Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Miss Ellie

I met Miss Ellie about three years ago at my local grocery store. While debating in front of the coffee creamers “Should I get peppermint mocha or be good and get the sugar free vanilla?” Miss Ellie approached me out of no where.  “You want to know something?” Startled, I turned around, not quite sure knowing what to expect. There she was, the tiny elderly lady who I will quickly get to know as Miss Ellie.  She had on a straw hat. A rather large straw hat that covered her mostly  grey bob.  Blue overalls and a flannel shirt completed what I would call her “Farm Girl” look. I do not live in farm country. I live in a suburb of Seattle. So, this was strange.

I probably hesitated a little too long before I cautiously replied “Me?”
Miss Ellie grabbed my arm and some what guided me back to my cart which was maybe only two feet in front of me. “Look here, you see your pocketbook? Let me tell you a secret, you need to buckle it in with these here straps that you use to buckle up a little one.  Because any ole hoodlum can come and just snatch up your pocketbook and you would never know because you are looking at them coffee creamer. That stuff is bad for you anyway, drink your coffee black.”
For some reason I felt the need to apologize to Miss Ellie. “Yes mam, you make a very good point, buckle my purse in and black coffee, thank you for your advice.”
A pleased Miss Ellie say goodbye with a “Well, alright then, have a good day, and next time I see you in here, buckle up your pocketbook.”

Miss Ellie did have a point. I am so careless at times, I never pay attention to where may purse is. Makes mental not to buckle my purse in.

As time went on, I would see Miss Ellie once every two months or so for the next three years. She not only did her pocketbook  routine with me, but with every other female shopper who was alone in the store. It got to the point where every time I saw her coming, or shall I say every time I saw her straw hat coming, I would quickly try to buckle in my purse so she would not lecture me.
She still always lectured me.

I saw Miss Ellie today. Probably the first time in about five months. Today was slightly different. I had a return to do, so I headed straight towards the return desk. Miss Ellie had just finished up her purchase at the register, and as soon as she saw me, and I saw the straw hat, I knew there was no time to buckle in my purse. “Miss Ellie, I was just about to buckle my purse in when I saw you.”
Miss Ellie is no fool. “Let me tell you something, I have been around for a very long time, do not lie to me. You were as close to buckling your pocketbook in as I was to go buy me one of them skimpy swimsuits. Now buckle your pocket book while I watch.”

Damn, Miss Ellie is tough!

We chatted for a few minutes, and then she gave me some coupons she had no use for. Specifically V8 and adult diapers.
I had no use for them either, and was almost wondering if I should be insulted, and then Miss Ellie grabbed my arm. “Let me tell you something. Ya know I was in here the other day. I told some lady everything I have told you. Buckle your pocketbook in so no hoodlums will run off with it. You know what she told me? She told me “I do not need your advice” So I told her don’t come cry to me when a hoodlum steals your pocketbook. I know most people see me as a crazy old lady but I know how those hoodlums are. You go on and finish your shopping. You’re a good one. You always talk to me.”
And then she quickly scurried off, wiping her eyes with her handkerchief.

I do not know Miss Ellie’s story. I do not know if she has a family or if she is all alone. A cashier told me she believes Miss Ellie lives in an assisted living home, but who knows. What I do know about her is she is a very sweet lady. Tough, but sweet. So if any of you three people who may be reading this happen to come in contact with your own Miss Ellie, well, good luck to you.

*This blog post was part of mama Kat’s Writers Workshop.  A blog post inspired by the word “sweet”
http://www.mamakatslosinit.com/



Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Day 1 of my 100 Day Fitness Challenge

Yes. You read that right.

I am joining a few other bloggers in a 100 Day Fitness Challenge.

I will pause for laughter now.

Okay, ready?

Starting today, through August 8, will be 100 days. During those 100 days, I have just a few fitness goals that I would like to accomplish.

1. Drop about 30 pounds. Honestly, I probably only need to drop twenty. I just know my body, and usually I can lose 10 pounds a month if I stick to low carb.

