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Friday
Sep142012

Never Say Never

You would think that at my advanced age I would have learned that it's better not to tempt fate by VEHEMENTLY making declarations of intention when I clearly have no control over whatever the universe decides is my path. 

Apparently not.

The most extreme case of my having to eat my words happened eleven years ago when we had our first ever holiday in America. As we drove down the turnpike from Orlando to The Keys, Mufasa mused aloud that he liked The USA and wouldn't mind relocating. I turned to him and in my most evil scary voice said  "OVER MY DEAD BODY WILL WE EVER LIVE HERE." 

Four months later we emigrated to our new home - in Florida.

I have lost count of the times that I have stated my wholehearted opposition to a course of action only to find that in a very short space of time I am happily doing whatever it was that I was so against. It's as if by uttering these ridiculous statements I am throwing down the gauntlet to a Higher Power. Obviously these situations can't all be co-incidences. No, it's irrefutable proof that there is a God and he is determined to prove to me that I am not calling the shots.

It's a shame I'm such a slow learner. Sometime last year I stupidly wrote a blog declaring that I would NEVER own a Kindle or even lower myself to reading a book electronically. I was puffed up with my self-righteous dedication to words in real print on paper and everything that tangible hard copies of books stand for. Obviously it's now extremely humiliating to admit that I currently have a huge library of books on my iPad and love all the added features I get when reading this way.

I'm constantly stating that I will NEVER again get into a car with my husband and of course each time I say it a situation immediately arises where I have to do just that. Yesterday for instance we had to go to a meeting together and it was too far away to justify taking two cars. What is INCREDIBLE is that we actually managed to get there and back without getting lost or fighting. It's probably because we are uber-bonded right now due to the fact that we are being dispatched to The War Zone (aka VLD Asia) to help put together a presentation in four weeks that should take eight.

Obviously it's entirely my fault that we were summoned because only a week ago I stated most forcefully that I would rather drip white hot mercury into my eyeballs than fly to Hong Kong and be put into such a stressful situation and I would NEVER agree to do it at such short notice.

We arrived today.

Normally Mufasa (being older and wiser) does not make these emotive, challenging statements he is my alter ego;  a cool, laid back go-with-the flow enlightened soul. However twenty minutes after landing he threw a tantrum when I suggested we change some US dollars at the airport Travelex, saying "Everyone knows you NEVER change money at the airport the exchange rate is terrible." We had a huge, embarrassing public argument (which fortunately no-one could understand as they were all Chinese) and then (totally un-bonded) we marched off to meet the driver who was picking us up. At this point I was so furious I had decided I wouldn't speak to my husband for a MONTH, or for at least as long as it took him to realize how inconvenient it was going to be to have absolutely NO local currency ON A FRIDAY at 8pm. Much to my great satisfaction this only turned out to be about six minutes when he realized that we had no money to tip the driver! At that point he was so contrite and apologetic that I was more than happy to forgive him. Hopefully he has learned the golden rule....... NEVER say never.


 

Saturday
Aug112012

Menopausal Madness

WHAT ON EARTH possessed me to mention to my husband recently that I thought I might have started the menopause? Sometimes I amaze myself with my own stupidity.

After all, every woman knows that men just LOVE to blame the SLIGHTEST mood swing of their partner on That Time Of The Month. The fact that you may be just a little crabby because they forgot your birthday, didn't take out the trash, left the toilet seat up AGAIN or completely ignored you all weekend because they were so busy watching SPORTS doesn't register with the male species AT ALL.  Oh no, if you are not your usual perfectly cheerful, sunny, sweet self there can only be ONE explanation - it's TTOTM. 

This is INCREDIBLY convenient because whatever response you have to misdemeanors committed by your Husbands/Boyfriends can also be labelled as an OVER-REACTION because let's face it at any given moment women are either pre-menstrual, menstrual or post-menstral and therefore unstable, irrational and TOTALLY IMPOSSIBLE to understand and deal with.

If you are smart you will have figured out fairly quickly that it's best to hide ALL evidence of  TTOTM and to blame any symptoms you are having on other causes: Pounding Headache = terrible hangover, Excruciating stomach cramps = food poisoning, Eating three pounds of chocolate = tired and overworked. That way you may get a scrap of sympathy and some TLC instead of that sideways glance that reveals that your Loved One is going to lay VERY low until you emerge from the deep black hole of madness that engulfs you at TTOTM.

