Saturday, September 20, 2014

The “Mane” Thing About Getting Older

Earlier this month I turned fifty-five. Yes, I know, it’s amazingly hard to believe, considering I’ve been lying about my age for years. According to the Jane’s Domain calendar, this year I should have turned, oh, let's say, "forty-two."

But sadly, we can no longer fib about our age and get away with it. Former classmates with whom we went to grade school and who are now Facebook friends will out us in a second.

But I’m not really serious when I say I lie about my age. If someone has a “need to know” I will come clean with the correct decade of my birth.  But if someone guesses that I’m younger than I really am all bets are off. My standard response is, “Why, yes, that's exactly my age. How ever did you guess?!”

And then I change the subject.

But I’m seriously trying to come to grips with the fact that I’m no longer young. I understand that I have more years behind me than I do ahead of me. And it no longer startles me when a store clerk or server calls me, “ma’am.”

Things that looked okay on me in my 20s would look just plain silly on me now. I may have (barely) gotten away with the hot pink pants I wore back then, but now? Please.

And as for that dramatic cat eyeliner that made my baby blues pop when I was young? Nowadays – even if I could see in the mirror well enough to apply it correctly – it’d start melting into the wrinkles at the corners of my eyes before I left the house. This is partly due to the wrinkles themselves, but has more to do with the dreaded hot flashes that have started plaguing me lately.
When I neared my 40th birthday, I remember my mother telling me the “rule” that required that women over 40 had to wear their hair short. I believe she was quoting the “Official Old Lady Handbook” but she has never given me a copy, so I can’t be certain.  And for fifteen years I’ve been happily ignoring that rule. But lately I’ve been wondering if I don’t look a little silly with my long blonde hair.

So for the past month or so, I had been mulling over the idea of cutting my hair. Nothing as drastic as a pixie cut or anything, but just something a little lighter that requires less time to manage. And it would be, as my mother would say, more “age appropriate.”

So I looked up some hairstyles online that I thought I could live with. I copied and pasted them into a file that I could show Alissa, my Hairstylist Extraordinaire.

And yesterday? Well, we did it.  Okay, so Alissa did it. I pretty much just sat there. When all was said and done, I believe she cut off about 19” of hair. No, not really. It seemed like it, but 3-4” was probably closer to reality. Alissa then expertly wielded the hair dryer and flatiron and – voila! – I had a fantastic new hairstyle.

That was yesterday. 

Today? Well, today, I’m dealing with shorter hair that I can’t seem to style to save my life. Currently, I have it pulled back. So, clearly, there is a learning curve here.

So I think I’m glad I made the decision. Vince was complimentary, but he’s a smart guy. He knows I can’t glue the hair back on and it will take a while to grow out if I don’t like it. 

So I’ll have to work with my new style and I’m sure I’ll get it figured out. Yeah. Probably around  the time I decide the heck with the “Official Old Lady Handbook” and decide to grow it long again. Maybe I’ll even try to find a pair of hot pink pants and experiment with that cat eyeliner look again.

Not really. While I’m not ready to completely concede to Father Time, I’m also not willing to make a complete fool out of myself.

After all, forty-two-years-olds do develop some level of maturity. 

Heh, heh. ("Why, yes, that's exactly my age...")

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Go Speed Racer, Go! On Second Thought...

Someone in our household got a speeding ticket yesterday. I won’t mention any names…but it wasn’t me. Since there are only two of us living here, and the cats don’t have valid driver’s licenses, I imagine you can guess the culprit.

Ever since I traded in my white car for a red one, and bright red vehicles are magnets for those eagle-eyed laser gun handlers, I’ve been behaving myself on the roadways. Or trying to, anyway.

But my better half? Yeah, not so much.

So the unlucky ticket holder handed me the citation and asked me to pay it for him. It seems as if he doesn’t want to be reminded of his wrongdoing.

So in an effort to be helpful, I logged on to the city website to find out how much the fine was going to set us back, but I learned he cannot pay it online. He has to either pay the fine in person or mail a check – and I think I’m going to make him write it out.

Just because the guy in the Porsche was antagonizing him and playing tag on the freeway does not mean that he had to participate in the “boys will be boys” testosterone test. After all, he’s the one who got caught – not the guy in the Porsche.

But while I was on the website, I started perusing fines associated with various citations.

For instance, in the city of Dublin, Ohio, a person can get fined eighty-nine bucks for hitchhiking and the same amount for jaywalking. Wonder if they double the fine if a person is jaywalking while hitchhiking?

Some of the fines are pretty straightforward and clear. Like, we all know you aren’t supposed to speed in a school zone and there is a hefty fine if you get caught doing it.

But I didn’t realize people could get fined for driving too slowly. That’s a concept that I can’t really wrap my mind around. Driving in a 25 MPH zone feels unnatural to me. My car doesn’t like going that slowly and despite my efforts to keep it in check, it speeds up. All by itself. Honest! So it makes me wonder how many tickets could possibly be written for driving under the speed limit?  

