An Armful

Last night, my daughter came up to me after a long day for both of us and asked to hug me. “I wanna give you a big hug.”

She hugged me for a few seconds and then exclaimed, “I can fit my arms around you!” And we laughed together. We rejoiced together.

That was a big moment for both of us. She’s never embraced me and touched her hands until now and I have lost so much weight that my daughter can get her arms around me for the first time. Wow!

What a beautiful moment. I love her. She’s such a gorgeous reminder of pure love and acceptance. I see Jesus in her spirit every day and she rescued me from a lifetime of indulgence and regret. She gave me a reason to live. She helped me embrace life.

Thank you, Lilli. For your hugs and whole heart.

Superior Mother

The pic above was from my childhood home. I gave it as a present to my mom this morning for Mother’s Day.


Went on a day trip today with my mom. It was fun. As a surprise for Mother’s Day, my husband, daughter and I took my mom down to her hometown of Aullville. We took pictures and stopped at a local eatery for some unusual dining, The Belarussian Bakery.

Aullville, MO has a current population of 100. In its heyday, my mom said 200. 🙂 Small town.

It was adorable. Mom showed us her old house and the two churches in town.

It was a great day with lots of memories for her and history for us. We stopped back in Higginsville on the way home. Home of the Huskers! lol We took pictures of the old movie theatre where she saw pictures for a nickel! Then we spotted lunch.

We ate at The Belarussian Bakery, a unique find in Missouri. The food was delicious and extremely flavorful. Home-cooked and savory with a Russian influence. We would definitely go back. An old, large brick home with many rooms. It has that old gas smell of a home from the 19th century, but it’s so cute. And once the kitchen is going, you can’t tell. It has a well-kept interior with reasonable prices. If you’re out that way, stop in. If you like old-timey cooking and houses.

What a great day. It was a successful surprise. We didn’t tell her until she sat down in the car. She was a good sport to let us kidnap her. 🙂 It was an honor to hear Mom’s stories and see where she spent her formative years. Hope you like the pictures.


aullville.jpg
Aullville Exit! 45 minutes out of KC.
aullville grocery
Used to be the bank.
bw aullville baptist
My grandmother attended church here. Aullville Baptist Church
bush
I think she said this was honeysuckle? Is that right, Mom?
chrstn church
My mother had her first picture taken here at the age of 5. This my daughter on the side of the same church. Aullville Christian Church
church
Same church. West side. So beautiful. Caught a lens flare.
bw truck
Pickups & Peonies–Cool, old truck on the other side of the street. Made it black and white in Photoshop. Love it!
bw house
Mater’s homestead. They lived here in ’38-’44? Is that right, Mom? Still standing. But vacant.
country road
Beautiful country lane.
fence
Love a good fence line.
davis theatre
Old downtown Higginsville movie palace. Movies were a nickel? Shot this, did not crop, did not fix the color. Love this shot. Love the angles and the wonky set up.
belarussian flowers
Flowers at The Belarussian
belarussian table
Photo Credit: Lillian Maggio, Vibrant colors at The Belarussian
belarussian two lillies
My two Lillis. Lillian, my daughter was named after Mom.

Matthew 6:28-29 NASB
“And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.

These Lillis are beautiful!


I saw this silo today. It had SUPERIOR at the top.

silo.jpgI have a superior mother. One of the best. We haven’t always seen eye-to-eye, but that’s pretty normal, right? God saw to it that I had what I needed. A mother who loved me all the way to here. Even when I was ungrateful.

I had a father who was rough, but a mother who was gentle and kind. Everything that I am? I owe to her. She made me, cradled me, cared for me more than any person on the planet. She wants to see me succeed and helps me to do that. Thanks, Mom. I know you love me. And I love you so much. Happy Mother’s Day.

Some days, you were all that I had. And that was enough.

May Field Trip

Photo: Flowers from the creek bank near my childhood home, April 30th, 2017.
April showers bring May flowers!


I’m sitting here with the windows up and the fan on. It’s damp outside and sweet breezes through the screen. It’s definitely May.

Growing up in a rural community in Missouri meant soppy mornings and fresh cut grass in May. Everything would be dew-doused by dawn, even without rain.

Elementary school field trips. I remember May days because they were cool in the morning, warm by afternoon and full of field trips. Field trips were exciting. The whole day would be an adventure without any hint of panic. No class and sack lunch with soda. As a kid, new activities were welcome without any anxiety. When did that change? Outings nowadays usually invoke stress and nervousness. Why do we have to get old? Burnt? Used?

The most panic-producing element of a field trip, under the age of 12, is:

“Will I have a buddy for the buddy system??!”

