Thursday Thoughts ~ 7/29/21

I took off a day last week, in part because I needed a break but also to catch up on things. The proverbial ‘to-do’ list was burgeoning. I still have a lot going on but I’m better y’all. And, I plan to stay that way.

Besides dropping off my vehicle for repairs (at a new place) sorry old place, I reconciled all the bills from my recent medical services. I tried to be mellow but oy vey. What a freaking racket.

I needed anesthesia. There was a doctor for that purpose who flew into the room all clipboard in hand, asked questions but appeared not to care enough to wait for answers. I don’t think he did anything but he still had to be paid. His nurse was the one that watched me as she was planning her wedding. No I didn’t dream it, this conversation went on before I went under. She too sent a bill. Here’s the rundown of both:

His charge was $1360 with insurance paying most of the member rate at $223. Yep without insurance that mofo could have claimed and received $1360 for a 3 minute conversation to ask me some questions. $223 is bad enough.

Her charge was $1040 with insurance paying most of the member rate at another $223. Funny how the member rate was exactly the same despite her original bill being less and her doing more work (if watching me for 20 minutes as I sleep is considered more). Well of course it is.

The leftover for me after insurance paid was $25 to each person. That means I paid $50 out of pocket. When you count the insurance payments of $446, $496 was paid in total. Why? Because I have insurance. Without insurance, we’re talking $2400. More than quadruple. Something is greatly wrong with that picture. I mean seriously!!!! Rotten.

I’d love to know the true cost. The medicine, the equipment, a fair fee for the provider. The insurance company contribution makes this feel like a pyramid scheme. I’m glad I am only out of pocket $50 bucks but I feel for anyone else without the same means.

Alright, I’m worn out. Until next time, be safe. Peace.

As always, more to come.

Thursday Thoughts ~ 7/22/21

Where does this story start? Maybe with a very early memory of my mom telling me a lady always leaves a little bit of food on her plate. Which was counter to the “if you take it, you have to eat it” philosophy of my dad. To be fair, both were waste not, want not folks having lived through the Great Depression. But as they became more affluent, mom wanted to look a certain way. She smoked her ass off in small part to stay skinny. Well that plus the addiction to nicotine.

Little Jilly was always well … little. Toothpick thin. And I remember liking that. I felt special. Having people comment on my diminutive size pleased me.

With the exception of my mom and her sister, I was surrounded by big women who I loved fiercely. My Mamaw, Aunt Carol, Aunt Jo, Aunt Marie. I never saw them as too heavy. Quite the opposite. They were just my role models. Larger than life is an ethereal way. I felt their love, kindness, and genuine goodness.

Later in life, I put on quite a few pounds due to the antidepressant I took for a brief stint. But after I weaned off that, the weight came off. I’ve more or less maintained within a ‘normal’ weight range (whatever the fuck that is). Overweightness never impacted me until my own baby girl began to struggle with her weight towards the end of high school.

The specific details of what started her spiral will be left out. Only to say she had issues; she still does; we all do … even you judgy preachy. After Good Friday of her senior year, Lulu slowly but steadily ate herself into an oblivion, each year bigger than the year before. This went on for all four years that she was in college away at school.

I claimed her blossoming size didn’t bother me but it did. And somehow her size bothered the outside world too. I was concerned. I vehemently didn’t want her size to matter. I read every body shaming article I could. Justifying what should never need justification. Blamed the gain on her meds like me, etc… wanting desperately to know the reason … so that her being plus size would somehow be tolerable to others.

Like the elephant in the room, the subject of her weight was avoided. When we were together, anywhere, walking or whatever she stopped being able to keep up with me. What she termed the chafe sidelined her. She could no longer buy her clothes in store. I was scared and would talk to B who would say, “what do you want me to do? It’s hereditary”.

In March of 2020, the Rona ended everything. Being back home limited her ability to binge. Certain things like no pop in the house (yea sometimes I think I’m a midwesterner), slowly started to change things.

We still never talked about the elephant in the room. She is like her daddy. Stoic. Few words. In fact, talking is torture to her except to her person.

In May of 2020, when her graduation gown came in and it didn’t fit, we could tell she was devastated. She still wouldn’t admit she was hurting. Instead she found a weight loss app and began meal planning. Measured every morsel.

Again, I was worried. I hovered and watched silently. Ready to pounce if she went to the other extreme and quit eating. The weight slow dropped off, a pound or two each week. She adjusted her calorie count down never going below 1500 calories. She also never banned any specific food. If we ordered from Dairy Queen, she did too, just allotting for yummy ice cream. After a while, she started weighing herself multiple times daily. If the number of the scale didn’t move or heaven forbid, went up, she’d be upset. That’s when B stepped in and told her to stop. If she wanted to keep meal planning, she could but no more scale.