2. Workout 5days a week, alternating between legs, and arms.

3. Stick to low carb. Of course there may be a cheat here or there, but not often.

Those are it for my fitness goals.

However, I decided to add a few other goals in there as well.

1. Write, by the end of the 100 days, I would like to have at least 100 pages to my book. I think that is doable.

2. make sure to spend time praying and doing my devotions daily. There is no room for error on this one. There may be days where I have too many carbs, or I only worked out three days a week, or I just plain did not feel like writing. I do not care what kind of day I am having, no matter what I need to check in with God.

3. At the end of the 100 days, I need to have decided on a church. 100 days is more than enough time to decide on one.

4. After the 100 days, time to finally get my drastic haircut change that I am too chicken to do now, but after 100 days, I will owe it to myself.

So, anyone else with me??

April 30th
Day 1 of 100
Weight (yeah, right, will not record my weight, I will just report if I lost or gained)

Exercise....two sets of 10 bicep curls, two sets of 20 triceps curls

Diet....One large ice coffee from Starbucks (This is not the norm for me,I was hot and cranky this morning)

Taco salad, cheese, salsa, sour cream, ground beef,

1 and a half pieces of bacon

A large frap from Starbucks (Yes, the day never got better)

Diet orange soda with vodka and two tablespoons of heavy whipping cream.

So, there ya go. Anyone else with me?

I still have "It"

I have a story to share where I come out looking so good (like literally) and if you know anything about my blog, you know that does not happen often, so I am going to take complete advantage of that.

Quick back story. My twenty year old son (AJ) works with my husband Joe) in a large retail store. My husband is actually my sons boss. (Oh yeah, this will be good!)

Also, important to note. This story was told to me by both my husband and son. (In other words, not my delusional illusions)

Yesterday, after school, I took my daughters to the neighborhood park. I was so bored. I mean I know the girls enjoyed it, I tried to make the best of it. I had my book, I had my notebook, I had my phone. It was impossible to get anything done. "Mom, watch me, watch me mom, did you see, oh my god you did not see, see, you do not care about me, I wish dad was here."

So, I decided to do what any normal mother would do and text my 20 yr old son (who lives right by the park.)

Me~ Are you off work yet?

Son~ On my way home, why?

Me~ Come to the park, I am bored.

Of course, like any good son, he came to the park. One of his co workers (Marissa) dropped him off. As he was walking over towards me, he is laughing.

Me~ Why are you laughing?

Son~ For one, it is 70 degrees and you are wearing jeans, boots, and a sweatshirt, and secondly, Marissa says you're really pretty.

Me~ Well it was cold when I left this morning, I have been too busy to change. Who is Marisa, I like her.

Son~ The one who dropped me off. Do not let it go to your head.

Now, I assumed my son was just telling me that Marissa said I was pretty to make me feel good. You know how it is, life gets in the way and sometimes you just do not feel pretty, you feel worn out, tired, stressed, there is never enough time in the day. I felt this was my sons way of making me feel good, and I appreciated it.

Fast forward to Tuesday evening.

My husband gets home from work. He comes in laughing. I am already moody because he is like two hours late, I am tired, and quite frankly not in the mood for any of his work stories.

Except for this one.

So, according to my husband, this is what happened.

Today at work, husband, son, Marissa, and a new associate were all on break. Marissa is telling my son "Yeah dude, your mom is really pretty."

All of a sudden this new associate pops up with "What, your mom is pretty, hook me up, I want to meet her, does she go for younger guys"

My husband and son both have this look on their face, you know the look, like if this guy keeps talking he will get knocked out.

Marissa (being the voice of reason) "Ummm, you do know that Aj's mom is Joes wife?"

Silence.

Complete silence,

* 3 min later

"I am sorry boss, I met no disrespect, I had no idea his mom was your wife"

and there ya go! Apparently, I still have "it."

As silly as it sounds, it made me feel good. The days are so long, the kids, god love them, drive me crazy. It's nice to know that some people still think I am pretty.

