Beggars Can’t Be Choosers

You know how you’re really good friends with someone, and you want to be around them all the time? You want to go places with them, introduce them to all your other friends, and hang out with them.
Well, food was that friend for me for a long time. It was always there. Popcorn during a movie, a midnight snack when I couldn’t sleep, or a quick trip through the drive-thru on my way home. When I was happy, it was right there enjoying the moment with me. When I was sad, it offered a comfort that I thought I needed.
Both of my parents taught me about food.
My Dad taught me that food was a reward. Junk food was a treat. When I was growing up, I was rewarded with ice cream when I got good grades. It worked. I worked hard to get them. I remember lots of trips to Dairy Queen and later Baskin Robbins as I was growing up. Food was a reward for me when I was good and did as I was supposed to do.
My Mom taught me that food was not to be shared. The more the food cost the more of a hold you should have on it. When there is very little food, it should be hoarded. Hidden. Kept to yourself. She would get mad when I would share my lunch with a friend. She would get mad when my dad would make breads and homemade goodies to give as gifts at Christmas. She was always afraid that there wouldn’t be enough for us.
Sometimes food was a rarity in my house while I was growing up. When we had plenty, we ate all the time. When we had little, we ate when we could. We ate what we could. Sometimes it was even food from the food bank. My mom would always say, “Beggars can’t be choosers”, and I knew, from early in life, that we were poor (most of the time) and that I’d better eat all that was placed in front of me. I remember skipping meals when I was a kid. I remember eating the same thing a lot. I remember a lot of pasta and breads and very little meat. I remember eating weird combinations of things or having bizarre amounts of food in our house. I remember that our church had a donation room with freezers and refrigerators. My dad worked in our church, and at the end of each month our pastor would let my dad clean out whatever was left. This meant #10 cans of food. This meant 5 lb. blocks of bleu cheese. I don’t remember fresh fruit or veggies. Always canned. Fruit cocktail was my idea of fruit. Veg-All was my moms’ idea of vegetables. There were reasons we didn’t have fresh fruit around, but I won’t get into that here. Mostly it was a cost issue. Fresh cost more than canned.
Don’t get me wrong, I still like food. We still talk occasionally and text from time to time, but we aren’t best friends anymore. I miss food when it’s late at night and the house is quiet. It’s a fight to try to stay in bed (especially when I’m not sleeping) rather than get up and munch on something. It’s a fight not to pull into the drive-thru and get a burrito or burger rather than have something at home. I’m not perfect. I still call food and ask it to come over and play from time to time, but I’m feeling better each time I don’t call. Each time I realize it’s not hunger, and walk away. Or stay away.
My dad died before he was 60.
My mom died before she was 70.
Both were unhealthy. Both had a love affair (whether in public or private) with food. Both taught me lessons about food. Some were intentional. Some were not. Both died unhealthy. I want to change that. I want to be healthy. I don’t know how much time I have on this earth, but I want to be capable of taking care of myself and able to do what I want to do…what I feel called to do. Whatever that may be.
I want to set an example of smart, healthy eating for my kids. I’m really late. But a little is better than none at all.
Food is not a reward. Food is a necessity. The right foods are required by your body to live.
As long as the good outweighs the bad, I feel like I’m doing ok.

Brain Dump Friday

I have thought all day that today is Saturday. Imagine my surprise when I realized that it was Friday. (Thanksgiving week always throws me out of whack!) You should be putting together by now that I don’t participate in Black Friday. Also: When I put those two words together on my phone, it automatically capitalizes them. It does the same thing when I tell people that I live in a white house. It capitalizes White House. I would like to think that my phone would be smart enough to know that I don’t live in the White House. I appreciate the thought that it thinks I’m that important, but seriously… Egg nog is too thick. I like milk nog. It’s not as thick, and it seems less rich. In non-Vicki terms, that means no tummy ache. My middle ring finger size has gone down a whole size. I think all my fingers have. That’s a weird thing to be happy about, but I’m thrilled. Except for the fact that I have these really cool rings, purchased to fit certain fingers, and now they are big. What a happy dilemma. I’m totally ok with this. I caught another glimpse of my collar bone this week. (Not the actual bone, just the line of it. It’s still happily resting under my skin.) The last time I saw it, someone made a remark, so I though I should be more clear. The Walking Dead is kind of freaking me out. Jessup and I are watching it together…preparing for the zombie apocalypse, and it is giving me the heeby-geebies. Thanksgiving was great! I hope you are all thankful for the gifts and people you’ve been blessed with. This morning I had to swallow my pride…that, my friend, is a bitter pill that does not go down easily. It’s always a blessing to remember that you’re not as awesome and important as you think you are. …at least for me it is. That is all.

Surviving the trips to Des Moines

Today is Jessup’s appointment with his pulmonologist. I always get so nervous for these appointments. You wouldn’t know it to look at me, but I’m really scared each time we do this. So, four times per year, I’m scared. Well, more than that, but these four times are scheduled events.