Before he took the scale away, she marked the loss of 100 pounds. Dropped from a size 26 to a size 16. People started commenting. Not realizing their praise stung. My quiet girl, began talking. Wondering out loud “mom what do you think they used to think about me?” “Do they think I lost enough already or should I keep going?” Easy for me to say “fuck em”; what they think doesn’t matter. Because it mattered … to her.

She recently told me she was finally proud of herself. And asked me if I was proud of her too. Because I never said anything. I remained zipped lips. Until I broke. I didn’t want to call attention to her weight loss because pride is a venial sin. And because I didn’t want her to think we hadn’t loved her all along exactly as she was even when she was heavy.

My relief over her transformation has nothing to do with her weight loss and everything to do with her loving herself. Maybe even for the first time. I’m proud that she took control all on her own for something she believed in. That she put in the work and even had she not lost a single pound, I’d still feel the same way.

Funny how one never really sees what is standing right in front of them. When I stop to look at her and really see her, she’s my baby at age 2 or 3, giggling. Then I flash to grade school, on a field trip to the zoo. She is polite and behaving. Then she’s older still and somehow I always remember her smiling with a willingness to help. I pass her office and hear the smile in her voice “yes, you’ve got it, I’ll help you with that”. She got my call center gene just like her brother. I love her wit, her sass, her easy spirit. Like my role models before her, I feel her love, kindness, and genuine goodness.

Alrighty, time to wrap this up. Before I go, a gentle suggestion if I may. Don’t tell someone they look good because they’ve lost weight. Don’t mention when someone puts on a few pounds. Trust me, they already know. Keep your opinions about appearance to yourselves. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Shakespeare expressed a similar sentiment:

Good Lord Boyet, my beauty, though but mean,
Needs not the painted flourish of your praise:
Beauty is bought by judgment of the eye,
Not utter’d by base sale of chapmen’s tongues

Love’s Labours Lost, 1588

And another good one: “Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, and therefore is winged Cupid blind.” from A Midsummer Nights Dream.

As always, more to come.

Thursday Thoughts ~ 7/15/21

I started writing blogging ideas down when I woke and couldn’t go back to sleep. Now I pulled them out trying to spark a post but I’m flummoxed. What the heck? Ugh. Well, at least the notes served their purpose of getting me back to sleep but not much here to use. Guess I’m back to MSU = making stuff up.

Funny how life imitates art some times. At work, we have challenges to earn healthy points which can then be converted into % discount off our health insurance premium. I’m a carrot and stick kinda gal who always plays. If you get 2k points, that’s 5% off the annual premium. For 3k points, you get a bonus prize. For 2021, that prize is a hoodie. Well you have me at bonus points. The what I win is of little concern.

Back to life imitating art. I watched a resiliency video for 15 more points toward the prize. Our calm spokesperson talked about how two very well known people still got nervous before an engagement. To deal with that energy, one would go into a bathroom stall and scream. Then she’d go on to give the speech of her life. Another would run up and done a flight of stairs three or four times with the same result. Taylor Swift was on to something with her song Shake It Off.

A true tip for getting the butterflies under control. The resilience video went on to discuss fight or flight and how movement, even the small act of standing up, or moving positions, changed everything. Like a steam valve was released.

Right after I watched that healthy points video at work, I was clearing out our DVR which records PrimeTime Anytime. I watched the season finale of Rebel which is loosely based on Erin Brockovich. As one of the lawyers waited in the hallway before the big court case, she was pacing and shaking her arms. Flapping like she was about to take flight. Yep, even in fictional setting, ways to demo resilience are displayed.

So, if anyone in my real life sees me in the bathroom at work, taking longer than expected, I’m likely in the stall shaking or screaming. Maybe a little of both. Gearing up to go back to the “area”. And if people don’t like it, they can send me back home. Where my ❤ is …

As always, more to come.

Thursday Thoughts ~ 7/8/21

If you’re reading this, it means I survived. Survived what? That’d be Return to Office or RTO for short. Or I really wrote this in advance so I wouldn’t break my streak. Yep I’m a sneaky Pete. 😂

On this Thursday, I’m thinking. It’s the only day of the week that I ponder. Oh who am I kidding? I overthink everything every day. But today, I’m feeling some levity.

I sprung for the mat and pie shield 🛡 but pastry cutter be damned.

