Saturday, September 15, 2012

What Happened When I Turned Forty

I just want to warn you, that this might be a little lengthy. I have a lot to say about turning forty. It wasn't so much the age, I don't really care about a number--it was more about everything that comes along with it.

When you turn forty, society makes it such a milestone, that you can't help but spend part of that day reflecting on where you are in your life.

I think my younger self would be okay with where I am today, I really have been blessed. That is the plus side. We are all healthy and happy, and I realize that is a privilege denied to many.

I feel obligated to also recognize the sucktastic things that happen at this stage in life.

Keep in mind, these are my own observations. Maybe when you turn forty, you will bypass some of this crap. I hope so, and I also hope not. Misery loves company and all that.

1- Rage Issues. I am sure this is a product of hormones. There are some days, when I wake up, even after a fairly good night of sleep--feeling like Bruce Banner.
There is no reason for it. I just have vast amounts of pent up anger. I wake up this way. I feel like I could punch a wall, or a person, and just not care. I don't even like myself on Rage Days. I can't sit quietly and read a book, waiting for it to pass. It doesn't pass. It gets worse as the day progresses.
Usually on these days, not a lot goes right. Like I will drop the hairbrush, and bend over to pick it up, and miss it, and bend over again, and miss...and then #$@^%@!!! GET IN MY HAND, @%^*&*@ HAIRBRUSH!!! Rage.
I found a pill for this. Completely by accident.
Costco was pimping out samples of it one day. I didn't need it, but I took it, cause Hey! Free Sample!
I stuffed the sample in my pocket, and saved it for later, like the good little hoarder that I am.
One Sunday I woke up to a text that my Primary teaching partner wasn't able to make it to church that day. We have a needy class with a handful of turds. One of the kids in the class is my own daughter, so I feel like I can call them that. It takes two to teach them. One to present the lesson, and one on crowd control.
Well, I was having rage issues that day, and I knew it was going to get ugly.
I remembered the pills, and took one.
I'll be darned if 20 minutes later, I felt at peace. Calm, level, easy-going.
Hulk in check!
There weren't weird side effects, in fact, the bonus is that the pills are an appetite suppressant. Win.
I normally don't promote drugs on my blog, but these happy pills are the best thing to hit my system.
7 out of 7 people in our household agree.
I don't take them every day. Just those days when I feel murderous.
Thanks hormones!

2- Shedding Hair. Again, I am sure this is a hormone thing. The text books say that with older age, your hair will thin. What they don't tell you is the manner in which it will thin. In horrifying clumps.
You will fill up hairbrushes, and shower drains. Every. Day.
And the worst part of it, besides the panic of possible female baldness, is the hairs themselves.
They will stick to your back, and work their way over to your arms, where they will tickle you insane.
I spend the bigger portion of my day contorting my body to find almost invisible hairs.
Unchecked, they will also show up in your bra, and that is always a good look--digging around in your cleavage for a stupid tickly hair.
I bribe my nine year old to pick me clean after I do my hair for the day.
"Mikayla! Hairs!!" And dutifully she harvests the crop.
I am not sure what I will do when she is not available.
Probably be the creepy lady who pays a child in the neighborhood. Not for the cleavage hairs. I do have standards.
Thanks hormones!
I started taking a pill for this too.

The Internets said that supplementing with Biotin will help with hair growth. And the Internets are never wrong.
I am not sure if it is working on my head or not, but my leg hair is out of control, as are the witch hairs on my chin.

3- Witch Hairs on the Chin. (Well, really the whole face, let's be honest.) If I have any advice to give someone approaching 40, it is this: Invest in some damn good tweezers. Not the $5 kind, but the $20 kind.

Trust me. You need precision. And get two pairs. One for the bathroom, and one for the car. I am not sure what kind of magic light filters in through a windshield, but that is when the hairs will manifest themselves.
Most of the time you can feel them before you see them.
That is where the precision tweezers pay for themselves.
Good tweezers can nab a chin hair when they are barely out of the skin. Bad tweezers take some digging. Sometimes the digging makes you bleed, and then the hair looks like a zit. Good tweezers, Internets.
I can't go one day without tweezing something.
Thanks hormones.
There is no pill for this.

