Thursday, June 30, 2011

becoming A Woman of A Certain Age

JCK has realized recently that she has an EGO the size of her husband's derriere. This is not to be confused with her husband's actual derriere, which JCK loves, but JCK needed to pull from somewhere, and the state of Utah doesn't sell liquor. And, liquor is well needed for this tirade. At least in thought, if not application.

JCK used to think of herself as someone who was not Vain. But, dear readers, that would be a bold faced lie. And, JCK wants to come clean. At least to you. She's still working on herself, and it looks to be a life long project.

The ego blows up like a big balloon —Delmore Schwartz

Yes, indeed, JCK has a rather large EGO. Her id is BIG. Oh, how JCK wishes ...she could have employed this Egocentric Way of Being back in those days of yore, when she was a young, trembling actress on the cusp of her next Guest Starring appearance. However, JCK bailed out of that life style, citing Audition Obliteration Syndrome. A sad, sad tale, that JCK will not go into at the present time.

Conceit like a high gloss varnish smeared over him —Rosa Guy

Whence did this revelation occur? Well, JCK has been taken down a peg or two, or three, in what she likes to call the PCE (Post Children Era.) This would be when JCK decided to go au naturel and toss the hair dye, embracing her natural essence by becoming A Woman of A Certain Age. JCK wishes to note that before that time, she was known for always being mistaken for someone younger than her peers. Her face a soft oval, at times a bit moony, with eyes, large, innocent pools of hazel. JCK was the one who got carded. For years... Please, hear a *Sigh*... from JCK. Pre-Children, it had its perks. Oh, cruel word - that! PERK.

Looks at herself in the mirror like she was the first woman in the world —George Garrett

Why, just last night, at a school gathering of parents, a friend said "What I really like about this community is that there are so many older parents." JCK SWEARS, on her husband's derriere, that the friend looked right at her. And, smiled.Curse him! JCK returned the smile, albeit...sourly.

My vanity [after hurtful remark] like a newly-felled tree, lies prone and bleeding —Carolyn Kizer

However, JCK, of The Hopelessly Vain Club going to have to give IT up. Throw it down! Her perch has rusted out, and JCK's plumage is a bit dull. She could dye her hair again. Give in to the masses. Yet, this reeks of desperation, and JCK is wont to appear desperate. After all she has her PRIDE. And, it wouldn't really change anything. Except her hair.

Conceit grows as natural as hair on one’s head; but it is longer in coming out —Bartlett’s Dictionary of Americanisms

JCK has always liked to cloak herself in other characters - whether on the stage, or in life. Writing provides a delicious way of darting out to the edge and coming back, gleefully filling her head, and heart, with choice tidbits of adventures yet dreamed. Yet, sometimes she wishes this age thing was a character she could discard as easily...

JCK wants to fight the good fight. To rage against the Machine that states that Women of a Certain Age are invisible in society. As if...they have nothing to offer. JCK thinks this is bogus and unjust and hits close to the bone.

Vanity is as ill at ease under indifference as tenderness is under a love which it cannot return —George Eliot

There's just this small problem. We age. All of us. And, JCK is no exception. She's going to have to truly embrace her whole being, inner and outer. doomed to the 2nd half of her life being a washed up, sad sack. Poor, poor JCK? Say it isn't so!

JCK could turn this around. JCK could be a trend setter. JCK just needs a little...time. STOP the grains of sand...falling, down...down! Alas, no! Time marches on. And on. ON. Yes, JCK will fight the good fight, as soon as she thinks up a great name for her cause. If you know any Women of a Certain Age who like to sip tea and contemplate life in the fast lane, do send them JCK's way. She'll be glad to liven up their tea with a bit O'whiskey...

JCK wishes to thank the Online Dictionary for displaying the brilliant witticisms from so many greats.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A spider bite gone bad?

JCK is plumb tuckered out, done in...exhausted. It all started with a small bite on her son's leg last week, which turned into a fast growing wound, with resultant fever, horrific headaches and what was well on its way to becoming a staff infection. A spider bite gone bad? Probably.

JCK's BOY endured a battery of blood tests (6 tubes of little boy blood), and multiple visits to the pediatrician. The test results were negative on all counts,(from W. Nile Virus and Cat Scratch Fever to Meningitis,) but that did not prevent ...a hospitalization last Thursday due to the infected leg getting worse.