In the 70s, there was a CB craze. CB = Citizens Band radio. We had an in car version that was portable and an at home version. I vaguely remember what the setups looked like … lots of wires and antenna. Anyway, because we had CBs we also had handles. If you know, you know what I’m talking about and many of you youngsters don’t. Sorry that you missed out on such a wonderful slice of life from the olden days. 😂

Jilly’s handle was 👩‍🍳 🐻 aka Baker Bear. Because I was my mom’s and mamaw’s lil helper in the kitchen. The bear was for Henrietta my teddy bear 🧸 and/or the smoky bears. Bear = rookie police officer in CB code.

I’ve known some most excellent police officers in my day. Family roles models. Salt of the earth. Good guys. Much love and admiration. They might not even realize what a wonderful influence they had on me. I hit the lottery folks, fer sure.

Alrighty. I’ve got to get crack-a-lackin as ‘they’ whoever ‘they’ are say. 10/4 good buddy. Breaker breaker one nine.

As always more to come.

Thursday Thoughts ~ 7/1/21

I’m feeling a little raw. Used up. Empty. Needing that vacation I’ve been whining about. But, … I’m afraid to go anywhere. I like the idea of getting away and back to normal yet I’m suspicious and simply not ready. Is it safe? Riddle me that Batman.

I just bit into a potato chip and it’s all I can do not to eat the entire bag. I do that when I’m stressed. Eat! Example, when my dad told me my Aunt Annie, the last of my mom’s siblings, had died, I hung up the phone, our old land line. I didn’t cry or say anything to B & the kids. I simply walked to the pantry, got out the Oreos, and ate a whole row.

Well, I’m not going to do that now. Before breakfast. Maybe after? LOL. I’m going to redirect these emotions into some music. Ahhhh now that’s the stuff.

As always, more to come.

Thursday Thoughts ~ 6/24/21

Funny Math Edition

On 5/3/21, we had a hail storm. Three vehicles and the roof damaged. One vehicle already repaired, the others will keep a few dings. For some reason … that I don’t rightly remember … we took a 1K comprehensive deductible. I’m sure I thought we were saving moola. And we did but we were also banking on never needing to use the insurance.

I was of the opinion to take as high a deductible as we can afford. I even calculated the break even point by which date we’d have saved more than 1K on insurance premiums but my math was fuzzy and funny. Since our Auto Policy is a six month policy, that is more difficult for my non-math major mind to re-compute. Using my Homeowners Policy as an example, let’s see if we are better off.

I tripled checked the numbers that follow:

$15 a month x 12 months = $180 a year x 21 years = $3780 savings for taking the 5K deductible

The original deductible would have varied – 2% of the coverage A dwelling amount which equates to $3900.

Still following me? You’d better turn back because I’m lost. Hehe. Not really.

$5000 – $3900 = $1100

This means we are paying $1100 more than we would have had to pay towards our roof replacement. But, we also saved $3780. To me, we’re ahead but I can’t convince others that my money move was the brightest. And just maybe they are correct. I didn’t otherwise divert the $3780 to ‘earn’ more as I had once planned. I forgot about it actually. I also thought the difference was more than $15 a month. At the time, I knew our break even point was @ 6.2 years in … roughly. After that, it was all gravy.

Now the decision is whether or not to leave the deductible as is? Or to lower it for the next claim. Which we never hope to have btw.

As always, more to come.

Thursday Thoughts ~ 6/17/21

I have no time to think which is funny seeing that all I do is think. Maybe more accurately, I have no time to ponder, think deeply, about all that life has to offer. In a word, I am distracted. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing.

Work is kicking my hind parts. I have said that before and will say that again but this time is different. There is some mania going on. Instead of saying enough. I’m working almost round the clock these last three days. I claim that I’m “lovin every minute of it” … “turn that dial all the way, shoot me like a rocket into space … loving every minute of it … c’mon!!”

The 80s were trippy, I tell ya what. This song does not really display the mania I feel. The pace is kinda slow. But that’s the thought that popped into my brain. And with that more distraction. Yeah buddy!

And like that, I’m all better. Music even 80s not that good music soothes me. Ahhhhh.

Real quick, before I go. I found a new trick to help me sleep. I woke up yesterday with tons of ideas in my head … my stories … potential blog posts. Swirling, not letting me stay asleep when it was way too early to get up. My trick is, I got up. I wrote down three short sentences about the main thoughts I had cycling like a dervish, then I went back to bed. I feel asleep instantly maybe because those ideas were freed and I relaxed. At least I think that’s what happened. Two more hours … deep blissful sleep … waking up naturally right before the alarm went off. Feeling rested.

Okay, guess that’s it. Lemme let ya go. Wishing everyone a wonderful Friday eve!

As always, more to come.