There is a fine of $109 for having the beam of one’s headlights off kilter. Yikes. The one time I tried to replace the headlight on my car, I messed with the wrong screw and the headlight pretty much illuminated the sky instead of the road ahead. I tried fixing it, but only made things worse. So, after shaking my head and rolling my eyes at my pitiful mechanical skills, I took the car to an expert who fixed it with a few turns of a screwdriver. Probably he was snickering all the while.  But now I’m thinking it was a good thing it was daytime and I didn’t need to turn on the headlights on the way to the mechanic. Having to pay a $109 fine in addition to the cost of the headlight itself as well as the cost of the fix, well, that would’ve just added insult to injury.

If you’re as old as I am, you can remember when the 60s version of the modern-day mini-van was piling all the kids into the bed of a pickup truck. There were no seatbelts. But then, there were no seatbelt laws either. Apparently those in the back of the truck just knew they had to hold on. Today, there is a $99 fine if you have a passenger in the bed of a pick-up. Probably the cop would tack on the $51 fine for said passenger not wearing a seat belt, too.

So it was interesting reading about all the fines that Dublin, Ohio, can impose upon the lawbreakers amongst us.

Fortunately, I’m not overly worried about too many things on this list. I’ll have a serious talk with my car about the 25MPH thing. 

But the other person in our household should probably watch his Speed Racer tendencies.

And he should probably avoid guys in Porsches altogether.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Happy 5th Anniversary to My Vince

Today is our fifth wedding anniversary and some smart aleck, who shall remain nameless, said he lost a bet to Dad that we wouldn’t make it five years.

A lot you know, Andrew. Oops! He was supposed to remain nameless.

But I know he’s kidding. He couldn’t possibly have thought I’d waited nearly 50 years before finally tying the knot for the first time only to have that knot unravel before five years were up.

Clearly, I don’t rush into anything and I couldn’t possibly be called a trailblazer.

But I was waiting for the right person to show up. And I was truly okay with staying single. Forever, if it came to it. I think I’ve said it before, but I would much rather have remained single than to have been married to the wrong person.

But Vince is definitely the right person. He’s so good to me. He loves me for my good qualities and accepts me despite my faults and foibles. He lets me love him.  And we’re good together.

The relationships I had before Vince were good – but never good enough. When I was younger, I always thought if I did the wrong thing, I wouldn’t be accepted and loved.  There were times I was afraid to say the “L” word for fear I’d be rejected.  And there were times I thought I’d need to change and be someone I wasn’t in order to keep the person I was with.

That’s so sad. And thank goodness my mama didn’t raise no dummy – I got over those thoughts right quick!

But, seriously, I didn’t realize how easy love can be. And how, when you’re with the right person, life can be so incredibly good.

Don’t get me wrong – it’s not that we haven’t had our share of struggles.  But, for the most part, they are insignificant because we face them together. And we still talk about things all the time – the good, the bad and the ugly. That helps us connect with each other to resolve issues.  

But no matter how hard we try, we always joke that we can’t hope to measure up to the longevity of my parents’ marriage. Not that our marriage is doomed – but my parents have been married for sixty-two years. Given our current ages, I’m pretty sure we won’t still be kickin’ it in fifty-seven years. (Or if we are, it’s a good bet that we won’t remember our own names let alone the fact that we’re married to each other!)

I have been blessed with parents who have shown me, by example, what real love and commitment is all about. They have had their share of ups and downs and have lived through raising four children (some of whom were angels and some of whom were…well, never mind!). They have had more than their share of medical scares and hospital stays. Yet through it all they stayed true and strong and in love. They still smooch every morning and every night. (Ooh. Sorry if that was too graphic.)  They still hold hands when they go for a walk. And they love each other – plain and simple.

I believe that is what I have found in Vince. I hope we don’t have to worry about medical scares and hospital stays – and I know we don’t have to worry about the raising the four children thing at this point in our lives – but I look forward to the years ahead we have together. And I’m grateful for every moment.

Happy 5th Anniversary, Vince. I love you!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Gratitude Challenge. Part II.

So yesterday I started making a list of things I’m grateful for because I was challenged by my friend, Amy. I was supposed to write down three things every day for five days that I’m grateful for and I was supposed to challenge three additional people every day to do the same thing.

But I didn’t. I was sort of busy last week and it got by me. Oops.

So yesterday I wrote down half my gratitude list in one fell swoop and posted it in my blog. And I didn’t challenge anyone in particular to follow in my footsteps. I didn’t follow the “rules.” That’s me – the Maverick.

Nah, not really. Generally speaking, I’m the epitome of the Rule Follower. I’m a Maverick only in my dreams. 

But I get it. The point is to get more and more people to realize all they have to be thankful for. Sort of like the ice bucket challenge for ALS – or the “Pay it Forward” movement.

I really get it. Because the world would be a much kinder place if we all challenged one another to find gratitude and joy in life rather than in things to complain about.

So I have some more things to add to my Gratitude List:

#8. I’m really grateful that I don’t have to eat kale every day. Vince has decided that kale is “good for us.”  Whenever Vince uses the phrase “good for us,” I cringe. Because it usually means that it won’t necessarily taste good, but we still need to eat it. Sigh. I’ve drawn the line at Brussel sprouts and Kimchi. But to show you what a good wife I am, I added a big handful of kale to our fruit smoothies this morning. Good for me, eh?