At the hospital, her BOY was fine until it was time for the IV insertion. Thus ensued a 30 minute segment of JCK talking BOY down from the Panic Ceiling, where he was understandably stricken with fear. After the IV was done in BOY's small hand, he was moved to a room. The first visitor was a large therapy dog, who managed to climb up on BOY's hospital bed and make himself comfortable, all while not stepping on BOY. But, the most impressive person was BOY himself who managed to build numerous Lego creations, during his hospital stay, with one hand and his teeth.

After 24 hours of IV antibiotics, BOY was able to go home. He is doing well. However, sleeping on a chair that folded out into a sleeping cot, next to her sweet BOY who tossed and turned all night in discomfort from an IV drip in his hand, did not make for a restful slumber for JCK. She is taking a bit longer to recover...

After 4 nights of sleeping in her own bed, JCK is beginning to resurface. Right now she needs time to recharge, and rejuvenate, and declare that summer has begun by GOD, and isn't it time for Jack O'clock? She thinks so. Cheers!

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Monday, June 20, 2011

heading toward 50...

Midriff Malaise

The skin is different now
softer, lacking youthful carelessness
more hillocks, less firm flesh
yet it is hers, she owns it.

There are the dark days,
when she feels betrayed
her stomach, lying there
as if a flaccid wound.

But then, it shifts
and the soft skin
feels comforting and full,
a pillow for a lover's head.

Metallic pants that thrust
her lushness upward
like a muffin top
do not tempt her.

She is not young
or old, quite yet
hers, not a life bound
nor wasted on midriff malaise.

Poem by JCK - originally posted 9/8/09

Photo Credit: Woman in waves painting courtesy of Google Images

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Thursday, June 16, 2011


JCK cannot get the lyrics from Lynard Skynard's "That Smell" out of her head.

Ooh, that smell
Can't you smell that smell?
Ooh, that smell
The smell of death surrounds you

Now, it is to be noted that JCK is not currently surrounded by luded up and shooting up personages. However, JCK did manage to burn the chicken on the stove last night. Sadly for all, JCK's house is almost vibrating with the stench of viva le blackened filet de poulet. And, no if you say it in French it doesn't make JCK's house smell better, but let's just go with it...

It all has to do with that blasted Multi-Tasking Skill that will only get JCK so far. Over the last two weeks, JCK has been pinging and ponging from one school meeting to the next, with work and family life thrown in, everyone knows, just navigating through the last days of school is reason enough to make your head explode. JCK's head started cracking down the sides about a week ago - affecting her vocabulary.

GIRL, please put on your flippers (flip flops).

BOY, I'm going to count to TREE!

This was not under the influence of any whiskey, JCK would like to add. Or, chocolate. And, obviously there had not been enough caffeine.

Quite soon after that, JCK went back to her room and crawled under the covers, hoping to hide there. What IS it about JCK's room suddenly becoming a House of JOY? JCK is sure she doesn't know, yet clearly her trying to act invisible doesn't work. Her children are like bloodhounds. They sniff her out. And, this was before the DINNER OF SINFUL DISGRACE.

Yes, mixing up words were apparently minor examples of JCK's brain on END OF SCHOOL madness. Last night it was taken a step further with JCK answering emails and cooking chicken on HIGH simultaneously, which was incredibly brilliant!

It was clearly the smell of BLACKENED food that assaulted JCK's son and caused him to levitate from the couch while watching TV, where he normally cannot be roused even if an earthquake were to shake, rattle and roll. JCK's GIRL, who was drawing on her easel in the play room, was also quite stimulated by the wafting fumes of Chicken Gone Bad .

Mommy, what's THAT... burning smell?

It smells like BURNED food, Mommy.

JCK loves how her children state the obvious. Especially when they clearly observe her racing into the kitchen, grabbing the pan off the burner, and flicking on the fan to HYPER SPEED mode. Unfortunately, what was done was done.

JCK picked off the top part of the chicken and placed it on dinner plates. JCK does not believe in wasting food? Well...not really, but...JCK was just not capable of a redo at this point. So, she tossed a bunch of buttered noodles over the top, added green beans for color, and called it Dinner for Her family.

