Large Headed Ladies

I think the time has come for a new song in the vein of Queen’s classic, Fat Bottomed Girls. The new song should be titled Large Headed Ladies and I volunteer to star in the music video. I look in the mirror and I see a normal, average human being. However, looks can be deceiving and I’m apparently a living chibi or Funko Pop. (Both are characters with large heads.) I generally don’t wear hats for the simple reason that most don’t fit. One size fits all? Ha! Not hardly. Between a large head and extremely thick hair, most “one size” hats just perch precariously on top of my head.

During our visit to Wall Drug, we found a western wear store that sold hats that came in (gasp!) actual sizes. Since that day, I have been the proud owner of a genuine Stetson cowboy hat.

Yee haw!

When I started my part-time job, I needed a sun hat. It took two attempts to find the one pictured in the linked post. I bought the first hat based on a Facebook ad with reviews which mentioned the hat fitting larger heads. Ha! It was so small I gave it to my nine year old grandson. Fortunately, the next hat was a success. Not only does it fit, but the vivid orange makes me easy to find when I’m working out in the orchards.

The most recent hurdle has been trying to find a bicycle helmet. Several months ago, Kenn purchased collapsible bikes for us to take with us when we camp. Sadly, we have yet to use them. We decided a few weeks ago to remedy that situation but that meant finding helmets. Of course it was a cinch for Kenn but for me, not so much. I carefully measured my head and made sure to purchase an appropriately sized helmet. Guess what? It didn’t fit. 🤦‍♀️ So, it was back to the drawing board. Thank goodness for LtMacDaddy and his amazing Amazon review. I purchased the same helmet and he is correct; the helmet also fits my fat head!

Success!

It’s a shame that adults don’t get to wear sparkly multi-colored helmets like kids do. (I’d wear a unicorn helmet in a heartbeat.) While the red is nice, it’s boring. I may apply a coat of my Lisa Frank nail polish to give it a little sparkle. Another downside to owning a red and black helmet as a resident of the state of Georgia is that it will be assumed to have been chosen in support of the University of Georgia Bulldogs. Spoiler alert: it was not and I am not a Bulldogs (or any other team) fan.

So, are you a member of the Large Head Club? If not, what is it like to be able to purchase hats off the rack (so to speak)?

Saying Goodbye

I haven’t posted for the past couple of weeks because honestly, the past couple of weeks have sucked. We lost two family members. One had been in hospice care for several weeks so it was only a matter of time. The other was more traumatic; you never expect to say goodbye to someone younger.

Image courtesy of DepositPhotos.com

Kenn’s family is quite different from mine. I grew up next door to my maternal grandmother who was one of eight kids. Aunts, uncles, great-aunts, great-uncles, and cousins galore were a big part of my life. The first time Kenn mentioned cousins, I was shocked. I had known him for years and he had never mentioned them before. I didn’t even know that his mom had three sisters.

Two of Kenn’s aunts lived up north and I never met them. I didn’t meet the remaining sister until after the death of Kenn’s father. The family was gathered at Kenn’s parents’ apartment and his aunt and uncle came to offer their condolences and Kenn introduced me. His aunt said “Oh Linda, it’s so nice to meet you. We’re so glad to have you in our family.” And she meant it. Y’all, I almost cried. At this point, I had been a part of Kenn’s family for nine years and no one had ever welcomed me. My in-laws didn’t like me and I spent my time walking on eggshells whenever I had to be around them. The fact that this woman I had never met before saw me as worthy of love and acceptance blew my mind. I hid those words in my heart for years.

I longed to tell Aunt Ellen how much her words meant to me but was hesitant to do so. I firmly believed that if I thanked her and it got back to my mother-in-law, it would just give her something else to hold against me. (I was already guilty of the heinous crimes of hanging pictures too high on our walls and having the wrong people in the background of the photos I took.🙄) My mother-in-law passed away five years ago so, when we learned that Aunt Ellen had cancer and had been placed in hospice care, I knew time was running out. With Chick-Fil-A in hand, we went and had a lovely visit. I told her how much her words meant to me and she said “I was just being sincere.” I told her that I knew she was and that made it even more special. That was the last time we saw her. It was a good day when she was still herself. Her condition deteriorated quickly over the next few weeks and she left this world on August 18th.

The second loss was my oldest niece. Ami was only 48. Not only was she my niece, but since she was only eleven years younger than me, in many ways she was like a younger sister. We shared a love of cats, books, reading, writing, color, and all things sparkly. We had actually grown closer over the last few years. When my Daddy’s health began failing in late 2015 it was hard on both of us. We began sharing memes (usually animal related) on Facebook to keep our spirits up. Six years later, we’re still doing it. At least we were. Ami had a severe peanut allergy and over the years she’s had a to make a few trips to the ER. All of those trips have ended with her returning home – except the last one. This last hospitalization resulted in her being placed on a ventilator and then an ECMO (heart/lung machine) before her wife made the difficult decision to end life support. When we got to the hospital on August 16th, Ami was non-responsive. They say that the hearing is the last thing to go so I hope that she knew we were there. But, I know that she knew that we loved her. I had hoped to visit she and her wife later this year and maybe even visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando together. (Ami had been, I hadn’t.) Now, that will never happen. I began missing her regular memes while she was hospitalized and now I have to content myself with seeing the ones from the past when they show up in my Facebook memories.

So, dear readers, hug your loved ones while you have them and tell them all of the things you need to say for you never know when that opportunity may slip away. (I promise, my next post won’t be so gloomy.)