#9. I am grateful for running water and working toilets. Hey, don’t scoff. Some people don’t have these “luxuries.” ‘Nuff said. (Oh, except for the fact that I’m grateful I didn’t grow up in the “olden days” when you had to use an outhouse. Yeah, I’m really grateful for that.)

#10. This is going to sound stupid, but I’m grateful for the kind things people do for strangers. I get choked up every time I read about a Random Act of Kindness, even if it’s something as small as paying for the coffee of the person in line behind you. Heck, it makes my whole day when a stranger smiles at me or opens the door for me – so I try to do those little things for other people, too. Because who knows? Maybe I can make their day a little brighter. It does become a little awkward, though, when a stranger and I are both trying to hold the door open for each other at the same time. Then it becomes a little less  an act of kindness and more sort of a power struggle.  (“After you.” “No, please. After you.” “No, no, really…!”) Ah well. It all works out. Eventually.

#11. I’m grateful for chocolate.

#12. I’m grateful that even though I can only hear out of one ear, I can hear perfectly fine out of the other one. And even though my eyesight is horrible and I’m legally blind without corrective lenses, I’m grateful that I can wear corrective lenses and see stuff. And I’m grateful that even though I’m not the absolute sharpest knife in the drawer (oh, be quiet!), I have no complaints about the brain God gave me and the creativity and sense of humor he gifted me with. And, yeah, okay, sometimes my sense of humor gets a little lost, but a little chocolate always helps. (Hence, #11 on my list.)

#13. And, finally, I’m grateful for my brother Andrew. He recently celebrated a birthday and listed on Facebook the top three things in his life – his wife, his dog and his boat. A long conversation ensued where it turned out I was far down the list falling somewhere below his cherished ball of twine. Or something like that. Shows me where I stand with my brother, doesn’t it?! So I wanted to write a special note to him to show him I’m SO GRATEFUL for bratty brothers. But, seriously, Andrew is a kind, giving person and he has a great sense of humor. He’s pretty darn smart and I love him a lot. And just because he’s #13 on the list does NOT mean he’s the last thing I’m grateful for. I said mine were in no particular order except for #1. (This is an especially important point given that I said I was grateful for “toilets” and that is listed above being grateful for my brother Andrew.)

#14. Darn it. I can’t be grateful for just one sibling – I have to include the other two as well. I’m grateful that my brother John is in my life. For whatever issues he has had, the one thing he taught me was how to be generous. John was way better at sharing than the rest of us were.  My mom used to say that John would give you the shirt off his back even if it was the only shirt he had. Personally, I think that’s because John likes to walk around shirtless so he can show off all his tattoos, but that’s just a theory. 

#15. And, finally… (No, really, this is the last one I’m going to write down. I swear!) I’m really grateful for my sister Denise. There truly is no one in your life like a sister. She and I shared a room growing up – and even shared a couple residences through the years as adults. I love her so much. She and her husband Joe make the long drive from Milwaukee to Ohio several times every year to spend time with family – and it has given me the chance to be a part of their lives and watch my niece, Chloe, grow up. And for that and so much more, I’m truly grateful.

So there you have it. My Gratitude List. Is this all-encompassing? Nope, not by a long shot. I would’ve had to include my cats, Twinks and Jinx, and a whole slew of other people by name. But it does make me realize that I have much to be grateful for. And even if I don’t write down these lists on a regular basis, it has given me a new perspective.

I guess that means I can’t complain about anything today.


Where’s the chocolate?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

And for Today’s Challenge…

It seems as if everyone on the planet lately has been pouring buckets of ice water over their heads. Not me. I’d far prefer making a donation. I can barely dip my toe into the Atlantic Ocean even in these, the Dog Days of Summer – so I’m not sure I could take a whole bucket of ice water.
Nevertheless, this avalanche of Ice Bucket Challenges clogging up Facebook and Twitter feeds has been a good thing since donations have increased significantly for ALS research in the past month or so, particularly compared to the same period last year.  So I say keep on dumping that ice water, people!

But I was recently challenged to do something that was far more do-able. For me, anyway.

Last week, my friend Amy challenged me to write three things for which I’m grateful every day for five days. And each day I was supposed to challenge three more people to do this.

Have I completed this challenge? Um, no. Perhaps a better question would be, “Have I started this challenge?”

But it’s a great idea.  I’m no Mother Teresa and I can definitely use a little more attitude of gratitude.

So instead, I think I’ll write a blog today about some of the things for which I’m grateful. In no particular order (except for number #1, of course!) here is my list:

     #1. I'm grateful for my loving husband, Vince. He is “my person.” (You’ll get that if you’ve ever watched Grey’s Anatomy.) He loves me unconditionally. And sometimes, boy, there are conditions for which he could easily say, “This ‘for better or worse’ stuff is for the birds!” But he doesn’t. And I feel truly grateful that we found each other at this stage in our lives.