I actually have no idea if I'm starting the big M or not but I did wonder out loud if this might be the case, because I have started waking up at 2.30 am (for no explainable reason) and according to some of my friends this is a symptom. Not long after I uttered those fateful words I knew it was a HUGE mistake because Mufasa and I had just been snapping at each other over his COMPLETELY unhelpful advice that I should change my sleep pattern (like I have any control over it whatsoever.) And this from a man who falls asleep on the sofa EVERY night and constantly complains of being exhausted. Of course my irritation at his unhelpful advice was a TOTAL over-reaction so when I made my Menopause comment he jumped all over it with an "AH HA! So that's why you're in such a bad mood - well this is going to be a FUN FIVE YEARS."

And that's when I realized the scale of my error. What a DISASTER, now all I have to look forward to for the next decade is every single low point in my life being written off as Menopausal Madness. 

Now in preparation for what he is anticipating to be an EXTREMELY difficult patch for us both, my Husband is gearing up to spend a LOT more time away from the marital home. In addition to his weekly golf session he has added a twice-weekly soccer game to his fitness program which immediately resulted in an injured hamstring. Undeterred he rushed out to buy himself a pair of compression shorts and has arranged some massage sessions with Faybian (more time out of the house) although I'm not sure if he realizes yet that Faybian is in fact a man. Well hopefully he will ultimately see that as a huge plus since at least his Masseur will NEVER be Pre-menstrual or Menopausal.


Friday
Aug032012

Optical Illusions

There is a VERY good reason not to divorce your long-suffering spouse of twenty-five plus years and replace him/her with what (initially) may appear to be a more copacetic version of a long term partner.

The reason is this - Older People are a little weird and eccentric and it's a LOT easier to tolerate strange behavior from the person that you have known and loved for a CONSIDERABLE period of time, than it is to be dealing with it when demonstrated by a relative stranger. Don't kid yourself that you personally are not exhibiting any traits of this weird and eccentric behavior because I can ASSURE you that if you are close to fifty (or older) you absolutely ARE doing some CRAAAZY stuff and if your True Love has not pointed it out it is only because they are well aware that their own behavior is also a little 'off-color' at times.

Last night Mufasa decided to watch the Olympics and as it was quite late (9.25) and I was going to sleep he needed to use the headphones. Unfortunately the day before I had unplugged them (because their location on the credenza bugs me - Dishy/Crazy # 1) and somehow the wire had disappeared. In an effort to retrieve it Mufasa pulled out the credenza and looked behind the TV and that's when everything disintegrated.

Mufasa "What are all these wires doing here?"

Dishy " What do you mean?"

Mufasa "ALL THESE WIRES? THEY WEREN'T HERE BEFORE?'

Dishy (walks over to take a look) " What do you mean they weren't there before - those are all the TV/DVD/Speaker wires of COURSE they have always been there"

Mufasa "No you are WRONG there were NEVER this many - I know what's going on here, this is Rockstar isn't it? He's been here and changed everything around it just drives me MAD when he does this."

Dishy (thinking that Mufasa actually is QUITE mad but trying hard to remain calm) SERIOUSLY? YOU ARE SAYING THAT ROCKSTAR CAME TO THE HOUSE TODAY AND JUST ADDED A WHOLE BUNCH OF EXTRA WIRES TO OUR TV SET UP? YOU ARE INSANE YOU HAVE TOTALLY LOST THE PLOT - YOU ARE HALLUCINATING (Calm didn't last that long - Dishy/Crazy # 2)

Mufasa "Just find me the headphone wire."

Dishy (reaching behind cabinet locates it in two seconds flat) "Here it is"

Total silence ensues - order is restored. Mufasa is happy and watching the olympics like the above never took place.

Of course I'm not going to let THAT slide (Dishy/Crazy # 3)

Dishy (plucking headphones off Mufasa) "Are you happy now?"

Mufasa (big grin) "Yes very"

Dishy "So the little meltdown is over? Not dreaming up any more scenarios about your son entering the premises with the sole intent of screwing up our AV system?"

Mufasa (big sheepish grin) "No"

Now consider this : After a lifetime of shared memories, raising kids, family vacations, romantic dinners, the rough the smooth, the good the bad and the ugly these amusing little incidents are just another thread in the rich tapestry of your life together, but if someone you had just started dating was having these sorts of Optical Illusions I am willing to bet you would be pretty terrified and inclined to run RATHER fast in the opposite direction or at the very least back to your Match.com profile to add the following disclaimer:

'Seeking distinguished Gentleman age 50-60, solvent with good sense of humor - no crazy behavior tolerated'

Good luck with that.


