BulgingButtons

Not bad for a fat girl


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Happy Birthday, Oma Hilde

So I’ve noticed that people on Facebook often wish a happy birthday to someone who is no longer alive. I understand thinking about people on their birthdays, but I’m not sure how I feel about the whole social media thing.

static1.squarespace.jpgHere’s the thing. Today is my grandmother’s birthday. She’s been gone a long time. Since my college-age son was a baby. I miss her.

She was the grandmother who kept me overnight when my parents had a big event or went on a trip. She was the grandmother who taught me to wash windows with vinegar and water and to dry them with newspaper. She was the grandmother who made the best potato salad in the world and let me drink Teem out of the bottle on the porch on hot summer nights. She was the one who walked me to the theater to see Cinderella when I was a little girl and she was the one who took me on the city bus to visit one of her old friends.

0034000170380_A1L1_ItemMaster_type_large.jpgNearly every day, she walked up and down the busy street that her street adjoined, visiting at the dry cleaners, the market, the bank, everywhere. She knew everyone and they knew her. She smiled and she laughed and she liked a good joke. She watched As the World Turns and professional wrestling. She didn’t swim, but on a hot day she liked to put her feet in the pool. She brought me giant Hershey bars when she came to visit, and she told me to keep them in my room and not share them.

Once, when I was ten, my parents went on a trip. My brother stayed with my other grandmother and I stayed with Oma Hilde. It was over Valentine’s Day, so she decided we should make a cake. She had a heart shaped pan we used, and we made a pink cake with chocolate frosting. I think it’s the best cake I’ve ever had.

I had a doll carriage at her house. Who knows where it came from, likely a yard sale, but it was wonderful. I also had a closet full of other toys there, all of mysterious origin, but that’s what made them so appealing. I was her only granddaughter for a long time, and the only one who ever lived in the same city. Those toys were for me, and me alone.

When I was home from college we would get together and run errands, then go to “Hi Ho Silvers” for lunch. She loved the hush puppies, even though she knew she wasn’t supposed to eat food like that.

Right after I graduated she took me on a trip to Germany, sponsored by the city from which she and my grandfather and my mother fled during the Nazi regime. They invited a whole bunch of “their” Jews back, a gesture to make amends I suppose. She was a wonderful travel companion. She was happy to make new acquaintances, and she was delighted to be back in her home country.

We took a side trip to the tiny village of her birth, and I learned so much about her. She rang the doorbell of her childhood home. We were invited in for tea. We stayed overnight with the Mayor’s parents (who lived right next door to the mayor and his family). She took me to the site of the community bakery, where my grandfather proposed to her. We visited family graves. We took a boat ride down the Rhine River, and she sang the Lorelei, a traditional song that Germans sing when they get to a particular point on the river. We drank beer in a beerhall.

This grandmother learned to write checks only after my grandfather died. She bought the high-end washer and dryer in her eighties, because she wanted them to last. She oversaw a bathroom installation project, too, because climbing the stairs got too hard to do every time she needed to use the toilet. She didn’t bat an eye when I destroyed the side view mirror of her car. “It can be fixed,” she said. She called my son a prince. She meant it.

As an adult, it was my grandmother I would call for sympathy. My mother is a fixer, so calling her with a toothache or a rotten neighbor or a work hassle always turns into an investigation. What brought it about? What have you tried? What else are you going to do? You get the idea. My grandmother, on the other hand, was a listener. She would let me talk and then reassure me that whatever I was doing was most probably the exact right thing to do, and that the situation was sure to resolve itself. I always felt better after I talked to her. I didn’t talk to her nearly enough, though. I regret that.

crayon.jpgI suppose if my Oma had a Facebook page (although she wouldn’t) I might stop by and visit it today. And I might just leave her a message. It would say, “Happy Birthday, Oma. I miss you, and I love you, and I always will.”


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Damn You, Girl Scouts! Seven Problems With Girl Scout Cookies

Okay, I’m not as much of a monster as the title may imply, but really? Cookie sales so early in the year? So close to the resolutions I didn’t make?

Really?

I know that there are different Girl Scout cookie sales windows in different regions, but here in my community the cookie sales have begun. This would be less problematic if any, or better yet all, of the conditions weren’t an issue:

  1. They are so yummy.
  2. I need to get healthier.
  3. There is an adorable little girl scout just waiting for me each morning at school (my dear friend’s kid, whom I’ve known since before her birth).
  4. There are several other girl scouts waiting for me at school.
  5. I used to be a troop leader and sympathize.
  6. I believe in supporting children’s organizations.
  7. They are so frigging yummy. Especially Tagalongs. And Thin Mints. Of course Thin Mints.

So there you have it. My cookie problem is back, and along with it a renewed battle to find the balance between a yummy life and long and healthy life. I’m sure there must be a balance somewhere, but I just haven’t found the sweet spot yet.


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Any Resolutions?

I didn’t make any New Year’s resolutions this year. I haven’t in a while. I know that I’m horrible at keeping them, and then I feel guilty, so I just avoid that whole thing.

I do, however, tend to take stock around New Year’s, which I think is pretty common.

A few thoughts I’ve had are:

  1. Jeez, I’ve eaten a lot of crappy stuff over the holidays. Better cut that out.
  2. Golly, I’ve gotten pretty lazy. Better get moving.
  3. I like books. A lot. I should make time to read more of them.

That’s about it. Simple, right? And yet maybe not. So no, I didn’t make any resolutions, but I’m trying to eat better, move more, and read more. So far, so good. calvin-hobbes-new-years-resolutions.jpg

Eating at home has been a help, and so has the passage of the holidays. There are fewer temptations, and less justifying this little treat or that little indulgence. Don’t get me wrong, I’m far from perfect, and just today we were discussing the fact that vegetables really need to make up a larger portion of our meals, but January is better than December was in this regard.

As far as exercise goes, the fitness challenge at work couldn’t have come at a better time. There is plenty of support for getting up and getting moving throughout the day, and it’s been helping. My Fitbit has been much happier since I’ve been giving it more steps to count each day.

That leaves the reading. I was lucky to get a new Kindle as a gift, along with a sleek new case for it, and I’ve been enjoying it. I also read a “real” book a friend loaned me a while ago, and it was fabulous. I’ve read six books so far in 2018, so I’d say I’m off to a good start.

So that’s where I am with all this resolution-type stuff? How about you? What are you trying to do in the new year?