The Freshman 15


When I entered my freshman year of college, I weighed a whopping 95 pounds, soaking wet.  Gaining weight had never been my strong suit, and try as I had through high school to keep my chicken-bone legs hidden, I was still teased mercilessly about “being so thin that if I had an extra Coke, I could be used for a thermometer.”

So I had no real thought of my body size ever really changing…and then…COLLEGE happened.  My diet basically consisted of yeast rolls and honey with an occasional meat patty or salad thrown in for variety.  I sat in the library and studied.  My exercise, other than the required PE electives, consisted of climbing the stairs to my 9th floor dorm room a couple times a week when I was too impatient to wait on the elevator.  I was entirely too busy to notice that by the time Christmas break came around, my clothes were a lot more form-fitting.  In fact, all this happened completely without my knowledge or assent – – I just turned around in a year’s time and BAM!!  I was almost exactly 15 pounds heavier! But having been so painfully thin throughout childhood and adolescence, I almost found this growth spurt endearing.

Cut to…2009.  Longer work hours at the computer, prescription meds with the obligatory side-effect of “ungodly possible weight gain”, and a nasty new habit of eating every time I walk into the kitchen has again put me right back into the circumstances of freshman year.  Packing on the pounds without even realizing what was happening!  And believe me, I’ve added the freshman 15 at least twice over now, and my clothes are a lot more than just snug.  “Endearing” is not quite the word I would use for my current feeling about my pear-shaped reflection in the mirror. 

I’ve definitely made some feeble efforst to battle the bulge, including a stab at the “S Diet”, which was working well until it wasn’t.  I’ve also had several bouts of consistent exercise, which was working well until it wasn’t. 

So now, the girl who used to be teased about her knobby knees and bony butt would give just about anything to be able to even DISTINGUISH those bones again.

Please, bloggy buddies, tell me what a computer-bound, spinelesss, stick-in-the-mud, pre-menopausal woman is to do to get back down to a healthy weight again!!

I’m not under the impression that I will ever be mistaken for my high-school self again, but I wouldn’t mind at least becoming recognizable to myself in the mirror again.

Feel free to insert words of advice or encouragement below……….                                         


Maybe I Can Practice While I Vacuum

Believe me, I understand how vomitous it is to read yet another blog post by someone saying how busy they are.

But I am seriously, no-holds-barred, barely-can-find-time-to-take-a-shower, ready-to-run-screaming-down-the-street kind of busy right now. 

So please forgive me for my bloggy neglect. 

j0283975 And to ADD to the busyness I am seriously thinking of taking up the harmonica.  I have no idea why.  I just want to.  My dad played a little, and maybe I’m just having missing-my-daddy issues.  But the harmonica looks like so much dang fun to play. 

On the downside, I’ve never really been able to get proficient in playing any other instrument.  Five years of piano lessons gave me the ability to plunk through a few elementary-age songs fairly well.  That is the height of my expertise.

To make it even worse, I have several family members who can pick up any musical instrument and make it bend to their will immediately. 

Stupid gene selection!! 

We have a neighbor who sits out on her back deck every night and plays the Native American flute.  Won’t it be cool when I just chime in with my harmonica out of the blue one evening???!!!  It’s almost worth it to learn just for that moment alone.

But the most positive side effect of all?  My boys will see that you are NEVER too old to let your interests lead you toward learning.  Golly, I love unschooling!!

Butter My Butt and Call Me a Biscuit

Today was a FUN day.  I mean more fun than a lost dog in a meat market! I have no pictures to show for it, but that’s because I was having too much fun to remember to take them.  The temps in our area hovered around 90 degrees – – the first and only time I can ever remember that happening in April.  It was a day right out of a Joe Cocker song…”walking on a sidewalk hotter than a match head.” But did we care? No. We were playing in the “big city” today with friends and leaving our cares behind.

First stop…food.  A place called Barley’s which is famous for its beer and pizza.  Weirdly enough, I don’t care much for either, but the spinach salad was so good it made you want to swallow your tongue afterward just to get the last bit of juice off your taste buds. 

Second stop…Mast General store.  If you don’t live in North Carolina, then you don’t know about Mast General, which is as sad as a mule with a mouth full of bumblebees.  Mast General is just about my favorite place in the world to shop.  Each one is set up like an old general store – – right down to the barrels of old-fashioned candy that you purchase by the pound.  They sell everything from woven baskets to hiking boots and I could basically bookpitch my tent there and take up residence.

Third stop…the bookstore…where I purchased the book that inspired this blog post.  The one that has given rise to the terrific sayings (seen here in italic) that can only be homespun here in the south.  All I can say is that if you were to head over to Amazon and purchase your own copy, you’d be smarter than a tree full of owls.

Final stop…the chocolate lounge!!!   The part of the day I had looked forward to most. AND the place where I learned the most valuable lesson of all…teenage boys can never appreciate the finer things in life.  When three relatively sane boys scrunch their nose up in disgust over a wine glass full of sipping chocolate, you know that bringing them there was about as smart as trying to sling a hammock between two corn stalks.  We moms are already planning our next visit – – sans neanderthals.

It was a glorious summer-like spring outing in the city, and I hated to call it a day, but I guess (((sigh))) sometimes you simply have to pee on the fire and call in the dogs.

Found While Blog-Hopping…

I find myself surfing further and further into the sea of homeschooling blogs, and it has become a rather fun new hobby.  Mostly because it brings me across gems like this one, that I read at Sardines in a Can this morning…

I like to visit homeschooling curriculum websites. It is kind of like rubbing your tongue on a mouth blister repeatedly to see if it still hurts…..visiting curriculum websites is how I make sure I still suck at homeschooling.