Thursday
Aug022012

An Open Letter to Genius on His 21st Birthday

Being the younger brother of Rockstar was always going to be a hard act to follow. But then again following was never really your thing. 

You were born in the middle of a desert in the Middle-Eastern country we had just moved to and as if to prove a point you decided to emerge FOUR weeks early when your father was on an airplane and I really was COMPLETELY alone. I guess I should have known right then that nothing I did would influence your behavior. You were NOT an easy baby, I recall you cried, squawked, moaned and complained through the first eighteen months of your life, which of course I believed at the time was somehow MY fault, not realizing that in fact the only thing wrong with you was that you were BORED OUT OF YOUR MIND. As soon as you were able to express yourself and create your own entertainment everything changed. No silly blue rattles or crib toys for you - your first word was "BATTRY" and you slept peacefully through the night clutching a couple of double A's in each hand. From there it was only a short hop to academic excellence.

What I most admire about you (and the way that you conduct your life) is your confidence and belief in yourself and your abilities. You have always been incredibly self-motivated and focused on your goals and have not really needed much guidance. More importantly you have never been one to run with the pack, choosing if necessary to have NO friends rather than the WRONG friends and consequently you are liked and admired by many. Your calm demeanor cloaks a compassionate, empathetic heart; I know with ABSOLUTE certainty that you would never judge another human being based on color, creed, economic status or sexual orientation and would speak out against others that do so. 

You do not suffer fools gladly, so I am flattered that aside from being your mother I am still someone that you happily spend time talking to and proud that I can (sporadically) beat you at Scrabble and Canasta. 

You do not wear your heart on your sleeve and sometimes you seem a little mysterious, but without fail you carry yourself with great dignity and integrity earning my utmost respect. You are fiercely independent which for me is both hard to accept and incredibly liberating at the same time, but I hope you know that I'm here for you in ANY moment of need should the occasion ever arise.

It gives me great joy that your brother is your very best friend. I'm glad that instead of choosing to compete for my attention you have bonded together and are able to laugh at my MANY eccentricities (which is something that one can only share with a sibling.) 

It was always very easy to raise you - I feel almost embarrassed that I got off so lightly and never had to suffer through the angst of tormented teenage years, agonizing over where you were and what you were doing, although being a Good Jewish Mother I was QUITE able to find lots to worry about without ANY basis in reality. Over the years you have gradually and gently re-trained me (using the techniques from your psychology classes) into a more stable and less neurotic version of myself and the whole family has reaped the benefits. 

There is no doubt in my mind that you will be successful in whatever career you choose to pursue and it is gratifying to know that you will achieve this not through any need or desire to earn our approval but entirely for your own satisfaction. There are few people in this life that can operate within socially acceptable guidelines and yet still be true to themselves and their beliefs. I take no credit for your development or your characteristics but could not be more proud that you are my son.

Happy 21st Birthday to my TRUE Genius with all my love, 

Mama.


Sunday
Jul082012

Positive Thinking

Jewish Mothers worry. It's both a genetic and learned behavior but it's something we must fight against for our own well-being and for the well-being of those poor unfortunate souls who happen to be related to us. A negative state of mind will attract negative energy so it's imperative that we train ourselves to focus on the positive. When you open the mail to discover a check for $100 that you did not expect to receive your first thought should NOT be 'Oh great, I wonder what horrible unexpected bill is in the next envelope' but rather 'YIPPEE how lucky I am, and I TOTALLY deserve this!' When your Son announces that he just got offered a fantastic well paid job before even graduating college don't think 'Oh great he's moving to LA and will probably be murdered' but rather 'YIPPEE he'll be able to pay all his college loans and we can have lots of nice holidays in California!' 

When your husband goes to buy you a bottle of water during the movie and isn't back after twenty minutes, don't assume 'Oh great he's probably had a heart attack and I'm going to be LONELY and DESTITUTE' but rather 'No doubt the lines are hideous due to the shortage of staff and how sweet of him to persevere even though he'll miss the opening scenes.'

Even though we all know that worrying about stuff that will probably never happen is RIDICULOUS it's extremely difficult to stop doing it. 

This Worrywart Syndrome is not exclusive to Jewish Mothers (although they do have it down to a fine art) generally I find that most people live their lives in anticipation of how great things would be if only......................... fill in the blank with whatever you are currently wishing for. When the longed for event or change in circumstances finally manifests, instead of feeling unadulterated joy, a sense of doom and feelings of guilt prevail because on some level one does not feel worthy of good fortune. 

