Life Not Fiction

No Chapter Two…or any other chapters for that matter. Now is not the time in my life for fiction writing. I’m not sure there will be a time for that. I love the idea, and maybe that is still in my future, but right here and right now is not the time. So, I will just write from the heart, the funny, the sad, the real stuff that happens to me. I’m just an ordinary woman trying to live life while keeping my neuroses in check.

Lately I haven’t been doing such a good job with the psychological stuff. I was on a roll and then circumstances beyond my control popped up and bit me in the ass. And there is a great deal of ass here to bite. Ever been where I am?

You know, that place where life just hums along and everybody who matters are just doing their thing, predictably and then, suddenly they change course and your like, “Whoa, wait a minute, you’re supposed to be doing this, living here, being this kind of person. What do you mean making changes in your life that affect me?” I know it sounds petty and childish, but don’t pretend you’ve never thought those things!

The problem is, they have every right to make changes and if those changes are for their good, who am I to feel this way? The word selfish comes to mind. I really don’t mind change…as long as I am the one doing the changing. I know, back to that selfish thing. I am baring my soul here, give me a break. Despite my advanced years, I still have quite a bit of growing and changing to do. I want to work on these things before I get so old and set in my ways I become that person no one wants to be around because she is always complaining. Back to my ample ass…I give you (and you know who you are) permission to kick me in it if I get too out of control and maudlin.

I’ve always reveled in being the unpredictable member of the family. The one that doesn’t do things according to family norms and lives life by my standards and enjoys being impossible to pigeon-hole. Anytime anyone tries to label me as any certain thing I am determined to prove them wrong and fly off in the opposite direction. There is nothing worse for me than my mom telling me “You’re just like your mother.” I detest that not because my mom is a horrid person, or because I don’t like her or love her. No, I detest it because I know I am like her and I accept that; what really gets to me is this sense that “Can’t something just be mine?”

“Mine.” This is a running theme in my life. I know it is a toddler like mentality, but why do toddlers behave in this manner? Control. They want something in their lives over which they can exercise control. Good parenting teaches them how to gradually handle this intoxicating power.

Please, for the love of all things good, tell me I am not the only sixty-something that is still dealing with things like this.

What I do know is that God is the ultimate parent. The all loving all knowing Father who does and allows whatever is necessary for our own good. I have more to say on the subject, but I’ll let you digest this and then tomorrow I’ll flip the page and we will talk about the positive side of this dilemma.

 

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Chapter 1

Voices swirled around me like a cacophonous fog descending over me until I disappeared.

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NaNoWriMo

I signed up to do this and had every good intention. I researched and wrote out several topics, but when it came to November 1st, 2017…I froze. Actually the cooling off process began several days before when I got distracted from my goal with other, equally valuable pursuits. 

You may or may not know that I have a second blog: The Woolen Hook. This is where I chronicle my love for crochet and all things wool, yarn and fiber related. The Woolen Hook is in the process of becoming a real brand with a real purpose in the world. There you will only find posts about those subjects. Where as here, you will find anything and everything that strikes my fancy at a particular moment in time.

So many people believe they have a story in them that worthy of telling. I believe that is true and I am one of those people. Ever since I was a little girl I loved to write. I still have poems and things that I wrote as a very young child. One of the Sheryl Stories that entertain my family is a sentence I wrote in the second or third grade. We had to use a vocabulary word in each sentence. I don’t remember what the vocabulary word was, but my sentence was “Kiss me you fool!” Surely it was something I had heard on television that just plopped back into the frontal lobe of my brain then onto the paper. Wherever it came from, I’m sure it wasn’t what my teacher expected.

The examination of my kindergarten report card indicated I did not start off well in the areas of making up stories and creativity. Something I found to be quite shocking. But then when I looked more carefully, it was grading verbal expression of such things. I have never been good at making stuff up on the spur of the moment and – I suck at improv. But putting things into writing, that’s a whole different subject.

So, back to NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month – this is something to challenge oneself to actually sit down and write every day for a month and complete the draft of a novel in that time period. Well, as is usually the case, I’m doing it my way. So, every Monday until the story has been told, I will post another installment. My goal is to tell a complete story and then have the basis of something I can work on to be a full novel, unless it is so complete that I just need to write something else. 

In between these posts I will have my usual food, homemaking, decorating, grandchildren, and husband stories to tell. I’m not extraordinary, I’m just an open book. I write these things not because I’m special but because I find humor in in my humanity and hope that helps you do the same.

