The Tale of Breakfast Rice and Weed and Feed

Let me preface this with a couple of facts.

  • We have a dog that is not eating
  • We are going on vacation for a couple of days in the near future
  • We are kenneling our dogs on said vacation
  • We spray weed and feed on our lawn about this time of year

And, most importantly,

  • My husband and I work different shifts and ONLY talk three times a day – as I’m walking out the door in the morning, for 5-10 minutes during my lunch break and for 15 minutes at night during his lunch break.

Now, why, you might ask are any of these facts relevant? Well, let me replay a 5-minute conversation that we had this evening during the final conversation of our daily routine.

Conversation One

Him – “Did Izzy eat?”

Me – “Well,” I reply. “She ate a little bit of the rice and fake crabmeat you left from your lunch, but I’m not sure she is digging it. I’ll keep an eye on her.”

Him – “Okay, she should like it,” he says. “She loves vegetables.” (I’m thinking to myself, yeah, but where does the fake crabmeat come from? She’s a dog, not a cat.)

Me – “Why don’t you mix some rice with the chicken I have leftover for her for breakfast tomorrow,” I suggest.

Him – “I don’t eat rice with breakfast,” my husband states.

Me – “I didn’t tell you to eat rice for breakfast. I told you to mix rice with my leftover chicken and give it to Izzy for breakfast,” I say with a voice just a pitch higher than my last comment.

“I only eat rice with my lunch,” was his reply.

I clench my jaw and roll my eyes into the back of my head.

Conversation Two

Him – “When are we leaving on our trip?” he asks.

Me – “Tuesday morning.”

Him – “I want to treat the lawn, but I don’t want the dogs to go on it after it’s sprayed.” (Yeah, right. Nice transition from vacation to spraying the lawn. Where did that come from?)

Me – “Well,” I reply. “ You have to drop the dogs off at the kennel at 5:00 on Monday afternoon so assuming it’s not raining, you could treat the lawn on Monday night and they wouldn’t be on it for the days that we are gone.” (Trying to bring the conversation back to the vacation we have yet to plan other than the departure day.)

Him – “Why would I spray it on Friday night? The dogs can’t go on it after I spray it.”

Me – “Why would you treat it on Friday? Huh? I said Monday. Why don’t you do it on Monday night after you drop the dogs off.”

Him – “When are we leaving on our trip?”


Him – “Why wouldn’t I treat the lawn on Monday night after I drop off the dogs rather than Friday?”

Me – “I don’t know. Why wouldn’t you? What was I thinking?”

The sarcasm is running rampant through my body and I am physically choking on the unsaid words. I am screaming inside my head. It’s a good thing that there are 20 miles between us.

Him – “Oops, times up. I gotta get back to work. Love you.”

Me – (mumbling and shaking my head) “Love you too”

Who is this man? Who was talking in his head? Who was I talking to?

I hang up the phone, prepare Izzy’s breakfast for tomorrow with rice that I don’t eat for lunch and ponder just when in the heck we’re leaving on vacation. I think I’ll pack tomorrow night…just in case.

Home Sweet Home

I walk through my front door tonight and sigh a deep, tired, overwhelming relieved to be home sigh. I leave home most mornings before 6:00 and arrive home most evenings after 7:00. It’s been a long dang 11-hour day which fed into a long dang 60-hour week and the work week is not yet over.

Tonight I have my grandson in tow. He’s spending the weekend with us and he’s just one of my end of the week rewards. He doesn’t care how tired I am or how stressful my week has been, he just knows that I’m grandma – provider of milk and pizza and love. He’s what I love about home.

We walk through the door and we’re instantly greeted by our two dogs – Izzy and Ziggy. Izzy is our old girl and Ziggy our can’t leave puppy-hood behind pain in the butt, and they bark and jump and wag their curly tails until I bend down and let them shower me with doggy kisses. They are what I love about home.