Actually this may only be true if you are over the age of twenty five because I have noticed that the majority of young people today seem to TRULY believe that they are totally deserving of EXTREME good fortune regardless of whether they have done anything at ALL to create it. There is a sense of arrogant entitlement that is most unpleasant and a propensity to believe that NOTHING but the best should be bestowed upon them coupled with TOTAL shock and disbelief that they may have to struggle EVER. If you are currently under twenty five and open your mail tomorrow to discover a check for $100 that you were not expecting your first thought should NOT be 'How annoying why wasn't it $1000.00?' but rather 'YIPPEE how lucky I am, I really don't deserve this, I think I'll buy Mom some flowers.' If you get offered a fantastic well paid job before even graduating college don't think 'How annoying I wanted to bum round Europe for a year and then live at home for another five sponging off Mom and Dad' but rather ' YIPPEE I'll be self sufficient at last and able to cover all my college loan debts.' 

The cure for both (young and old) is simple gratitude. When we focus on being TRULY GRATEFUL for what we have in any given moment we feel positive and uplifted - worrisome thoughts are banished as is the inclination to believe that we would be COMPLETELY happy if ONLY.......................fill in the blank with whatever you are currently wishing for.


Saturday
Jun232012

Business as Usual

Dear Everyone,

Next week I will be on vacation visiting my brother in Seattle so I will NOT be responding to ANY e-mails or answering my phone. I plan to have a TOTAL break so please don't be offended if I do not respond to your constant stream of mediocre jokes or your numerous requests for my undivided attention. Please don't be upset if I seem to have abandoned our word games I will be back VERY soon. My laptop is staying at home and and I plan to give the family my UNDIVIDED attention. 

My iPad will however, be coming with me (as it would have to be surgically removed for me to leave it behind) but I will ONLY be using it to read the novels I've selected for the trip. 

OK, I admit I will probably take a peek at my e-mails, just in case there is anything REALLY super, super urgent but that will only be ONCE a day (or maybe once in the morning and once at night.) After all one can't just run away from all responsibility but obviously my response time may not be what you have become accustomed to so please understand if I do not answer your e-mails three minutes after you wrote them. 

I will ABSOLUTELY NOT be logging into Facebook; if one can't go on holiday for a week without posting every single photo and activity there is a serious problem. No, I will wait till I return to share every minute detail of foods consumed and places visited. Come to think of it though I might just play a few turns on the word games - perhaps while everyone else is watching a movie I don't want to see or having some political discussion I cannot contribute to - no sense in being bored. But I'm only going to deal with work EMERGENCIES, not your run of the mill day to day problems just crisis management. That should cut down my hours on line by at least ten percent while still maintaining the illusion that I am a VERY senior person without whom the company would collapse within twenty-four hours.

Personal stuff is another matter - I have MORE than enough discipline to stay off the internet for extended periods of time - I PITY people who clearly have internet addictions (that they refuse to acknowledge) and start hyperventilating if their iPhones or Blackberries are misplaced for a mere second. Although it does occur to me that a whole week of Facebook without my witty contributions might be quite distressing to all my FB friends. In fact my abstinence is  starting to seem like an EXTREMELY selfish act so I may have to reconsider my stance. Perhaps I will allow myself one post a day. That should keep everyone happy and since I'm often awake at 3 am my family won't even notice I'm doing it. While I'm lying there (sleepless in Seattle) I may as well finish answering all the work e-mails, that way when I get back it won't take me four days just to catch up. I mean it really makes sense. It's not that I can't let go, honestly, I just like to have all my ducks in a row.

So basically it's business as usual.


Tuesday
May292012

Return to Slender

Sometime last year I finally got back down to a weight that doesn't depress me every time I stand on a scale or look in a mirror. Since that first moment of EUPHORIA when I saw the needle hover on the heady number of 125 it has been a CONSTANT battle to maintain it. In fact maintaining that weight has been TWICE as hard as losing the unwanted pounds in the first place.

It is too easy to get blase and at my age it only takes a few back-to-back days of overindulgence for an extra FIVE pounds to magically appear. The trick is to weigh yourself EVERY SINGLE DAY - forget the stupid advice from diet gurus to only weigh yourself once a week - that's INSANE - do you know how much damage can be done in just one week? 

I wonder if I am the only person who talks to my scale? Well it's not really talking, more like screaming. It's a daily ritual and please note there is a tried and tested technique to weighing yourself as follows:

1. Remove every possible item of clothing and accessory - even a hair scrunchie could give you a false reading.

2. Only weigh yourself FIRST thing in the morning AFTER using the bathroom and before talking a shower because the water absorbed by your skin might make you heavier.

