Learned or innate?

It is no secret that I am a ‘caretaker’ which is really not the right word. Yes, I do take care of everyone in my orbit, but as I sit here and write this I think “It’s an egotistical position” – I do everything for everyone because somewhere in my head I’m thinking “If I don’t, who will?” and “I can do this better than they can.” – That’s ego.

The question is – was this learned or innate? Am I naturally a person who does or was I forced to at a young age and it just became hard-wired?

I was 7 when my brother was born and the mother gave him minimal care and attention therefore it fell to me, a 7 year old, to pick up the slack. I can’t honestly say how that evolved but I do remember when my brother was around 3 he was outside on his little bike and fell and one of the other kids yelled for the mother, she went out and I was right behind her. She picked up my brother, still crying and yelling for Mommy and when he saw me he reached out his arms. Yeah, the kid was 3 and thought I was his mother. So there you go.

There is nothing unusual for a child to take care of a child; or for a child to take on the mundane running of a household – cooking, cleaning, laundry etc. – in large families that’s pretty much how it works out. Except – I don’t come from a large family, I just come from a family where the mother checked out after her first child was born and the second and third were unwanted and pretty much uncared for.

By the time I was a teenager I was pretty much in charge of everything. I don’t think I ever thought twice about it – tho I did question, to myself, why I was left out of some of the big decisions because, hell, I was going to be the one who had to implement and oversee them.

Even my jobs – I was always the assistant to a top executive and not only did I take care of business I took care of their personal lives as well. When I started to work for small companies, instead of large corporations, I was often called the ‘Office Manager” or as I called myself, the ‘Office Mommy’ – I was taking care of everybody not just the owner of the company.

Same position I had in the family. Same position I have had in all my personal relationships.

My husband has become more disabled since his fall last Summer, and in the last 2 months his physical stability has deteriorated greatly. His balance is shit, his hand tremors are ridiculous and whatever he contributed to the running of our little household before, he can no longer do. So everything is on my plate. And I’m tired – physically and mentally and emotionally tired. I’m just trying to keep one old man and 2 old cats alive and well cared for.

My question is why – Did I learn to be this way or was I born this way?

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I really do have to laugh at myself

because I simply don’t understand decor, themes, traditions and collections. Every time of read about such things I wonder to myself “Why? Why the hell would anyone do that?”  And of course the answer is – because it makes them happy. They enjoy it. I simply can’t fathom why.

All of that is so alien to me.  People put so much effort and thought and creativity in decor, themes, traditions and collections. I admire that. I wonder where they got the ideas for all of that. What does it mean to them.

And then I have to wonder, and laugh, why do I care? And I don’t really care so much as wonder why I find it so alien.

And are other people different from me, or am I different from other people? I tend to feel like I’m the different one – the rest of the world is in sync with each other and I am the odd one out.

I can admire something without wanting it. I mean, you just appreciate something for what it is. Or you recognize the work and the talent and the creativity that went into something without liking it per se. You just recognize the effort. Ya know?

People have skills that I am in awe of, yet, I have no desire to acquire those skills. I value their skills without valuing what those skills result in. Does that make any sense?

And it’s not simply a matter or like or dislike – I like chocolate ice cream but I don’t like ice cream with chunks of chocolate in it. I don’t think there is much to understand about that, it’s pretty straight forward, nothing there to understand, or not.

I don’t understand me more than than I don’t understand other people. I do not understand why I find the whole decor, themes, traditions, collection alien and weird.

It is just me, isn’t it?

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Of course you have!

Have you ever gotten enmeshed in a book series and somewhere along the line start casting the movie? Of course you have. I just DNF a Jonathan Kellerman “Alex Delaware” book  and, after all this time reading this series, it crossed my mind who might play the character Milo Sturgis. No one came to mind, Milo is such a well defined character as to physical appearance and personality that I can’t imagine anyone but him playing him LOL The character Alex Delaware, not so interesting, kinda blah, could be anyone.

And speaking of book series, early on rabid fans of the “Stephanie Plum” series by Janet Evanovich, were all excitedly casting the movie version of the books. I think we all agreed that Sandra Bullock would have made a fabulous Stephanie and I personally was rooting for Benjamin Bratt as Ranger. I could never come up with a good Joe Morelli but Estelle Getty would have been the definitive Grandma Mazur.  They did actually make  a movie  of the first book and the casting was totally meh.

There have been 26 Stephanie Plum books and quite frankly they began to pall by the 10th one. Even before maybe. But the first 5 or so – hysterically funny.

So do you have a favorite book series character? And if they made a movie who would you cast in the part? Or is the image in your head all you need and want?

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Not giving a tinker's dam

allows a person to have a boatload of fun.  Or just be mildly amused. Take your pick.

For the past few days I’ve been doing a video ‘nice day’ report on Instagram. They give you 60 seconds, one stinkin’ minute to say something coherent. (If you want to go longer then there is IGTV). If you give me a life time I couldn’t be coherent.

Until very recently I would never post a photo of myself on-line, anywhere, except on very rare occasions and only to my close friends on FB – the public at large? Nope. Old photos I would post and then delete after a short period. That’s me in the header BTW but I’m guessing y’all figured that one out.