Which is the perfect Segway to my new post........come back tomorrow to check out my 100 day challenge.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Last Dinner

When I was a little girl, every Sunday after church one of two things would happen. We would either go out to eat afterwards, or we would go home to cook out. Dad would break open the grill, while mom prepared her amazing homemade hamburgers.  As soon as you opened the fridge you were able to take in the aroma of garlic, onion and Worcestershire sauce on her burgers that had been marinating overnight. It was amazing.

Whether we were sitting around a table at Bennigans, or sitting around our kitchen table, it was family time. A time to recap the past weeks events, to catch up, good food and good conversation. At Bennigans, I would always order a burger. You can never go wrong with a good ole burger and fries. If I was feeling rebellious, I would order the chicken tenders. 

To this day, whenever Joe and I go out to eat, I will order a burger or chicken tenders. I never stray. Well, there was that one time we went to Billy McHale's and I thought to myself "Break out of the box, try something new." Well,  I kinda like my box. My big rebellious move was bacon wrapped prawns. Yeah, no. Never again. I mean I like bacon, and I like prawns. Just not together. I actually unwrapped the bacon from my bacon wrapped prawns, and ate it separately.

As us kids grew up, and went our own ways, those family dinners were few and far between. I mean we still made them happen, just not as often. I remember one year in particular, we were all living about two hours apart. It was the holidays, and my grandfather and his "wife" came to visit my parents. It was a given that my sister and I would be there. Not because we felt we had to, but because we wanted to.

Mom went all out with her infamous Italian feast. Plenty of pasta and fish to go around, along with all the sides. Beautiful breads, at least three different sauces, salads. You name it, she cooked it.

The kitchen was  so busy. Mom was cooking, Dad was overseeing mom, Mom was getting annoyed because dad was over seeing her. My sister and I had little babies to watch over, my then husband was doing what he does best, nothing. My sisters husband was pretending he was engaged in some civil war magazine, my brother was helping me with my son. Grandpa and his "wife" were all like "Come, sit, sit, eat, manja, manja" As soon as my parents actually sat down, they would be right back up again. It may have been to grab an extra spoon, some more sauce, some freshly grated parm. My poor parents could not sit down and enjoy their meal.

I felt bad. This particular kitchen had a huge table and bench, that was able to fit about 6 people comfortable, 8 people cramped. Then there was a breakfast bar of sorts, that sat 2-4. My parents had planned on eating at the breakfast bar, while the rest of the family sat around the table. I did not like that. I mean here they are doing all the work. I was useless. I had to deal with a fairly new baby who I had no idea had to deal with. My husband at the time, AKA Num Nutts, was useless because he is stupid, not because he was a hands on dad. My sister had her hands full too, and my brother was just a kid, helping me with my kid. No one could help.

I finally told my parents "No, you guys sit at the table, we will sit here." (breakfast bar) I may have actually thrown my son to my Num Nutts "husband" in the hopes that he would actually take a hint. Everyone was like "Oh, good idea Jen" Grandpa, again with is "Sit, eat, manja."

And then I saw "The Look" from dad. You know the look, we have all done the look. The look that says "Okay, I am annoyed" but the words that come out of the mouth are oh so different. "Okay sounds good."

It was only years later than I was able to understand that particular look. They wanted to sit at the breakfast bar, because then they were able to watch the family. Together my parents may have shared a knowing smile "Oh, Sarah is annoying Jen again" ( Sarah is the "wife" and in case you were not able to tell by my quotation marks regarding the "wife" I never liked her.) Or perhaps they were able to share the compliments on how good the meal was. They would be able to steal secret glances at each other, the kind where nothing needed to be said, but where each knew what the other was thinking. And, knowing them, they probably preferred to eat at the breakfast bar because it was easier access to get up and get anyone what it is they needed.

However, if I were to put money on it, I would venture to say they wanted to sit at the breakfast bar so they could take in and enjoy their family. Watch us all from a very close distance. Not knowing if or when we would be able to do this all again.

We never did. That was the second to the last time I say my grandfather. He passed away a few years later.