#2. For my family. At first I was going to lump “family and friends” in one category, but it’s better to separate them. Why? Well, because we don’t choose our family, for one thing. On the other hand, my family – my parents – did choose me and made me “theirs.”  They chose to take home and love a kid whose birth parents gave her up for adoption. I have never questioned that my family is my family.  I have felt loved always. Even when I was a bratty teenager. Or maybe especially when I was a bratty teenager. (Not that I can really remember that far back.)

#3. I'm grateful for my friends.  I have this annoying belief that friends are for life. Even when we move away or our lives diverge, I still think of a friend as a friend.  Call it being stubborn, if you like. But because of that stubbornness, I have had friendships that have lasted for decades. My friends have helped me get through some rough times. But they’ve also been there with me through the good times. Hopefully I’ve been able to return the favor.  Plus, we’ve pretty much collectively kept the “adult beverage” industry in business. So for all my friends, I’m eternally grateful.

      #4. That even though my foot is all kinds of messed up and I’ve been wearing a clunky boot for a month now, at least I can still get myself from Point A to Point B. I’m clumsy and my footwear is not fashionable in the least, but I can still navigate the way on my own two feet. For this, I’m grateful. Besides, I was clumsy before I started wearing this clunky boot.

      #5.  For living in a country that allows me freedom of choice. I get to choose who to vote for, what religion to follow and I can pretty much wear whatever I want. Some people think our rights are becoming more and more restricted – and in some respects, I don’t disagree – but at least I don’t have a government telling me that because I’m a woman I don’t deserve to be educated. Nor am I required to wear a garment that completely envelopes my face and body when I’m out in public. And, oh sure, there are those humid days when my hair is a frizzy mess and my makeup slides off my face as soon as I apply it that I think it’d be a fine idea to cover up the whole mess, but at least I’d get to make that choice.

        #6.  I'm grateful for my home and my ‘things.’ I know that we shouldn’t value things over people – and I don’t. But ask a homeless person on a frigid day in February if he’d be grateful for a roof over his head. So I’m grateful for that. And I’m grateful that I have a comfortable bed to sleep in every night. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve tried to value “things” less – like that latest designer handbag that at one point I thought I had to have. Instead I value the time I get to spend with my aging parents and the opportunity to return some of the love and kindness they’ve extended to me throughout my entire life.

      Hmmm.  I’m not sure I was supposed to get this chatty on the gratitude thing. So I’m thinkin’ that this blog is not going to make it all the way to 15 things for which I’m grateful.  Hey, this might be something for which you should be grateful. 

Looks like it’ll have to be a two-parter. Egad.

I’m not going to challenge specific people because I don’t want to make anyone feel obligated. But I think it’s a great idea for all of us to at least take a moment out of our busy lives and think about what we’re grateful for. Even if we do end sentences with a preposition. (Is that still a thing?)

And, okay, #7. I’m grateful I had some pretty awesome teachers who taught me enough grammar and spelling that I’m halfway decent at stringing words together to make sentences and paragraphs. Any mistakes I make are not because of them.

Tune back in tomorrow for some more of Jane's Attitude of Gratitude. Same bat time. Same bat channel.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The More Things Stay The Same

When I was growing up, my family had a traditional supper every Saturday of hot dogs, baked beans and coleslaw. 

Every Saturday.

This is the one meal my dad prepared for the family. He may have been a great Metallurgical Engineer, but he was not exactly known for his gourmet cooking skills and I’m guessing the only meal he knew he could prepare for our family of six was hot dogs, baked beans and coleslaw.

But over the years, Dad perfected his Saturday night meal. He liked to tell us that his blend of dressing for the coleslaw was a secret recipe that he couldn’t reveal under threat of death. And he’d always “doctor up” the baked beans with a little ketchup, a squirt of mustard, a pinch of brown sugar, and a dash of Worcestershire sauce.

For a change of pace, he’d sometimes carefully cut the hot dogs down the middle and insert a sliver of Kraft American Cheese in each dog. I’m pretty sure he was able to make a single slice of cheese stretch for the entire family.

Frugal? Oh, yeah. I could tell you stories...

Or he’d toast the buns in the broiler.  This didn’t happen often since broiling is an exact science and we had charred hot dog buns one too many times.  Probably he was working on his secret recipe dressing for the coleslaw and not paying attention to the burning buns.

But my parents were from the era where wasting food was a sin, so we’d have to scrape off the blackened bits from the bun. You can imagine how much we enjoyed eating hot dogs on those nights.  We may have been thinking “Ewww, this is gross!” but we were never bold enough to say it out loud.

Dad still makes hot dogs, baked beans and coleslaw for supper on Saturday night, but he is likely taking a few shortcuts since the meal is only for two nowadays. I doubt the broiler has been used in years and I even spied some store-bought slaw dressing in the fridge the last time I visited. And, fortunately, baked beans come in a variety of flavors now so no “doctoring” is required.

Tonight, we’re having friends over for dinner. And in the Domian tradition, I’m making hot dogs, baked beans and coleslaw for supper.

