

At the time I received them, I thought they were nice enough, but felt a hair embarrassed my grandmother had gotten me undies, plus shunned them a bit because they were practical briefs…and I had already learned girls with no asses were prone to one cheeked wedgies. Plus, I felt chubby (my god I wish I was as fat now as I thought I was back then…I was about 120 lbs!) so these panties just symbolized my issues with weight. That being said, they were luxuriously soft and comfortable. I relegated such a practical item to the back of my drawer.

Multiple moves, over multiple states, and still those panties came along for the journey. I suppose I kept them because my grandmother had given them to me and I’m a sentimental person. She lived 3000 miles away, but somehow had always made me feel close and loved. She was one of my favorite people, and damn it, if she gave me granny panties, I was gonna keep them, even if I didn’t wear them! That is, I didn’t wear them, until I did.

When I was pregnant, those were a favorite, because they were the perfect level of snug but still comfortable and stretchy, not to mention oh so soft. They took me through medical issues, hospital stays, weight gain, weight loss, and days when I just felt like I needed to be cozy. They weren’t the sexiest, but they were pretty. They felt a bit magical, because they always fit perfectly, no matter what size I was, and their softness made me happy.

Today, I went to grab underwear out of my drawer and my hand felt the softness of the pair my grandmother gave me all those years ago. I slipped them on…after all, it’s a cold, dreary Monday and a girl could use some soft comfort. It reminded me of how her gift has lasted me all these years, and went from being sort of shunned in my young stupidity, to being a favorite in my later years. I felt silly for my early reaction, and mulled over that these panties had meant more to me, and taught me more than I expected. I learned that comfort and practicality is so very important. Quality is important. Happiness with small things in life is important. These make me happy.

Such a silly thing, really, finding happiness in a pair of underwear gifted by a now deceased but always beloved person. Who knew that one could learn a lesson from such a gift. They truly are my “granny panties” but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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The Collector

Old Friends. They really can be the very best, can’t they? Friendship is something that really morphs and flexes over time, and I am a firm believer that the most cherished of friends should often be the ones that stayed in it to win it for the long haul.

As a kid, we focus on how many friends we have. We collect them like pebbles at the beach or pennies, and it often feels like the more we have, the better. As we aged through to high school, some friends faded away, and a few stuck around. College brings new friends to add to the mix, and new experiences to share with those friends. Post college life, when marriage and kids often happen, is when we see who remains when life gets so darned BUSY. After a while, we look around and see a hodgepodge of friends from various times in our lives, and then we start to pay even closer attention. Slowly we start to weed through those friends, seeing who is a true friend, and who is there to witness our failures without lifting us back up.

When I look at my friends now, I have folks who are somewhat newer friends, but most are those I have known for very large chunks of my life. My deepest gratitude goes to the long haulers, who have been by my side through the best of times, the very worst of times, and the times when I didn’t know I could make it through. My first best friend and I are still facebook friends. We’ve known each other since second grade, and stayed good friends all the way through high school. I moved away, she left for school, and we lost touch for a long time, but have since reconnected and stay in touch. While it’s been a while, I still feel to this day I could call her and say “I NEED you” and she would come, just as I would for her. She holds such a special place in my heart, because she knew the youngest me, the dreamer, the girl who wanted to be a dolphin trainer. She knew the fun me, before the world handed me hardship and responsibility. She’s known me as a wife, a mother, and a grown up with a career. She’s seen the progression of where I came from, as the girl who would wail the “fish heads” song while watching Elvira play music videos late into the night, and the girl who had a search party called out for her when she went missing (I really should document some of our escapades), to a fairly responsible mom of two. She knew my parents, WELL, and I knew hers. We spent endless nights at each other’s houses, went to camp together, and caused general mayhem. A lot of the reason my childhood was so memorable was because of her.

Another one of my closest friends I met in high school. We both liked the same boy, and it so happened he asked me out. We hadn’t know each other before that, but soon a silly argument happened. We ended up becoming fast friends, and soon figured out the boy was a jerk not worthy of a moment of our time. We’ve been besties ever since. She taught me to drive (like a maniac, as she did), she took me to her college classes with her (she’s a couple of years older than I). We cried over boys who broke our hearts and cheered when we each met “the one”. I actually introduced her to her husband. We have laughed a lifetime of laughter together, and the very best part is that I still see many more laughs in our future as we grow old. She was my roomate for years, which created some hysterical stories of chaos and mayhem as we navigated our 20’s as two single women. The week I had the stomach ebola she had gone up to the Yankee Candle flagship store and knocked on my door with a huge tray full of full size candles in various fall scents. She knows I love the fall, and she sent an email the next day saying she appreciates all I do for her and wanted to treat me to something. When I have to put up with crazy people, I call her and we collapse with laughter at the situation. I wouldn’t trade her for anything.