That dinner, that very hectic crazy dinner, where everyone was everywhere, the food, the aromas, even the "wife" and her annoying me, that will be forever in my heart. That was the last time everyone was together at the same time. Maybe, just maybe my parents knew that. Perhaps my grandmother was watching from above, telling my parents to take it all in and enjoy it in whichever way we can, because you never really know. had I kown, that that was the last dinner we would have together, four generations of Ortolano's, I would have made it count more, Perhaps by doing my now infamous karaoke rendition of "In the Ghetto" by the one and only Elvis. or having my grandfather and dad do a Frank Sinatra song. Perhaps "My Way" would have been fitting?

Anyway, I just want to give a shout out to my parents. Thank you for the dinner, thank you for understanding, and thank you for watching over your family. I can only hope to be as good as you one day.

Salud!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Spring Break 2014

* All typos are sponsored by Vodka exhaustion.

So, the kids are on Spring Break.

Yes, thank you. I know you feel my pain.

I have been trying very hard to keep the kids busy, and productive, without spending a whole lot of money. Easier said than done.

Today's activities involved a dentist appointment for Sofia. This is how it works. The dentist office knows all the school kids are on Spring Break. Yesterday they made all the necessary phone calls to us parents who have somehow forgotten about the yearly teeth cleaning. Up until today I thought it was a pretty good idea. I was actually excited when the office manager called me yesterday for my "reminder" phone call.

 "Oh perfect, yeah, we will come in tomorrow, I love this, now she wont have to miss any school, thanks for the reminder."

I figured after the appointment we would grab a quick lunch, run to the store for some odds and ends, and then to the park we go. Funny how things never work out how you play them out in your head.

Today we all slept in just a bit. Instead of waking up at 6:30 am, we woke up at 6:45 am. So that was fun. I enjoyed my usual routine of watching old I Love Lucy and The Golden Girl episodes. Got a kick watching my girls re enact a scene with Rose and Blanch. Only, in this particular scene Rose called Blanche a slut, so when Gracie called Sofia a slut, I found myself answering the "What is a slut question?" by responding with the all time favorite "I do not know, ask dad."

Then the usual, baths, get dressed, you know the deal. Off we go to the dentist. A plus, Sofia is used to this, little nervous, but nothing she cannot handle.

We arrive, on time, I fill out the 20 pages of paperwork to "update information" even though nothing had changed since my last visit.

This particular dentist only sees children, so the waiting room kinda puts Chuck E Cheese to shame. There are video games, legos, a playhouse, a beautiful fish tank, t.v that is always on Disney. I mean I would not be surprised if some parents make extra unnecessary appointments  just to bring their kids here to hang out, and enjoy a moment or two of peace and quiet. The waiting room is seriously THAT cool. Not that I would ever do that or anything.

Then I received a text message from my 13 yr old. "Mom, I have something to tell you but I think you will get mad"

Keep in mind, I just left him. He was home. He had plenty of opportunity to tell me whatever it was that was going on. Unless of course he planned it this way. He knew if he told me this news over text message while I was at the dentist with the girls, that surely I would not freak out in the waiting room.

After I made sure the cats were okay, I demanded to know what was going on. Cats were fine, so between you and me, I was good.

So my son had the brilliant idea of piercing his own ears. Why he did not just ask me to take him, I have no clue? However, what I did tell him was it is now his responsibility to make sure his ears do not get infected.

Back to Sofia, she was in and out fairly quickly. No issues there. Well, there was one issue with Gracie. When the Dental Assistant came out with Sofia, she had given Sofia a bag of goodies. Tooth brush, tooth paste, dental floss, and a sticker. Sofia gave Gracie the dental floss, which Gracie decided to use as a ball. She was throwing the dental floss up and down, while I was talking to the assistant, and, well, Gracie's aim is not the best, and she hit the dental assistant.

Time for lunch. Burger King was right up the road and who does not love a good ole whopper? Lunch went off pretty well, other than when it started to rain, and right there in the middle of Burger King Gracie belts out "ARE YOU KIDDING ME, IT'S RAINING. GREAT, JUST GREAT, NOW I CANNOT GO TO THE PARK, THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT SOFIA!"