Someday I will write all the terrible details of these visits, and the sadness and fear that has entered my life due to them. For now, I will admit that these appointments typically go well. Surprisingly well. I have no reason to believe that this one will be different, but still I sit here, scared.

One of these days, the news will be bad. It won’t be an easy appointment. It will be sad. It will be filled with tears. It will be the beginning, no, the continuation, of something that began many years ago. April 11, 2007 to be exact. That was one of the worst days of my life. There was a diagnosis. We were told there is no cure. No medicine that we can give him. As many miracles as there are for so many people, there is none yet for us. No pill to take. No shot to give. There are unproven preventative measures, but nothing more.

So we continue on with the preventative measures his doctor feels are best, and we hope. Pray. Cross our fingers. Do a juju dance. Whatever works. Whatever makes us feel better.

Today Jessup drove. From home to the mall, which is where I sit, typing this. I’m not nervous with him driving, but I have a hard time not telling him to do things my way. He is very safe. He has his own way of doing everything, but he’s very cautious. He must learn to navigate the city, and the middle of the day on a Tuesday is better than any other time I could think of. Soon enough, he will be doing this on his own. Soon enough, he will be hearing the bad news without us. Soon enough, it will just be a phone call with the news that his lungs are badly scarred and possibly failing. Soon enough there could be a lot of scary possibilities.

For now we visit the doctor every quarter year, and hope for the best.

Brain Dump Friday (Saturday Edition)

Well, I was so busy yesterday that I literally didn’t have time to do this. I don’t write these early, so if I can’t write it on Friday, I will on Saturday. I thought of it many times, but couldn’t do it until today.

I’m still so excited about the get-together last night. We had such an amazing time laughing and catching up. My nieces are from Iowa, but one has married a man from Tennessee (they have both been in the military-he still is-and they move quite a bit. They are currently in Texas.), and one married a British man (They met in Japan, got married in the UK, and moved from South Africa to Brussels a while back). They have chosen well…so did their husbands. :) I hardly had time to catch up with the family that lives in Iowa, so we will have to get together again, just to visit with them. Isn’t that the best, though? Being so surrounded by family and love, that you can’t give everyone the time you would like? Coming from such a small family, I love it! I love the craziness and the loud little ones running all around. My In-laws are SO blessed to have “greats”! I believe they have seven great-grandchildren now. Talk about a full quiver! The eldest grandchild is just a few days older than I, and their youngest grandchild (18 total) is Ainsley. All that time we were there last night, and not ONE picture. That’s aggravating me. I had big hopes, but I put my phone away when I got there, and tried to leave it alone as much as possible. Those of you who know me, know how often I have my phone in my hands. My phone is also my camera. SIGH. The Iowa State Fair is here and I don’t care one bit. I may be the only human who doesn’t love it, but that doesn’t make me want to go even a little bit. I’ve only been once, and I wasn’t that impressed. The Del Mar Fair is still my favorite fair in the whole world…except now it’s called the San Diego County Fair. I refuse to accept that. It will always be the Del Mar Fair to me. If something is perforated, I MUST TEAR IT OFF. I just found myself opening up the unopened packages of Post-It Notes needlessly. There’s a perforation at the top, and I had to open it. Now I have lots of unnecessarily opened Post-It Notes. BTW…the perforation didn’t work very well, and the top of the packaging didn’t tear in a straight line. 3M should work on that. I like straight lines. I get to go to the World Food Festival in Des Moines in September. I’m so excited to go! I’ve always wanted to. I’ll be working, but I will still get to be there. I got my first paycheck! I’ve spent money on my business, but now I’ve earned money as well! YAY me! I’ve lost a total of 10.5 pounds since Barry started working out. Imagine what I could do if I did! Just kidding…I have been, but not like he has. He’s been amazing, and I’m really proud of him. He “graduates” in a week, and he’s signing up again…he loves it. I love him. I hope he’s around for a really long time. The women in my family tend to out-live their husbands by a considerable number of years. My mom’s mom lived for 24 more years, my dad’s mom for 19 years, my mom for 18 years, my aunt for 16 years and counting… I’d like very much to break that trend. I was thinking the other day about hearts, and how a person’s capacity for love is incredible. How you can love your parents, your spouse, your kids and other people all at the same time…it’s amazing. (not your actual heart…those are pretty amazing by themselves, but you know what I mean)  In closing today, family is great. Big families are greater still, and I’m happy to be a part of one. Manly is a silly name for a town. Someone should open up a B&B or a tea room there. Take lots of pictures…even if it means keeping your phone with you all the time, just don’t mess around on Facebook when family is nearby. Straight lines are good. Bad perforations are bad. There are still some caramels on my desk if anyone wants them. They are good until May 2013. Ew. Scary. That is all. #BrainDumpFriday