Some of my other friends live down south. I have a small group I know from the 10 years I spent down there. We are a small group of 4 who have stayed connected over the years. There have been some rough times. One of us became and addict, one had her fiance take off with someone else, one’s wife cheated and abandoned the family. One of us ended up on life support and almost died. That was a tough one….I remember getting that call and driving 5 hours each way to spend the day in hospital by her bedside, and then driving to John’s Hopkins a few weeks later and commuting 3 hours each way from there to visit her. At the end of the day, none of us speak often, but when I am down that way, we reconvene for a night out and catching up. All of us have kids around the same age, with three of the group being single parents. We appreciate the luxury of a night out, and often sit up until late in the night chatting and playing catchup with each other. We are a family of sorts, and when the need is there, we show up to support each other.

Back in 2001 or so, I met a coworker I clicked with. She ended up leaving the company shortly after I started, but I always liked her blunt honesty and no bullshit attitude. Imagine my surprise when it turned out we’re neighbors. She lives around the corner from me, and we have become tight friends. We house sit for each other, and each one is the other’s go-to for emergency help. We often sit around the table and laugh at what life throws us. When crazy happens, I tell her all the chaos and the two of us end up in stitches with laughter. I now count her as one of my closest friends.

Another former coworker and I clicked immediately and have been fast friends ever since. People always said we looked a little similar (my husband admitted one day he came to the office and went to playfully spank my butt, only to realize it was her and not me right before the hand connected. Luckily he was able to pull back!) She and I share so many of the same viewpoints, both suffered the loss of a parent, and we shared similar childhoods. She GETS me. While our career paths went in totally opposite directions, our lives are quite different, she is still someone I consider one of my closest friends because I know I can call her for an opinion and it will always be right and well thought out. She knows I am there if she needs me.

There are others, too, who are close to my heart. The common thread with all my friends is brutal honesty and laughter. I know I can call on any of these friends I mentioned above and I will get the cold hard truth. I know each and every one of these folks will call me out on my own bullshit, will tell me if I am out of line or if I am in the right. There is no sugar coating. There is no fluff. There is no guessing where I stand. It’s BEAUTIFUL and AMAZING. Having the freedom to be yourself and have people love you for it, with no pretense and no BS is the very best feeling. These friends have known me before I took on a role as a wife and mother. They knew me from various stages of my life…when I was a dreamer, when I was angsty and messy, when I was anxious and stressed, when I was a little crazy, a lot crazy, and when I settled down into my current life. They support me. They cheer me on, they have my back if I need them. I never question their loyalties to me. Oh, and the laughter. If I you asked me to list some of the things I have done right in my life, on the top of my list would be that I have surrounded myself with laughter. Prime example: When I worked with one of my friends, a coworker, who was in her 60’s, showed up to work in clear, light up stripper shoes, y’all. CLEAR, LIGHT UP STRIPPER HEELS….TO A BANK JOB, BY A 60+ YEAR OLD WOMAN. Now look, a big part of me now is like…go ahead girl, you do you, boo. At the same time though, this was a bank we were working at, and I had to question her thought process on how these shoes were appropriate. I mentioned this to my friend and the two of us had a great time giggling about some of the choices that were made that day. Now, 365 days later, my mother died. I was in the darkest, saddest place of my whole life, stuck in a car in traffic trying to make it down to say goodbye to her, before getting a call she had died. I was in shock. But then, a text came in. The text from my friend…letting me know she loved me, knew I was in a dark place…and that perhaps she could shed some light on my darkness by letting me know that 365 days later, those light up shoes had reappeared on the coworker’s feet that day in the office. I HOWLED with laughter. I had tears pouring down my face, for a moment not in sadness, but in glee that my friend had seen those shoes, on those toes, and had KNOWN I would want to know because it would make my day, at least for a moment, less painful. That’s friendship.