Now, we have an old-fashioned hot dog griller, so everyone will prepare their own dogs. We’ll have all the fixins’ to make as fancy a dog as one could want – with chili, cheese, chopped onions, sauerkraut and all manner of condiments. 

Our “famous” coleslaw is an Asian coleslaw with crunchies and a delicious sweet and sour dressing.  And I may even “doctor” the baked beans up a bit in honor of Dad.

So I’m looking forward to supper tonight, although I can’t vouch for my guests. They may come to the table thinking, “Ewww, this is gross!” 
But – unlike in Dad’s day – we’re all of legal age and I can make sure to have enough adult beverages on hand that they won’t think too much about the meal.

Now off to the store I go.  Hmmm…I wonder if I can buy a single slice of Kraft American Cheese? 

Yeah, and I might also need to pick up extra strength adult beverages.

Happy Saturday!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Lessons Learned

Like millions of people, I was astonished and so very sad to read about Robin Williams’ death earlier this week. As the days have passed since then, I’ve watched and read tributes to him and watched clips from many of the movies he made through the years. And, I have to admit, I’ve gotten choked up and have shed a few tears, too.

He was only 63. And he had such a gift. Sure, he was a comic genius and was able to make us laugh. But he was also able to make us cry. And to think. 

But I’ve also read many stories about his acts of kindness and generosity. And that, to me, speaks volumes. By all accounts, he was a good man. So even though I was merely a fan and didn’t actually know Robin Williams, the world seems a little dimmer without him in it.

And he was only 63.

Lauren Bacall also died this week. In contrast, she didn’t take her own life, but instead was felled by a stroke. And she was only 89.

Only 89?  I imagine you’re thinking, Surely that was a typo, wasn’t it?

And, okay, I will concede that at 89, Lauren Bacall lived a good, long life. Oh, and stop calling me Shirley.
(Yeah, if you get that reference, you might just be old, too!)

But my point is this: While a life well lived is a good life, to Lauren Bacall’s loved ones, eighty-nine is merely a number. And they are no less sad or grief-stricken because she has passed.

My grandmother was 95 was she died. And I was devastated. Not that her death was unexpected since she had been in failing health for a number of years. But I was still devastated. She had lived a good, long life, too. Yet I knew I was going to miss my Nanna for the rest of my life.

Most of the time I’m able to go through my days thinking that I’m going to live forever. Contemplating reality is not all that much fun.  But there are moments when I realize how fleeting life really is.

This week was one of those weeks for me. And I realize how quickly sixty-three years can go by. Or eight-nine. Or almost fifty-five. (Yeah, that would be me.)

There are moments I can’t believe how old I’ve gotten and I wonder where the years went.  And I lament the wrinkles around my eyes or the aches and pains from the arthritis that is beginning to invade my joints.

But in times like this, I need to remind myself to be grateful. To stop focusing on the little annoyances and instead be happy that I’m here. To live. To experience both joy and sadness. And to love – really love – the people with whom I share my little piece of the world.

So my hope is that we all can be a little more grateful and loving and generous with our time and our talents. I mean, the world should be a brighter place with us in it – shouldn’t it?

Thank you Ms. Bacall and Mr. Williams for sharing your talent and your light with us. I hope you’re at peace and are now shining among the stars. 

Say hello to my Nanna for me, will you?

Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Boot

I’ve been given the boot. Sadly, I mean this in both a figurative and literal sense.

We’ll start with the former and get that out of the way. Yes, I recently lost my job. It wasn’t because I wasn’t an excellent employee…but it was more because my boss is in his 70s and I think he’s beginning to look for an exit strategy out of the work world.  His condo in Boca is probably sending its siren song, which has gotten louder and louder over the past year.  We did, after all, have a pretty nasty winter.

No matter his reasoning, he decided to sell the business for which I was primarily working.  I had thought the day might come, but was thinking later rather than sooner. So it took me by surprise and I’ve had to take some time to regroup and deal with the culture shock of not having to get up at the crack of dawn, shower, chug a cup of scalding hot coffee and battle with the masses on my way towards downtown every morning.

And I’m pretty much there.  I especially like that I don’t have to chug my coffee as I’m not fond of first degree burns on the roof of my mouth. And not having to deal with the daily commute is an even nicer perk, not to mention the savings in fuel for my car every week.

But I think it took me a little longer to regroup because of the second boot thing.

That’s where the literal boot comes into play. Yes, I’m wearing a lovely black boot that extends to my knee and has all manner of metal parts and Velcro straps all over it.  This boot was courtesy of my podiatrist.

I can’t believe I actually have to write the words, “my podiatrist.”  I’ve barely come to terms with the fact that I have to go to a general practitioner every year. Having the name and number of a specialist in my phone directory is a bit of a shock.

Nevertheless, I knew the time had come to visit a specialist as I’ve been dealing with heel pain for the past several months and it wasn’t going away on its own.

I valiantly bypassed the free valet parking and walked into the office trying ever so hard not to limp. I was wearing my dressy Anne Klein wedges, which are pretty much the only shoes I can walk in that don’t cause me to hobble.