I had enough friends during my elementary years to be assured a friend for field trips. So. I was good.

I remember going to a plastics factory, a General Motors automobile factory, Liberty Memorial?, Fort Osage, and Truman Library. I don’t remember what years we went where, but I remember being in 80s running shorts, on a bus with cool May air flowing through the windows on my slightly-damp hair. Buddied up and ready for lunch at 9:00 AM.

I’m going on a field trip this Saturday with my mom, husband and daughter for Mother’s Day. It’s a secret where we’re going. I do feel excited. I’ve got my buddies and I’m sure we’ll have lunch somewhere. 🙂 With windows down and hopes up!

Party City

Tried this flamingo hat on at Party City the other day. Is this a good look for me? If you can’t wear a bird on your head every once in a while, what’s the point of living?

I remember the day my dad tied two free helium-filled balloons to his ears and walked out of our local department store. I was embarrassed on the outside (because I didn’t understand whether it was funny or not, it was), but learning the internal lesson of standing out for laughter’s sake.

You know, I’m sure someone had a better day because they saw an old, crazy, fat man wearing two balloons on his head. Something to talk about.

Dad was balding, tall and overweight. He wore overalls on most occasions. Typically paired with a short-sleeve western shirt. In a mixed town of country folk and suburbanites, seeing someone in denim overalls at the store was not shocking. What was shocking was seeing a middle-aged man with balloons tied to his balding head and greeting customers in the parking lot.

“Thank you for shopping at Wal-mart! Have a nice day!”

My sister almost cried, threw up or had an anxiety attack at his ridiculous display. I feigned upset, but was cheering on the inside. That took balls.

Dad wanted to become a country singer/guitar player. He infrequently got the steel-string acoustic out and plucked a song or two. He had a good voice, but someone told him, “You got no rhythm.” No one from our family. That would have hurt him deeply and caused years of turmoil. But he definitely wanted to stand out. Be seen. Be creative.

I have always thought that I was a mix of my father and mother. Restrained and refined in some circles, but sometimes, in the right circumstance, not afraid to stand out. I am an actor, creative, designer, artist. I can’t sing, but I have other talents to display. To have a space to shine is, IMO, a required psychological exercise. Anyone who doesn’t have a special thing would feel pretty sad and isolated. Maybe he felt that way sometimes. Unspecial.

I’m thankful for my blog. For acting. For art. It’s kept me sane. Okay, less crazy. 🙂 Art is therapy. So is writing. I worked through much trouble with writing over the last decade. All for free. Thank you, Internets!

Dad would have loved Party City.

Wishing on the Whoosh

I’m a whoosher.

Whooshing is when you lose weight in hunks. I’m not sure why. Someone, on a chat, said that you lose weight in chunks because first you lose fat, then the fat cell fills with water? Then you lose the water. Makes sense, but I have no idea if this is true.

Sounds plausible.

But I do, in fact, whoosh. I completely stalled last week and now I’m losing again. I think I’m totally stopped and then, all of a sudden, whoosh! I know plateaus are normal, but this is stranger than a plateau. I’ll get stuck, then I’ll lose 5 to 10 lbs in just a matter of days. To me, a plateau is more of a 2-3-week situation. I’ve only hit one true plateau so far. So that’s a relief.

Don’t get me wrong! I will take it! Just wish I understood the whoosh.

Ever since I had weight loss surgery, I’m whooshing like crazy. It was more steady at first though. I was losing every day. Now I lose every few days, but I still drop like a rock. I’m sure that’s normal.

Anybody else whoosh?? Just curious.

Side note. My daughter used to play Super Mario Brothers (so did I, shhh). The character named Boo (the ghost) was super creepy and ridiculous. We were stuck on a level and joking around one day. After Boo kept swooping down and killing her (us), I said, “Whoosh ’em in the Boo-hoo.” And she lost it. LOL Now that’s a silly little inside joke. We don’t bust with that often, but when we do, it’s hysterical.

I think Boo is whooshing the scale for me. LOL 😉

STP

I grew up on Stone Temple Pilots and when Scott Weiland died a few years ago, it made me sad. He, obviously, had a troubled life and couldn’t conquer addiction. I loved their music and he had a great voice. I had an idea for a tribute poem; it may be trite, but it sums up my 20s with titles and lyrics from STP.


Creep along the interstate
Love song plays when I show up late

And I feel it–empty inside
This sour girl is Lonesome’s bride

Though my scarred-up heart still remains
Days of the week in tight-gripped reins

And so I know, and so it goes
Plush is the place where shallow grows

The dogs do find me, Smell on the street
Make my way to collapse at your feet

And as I lay my troubled head
Vasoline on plain, white bread

RIP S.