My daughter bemoaned the fact that many of her friends moved out of the school when they redistricted us. She went from loads of school friends to just one or two. I had a conversation with her the other day about quality vs quantity. I explained that having just a couple of true, honest and solid friends is so much more important than having lots of fair weather friends. We discussed how friends should be, and how sometimes, you need to clean your friendship closet, because not everyone is a good friend. I hope when she grows up, she will see that while I may not see all of my friends as often as I would like (lives get so busy at this age with work, relationships, kids, pets, commitments, etc) that true friends will always be there when you need them.

True friends we collect through our lifetime are those we can count on, and who trust in us enough to count on us. They may be old friends, newer friends, or family who became friends (or vice versa!). They are the ones who tell us how it really is. There is no fear of offense. There is no fear of being taken the wrong way. There is honesty, loyalty, trust, and most of all, lots and lots of laughter.

The Itch

It doesn’t take long for that itch to appear. You know the one, the travel bug bites and you get such an itch you just can’t wait to head somewhere different. Our trip to England in November was amazing. While I loved visiting family and being in the place that was my original home, I also got joy out of sharing that experience with my husband and kids. Seeing them have new experiences was probably one of my favorite parts of the trip.

Aside from our visit to Chatsworth, the trip itself didn’t have any “outstanding” locations to visit. Instead, our trip was spent primarily with family members, visiting simple yet inspiring locations, and taking long treks through fields and trails. We spent more time in nature than usual, and the experience was relaxing and cathartic.

Coming home, heading back to the daily grind, has left me happy for the comfort of routine, yet desiring to recreate that feeling of more time in nature, less nonsense, and the urge to see new things.

I’m also itching to travel again.

I’ve always felt there is no better learning experience than to travel and be around folks different from yourself. Diversity, new viewpoints, new experiences make for a very different education, one you can’t learn in schools. I want my children to see new places, meet new people, and learn about viewpoints outside of what they see in their day to day. It will serve them well in the future.

While I always want to head back to England, as my family is there and I love the tightrope walk between the familiar and the different, I also want to see some new places. We’re kicking the idea around of spending time on a ranch this summer (new experience), seeing a football game (not new, but always fun) and maybe taking some local road trips for the occasional weekend away. Even a few towns over can be a new experience.

One of my goals this year was to keep moving. Not only in the exercise sense, mind you, but in the physical sense of traveling and soaking up whatever experiences I can. Time to keep that goal moving forward! The excitement is planning the new places we shall go.

And She’s Down for the Count!

Well, I’m about 7-8lbs down from Monday, thanks to the Norovirus (stomach bug)! Who says you need New Year resolutions, hard work and exercise? No, my friends, you two can lose that weight by vomiting AND pooping at THE EXACT SAME TIME! You too can lose weight if you are willing to shed all your dignity and have a possible poop accident because your body betrays you. Who needs to have mental strength and feel alert when you can lay in bed in a shivering mess, unable to warm yourself despite blankets upon blankets draped over your sad self? Personally, I’d rather just have had some salad and called it a day. Sadly, my body has foresaken me.

We spent New Year cozied at home with my daughter, who got the bug first. Her amazing little cells regenerated like a boss, and she was pretty much back to normal within 24 hours. My sad sack of shit body takes a lot longer, apparently, because I am on day 3 and still having issues.

My husband has been a rock star, all things considered. He has been doing the school runs, shuttling kids, picking up and supplying gatorade for me, checking in, and doing other jobs. Once I’m back to myself I plan on tackling the laundry, dishes and slowly taking down Christmas. He’s made sure the kids are sorted out, fed, clothed and at school. Thank goodness for him, because I couldn’t manage without the help this week.

So one benefit of this whole debacle is the lack of bloat I now have. With a few pounds lost, I feel, well, smaller and less poochy. It’s nice. It’s kind of inspirational. Sure, as soon as I eat anything I’ll go right back up to normal weight, but it is a nice side effect to feel that lack of bloat. I had treated myself to a new coat I had been eyeing for a few years. The company makes small changes each year, but the general construct of the coat is the same. I love the small details etc. I finally used a little of my bonus to get the coat. I had to then return and exchange it for a smaller size. It arrived yesterday and I dragged myself downstairs when the UPS guy arrived. He asked for a signature on it and I had to announce that I had stomach flu and that I didn’t want to touch his signature pad. He readily agreed to scribble my initials and practically tossed me the box. The coat slipped on like a dream. I now have to make sure it continues to. Guess I have some more goals to add to my New Year list!