As I sat there waiting for my name to be called, I noticed all sorts of people shuffling by wearing casts and boots. There were crutches and walkers and canes, oh my! And there were a few poor souls in wheelchairs waiting in that waiting room as well.

I have to admit that I thought to myself, “Oh, thank goodness I was able to get here on my own two feet and don’t have to deal with all that stuff!”
And then my name was called.

Before the words “bone spurs” and “Achilles tendon involvement” and the ever-dreaded, “Plantar Fasciitis” were out of the doctor’s mouth, her assistant walked in carrying a massive black boot, which they proceeded to strap around my foot and leg.

I was told to wear it all day every day and to only take it off to shower and sleep.

Yeesh. I was beginning to regret my decision to have my foot checked out by a specialist.  And I definitely regretted not taking advantage of the free valet parking.

Nevertheless, I will wear this boot for however long it takes if I can avoid surgery. So I’m dealing with the boot. Both kinds.

But I’ve got a great support system and a loving husband who is here for me. Even if he does call me “Gimpy.”

Friday, August 8, 2014

Time To Hit the Reset Button

I’m a writer. I’ve always been a writer. As a kid, I remember writing plays to entertain my classmates in grade school. The particular one I’m thinking about was one I wrote in the fourth grade. I don’t remember the plot, but I do remember that the story ended rather abruptly. It wasn’t because I ran out of ideas or couldn’t come up with an ending, but more because I didn’t have access to either a mimeograph or copy machine and I had to hand write copies of the play for all the actors.  I figured my hand would fall off from all that writing if I didn’t end the story pretty quickly.

Back in the day I used to physically write letters. You know – take pen to paper and all that? I do not know how that hasn’t come back to hit me in the carpal tunnel, given that my letters could run on to six pages or more.

Before there were word processors, there were typewriters. But I bypassed the typewriter era and continued to hand write letters to friends and family because, well, mostly because I wanted to avoid sending missives with big blotches of White-Out all over them. Plus, the only typewriter I had was a manual, and it was impossible to keep a halfway decent manicure what with the constant striking of keys with my fingertips.

But once computers came out, boy, I went to town. I wrote letters. Long letters. I wrote a journal, printed it out and kept it in 3-ring binders. I wrote stories. And articles for my college newspaper.  I wrote funny birthday announcements for my department at work and every month I tried to top the previous month by writing something even more clever.

And in the past few years, I’ve written long emails to keep in touch with the people in my life. I’ve written blogs for both work and pleasure. And stories for kids.

So I’m a writer.

But for the past few months, I’ve written very little. Sure, I’d send out the occasional email. But they weren’t like previous notes I’d sent. I didn’t type any letters or send any cards. And I couldn’t even think of a single subject to blog about.

But now I’m thinking it’s time to hit the Reset Button. I need to write. I feel like I’m stagnating. Because, for me, the very act of writing feeds my creativity and then I think of even more things to write about. And my sense of humor flourishes when I look for things to write about that make me laugh. Even if they’re small things.

So it may be that nobody even remembers I used to write a blog called “Jane’s Domain.”  After all, it has been over four months since my last one. I know I’ve gotten some encouraging feedback from loyal readers in the past, so I have to think there may still be some interest.   

Because I have plans for the future that involve writing and I need to start.

Like. Right. Now.  

Um, well…maybe tomorrow. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not procrastinating. Honest. I mean, I really do have another blog in the pipeline already.  It’s just that I can’t put out two blogs in one day. So you’ll have to wait ‘til tomorrow and I promise I’ll post another one. This is called a “tease.”  But come back tomorrow, okay?  Please?!

Thanks, folks.  See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Domestic Goddess Jane Asks, “Where Can I Return the Crown?”

 Despite the special guest appearance by Old Man Winter yesterday who briefly visited and rudely left behind a blanket of snow on the ground, it is spring.

Who made up these equinox rules anyway? Maybe back in ancient times they didn’t have snow, let alone snow in March. Or maybe those wacky calendar inventors drank a little too much grog the day they decided that spring should officially arrive on March 20th. After all, what did they know – they used to think the world was flat.

But I believe everything I read, especially if it’s printed on the Shutterfly calendar my sister prepares for us every year, which has been dubbed “The Chloe Calendar” because it features my most favorite niece Gertrude. Er, I mean, Chloe. My most favorite niece Chloe.

So when I read that spring arrived March 20th, I immediately hauled out the big red bucket, bottle of Spic 'N Span and the mop. I donned those lovely yellow Playtex rubber gloves that flatter no one, although spring chickens might find them rather attractive, I suppose.  And I went to work on scrubbing the winter right out of my home.

Yeah, right. Like I’m that slap-happy about house cleaning. Ever. I tend to revolt, even when Martha Stewart-types wave their Swiffers high in the air, signifying to all domestic goddesses everywhere that Spring Cleaning has begun.

“Start Your Engines,” my foot.

I resist the urge by rolling over and burrowing even deeper under the covers. Hey, I figure if hibernation works for the polar bear, it should work for me, too. Besides, no one could ever mistake me for a “Domestic Goddess.”