346.0

Finally. I was stuck for a week. No matter! I am at 346.0 lbs today. So that’s awesome. That’s a total loss of 167+ lbs. I’m sure my ex-endocrinologist would correct me on that number, but I would cat-fight-scratch her eyes out if she dared to curl her lip or clear her throat to say a word! I have records, Dr. Lady!

I feel pretty good today. I have my ups and downs, but I think that’s living without a thyroid or gallbladder. The gastric bypass scars have healed nicely and are fading. My stomach is evening out a bit.

My energy is through the roof sometimes! That’s the most awesome-est thing so far. I want to actually do things and go places. I have to take it easy or take breaks sometimes, but for the most part, I’m doing good. I volunteered at my daughter’s school the other day and I couldn’t have done that just one year ago.

I feel like a human again. I can mom and housewife like I used to. I have goals again. I have my life back.

Hope everyone is having a great Monday! I sure am. 🙂

EOC

EOC stands for End Of Course. It’s the end, of course! No. End of class course. My daughter just took her EOC test for Algebra. I’d never heard EOC.

I guess Algebra is a high school course and the 8th-grade Algebra students have to take the test to move on in high school? Idk. But I like this phrase. End of course.

Graduating from 8th grade feels like some sort of accomplishment for her. She’s supposed to be in 7th grade. She’s only 13. She skipped 4th grade and has needed to adjust socially since.

It can be a blessing and a curse. Advancing through school so quickly can seem like a pleasurable cut to the front of the line. But some people give you the side-eye on the way up. Also, once you’re at the front of the line, it’s your turn! NOW! GO, GO, GO!

I told her, if it wouldn’t destroy her social game, she could actually be in college at this point like a little friggin’ Doogie Howser. That flattered her, but it’s true! I have no doubt.

But.

There’s something to be said for standing on line. There are lessons in the waiting.

You know? My dad only graduated from the 8th grade? He went on to high school, but he hated it. He dropped in his junior year. He never graduated. He was a smart man, but in the 50s, you could just drop out and become whatever it is that you wanted to be. He entered the military, learned how to be a mechanic and did that for the rest of his life.

And here my daughter is, ready for high school. With a higher reading score than any of her predecessors. (I barely graduated from a two-year college LOL) She said she just took a test for lexile scores. Her’s was in the 1600s? I looked that up because IDK WTH a lexile score is. LOL I do know what it is, but what good is it? It’s usually a grade-corresponding reading level. 1600 is that of a graduate student at university.

Not to brag, but damn! If you look up some of the books that are recommended for 1600+:

The Art of War by Sun Tzu
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
Perspectives on Nuclear War and Peace Education by Robert Ehrlich
A Fable by William Faulkner

A Fable is a book described by my husband (an extremely fast reader with above-average intelligence) as being trapped in the Blair Witch Project student film. A collection of run-on sentences (the creek they keep following) in which he was completely lost with no way out and the map had been tossed!

Suggestions for a light, summery read, Anyone??! LOL

I honestly can’t believe, when I sit down and think about it, that this strange human being came out of my body. She is greater than the sum of our parts as parents or as humans. That’s for sure. I look at her sometimes and think she must be from outer-friggin’-space. That I was probed and impregnated with an alien super-genius and I’m just mucking it all up.

I don’t mean to overstate her brilliance. But she’s utterly, awe-inspiringly amazing.

I don’t normally tell people in passing conversation that she’s a genius. Because when I do, they have an incredulous look on their face. “Yeah, right. Everybody’s kid’s a genius.”

But she really is. She was tested in Kindergarten after being at school (for like 5 minutes) and they discovered that she was a genius. She joined Mensa in Kindergarten. The kid is ridiculous.

I tend to downplay her super-smarts because people don’t wanna hear it. People hate hearing about how smart your kid is, just like they hate looking at your 10-fold plastic picture wallet sleeve full of baby pix.

But what I love most about Lilli? She’s kind. I wish I had a folded-up printout of all her intangible gifts of positivity. A photo collage of her spirit.

She breaks my heart with her generosity and tolerance. Every day. I love her. I am amazed by her. She is unbelievable. And I’m her mom. She’s going to change the world. And I get to watch.

It’s not the end, of course. It’s just the beginning. But I’m so proud of everything she’s done so far. She composed a song for her junior high choir and they are singing at the awards show in just a coupla weeks. I’m going to cry my stupid, old eyes out.


Now, it’s the end. Of course. 😉