Off to the store. I literally only needed three things. Hot dog buns, chili and soda (for my vodka!) I left the store with a shopping cart full of junk.

Get to the checkout. Everything was good. I mean the usual happened. Girls fighting over who puts what on the belt. Also, they just learned how to do cartwheels, and for whatever reason they felt like every customer and store employee in Fred Meyer needed to see their cartwheel, so, that was fun.


Have I mentioned this is only day 2 of Spring Break?


Friday, April 4, 2014

Hard Times Part 2

I ended up going to the funeral with Joe and the kids. I did not want to. I also did not want to be left alone, thinking about Penelope. So I went.

Being that I married into a Samoan family, which pretty much consist of the entire  population of Samoa, I have been to many funerals. My own brother in law's funeral included.

This had to be one of the most beautiful funerals I have ever seen. Seriously.

There was a band. I have never seen a band at a funeral, and they were good. Lots of singing and clapping, with a dash of dancing. Yes, dancing.

We were told we were not there to mourn, but there to celebrate this young mans life. We do not need to be sad, because he is walking with Jesus right now. We need to be happy, and as believers, know that one day we will too.

It was just a very uplifting funeral, if that makes any sense at all. I left feeling that if the incident had not happened with Penelope yesterday, I may not have been in the same frame of mind to take away from the funeral what I needed to take away from that.

We have no promise for an easy life, what we do have is the promise that God will be right there through it all. So even though I am still very sad about Penelope, I have to have the faith that she will be okay. Even if that means that she does not live with me, I have to believe that she will be okay.

I know this post and my last post have been slightly depressing. I still am depressed, but tomorrow will be better. It's all baby steps.

Lastly, I have to do something good. Some kind of random act of kindness. I have no clue what, but doing something good for someone else while I feel so crappy has to make me feel a little bit better, right?

Once I figure it out, I will post about it.

Until then....

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Hard Times...

So things pretty much suck right now. They suck to the point where I probably should not even bother to blog, yet here I am.

Today, while I was cooking dinner, my two daughters were fighting and fell on one of my 8 week old kittens. Penelope.

Penelope is now unable to walk.

I, of course, freak out. My cats are like my children. I had every intention of making sure I found Penelope and her brothers, Oscar and Mango good homes. As much as I wanted to, I knew I could not keep them. We already have 6 cats.

In an ironic twist of fates, I emailed Ellen and Glennon (the popular blogger from Mommastery) begging and pleading to help me find them good homes.

And then this happens.

My husband and I had too surrender Penelope to the vet. She will need 24 hour care. I would have been willing to do whatever I could for her, but in the end, I suppose to best thing to do was to hand her over to people who have the medical equipment to get her better.

Nothing is broken, yet, she cannot walk.

"Over time" whatever the hell that means, if she is unable to walk then they will have to put her down because "That's no way for an animal to live."

Well, tell that to my 20 year old niece who was paralyzed in a near fatal car accident when she was six.

I am sure she would disagree with that. But what can I do? I do not have the money to put into her care.

This sucks.

My husband blames me.

I get it. When something likes this happens, you need to blame someone.

It's just not the best thing for our marriage right now.

We were suppose to go to a funeral tomorrow. My husbands cousin sadly passed away. I made arrangements to keep this kids out of school so we can attend the funeral and show or family support.

Right now, I think I will just send my husband. It is clear that he does not want to be around me, and quite frankly I am not sure I want to be around him.

We are both hurting, we both deal with hurt in different ways.

My husband met me at the vet. I filled him on Penelope's prognosis. He asked to see her. As soon as he saw Penelope "crawl" on the towel, he lost it.

I do not understand why these things happen. I so desperately wanted to find my kittens a good home, not make them suffer in mine.

And yet, here I am.

My house is empty tonight. I miss Penelope, I want her to be okay, and get better, and be happy in her new home.

I do not want her to feel like I abandoned her. I do not want her mom (one of my other cats) or her brothers to miss her.

So this sucks.

Times are hard.