Wisely, JCK's husband did not comment on the incident. He recognized that ice cream would fill out the meal's lack of ...delish. Although, he could see this as a much larger issue. In fact, he might imagine that by JCK ruining the frying pan, it could be a far BIGGER indication that JCK might be sick of cooking altogether. But, JCK can't waste any more time IMAGINING what her husband is thinking. It is an area of which she hasn't much clue.

So, while JCK's husband and children breathed in healthy fumes and dined on blackened chicken, JCK went over to a friend's house for dinner. The only thing burning there was candles.

This morning the frying pan and bits of chicken are still all-in-one. The stench? Well, JCK might have to go out to dinner again tonight...or hide underneath her children's bottom bunk bed. They'll never find her there...

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Mommy, it's too many laps for my little body

As a parent, sometimes the decisions you make for your children are the wrong ones. Parenting is a path littered with missteps, and miscalculations. Honoring our children, and respecting who they truly are, is not always an easy task. Too often we get caught up in our own stuff. Our own projections of who we think they are, or who they should be.

My daughter is an amazing swimmer. She has all the essentials: motivation and drive, sharp observation skills, and ability. GIRL is beloved by all of the teachers she has had for those very qualities.

She recently was promoted to a level called "Shark", where much more is required. They begin every class with a 200 IM - 8 laps in a 25 yard pool of various strokes. At 6 years old, she is the youngest in a class of children 7-10 years old, and physically, she is considerably smaller than all of them.

I have always encouraged her, and she has been excited to move up to every level - not looking back. Except for this time. Suddenly, she is in the land of occasional timed laps and kids being primed for possible future swim team. She is exhausted after every class, drooping in her chair, about to fall asleep at the dinner table.

A couple of weeks ago she started to cry one day after class. She had been timed in a race with a boy on the last lap of the day. She hated it. She wanted to quit.

Mommy, it's too many laps for my little body.

I felt like I was in a flashback to my own childhood, with the roles reversed. When I was 6 years old, I was on a Junior Olympic swim team. I hated it... braving the freezing water, because back then they thought it would make you faster, and the racing, because I didn't have that competitive edge. I was a frustration and puzzlement to my coach, who thought I had so much potential. I didn't want it, and she didn't get it. How could someone with so much talent not want to win? But, what drove me was the desire to please my mother. She was so proud of me, and I continued for longer than I should have, because I didn't want to let her down.

When I heard my daughter speak those words, it killed me. Yet, I didn't want "my stuff" to override what was happening to her. So, I put my Parent Hat on, and we talked it through. I asked GIRL how she would feel if I talked to her teacher about what she was feeling. She agreed, and at the next lesson, we walked over to the teacher together. I explained that GIRL did not like the racing aspect, and it was upsetting to her. The teacher was great about talking it through, telling GIRL that she was not keeping track of who was "winning", and that she would pair her with both kids that she was better than, and with kids who were stronger than her. She told us that the class was about building endurance and strength, not about racing. GIRL seemed satisfied, and did the class. After class we talked, and she said she wanted to sign up for another month of class. We also discussed the possibility of taking a break from swimming lessons over the summer. All appeared well.

The new session started last week. We got to the Y a half hour before her class, so that she and BOY could have some fun "free swim" time together. They played for about 30 minutes, and then the lifeguards cleared the pool for swimming lessons. She got out of the pool, walked over to me, and started crying.

Mommy, I don't want to do it. I want to take a break.

I wrapped her in my arms, asked her if she was sure, and then we left the pool and walked back to the locker room. It was her decision, and I wanted her to know that I was not invested in her continuing to swim, and neither was her daddy. Most of all, I wanted her to feel empowered by her decision to take care of herself - to give things a chance, but to be able to speak up if something doesn't feel right.

She is 6 years old. She's been taking swimming lessons for almost 4 years, with only a few breaks, and she's loved it. But, it's time to do other things. She says she wants to continue to swim in the fall. We will see. I know that whether she decides to swim again, or not, is up to her. She may be 6 years old, but she is wise in the way of knowing what she needs. I believe the most important gift I can give her is not only my love, and my belief in her, but the realization that she knows what is best for herself, and that her mother will be by her side holding her hand...

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