Tonight is a family member’s party. Although I have been symptomless since this morning, I’m not so sure that means I’m out of the woods. I felt really decent last night, and then my body woke me with a start in the middle of a deep sleep to remind me that I am indeed…not quite well yet. I’m sad to miss the party. I hate missing a good get together, especially with family I’m really fond of, but I love them all enough to not expose them to this horror show. I shall instead quarantine myself with some bed and netflix and hope to start tomorrow healing myself up with some fresh air.

Stay healthy and happy, my friends.

Little Assholes and The First Ride

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bikeSometimes. kids are little assholes.  As parents, our jobs, should we do it successfully, is to not raise little assholes, but it has to be said, some parents are failing mightily.

Let me explain.

This is the year I have been giving the kids a bit more leeway and independence.  I let them play out in the neighborhood more, my son goes on bike rides with his friend who lives around the corner.  Now that they are a bit older, it’s time to trust them more, and I know they will keep an eye on each other.  I can watch them out the window, or from the front stoop, but they are feeling more responsible and independent.  Part of this was their age, but a big part was knowing at even the little one’s age I was always out playing or riding bikes with friends.  I went out right after homework and stayed outside until the street lights came on.  I had no cell phone.  I was fine.  It taught me responsibility, street smarts, and I got fresh air.  My friends and I all looked out for each other.  It made for a good childhood.

My children, on the other hand, haven’t had as much of that.  With my work schedule, they got home close to dinner time.  After homework, it was already starting to get dark.  I was nervous about them being outside while I was cooking.  There weren’t too many kids on the street.  The result? Too much screen time, not enough fresh air.  Another result? My daughter is almost 8 and couldn’t ride a bike without training wheels.  This never bothered me, and it didn’t bother her either.  That is, it didn’t bother her until the asshole neighbor kid started commenting on it. Then of course, the other kids had to tell the tale of when they learned how to ride a bike. I watched my daughter’s face crumble a bit, then tighten with resolve.

That night, I knew.  I grabbed a wrench and took her training wheels off.

The next day, I took her outside and started showing her how to balance on her bike.  She was nervous, but I could see strains of confidence beginning to appear. Just when I thought we were almost where I could start teaching her to use the pedals, the asshole kid came up.  He started again with the brag.  Not even a humble brag, but a full on, almost neener neener kind of brag.  I tried to be an adult.  I told him she was learning, and it would be more helpful if he cheered her on.  I said “let’s keep it positive!”.

He persisted in his assholish behavior.  I told him to go home.

At that point, I picked up her bike and wrangled it in my car.  “Hop in” I told her, “we’re gonna learn how to ride that bike!”  I drove down to an office park, knowing on a Saturday it would be a ghost town.  We got down to business, practicing balancing.  There was some whining. Some self doubt appeared for both of us.  And then, just like that, her feet hit the pedals.  Remember that scene in Forrest Gump when the braces come off and you see that sudden realization and determination in his face?  That was the same look she had.  Within 10 minutes, she was whizzing around the parking lot.

I clapped.  I cheered.  I danced.  I teared up a little.

I was just so damned proud.  I was proud of her for sticking with it.  I was proud of her grace when that kid was giving her balls.  And, if I’m honest, I’m proud I was able to teach her.  Riding a bike for a kid is a big deal.  I always figured I’d never be able to teach them, and that my husband would be the one to do it.  Yet I managed to teach both kids, and I think they’ll remember it was something I was able to do for them.  Kids remember our successes.  They remember (and sometimes land in therapy because of) our failures.  We don’t get an instruction manual.  We’re winging it every day as parents.  So that little success of “I can do it! I can teach her how to ride that bike!” was LIFE for me in that moment.

Parenting is just like writing a novel.  There are characters and stories, twists and turns, heroes and villains, successes and failures. We as parents work tirelessly, endlessly on our greatest works of art.  Our kids.  We love them, nurture them, and hope that their story will have more smiles than tears, more success that failures.  We are just one character of many in their story, but we play very important parts to that story.

When we got home, she hopped on her bike, and rode is smoothly down the sidewalks and back.  The kid who had given her a hard time came by and was shocked to see her riding without training wheels.  The other kids in the neighborhood also looked surprised.  “You learned to ride that in one day?” he asked her.

Yep, my mama taught me how.”

Best sentence I’ve heard in a long time.