With the dogs fed and taken out, I head to the bedroom to change my clothes. I remove my work costume of the day and reach for all things soft and comfortable. Stretchy gym pants that allow me to breath, a ratty old sports bra that leaves the girls mildly supported but more gently embraced, a bright orange v-neck t-shirt which is covered by a faded pink exercise jacket that is spotted with blue dots caused by a washing machine collision with a new pair of jeans. I slip into a pair of once white socks and pink fluffy slippers and again I sigh. This sigh is joyful and relaxed. This is what I love about home.

I shuffle to the operations center of the house and take the pizza from the oven and pour a glass of milk. The grandson is fed. I look for something to eat and take a couple of pieces of lefsa from the freezer, nuke and butter them and call that supper. I’m too tired to cook and too tired to care. Lefsa and a bottle of Vitawater will be dinner tonight and I’m content. This feeling of contentment is what I love about home.

Finally, oh sweet Lord, finally, I sit down in my recliner. Ahhh.  Ahhhh escapes from my lips. The fireplace is blazing, the dogs have settled in and Charlie Brown is keeping little Matthew occupied. No one is bringing me their issues. The phone is not ringing. My stress level is non-existent. This is truly what I love about being home.

There are 45 minutes between consciousness and dozing off in my chair. I will doze on and off until 9:00 when I will move from here to my nightly resting place. Matthew and I will settle into our sleeping domains and he will lull me with one of his bedtime stories. I will fall asleep to the sing-song chatter of my grandson’s voice sharing the latest adventure of whichever superhero he chooses as his main character. I will fall asleep relaxed, joyful and at peace. I love being home. Oh, I do indeed love being home.

Orange is the new pink Matthew Dogs




Birthdays are celebrations of life.

Each January 24, I wake up and will myself to remember that birthdays are a celebration. This morning, I woke and then closed my eyes and thought back to January 24, 1982. It was cold…so cold. It was one of those days that shone so brightly yet was brutal. I worked in my uncle’s antique shop all day and went upstairs to my apartment at the end of the day and had a fine meal of popcorn for supper. I was exhausted, bloated and awfully tired of being pregnant.

I was nearly two weeks overdue with my baby. My original due date was January 10. My OB brought me to tears each Monday when I’d arrive for my weekly appointment and he would declare, “I thought we had an appointment to have a baby last week.” He had foolishly announced in mid-December that I would never make it until the New Year without giving birth. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. I would and I did make it into the New Year and then some.

The contractions began around 5:00 p.m. I immediately regretted the popcorn I had just consumed. I sort of timed the first couple of them and they were more than a half hour apart so I decided to just go to bed. I lay there watching my belly roll with my child’s internal gyrations and counted the minutes until the next spasm wracked my body. I finally made the call to go to the hospital at 2:00 a.m.

There is so much that I remember about that day. I remember that my regular OB was not on call and I had a sadistic substitute doctor who broke my water at noon using a pole vaulter’s pole with an ice pic attached to the end. I remember feeling so modest and concerned that my butt might stick out of the hospital gown early on, but after 18 hours of labor, they could have marched a troop of Boy Scouts through my hospital room and I would have barely raised an eyebrow had my rear been out there for the world to see. I remember that it was Super Bowl Sunday. The 49ers were playing the Bengals, and I was still in labor when the game began at 4:20. My parents were watching the game at their favorite watering hole on Washington Island. I remember my mom calling the hospital every half hour to see if she had a new grandchild yet and each time she called, her voice was a little happier and slurier thanks to her Super Bowl celebrations. I remember not taking her calls after half time…it was too much.

My son was born at 11:00 p.m. a mere 36 hours after my first contraction. It was a long labor and a difficult birth as he was transverse. I did it all without drugs. I suffered back labor, front labor, side labor, a heartless fill-in OB, inebriated parents and a crazy unspoken fear that I was dying. Yet, the moment they placed that child next to me, and he peed me on me marking me as his, that all went away. I looked at him and said aloud, “You are mine, little boy. You are mine.”

God loaned me that boy for 26 years. A month after his 26th birthday, he was gone. I was no more prepared to be a grieving mom than I was to be a single mom, but you figure it all out. You figure out colic and teething and ear infections and puberty as you live each day doing your best. You also figure out loss and ache and loneliness and inconsolable grief by watching the hours turn into days and the days turn into months and months into years and one day, you realize that you’re doing okay.

