I was the first in my family to go to college. My mother gave up her newer vehicle so I could travel back and forth from campus (two and half hour drive) on the weekends and be able to have reliable transportation while I was away. Because of this, she was forced to drive a beat up old pick-up truck as her transportation. Every weekend she would pack a box full of food and scraped up as much money as she could for gas and other expenses. She did this without the help of my father who died the summer of my freshman year at college.
When I was at the hospital with her this past week on my birthday, I thought about these things. It was surreal, because on my 18th birthday, I was also at the hospital. It was the day my father died. I never got to express all the things that I should have to my father when he was around, but because God gave me some more time with my mother, I will not waste it.
Ode to My Mother
Mom worked hard all her life. When I was young, she worked two jobs (about 18 hrs per day). It was the only way we could make ends meet. She worked as a waitress/bartender for a couple of small establishments. I remember every Sunday, she would dump the contents of her purse on the kitchen table and start counting her tips for the week. It would consist almost entirely of coins. She would count and I would help her put them into rolls. Then, she would put the rolled coins in a cloth bank bag and hide it in the back of her closet.
Really, the only time my little sister and I could spend with Mom was on Sunday because of her jobs. We would generally go to a matinee and eat out at a restaurant called the “Country School” or at the “Ponderosa”. It was a treat because it was a step up from McDonalds. I remember mom getting irritated because I almost always had to go to the bathroom (the sit-down kind) before we left the restaurant. She joked that I was just flushing her money down the toilet.
Every couple of years, she took the tip money she saved and took us on a mini vacation. It was my mom who took me to see my beloved Cincinnati Reds for the first time. It was my birthday and I was nine years old. I didn’t realize it then, but it was a very unselfish act by her. She cared nothing about baseball. It didn’t matter. Her little boy cared and that was enough for her. There we were mother and child at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. I had a make-shift Reds uniform on and had my over-sized (for my hand) ball glove ready for the foul ball that never came near our seats. I couldn’t figure out why my older sister decided to stay at the hotel and swim (and stay with my younger sister). It was some time later that I realized that I was the only one that wanted to see the game. I love my mom.
I now run AND weight lift everyday. The old program was one or the other. It is just that it is already July and my wedding is in October. October used to be way off. Now it is staring me in the face. I owe it to my bride, myself, and everyone that wished they married in Jamaica to look good for it.
The problem has been that I have been fudging on my eating, without actually eating fudge. I never ate desserts or junk, really, I just didn't pay too much attention to it other than that. Now, I have decided to go on a soup and salad diet as well as my extra workouts. I went to the store and bought all the least taste-tempting soups (vegetable – no meat, chicken noodle, etc.) to eat for lunch and dinner (or as they say in my neck of the woods – supper). All the soups I will eat for the next couple of months will be water-based. Yum!
My question for the both of you (I figure I get about two people to read this junk – and if one of you is a Bushie, I have probably just have one now ;) ), is do you have any tips about eating low calorie? I am eating soup, salad with low calorie dressing, and oatmeal for breakfast. I will mix it up from time to time with a low calorie TV dinner, or a grilled chicken breast. That is about it. Oh yeah, I am keeping it to small portions. I have also figured out that if I brush my teeth often or use mouthwash periodically, it takes away my boredom eating.
I was able to stick to my workouts so far. The question is, can I stick with workouts X2 and the tasteless diet? I think I can. Actors do this kind of stuff all the time to get ready for a role. That is how I see my upcoming nuptials, as some big movie. It gives me comfort to think of it as something other than real life. ;)
Gas prices are out of control. The Iraq situation is out of hand. The Middle East is as unstable as it has been in my lifetime. Has this administration managed ANYTHING right?
Gas is about three dollars a gallon on average. It was tolerable until the Hurricane Katrina struck. The oil companies uses any piece of news as an excuse to raise gas prices. We have not recovered at the pump although New Orleans and Mississippi are seem to be improving.
- The 9/11 terrorist had little or nothing to do with Saddam Hussein and Iraq
- NOW, Iraq is a hotbed of terrorism
- We are losing more lives every day because of the insurgency
- Osama bin Laden is still at large (and is not in Iraq)
I have no qualms about going into Afghanistan after 9/11. I don't even begrudge the "we thought there were WMD's in Iraq" excuse. I just don't think it warranted an invasion at the time. It seemed that we had bigger fish to fry. We certainly have bigger fish to fry now (Iran, N.Korea, and the war building between Israel and Lebanon and potentially Syria) over the Shiite-Muslim Hezbollah attacks. Yep, we could use a fresh military and the resources to help manage these situations, but our fish fry has run out of oil (no pun intendeed).
But I digress (which should be the name of this blog, in retrospect), I was talking about the need for our arms to swing as we walk. For some reason, it fascinated me this morning as I strolled through the park. We don't choose to swing them, they just do it on their own like our hands are just dead weights at the end of a rope. I noticed today that the hand that was holding my umbrella (folded up as it was not yet raining), swung more than the empty handed arm. Yep, the dead weight theory. I wondered if I could tell the sex of an unborn baby if I dangled that umbrella over a pregnant abdomen. I looked around for a prego, but did not see one so I continued on toward the building with one arm swing wildly and the other just with its normal movement.
An episode of "Seinfeld" came to mind. Two characters, both hostile, were non arm-swingers as they walked (or in Racquel Welch's case, danced). These characters were made fun of. "Well," I thought as my arms were swinging to beat the band, "at least I won't be ridiculed for that."
Today, I decided to shower at her house after my workout. I get into the shower and there are 15 different containers in there. In a few months when we get married (Ooh! I just had a chill), I will be living there no doubt scouting places I can put my shower needs. Out of 15 containers, I found none that claimed to be soap or shampoo. I knew better than to try to expect to find a BAR of soap, but how about something called “shower gel?” Nope. I found all kinds of other stuff, though. I can’t remember all the terms, but I know that “scrub” “revitalizing” were words I came across.
I know that women have a different way to engage the world. Soap bars and washcloths do not fit into the world of the penile challenged. Instead they have some kind of liquid or gel soap that they apply to miniature wedding gowns (because women are obsessed with weddings, I guess) in order to clean themselves. Well, I couldn’t find even the gel this time, although the little wedding gown was faithfully hanging there below the showerhead.
She also had a nice place for this little gadget that I suspect was a razor. It didn’t look like any razor I have seen. It looked more like a phaser from Star Trek. A phaser, for the non-trekkies, is a hand weapon.