Never Say Never

There have been a lot of things that I swore I would never do. I have done them all.🤷‍♀️Now, I’m doing it again. Once I retired, I had zero plans to ever go back to work. Writing and blogging, sure; those things bring me joy. A structured, on-a time-clock job? No way. I’ve had enough of living my life around someone else’s schedule, not being able to travel, etc. However, almost three years ago, Kenn landed the perfect retirement job; it’s an “intermittent” position with extremely flexible hours. (Intermittent means that it’s part-time, but has a cap on the number of days and hours that can be worked over the length of the position.) His boss didn’t bat an eye when Kenn told him that he would be gone for the month of September last year. Kenn usually works two or three days a week and spends most of his time driving heavy equipment; he loves it. I told him that if I could find something similar, I might give it a go. He talked to one of the other supervisors and one thing led to another.

I started my new “intermittent” position as a Biological Science Aid for an entomologist last week. As of this writing I’ve only worked three days but I have enjoyed it. Getting out of the house and getting a lot of exercise has meant that I’ve slept better at night, LOL. Of course, working outside in the Georgia heat and humidity has been kind of rough. I coat myself in sun screen and wear an SPF-50 over shirt for added protection. Basically, the clothes I would normally wear when hiking are the clothes that I now wear to the “office”.

Now that’s a sun hat!

My new supervisor was on leave the week I started so one of the other full-time employees showed me the ropes. She greeted me with a stack of supplies including a master key that will get me into virtually any office and a key to my very own work truck.😮 I was not expecting that! However, since I already drive a big honkin’ truck, driving one at work is no big deal.

My work truck

One of the new skills I’ve learned is how to drive a John Deere Gator. I feel all kinds of fancy driving across the fields in a utility vehicle.😂

Gator image from http://www.deere.com

Unlike Kenn, I don’t see myself working this position for more than a year or so. In the meantime, it’s flexible enough that I can live my own life and we can still travel all while I bring in a little extra money. I may be turning 60 in a few months, but I’m not to old to try/learn new things!

What would be your “perfect” part-time job?

A Throwaway Tradition

Traditions are important to me, holiday traditions especially so. One of the first times I remember being impacted by a change to tradition was as a child. When I was young, my mama made Stollen, a German bread, every Christmas as a nod to our German ancestry. The year she announced that she wasn’t going to make it anymore, I was crushed. It wasn’t so much that I missed the bread; I didn’t. Honestly, I didn’t even like Stollen. What I missed was losing something that was always there, or at least had been as long as I could remember. It took until I became an adult to realize that yes, traditions are important, but flexibility with those traditions is also important. A tradition that is too rigid to change is a tradition that becomes a chore instead of a joy. My mama realized this, hence her decision to no longer make Stollen.

After our oldest son’s first Christmas, Kenn and I created what would become one of the first holiday traditions for our small family. After spending that Christmas on the road running from one family’s house to another and not having any time to enjoy the day or each other we decided that our future Christmases would be spent at home; if our parents wanted to see us on Christmas day, they could come to us. (We all lived within 20 miles or so of each other; it’s not like we were expecting anyone to fly across the country.) That tradition has remained in effect all of these years. Now that our sons are grown and one has a family of his own, that tradition may change. If/when it does, we will go with the flow.

One of the first changes I made to one of our own traditions involved our Christmas tree. I had had a love/hate relationship with Christmas trees for a long time. I loved the finished result but my perfectionist tendencies when it came to getting the lights and garland “just so” tended to turn me into a Grinch. Add to the mix cats who live (and love) to knock ornaments off the tree and rearrange the garland daily and some days having a tree was just exhausting. Once the kids were no longer interested in helping decorate the tree, I really wasn’t enthusiastic about going through the steps anymore. Things kind of came to a head in 2016, the year my daddy died. There was a lot of “life” and loss that year and I just didn’t have it in me to deal with a Christmas tree. Kenn disagreed which was fine. I told him we could have a tree but he would be responsible for all of it: the lights, garland, decorations and re-decorating it daily. Eventually I got Kenn to understand that my lack of desire to have a tree had nothing to do with grief (even though that was more than enough), it was more the culmination of years of stress. Yes, the grief was probably the final straw but it wasn’t the ultimate cause of my lack of interest. So, in 2016, we purchased a pallet tree. No garland, lights, or decorations required. Instead, I hung the Christmas cards we received from the strings on the tree.

Our 2016 pallet tree

In 2017, we purchased a 4 foot, pre-lit tree and haven’t looked back. I love our small tree and have no desire to ever go back to a larger one.

Our current tree. It makes me happy.

However, one of our traditions is designed to change every year and then to get thrown away. You see, I love plates for every occasion but have no interest in spending money on dishes that only get used once a year; I also have no interest in finding storage for them. However, I have found a way to indulge my love: Hobby Lobby always has a wonderful selection of seasonal paper plates. So, every Thanksgiving and Christmas I indulge in a new set of plates and napkins. Not only do I get to enjoy a different design every year but we get to enjoy gathering with our family without the worry of having to run the dishwasher constantly.

Our 2021 Thanksgiving plates
Our 2021 Christmas plates

So, what’s the point of this post? It’s just a friendly reminder to not let yourself get locked into traditions that no longer have the meaning they once did. It’s okay to change things up. Do what makes you happy – even if you throw it away afterward.😉

Until next time, take care, happy trails, and Merry Christmas!

What was I thinking?

What was I thinking? I already have a blog at isabellanorse.com. (I’m a romance writer and Isabella Norse is my not-so-secret pen name.) But, I wanted a place to write about the random things that catch my interest. So, this is where I will post random musings such as video game reviews, my impressions of the various campgrounds we visit, and things that make me smile (such as pictures of kitty toes).

After all, life is about the journey and not the destination. I hope you’ll join me for the trip – after all, we shouldn’t do life alone!