Birthdays are a celebration of life. Today, I celebrate the life of that little boy who peed on his mom on the day he was born and marked her as his for the rest of her days.

Let the Games Begin!

My sisters are great!

Ten, twelve, maybe twenty times a year, we start a diet contest. Out of the blue, an email arrives and it reads something like this:

No carbs for 48 hours – who’s in?

The emails fly back and forth.

“Do you mean no carbs or low carbs?”

“When do the 48 hours start – can it wait until after bowling?”

“Tammy, where are you? Are you in?”

At some point, four of the five of us sisters throw our diet hats into the ring. (The youngest of us has no need for our contests.) We start with a vengeance. Emails, myfitnesspal postings, texts and even an actual phone call or two pass back and forth and the contest takes life.

That no-carb contest – I made it one day, lost 2 pounds and had my girlfriend Christmas party the following night. I ate taco dip and chips and drank wine and found those two misguided pounds along with another one that didn’t have any other home so it followed the others and slapped themselves onto my gut. I hid out and avoided myfitnesspal, my email, my Facebook and my sisters for a couple of days until all the diet talk died down. And then, all was quiet on the diet front until the latest gauntlet was thrown out.

Dawn sent out the following email yesterday to kick the latest can.

Challenge! Send me $5 and you can play along. 

Forward to anyone who is willing to open their MFP up to our inspection.

The person who logs in and is under her calorie limit the most wins. Simple simon. In the case of a tie we will go into sudden death and the woman who stays under longest wins the pot!

What do ya say???? 

And the game begins! Real cash is in the mail.  Four of the five sisters are in, but wait.

“What are the rules?”

“Are we talking about the big number or the little number?”

“Is it calories before exercise or after exercise?”

“Huh, I’m confused.”

“Will someone just set the damn rules…we need rules!”

I laugh. I read, respond, ponder, read, laugh, respond, laugh, read and finally get it. The rules have been set and the game begins. It’s a 21-day game and lo and behold, it’s even been opened up to unsuspecting non-family members.

Let the fun begin. I’m in. I’m in for the long haul. I will, I swear I will make it the full 21 days! I will be slim, trim, svelte, sexy and oh so thin in three weeks! And, even better, I’ll be $20 richer and I’ll kick my sisters’ respective asses! Ah, the love of family!

I love my sisters. They make this war against weight worth fighting and even a little bit like fun!


IMG_0269 IMG_0274


Plop, plop, fizz, fizz

Putting on her lipstick, my mother warns, “Now I need you kids to be good tonight.” “Oh no,” I think. “We’re getting Nancy as our babysitter.” Nancy lived across the street, one door down and was my friend Amy’s older sister. Nancy was not a nice babysitter. She did not like us.

Walking in, I hear Nancy say to my mother, “Oh Mrs. Hutton, you look so pretty.” I look at her and smile anxiously as I think that perhaps she feel asleep last night mean and woke up nice, friendly, even loving this morning. Mom and Dad walk over to my two sisters and me and give us a kiss. “Be nice,” mom cautions one more time. One last visit to my baby brother’s crib and off they go.

We stare at each other. Hunter and prey. Nancy surveys the three of us and we glare back. “Was that a smile on her face,” I think to myself? Nancy walks to the picture window and looks out and then turns to us hissing, “Bedtime!” “Bedtime?” we question. “It’s not even dark out. It’s not even night,” we complain “Bedtime,” she once again proclaims, and the three of us look at each other and run to my parents’ room and lock the door behind us.

Hearts pounding, eyes darting, imaginations soaring, we begin to jump on my parents’ bed. Debbie hollers, “You can’t get us.” “I hate you,” I shout. Little three-year old Tammy says, “You’re naughty.” The jumping continues until suddenly the door opens. Hearts in our throats, Nancy approaches, a jump rope in hand. Tammy begins crying immediately. I’m rushing to get to the closet. Debbie falls on the bed and plays dead.