4- Weird Zits. I am sorry about the gross factor on this one. I like a good pimple. The kind that satisfactorily pop, and go away. When I turned 40, I got zits that look like they can pop, but nothing ever comes out, and they never go away. They scab up, and won't cover with makeup.
Some lady at the Health Food Store suggested I try Tea Tree Oil.
It has helped, but now I smell like the old lady that I guess I am.
Well played, hormones, well played.

5- Fat Stomach. I can tell when I gain five pounds. Why? Because my jeans feel like sausage casings. All my extra weight goes straight to my waist. I can usually tuck it into my pants, but I hate it there. When I lay on my side, it lays next to me. I am not sure why my fat has taken up residence at my waist, like a flab belt, but there you go.
Thanks 40.

6- Parade Arms. The other body part that seems to be affected at 40 are my underarms. I suddenly have swinging triceps. Not like a bodybuilder.

I had to be in a parade this summer, and when I would stop waving, my arms didn't. It felt awesome. I work my triceps at the gym, but I guess they are just plain tired. Which leads me to number seven...

7- Tired all the Time. Most mornings when I wake up, even after having slept a good solid 7 hours or more, the only thing that gets me out of bed, is the prospect of a nap later. How sad is it to wake up, and crave a nap? And a lot of days when I go to the gym, it is like all the energy that I had allotted for the whole day was expended in that hour-long workout. Maybe I need more protein. Maybe I need more recovery time. Or maybe, just maybe, at 40, the tires have been rolling for four decades, and they are just bald. Nothing left to give.
There are pills for that.
I just can't take them.
I did once, and I felt like my heart was going to explode like that bird in "Shrek."
 8- Teenagers. I like my kids, I really do. Teenagers have a lot of good points. They are fun, and deliciously funny! However, they make you feel like a straight-up loser. All I am good for is a ride to somewhere else, where the parents are cooler, and the food is better. I am also good for specific laundry detail. Football jerseys that need to be washed for practice this afternoon, or a shirt that can't be dried in the dryer.
I am useful to them for runs to Walmart at midnight because they suddenly remember they need fabric for sewing class in the morning.
"We are out of milk." is a phrase I am sick of hearing.
I know my kids could and probably should be doing their own laundry, taking a lesser grade for not remembering their fabric, and sucking it up when it comes to not having cold cereal available 24/7, but you know what is worse than being their thankless slave?

Not being needed at all.
At 40, that transition had been the hardest.
No one needs me.
I used to fill my days to capacity taking care of the needs of five babies.
Those five babies are independent mini-adults now, and my day is not filled with much of anything.
Thanks, 40.

9- Boredom. Forty is boring.
I should probably get a job to occupy my time. I just don't think I have the energy for it. Or desire. Or clothing that would be remotely appropriate for a professional.
With all of our free time at night (the kids out and about living their "lives") you would think Sam and I have finally landed the life we always dreamed we would have back again!
Free from kids!
We can go anywhere! Do anything!
You know what you do when you are forty? Sit home in front of the TV.
You know why? Because it feels nice. Going out takes energy. And requires pants.
Truthfully, I am perfectly content being boring, but my teenage self would die if she knew this is what her future would eventually be reduced to.

10- Reading Glasses. "I don't need those, yet." I said.
Until I tried them on.
And I could see. I never knew. I dare you, if you are about my age (Squinty McSquinterton), try some on at the Dollar Tree. And the Dollar Tree is the only place to buy them. You know why? Because you will lose them...

11- Your Memory Goes to Crap.
At first it is kind of funny, and endearing to be a little absent minded. And them it becomes alarming. Like that feeling you get when you are swimming in the ocean, and can no longer feel the bottom.
If it doesn't get written down at my house, it doesn't happen.
I make the children write on the calendar when I ground them.
"You are grounded, mister! Go write it on the calendar!"
Or I will forget.
I will forget writing things down too.
I am sure there is a pill for this, but I would have to remember to take it.
Thanks, 40.
I forget why I go downstairs, until I am all the way back upstairs again.

I forget what I am doing in the shower. "Did I condition my hair yet?"
I forget what else I forget, but it is a lot.

I told you I had a lot to say. There are other things too, like age spots and wrinkles, lack of interest in adult relations (since this is a family-friendly blog), not being able to weekend binge on junk food because it wreaks havoc on your system. Suddenly enjoying elevator music. Choosing comfort over fashion. Deodorant that stops working for no reason.