The story I am writing is loosely based on family members as they have been described to me and the rest totally made up. It is rooted in research I have done for The Woolen Hook and my maternal grandmother. I never really knew any of my grandmothers (I had two biological and one step) so in my story I am making up a relationship I would have liked to have had with my maternal grandmother – Willie Brooks Woodring. 

I don’t know who these women are. I bought the photo because it inspired me. I look into those faces and there is a story to tell. Though this story I’m writing now will be set in a different time, I will write their story as well.

I’m off to spend the rest of my day reading. H.G. Is literally off hunting and possibly gathering this weekend. The first weekend in November in these parts is a sacred ritual for deer hunters. For me, the television has been off all day, classical music, writing, drinking coffee, and now a good book will complete the experience. I am re-reading Little Women. I know this will be sacrilege to some of you, but I cannot remember how old I was when I first read it. Because of my friend at the time who read it as well, it was likely fourth grade. It is a timelesss story and one that fits nicely with the mood I am currently living in.

Until tomorrow…

Food For The Soul

I have had a love hate relationship with food my entire life. My family dubbed me “The Foil Package Bandit” for my unique skills at taking food from foil packages without leaving a trace. It was a symptom of something larger, but in the 1970’s we didn’t think as much about the psychological aspects of behavior like this. To my family it was funny. To me it felt like I was some kind of weirdo that even my family couldn’t understand. They still laugh, sometimes. I still don’t.

The Throwing of The Gauntlet

I am now three months and two days from officially being sixty years old. I think I am finally growing up enough to take proper care of myself. Hunter Gatherer is perfectly capable of caring for himself and Maggie, well, Maggie is a dog and she’s happy when she’s with me; I need to take care of me. Three things happened recently that jerked my food additcted butt into high gear.

First, my niece, in general conversation about her life mentioned how much weight she had lost. I don’t see her that often and last time I did she looked pretty much the same as I remembered. Then she sent me photographic evidence and, of course I had to ask what she did to drop the weight. No fancy diet plan. No extreme workout regimen. She cut out the white carbs and soda, took the milk and sugar out of her daily coffee, ate lean protein and veggies, walked her dog and went to the gym 2-3 times per week. Wow! That doesn’t sound painful or difficult at all! I could do that. I have a dog.

The second event was H.G. going for his annual physical. His doctor is very old school and runs many of the basic tests in his office then sends the rest to an outside lab. He came home proudly announcing that his sugar, cholesterol, and hemoglobin were all great AND, he had lost eight pounds since last year. Oh, great. Gee thanks universe. The man who has about the worst eating habits of anyone I know looses weight. 

The final straw was another man in my life proudly announces how he lost weight and clothing sizes in just a few days after going low carb.

The Gauntlet Picked Up

I don’t have a lot of faith in myself in this area. Too many years of making proclamations, great starts, and a week later I am right back to where I began. I am now almost two weeks into this challenge, and I must say, so far so good.

I started with the white stuff. I have already done lots of this, but I reaffirmed my intentions and looked at what was left that I was still eating that could be modified. And, I believe “modified” is the key word. There are things that I will occasionally eat…because I like them and I am human. I know that if I swear myself off everything all at once I will fail. By giving myself permission I also free myself to make choices. It is a weird psychology, but as long as it works, I am happy.

 
The Plan of Attack

I’ve got to navigate a meat and potatoes husband, Mexican food Fridays (a 26 year tradition), my every abiding love for starch, What-A-Burger (Texas folks know what I mean), and my favorite cocktails; sadly, bourbon and gin are not low carb. 

So, what will I eat? My daily menu includes many of my favorites – meats, cheese, vegetables, the occasional ancient grain and fruit. This is a good time of year for me to make the transition. I love roasted root vegetables and I can make a meal of just those. I prefer cooked vegetables in the cooler months and salads with my protein in the summer.

There will be some bumps in the road and hilarity along the way, so stay tuned for all the fun. I post lots of my food photos on my Instagram page (@sherylmeans) but be prepared for the husband and grandkids as well.

So, I leave you for today with some culinary inspiration. If I can do this, anyone can…stay the course.

Taco meat topped with egg, pico de gallo, queso fresco, with a side of guacamole.
Poached egg on a bed of ancient grains and spinach.

Salmon on bed of Romaine with seasoned cashews, pico de gallo, and honey mustard dressing.