Nancy gathers us and hog ties the rope of power around the three of us and drags us to the middle of the kitchen. “Stick out your tongues,” she commands and we oblige like trapped animals. We are standing at attention, tongues out, tears openly flowing when Nancy removes the disc and breaks it into three pieces. One by one, a third of an Alka-Seltzer is placed on our waiting tongues. Immediately bubbles and fizz begin to attack our tongues, lips and noses. We are foaming at the mouth.

The score is tied. Hutton kids – 1, Nancy – 1. This battle is not over.


The Resolution

January 3 and I still have not put my resolutions to paper. Perhaps my first resolution should be to stop procrastinating!

My first resolution is embarrassingly obvious. It is the resolution of the majority of the world. Lose weight. I hate that I have this resolution. I hate that I am back in this place of being out of control and feeling physically and emotionally exhausted by this extra weight I am once again carrying around. However, it is time to stop beating myself up about it because it is what it is. I’ve gained a bucket-load of weight during my knee surgery recovery and it needs to come off.

I “started” my weight loss program on New Year’s Day even though it was not a Monday – the customary diet-starting day. I got up on that day of resolutions and purged my house of holiday cookies, candies, cheeses, nuts, pizza (yes, pizza is a holiday food) and eggnog. It’s gone…some immediately dumped into the garbage disposal while others took a more indirect route through my husband’s stomach.

I followed up the New Year’s Dump with 45 minutes on my stationary bike. It is my exercise of choice since having the knee replacement nearly four months ago. I pedaled with glee increasing the resistance until I broke into a sweat about 30 seconds into my ride and then came to my senses and found a resistance I could maintain for the duration of my ride. My attention then turned to my butt, which could not seem to find a happy spot on the seat. It seems that while my body graciously welcomed back the extra padding that I had lost three years ago, my butt remained svelte and trim and offered no protection from that offending sadistic saddle. I finally settled back on the seat and hung my cheeks off the back end. 45 minutes later, I hopped off the bike pleased with myself and my resolve not to allow my rear to unsaddle my determination!

With the purging and sweating out of the way, my hubby and I were free to lull away the afternoon at the movies. We avoided the concession stand and settled into our seats to await the start of the show. A couple sat down beside us shortly before the movie began and once they shed their coats and snuggled in, the husband got up and made his way back to the lobby to load up on a mega popcorn and soda. I resisted the urge to slip my hand into their popcorn bucket by envisioning popcorn filling up and expanding their bodies until they both blew up like the Pillsbury Dough Boy. That worked until the husband lumbered out halfway through the movie and returned with a refilled popcorn and soda. Seriously? Two mega tubs of popcorn in a two-hour movie? I was filled with disgust (and possibly a little envy).

The rest of the day flew by without incident. I enjoyed a supper of salad greens, peppers, snow peas and a little bit of turkey and closed my eyes with pleasure at the clean feel of the food passing my lips. I was filled with a dietary pleasure and satisfaction greater than any cheesy potato casserole or plateful of Christmas cookies had given me over the last month. Sweet relief…the indulgence had come to an end.

As of January 3, I am down three pounds. It’s a start. It’s a turning of the page. It’s an awareness of treating my body the way God had intended. I know this weight loss journey is a life long trip. I bought my ticket on January 1, and I intend to ride this train through the peaks and valleys because to not take this ride is not an option. I will not give up! I will not.

Love Shenanigans


2015 should be the Year of Shenanigans…laugh, love and laugh some more!

Originally posted on roughwighting: – silly or high-spirited behavior; mischief.

One of my blogging buddies told on himself right before Christmas – his wife likes her holiday decorations just a “certain way,” but this year, while she was working late, he put up the Santa Clauses and angels, the holly and trimmings, his way, before she came home.

Expecting a reprimand when she walked through the door, he was greeted instead with relief and a huge hugging thanks.

A successful shenanigan!

I commented on heylookawriterfeller’s blog that his shenanigan was successful because his wife loved him.

He commented back that “Love is all about putting up with shenanigans.”

I replied, “Love IS shenanigans.”

And then immediately I heard angelic harp music in the background of my brain as goose bumps traveled up my spine, and my soul got hit with an ‘aha’ moment.

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