Despite my efforts, I apparently came out of hibernation last weekend. I was fooled by the sunshine, even though it was still in the low 30s. So I made a “To Do” list. I started clearing the countertops of all the papers and junk that had accumulated most of the winter. I organized my shoes. I washed, dried and put away multiple loads of laundry. And I hauled out the big red bucket, bottle of Spic 'N Span and the mop and cleaned the floor like nobody’s business.

When I was all done, I heaved a satisfied sigh of relief and put away the mop for another year.

Okay, so I’m fibbing. I hire someone to wash my floors. If I did it, I’d only get halfway through before quitting. And I’d hope that no one could see the clear line of demarcation between pristine and not-so-pristine.

But what I really did was even worse.

I looked down at the tile floor that had been washed only the day before and noticed how dirty the grout was. Big mistake.

And then I found the unused tub of Mr. Clean “Magic Eraser” sponges that I’d bought on a whim the year before to see if they worked on grout.

Really big mistake.  Because they work wonders.

I never knew the grout in my home was supposed to be white. Or at least white-ish.

I could have slapped myself then. Because I realized I couldn’t stop at just a few lines of grout – I would have to clean all the grout. And we have a LOT of it. It’s in our laundry room. And our front hallway that extends in two directions and includes the half bath. And it’s in our rather large kitchen.

We also have three full baths, but I refused to even consider them. Maybe from now on I’ll only extend shower privileges to those guests who can prove that they are legally blind without their corrective lenses. That way I can avoid cleaning the grout in the bathrooms.

Nevertheless, I’d awoken this particular beast and I knew I couldn’t leave those few lines of cleaned grout amid the sea of dirty grout.

It was only then that I realized that (a) we moved into a house with dirty grout because there is no way we could have gotten it that filthy in only a year and nine months, and (b) cleaning grout should have been our first order of business after submitting our change of address card to the post office and renting the U-Haul truck.

I wondered how many people had walked into our home in the past year and nine months and cringed when they saw the dirty grout. Or, perhaps they were like me and were grout oblivious? I could only hope.

So I grumpily knelt down on the hard tile floor and started scrubbing. By the time I finished the laundry room and the entryway, I’d gone through a number of those sponges and realized that one multi-pack was not going to cut it. An imminent trip to Costco was going to be required.

Fortunately, I had reluctant reinforcements the next day and, after our trip to Costco, three of us cleaned the rest of the grout. We managed to get through all those stinking lines of grout with the Magic Erasers, although some areas received a bit less attention than they should have.

But no worries. I can take another pass at it since I still have some Magic Erasers left. And since I’m ignoring those Martha Stewart-types and making up my own Spring Cleaning rules, I’ve decided that Spring Cleaning season is not officially over until the first day of summer. So I’ve got plenty of time.

On the other hand, the next time I get the urge to try on a domestic goddess crown and clean grout, I think I’ll whip up a batch of grog instead. My knees are shot and I’d rather drink than magically erase dirt any day.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Winter. It’s Baaackkkk!

 According to the little handy-dandy temperature gauge in my car, yesterday’s high was 70 degrees. Fahrenheit. And it was sunny. I turned off the seat warmers and turned on the A/C.  What an absolute treat it was. 

I enjoyed running errands on my lunch break and I didn’t even need my spring coat. I smiled at people and – shockingly – most smiled back.  People were practically skipping as they headed toward the store’s entrance. You can’t skip during the winter when you’re wearing Uggs and trying to avoid piles of dirty, frozen snow. 

So skipping they were. (In my story, anyway.)  

Okayyy, perhaps I shouldn’t just blatantly make things up.  So here’s the truth: if they weren’t technically skipping, they definitely had a spring in their step.

Hey, I just figured out where that saying probably comes from. A Midwesterner must have coined that phrase sometime around March on a random, sunny, warm-ish day after a particularly brutal winter.

And today’s weather?  Well, today is a different story. It’s raining out. And it’s supposed to snow later. I think.  I am trying to ignore the weather forecasters and the news in general as I do not want to get depressed.

I KNEW it was going to rain today even if I hadn’t heard the rumors.  Why?  Because I washed my car yesterday for the first time all winter. I was surprised to discover that it was white.  I was sort of under the impression that “dingy” was a color.

Oh well. It’s not like this weather surprises me.  After all, I live in Ohio. Cars aren’t the only things around here that can go from 0 to 60 in two-point-three seconds. 
So we’ll deal with yet another snowstorm and eventually spring will show up. Yeah, sure.  Maybe sometime around mid-May. 

No matter. The longer winter hangs on, the happier people will be when spring finally arrives.

And maybe…just maybe…we’ll see someone actually skip.

We can only hope.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

It’s 3 a.m. and I’m Wide Awake. What’s Wrong With This Picture?

At precisely 3 o’clock this morning my eyes popped open and I was instantly alert and wide awake. Don’t ask me why. I mean, no one was ringing the doorbell with some sort of emergency that necessitated my immediate assistance. Neither Twinks nor Jinx had bopped me on the nose to tell me she urgently needed her food bowl refilled. And to the best of my knowledge, I’m not subconsciously wrestling with some sort of problem. 