So there I am, my old ugly self on Instagram everyday, for 60 seconds, frumphing and hurumphing about the weather or whatever. I’m not very polished at this, I always seem to be looking down and my old lady neck and old lady pursed lips and my godawful (but super expensive) dentures all add to the unattractiveness of it all.

And that’s what’s kinda fun for me – I no longer care what I look like. I’m clean and neat (and my eyebrows are tamed), what else should I be? I didn’t have much to start with and time did me no favors. (And I’ll go to my grave swearing that these teeth are too damn big, I don’t care what my dentist says.)

So if you want to have a giggle or guffaw, you can catch me on instagram as @justtawkin.

Thank you, thank you very much.

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I'd better be earning brownie points in heaven

So tired. Dead-ass beat tired. And this is going to be my life going forward, so I sure as hell better be earning brownie points in heaven.

1.  About 25 years ago my husband was diagnosed with an “undiagnosed neuropathy” . It started in his feet and has over the years progressed up his body resulting in hand tremors. His left side is more affected than his right side. His left hand is basically useless since it shakes so badly. This neuropathy has also affected his balance.

2. Last August my husband lost his balance, tripped and fractured his left femur just below the hip socket. He had surgery and they put three pins in his femur. They wanted him to go to a nursing/rehab home for recovery, he didn’t want to, he came home and I took care of him.

3. Once recovered his balance is even worse than it was before, his tremors are even worse than they were before.

4. About 6 weeks ago he was getting out of bed, became dizzy, lost his balance and thankfully fell back onto the bed. Also thankfully I had left a urinal on the shelf of his nightstand.

5. A few weeks after than, he had been napping on his recliner, he got up, was dizzy and wobbly and before my horrified eyes he proceed to wobble and fall.

At that point I insisted he go nowhere without a cane; that he not try to get up from bed or a chair without having cane in hand. When he walks he wobbles and he wobbles to the left. If he bends over he wobbles, trying to stand from a bent over position he wobbles and falls. This cannot continue.

My husband gets up between 3:30 and 4:30am. Why, he doesn’t know, he just does, it’s been like this for years. We have two cats who are now accustomed to being fed when he gets up. He simply cannot, safely, bend down to pick up and put down their food dishes.

Therefore – I told him to wake me up when he gets up so I can feed the cats and then I will go back to bed. Now a saner position would be to just not feed the cats and they can eat kibble until I get up at a normal hour except – one of the cats is very food-obsessed and will wind around your legs if he thinks food is in the offing. I cannot take the chance that the cat will trip my husband.

Therefore -I now get up when my husband does, feed the cats go back to bed.  But – on Monday and Friday I do laundry – we have a community laundry room and I have discovered over the years that the only way I can be guaranteed access is to be the first person in there at 7am.

Today I was awake at 2:30am in anticipation of being awakened, at 4:30am we were all up – I went back to bed and fell asleep again around 5:30am only to be awakened again at 6:30am to get the laundry done.

And you don’t even want to know what I do to get our other, elderly cat, to eat – some folks would say she is spoiled, I’m just trying to keep her eating.

So here I am, sleepless in Virginia, trying to keep a cat and my husband alive and well.

Brownie points in heaven – I’m counting on them.

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What's wrong with looking good?

Aside from major plastic/cosmetic surgery there ain’t nuthin’ I can do to look good. My good-looking days are over. That said – this morning I cut my hair (yes, I do cut my own hair, all the time time because a) it’s easy to do and b) I seem to be the only person who can cut my hair the way I want it cut.). I also tweezed my eyebrows into some semblance of shape and form and for good measure I gave myself a facial – a nice moisturizing, deep cleaning mask.

None of that made me look good, just a teeny bit better. The revelation of my life came late – and that was getting my eyebrows shaped (via waxing and tweezing) by a professional. Holy carp! That was like getting a face lift. Seriously.  Now I have to do it myself, not the waxing bit just using the tweezers, not as good as a pro but you know good enough and better than nothing.

And that’s the one piece of grooming advice I would (and do) give to everyone, male and female – Get Your Eyebrows Done!

Make-up is fun – when I was young I wore make-up. Given my age that included white eyeshadow (Oh my lord was that an awful fad), black eyeliner swooped out into wings – I was a genius with the eyeliner.  Mascara is a given, nothing to discuss – use it.

Blush – always a good idea – but blend it, please. Foundation and all that other crap – not for me. Thankfully I never needed it.

And then there is lipstick – I HATE lipstick but I have to admit it does perk up a person’s face.

I haven’t had a lick of make-up on my face in years – mainly because I don’t go out in public except for grocery shopping and doctor’s appointments. (Living in lock-down is my NORMAL living situation.)  I still have my bag of make-up tucked away in the closet. I wouldn’t use any of it now because it is old, stale and probably yucky. Plus, you should replace all of that stuff, at minimum, every six months.

Yes, everyone is beautiful and all that stuff (does anyone actually believe that? I’ve got a mirror folks, I do know what I look like and it ain’t pretty!). But whatever your attitude is towards make-up and enhancements of any kind, please, just do your damn eyebrows!

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Ever the contrarian

Conversation I had with my husband this morning…

Me: You know with all this stay-at-home, lock-down stuff people are saying how they are watching a lot more tv and eating more and gaining weight…

Husband: So?

Me: Well, I am watching NO tv, eating less and losing weight.

Husband: You have always been contrary…

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