LOVE it!!

Darling I Love You, But Give Me Main St. USA

I’m such a tree-hugger at heart, so it is really kind of weird to me that I didn’t end up out in the very edge of the boonies somewhere in a little cottage with a hammock on the front porch and a satellite dish larger than the living room just beyond the tree line.

citylife But I didn’t.  Instead, I’ve spent my entired married life living inside the limits of three different cities.  For the last fifteen years, we’ve lived within walking distance of our downtown, which isn’t a huge deal because the Main St. stretches out only about 9 city blocks, but it is the city, nevertheless. 

What’s even weirder is how much I have grown to enjoy city living.  For many of you, I’m sure that’s hard to comprehend, but let me tell you right now, it has its advantages…

  • Garbage pick-up – – hey…don’t underestimate the importance of having a nice gentleman not only pick up your weekly refuse, but scrape a half-flattened possum off the street in front of your house before it even begins to waft into your intake vents
  • Sidewalks – – those lovely flat sections of concrete that make you ALMOST forget that live at an altitude of 3,000 feet because all those hills in your neighborhood are actually walkable!
  • Snow Removal – – living in the city means (usually) that ours is one of the first roads to get scraped after a blizzard.  Now granted, the scraping usually happens just AFTER we clean the edge of our driveway and there is now a three-foot wall of snow to re-shovel, but nevertheless…it IS scraped
  • Book Access – – not everyone can say that they live a half mile from their county library, now can they??  An escapist afternoon through the latest stack of new fiction is barely a ten minute walk.

And the biggest boon of all?  The most adorable coffee house just opened up not three blocks from us.  Uber has breakfasted there for basically a week straight, and I’ve already spent two fun afternoons with friends cozied up on their sun porch with a steaming cup of chamomile-strawberry tea. 

There is just something about living in the city that makes you feel like you are “part of something.”  It’s an experience I never quite had at any of my homes in the country growing up.  Now don’t get me wrong…I love the fact that there are around 100 waterfalls within a 100 mile radius, and I take advantage of enjoying them whenever possible, but for day to day living, I guess I’m just a city girl after all.

The Cheekbone’s Connected To The Blog Bone

I’ve been avoiding my blog lately.  It happens almost every time I teach another session of the Blog Writing Course.  For one thing, I’m spending 25-30 hours a week on the laptop for work, and about the last thing I want to do at the end of a day of telling people how to blog is…well…blog.

So I’ve been keeping my life and my thoughts to myself, which isn’t really healthy for me, actually.  I’ve noticed this strange twitch in my right cheekbone. 

Share or twitch??  What a conundrum.

Ok. Why not start right out with the most disgusting factoid?

sunbather I had to have a mole removed.  From my upper back.  I think I’ve shared that I’m one chromosome shy of albino, so that fair-skinned curse, combined with about a hundred excruciating sunburns as a child, has put me right in the middle of the danger zone for skin cancer.  I avoided it as absolutely long as possible, but then figured it was time for the dermatologist and I to get cozy, so that’s just what we did last week when he took a look and definitely categorized my mole as “suspicious.”

But instead of setting up a sting operation, or even setting up a neighborhood watch, he just pulled out a razorblade and took the thing to the pokey right then and there.  I had no idea the justice system had become so proactive, let me tell you, or I would have avoided it a good bit longer!!

Anyway, I’m supposed to hear back from the doc this week whether the poor guy was really guilty or not.  In the meantime, my cheekbone will be working overtime, I assure you.

So thanks for listening.  Maybe it’ll give me a break for a few hours now.

Take THAT New Years Resolution!!!

031 - The War On Clutter

Image by Keenahn via Flickr

So I guess I made my New Years Resolution back in September sometime.  That was when I scheduled a two-week vacation for after the holidays from work and homeschool in order to get my *%#@ in order.

In other words, de-clutter my house from top to bottom.

It was a tall order in that I can be a smidge of a pack-rat and tend to frequent a few too many garage sales.

But STUFF was starting to own ME, instead of the other way around.  Any table that had the nerve to sit there, minding its own business, was piled with whosits and whatnots.  Closets (of which in a 95 year old house are few and far between) were straining at their hinges trying to hold in all the necessities “I might need” in the next three to five years.  The upstairs homeschool room was haunted by the “ghost of homeschool years past” who taunted me with all the items that I had so lovingly chosen for my boys throughout their early learning.

It became incredibly stressful, and the weight of THINGS began overshadowing everything I did on a daily basis.  So in early fall, I knew I wanted to do something about the clutter.  I was busy teaching the blog writing course, but knew that right after Christmas, I was scheduled for a two-week work/school holiday, and that was my opportunity.

And oh baby – – did I ever cash in!!!

For over a week now, I have pilfered, plumaged, and painstakingly eradicated the clutter out of my house.  Starting from the attic homeschool room and working my way down through every room, closet, bookshelf, and under-bed stash I have single-mindedly and determinedly collected over seven lawn-and-garden style trash bags, four large cardboard boxes, and a large rubbermaid container worth of non-essentials that hopefully can find a good home SOMEWHERE ELSE!

And, of course, in the process, I unearthed a few treasures that had been missing for a few years – – which is always nice, especially when you have accused friends and family of having borrowed them and never returned them (mental note: pick up apology cards at Hallmark)

Anyway, it is January 7th and I have effectively completed my New Year’s Resolution already. 

How are yours coming????