So what was it?  Dunno. All I know is that I remained wide awake for several more hours until I was finally able to drop back to sleep for about, oh, four minutes and thirty seconds before my alarm sounded.


My boss actually laughed at me and told me my sleeplessness is due to the aging process. He chortled and said, “Welcome to the club!”  Before this, I had never actually heard anyone chortle. It’s a good word. It’s an apt word.  But the very act of chortling evidently pisses me off. Who knew?

But I guess there must be some truth to that old adage, “misery loves company.”

I, however, am not willing to concede that my sleeplessness is due to old age.  No, I’m perfectly willing to blame the whole Daylight Savings thing and that lost hour of sleep Saturday night.  It messed up my normal sleep patterns. Yeah, that’s what happened. 

It couldn’t possibly have been the bag of chocolate-covered espresso beans I was chewing on shortly before I went to sleep last night, could it?

No, I kid. I neither drink espresso nor chew on the beans to make it. So…c’mon. I haven’t had a problem with insomnia ‘til now, so please don’t tell me it’s what I have to look forward to. What’s next? Cataracts? Super-strength wrinkle cream?  Liver spots? 

Check. Check. And check.

Ack!  I am in big trouble, mister.

Oh well. Maybe instead of obsessing over all those things that go along with senior citizenship, I should think positively.  After all, senior citizens get discounts. Lots of discounts.

Ooh, yeah. I’m all about the discount.  Probably I could even get used to eating dinner at 4 p.m. Can you say, "Early Bird Special"?!

So, okay, it’s all settled. I’ve decided to be all right with this whole aging thing.  After all, what are my options?

But if I drop right off to sleep tonight and don’t wake up again until my alarm sounds tomorrow morning, we’ll just forget all this stuff and blame my one night of insomnia on the time change.

Because, honestly? I still believe 4 p.m. is still too early to eat dinner, discount or no discount.

Meanwhile, does anyone have any espresso beans? I may be willing to give ‘em a shot.  My bloodshot eyes are drooping and my head is bobbing and threatening to smack down on the keyboard any sec…zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz………..

Monday, March 10, 2014

It's Almost Spring. Maybe.

Hey, I just read that spring is only 10 days away. Could we possibly be heading toward warmer weather where we don’t need parkas, mufflers and snow boots to survive sub-zero temperatures? Could we possibly have time to wash the car so it stays clean for a nanosecond before the next storm arrives and we find ourselves scraping off the windshield for the millionth time this year?


I saw the “Spring Countdown” on the Facebook page of one of the local meteorologists. And in his next post he wrote that we may be getting more snow tomorrow.

This is a meteorologist’s version of a practical joke, isn’t it?

I’m not crazy about practical jokes. Dangling “Spring” in front of us while threatening more snow flurries absolutely does not tickle my funny bone.

We had to turn our clocks forward an hour this past weekend, so I was barely able to wake up this morning what with that lost hour messing with my head. I mean, where did it go? Why do we have to wait six more months before getting it back? And why must I continually find clocks around the house that haven’t been changed to the right time until it’s nearly time to “Fall Back”?

Despite my questioning the whole Daylight Savings Time thing, I did find myself starting Monday with a rare feeling of optimism. Maybe – at least for today – spring IS in the air. I even started making a Spring Cleaning To Do List.

I was barreling along just fine – until I got to the “Clean Windows and Screens” and “Weed Garden” portions of the List.

Thoughts of having to do either of those things caused my pen to immediately stop in mid-air.

Ugh. Do you know how high some of the windows in our house are? No, you probably don’t. But believe me, some of them are pretty far off the ground. I'm not Spider Man, people. Just thinking about climbing ladders is enough to cause me to develop a late-in-life fear of heights.  I will not be climbing any ladders and Windexing my way through a Saturday afternoon. Sure, it might be worth it if we had sparkling clean windows afterward (and I made it through the entire day without falling). But I am not a good window cleaner. The streaks I’ll leave behind will be enough to drive me bonkers every time I gaze up at those windows.

It’s the same thing with the weeding. I’m not good at it, as evidenced by my feeble attempts last year in our garden. We ended up throwing mulch over the whole mess and vowing to start over next year.

Well, this IS “next year.” Crap.

Maybe I should start slow and build my way up to the window cleaning and garden weeding? Like instead I could, say, regrout the bathroom tile and install new flooring in the room that Vince calls our “sewing” room (because he THINKS I’ll suddenly take up sewing again after four decades) and I call our “craft” room (because I possess a glue gun and I'm not afraid to use it).

With nothing but a cement floor in there, however, it’s neither a sewing nor a craft room. It’s a junk storage room.

Hmmm. Perhaps I should start out with even fewer lofty goals. Like maybe I should stick with simply planning to weed through the junk in that junk storage room. Hey, look at that, will you? Weeding is weeding – am I right?

What? I'm wrong? Well, fiddlesticks.

Perhaps I’ll start in on my To Do List tomorrow. Right now, I think I need a nap. You know – to make up for that lost hour.

Well, g’night, then. After all, as Scarlett says, "tomorrah is another day."