3. Breathe in and step gently onto the scale being careful to distribute your weight evenly.

4. Only use a digital scale.

5. Anticipate what weight you will be REALISTICALLY (before you look down) ie. if you ate six slices of cheesecake yesterday anticipate a weight that is four pounds heavier than the previous day, that way when you are only two pounds heavier you will be overjoyed and most important MOTIVATED to eat well that day and banish the new pounds.

6. If the number you see is more than you anticipated by all means jump up and down, scream, curse and kick the scale. (this will convince your spouse that you are COMPLETELY mad but at least all that activity will burn a few calories.

7. Get on and off the scale ten more times to see if you get a different result. If not change the scale battery and try again. If it's still the same face the facts - chicken broth and celery sticks for the next three days.

8. If by some MIRACLE you weigh lighter than anticipated, leap into the air, fist punching and shrieking YAY (more calories burned) and start what promises to be a perfect day determined to eat well and lose another 3 pounds. 

The purpose of being under your goal weight is so that for at least some of your life you can enjoy wholeheartedly all those evil, fattening, delicious foods without a SHRED of guilt. This is the ultimate reward and possibly EVEN more satisfying than the thrill of putting on your old jeans and finding them loose.


Thursday
May172012

Tempting Fate

I was recently complaining (within my Husband's hearing) that I have nothing to write about anymore because he doesn't ever DO anything to inspire me. He was quite affronted and demanded to know if I was implying he had become boring (the worst insult of all.) This is surprising considering so many of my blogs are humorous at his expense (although he is always so good natured about it I think he secretly enjoys being the brunt of my jokes.) Anyway I cannot blame him entirely for this sad lack of material as the truth is that now Rockstar and Genius have left home and I have been reduced to shared custody of the DOG, things are a little quiet around here (no I didn't say BORING.)

Of course my job is NEVER dull and I could probably write many blogs about my life as an Interior Designer but since I would like to stay employed I will have to wait until I'm in my eighties and then write my Bestselling Novel about THOSE experiences.

Anyway, the day after that fateful pronouncement, my husband rose like a phoenix from the ashes of our mundane existence and left his prescription sunglasses in the rental car we had just given back to Enterprise. He realized he had done this when we were on the courtesy bus pulling up at Heathrow Airport for a flight that we were already VERY late to check-in for. The driver kindly radioed through to the depot and arranged for the glasses to come out to the terminal on the next bus where (in theory) my husband would wait at the bus stop to collect them. We dashed up to the check-in counter and I managed to sweet-talk the airline staff into letting us jump the queue (much to the UTTER DISGUST of all the very polite and orderly British people waiting in line.) It looked like we had averted disaster when after showing both passports and getting our seat assignments I got the all-clear from the pretty blonde Delta girl for Mufasa to go down and collect the glasses. Just AFTER he DISAPPEARED from sight and I hauled the suitcases onto the scale Miss Delta asked me for our Green Cards (did I mention she was blonde?) Of course I had no way to contact my husband with a desperate instruction to return to base as (thanks to an AT&T screw-up) he had no phone service in the UK. I was then forced to stand to the side watching all the smug people I had just bypassed giving me filthy looks as they completed their check-ins ahead of me. 

The Delta staff refused to watch the luggage while I ran downstairs to get the Green Card so ten minutes before the check-in closed I had no choice but to run through the airport like a complete MADWOMAN wheeling an overloaded cart of baggage and swearing like a trooper. I'll skip the bit about pressing all the wrong buttons in the elevator and move on to the fact that the doors eventually opened to reveal my husband grinning like a village idiot and waving the precious glasses. 

Fast forward through another agonizing chapter of pushing our way through check-in and security to arrive breathless and fraught at our gate to discover surprise, surprise the flight was delayed by half an hour. Whew, time for a coffee (or so I thought) but apparently neither Pret or Costa coffee is good enough for Mufasa it HAS to be Starbucks, so he disappeared again for FORTY-FIVE minutes on a completely USELESS quest to find the uber bean. By the time he returned I had blown my diet (started that morning) by stress eating three tomato and cheese croissants from Pret, and drinking their perfectly OK coffee.

We were the last to board (because obviously my husband can't decide he needs to use the toilet until three seconds before they close the gate) and as we settled into our seats and prepared for what I hoped would be an uneventful flight, I resolved that in future I would be content with the peace and harmony of our day to day existence and resist the temptation to goad him into undesirable behavior even if it does make a good story.