Thursday Thoughts ~ 6/10/21

We have a garden again this year. We sat out 2020, not due to Rona but we needed to take a year off to replenish the soil with some mineral treatments. In 2019, we had a dismal year garden-wise. The little square raised area we have isn’t big enough for crop rotation which is why eventually we had to do that soil maintenance.

And what a difference a year makes. New dirt, tilled with minerals did the trick. The rains helped too. 2021 has been particularly wet in these parts ending our water restrictions for the first time in a while. Some think our aquifer is limitless and the whole water restriction policy is a joke. But I’m not paying mind to conspiracy theories. These thoughts are moving onto more produce minded notions.

I LOVE growing groceries. Our summer garden consists of zucchini – bountiful but it’s run is done. We gave away quite a bit and froze some for later use. I have baked four loaves of chocolate zucchini bread this season. We’ve also had zucchini sautéed, baked, and fried into fritters. After this week we’ll take a break from zukes for a while. In place of the zukes, we have cukes aka cucumbers.

The tomatoes are slow to start and we hope the squirrels don’t get the few we have before we do. Nothing as good as homegrown tomatoes. I’d rinse ’em off with the garden hose and eat ’em straight off the vine. Yummy yum yum!! And to think as a kid, tomatoes grossed me out. An acquired taste, to a favorite bite.

The jalapenos aren’t doing anything. A mystery as to why? But every year there’s at least one that doesn’t make it. The plants are still there and look really good just no blossoms. B isn’t sure if he’ll pull them or just see what happens.

Backing up to cucumbers, we’ve made a quick pickle or two. First time for everything. And those quick pickles taste so GOOD! If you like sour dill that is and we do! We usually can pickles the old school way. Which is way more work than it’s worth … to me. B enjoys canning, says it isn’t work, it’s fun! This year he made five jars – two hot and three regular. Smaller batch than usual but the cukes keep coming in and there’s tons of blooms still left on the plants. Maybe he’ll take a second run at putting up a few more jars. The quick stuff will tide us over until the first five he canned are ready later this week.

Oh how I miss my Mamaw and my parents. They would so enjoy some of the fruits of our labor. All grew up on farms, growing their own groceries back in the day. Their legacy lives on. This post was a longer than usual reflection. I’m compelled to write all this down. The good-hearted warm memories. To mark our mundane personal history.

As always, more to come.

Thursday Thoughts ~ 6/3/21

I’m getting back to normal. I’m more brave to venture out thanks to having both shots, the recent CDC mask guidance, and overall lessening of Covid cases. I re-read posts from a year ago with a vagueness to the words wondering if these events truly happened. Of course, they did happen. In those moments, the heaviness of the situation was such that I thought things would never change. The term “new normal” was kicked around for things that were anything but normal. However, quoting Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park nature finds a way. I’ve mentioned in past posts, or on FB, or in person that I would never go back into a restaurant to eat or go into a movie theater again but I have done both.

In April, we went to the Barn Door for my in-laws 58th wedding anniversary. As nice as going out was, the experience was dampened. Limited menu, new protocols, and the empty spaces were deafening. Though my post colonoscopy meal with just B and I was like the good ole days. Maybe my hunger made everything better but that was the best meal out, closest to normal, opening up the possibilities of more times out like that.

In May, Lulu and I ventured into the theater again to see Cruella. The movie was panned by the critics but I LOVED it. There was a killer soundtrack which had me chair dancing in my seat. I forgot my social niceties and became a parton I typically disliked. Someone needed to shhhh me. Except, I bothered no one with my antics thanks to our seating choices: top row, back corner, last two seats on the aisle. Moving in a seat isn’t the same as talking out loud and Lulu humored me.

Yes the screen time was longer than it needed to be but the pace flowed smoothly like a lazy river with spurts of rapids. I quite enjoy lazy rivers. Maybe our next outing should be to Schlitterbahn water park? But I digress.

I think I would have loved the movie regardless. Why? Well the nostalgia of course. I first saw 101 Dalmations as a re-run in the tiny theater in Karnes City Texas in the summer of 1972. I was staying with my Aunt Annie while my mother was back in San Antonio undergoing her mastectomy. Everything about the summer was marred but the movie with cinnamon red hots and popcorn as snacks was a highlight.

Well, that’s enough thinking doncha think? My break is over, time to get back to work. No more dilly dallying.

As always, more to come.

Thursday Thoughts ~ 5/27/21

Today is the day! Maybe? I’m going to another doctor for more tests. Staying off WebMD and Dr. Google. Trying to live my best life. Waxing philosophical, this quote struck a chord …

It isn’t true that you live only once. You only die once. You live lots of times, if you know how.”

Bobby Darin

Wishing everyone a wonderful day!! We’ve got lots of living to do. Yeah buddy 🙂