I have had a lot of people tell me things will look up when the grand kids start coming.
I am offended they would think I am "that age!"
In my head I am not that old.
But everything else tells me different.
Thanks 40!

Monday, September 10, 2012

The rest of our England Trip Pictures

So, it is my favorite and least favorite time of the year.
The kids are back in school! (Win!)
But a cold, Utah winter is creeping up on me again.
They say it is going to be one of the coldest winters we have had in years!
I am slowly dying inside.
Not looking forward to another round of Seasonal Depression.
On the other hand, I *am* looking forward to another round of elastic waisted track suits and hoodies.

I have been pretty busy this summer, and I want to tell you all about it!
But I feel bad cutting my England trip off in Baaaath.
And I wanted to share my favorite part with you-- Lavenham.

Mike and Heidi wanted to make sure we saw this place, and I am so glad they did!
It was just like stepping into the pages of a Hans Christian Andersen storybook.

When the town was settled, they used whatever timber and materials they had on hand to build the houses. As a result, the houses are very crooked.
It was hard to really show the crookedness with a camera--but I got a few pretty good shots.

My dad was a contractor, and it made the apprentice-contractor in me cringe.
I remember going with my dad to the lumber store and he taught me how to eyeball straight 2x4's.
No one in Lavenham did that.

Do you remember the nursery rhyme:
There was a crooked man, and he walked a crooked mile.
He found a crooked sixpence against a crooked stile.
He bought a crooked cat, which caught a crooked mouse,
And they all lived together in a little crooked house.
It originated in Lavenham.
Here is the Official Crooked House:
It is now an Art Musuem.
Here are my crooked kids in front of the Crooked House.
It was such a pretty little town. I half-expected Snow White to come waltzing down the street. We loved it there.

I kinda wish we would have been able to go inside one of the houses. I wonder if the floors sloped on the inside as bad as they did on the outside?  If they literally had to roll out of bed?  Could they never eat soup? These are the questions that keep me awake at night.

You all know what a freak I am about old cemeteries.

Well, England did not disappoint.
We found this gem.


Crumbling headstones? Check. Moss covered vaults? Check! Creepy old Mausoleum in the background? Yep. Dates back to the 1600's? Check and check.
Isn't it fantastic? And also, aren't we glad it was broad daylight?
My favorite epitaph I have seen so far was from this cemetery. Most of the names and dates were worn away, but this one was still clear. I totally love it.
You might have to click on it to read.
Or put on your reading glasses.
(I turned 40 this year, which deserves its own post...later.)
"Say what a Wife should be and She was that."

Guy covered all his bases there, didn't he? He says so much, without really saying anything at all.

We drove into Wales. Why not?

We walked around for a bit.
Apparently there was a big game that day, or maybe the people of Wales are just very patriotic.

We had a Cornish Pastie. This is pronounced Pah-stee.
Not Pay-stee- which conjures up in my American mind something completely different.
Don't google it.
Just don't.
Cornish pasties were quite good.

Sort-of like a little hand-held meat pie.
I had pictures of us tasting them, but we had our ugly food faces on, and they matched the American pastie photo more than the Cornish ones.

We walked around a bit, and saw the Cardiff castle.
The moat had some stagnant water in it, but sadly, no killer alligators.
I am telling you, tourists are disappointed at the lack of moat alligators in England and Wales.
Why no alligators? Piranha? Laser-tipped sharks? Menacing looking Koi? Nothing?!
The grounds around the castle were pretty cool. I was digging the trees.
More Wales pictures:

Aaaaand back to England!

Some of our other highlights:
This is Englands smallest pub. And possibly the smallest pub in the world.
The Nutshell.
It seats four people.
 There is no back room. This is all of it.

You can see that my kids are clearly thrilled to be posing for me. Again.
You can imagine my surprise when they came running up to me all excited "Mom! Come take a picture of THIS!!."
"This" happened to be a head in a plastic pot.
I am not sure who hefted that 500 pound stone head into the pot, but my kids solidly approve.
They were literally cackling, like escaped mental patients.
Might I remind you, internets:
My kids at Stonehenge:
My kids looking at a head in a plastic pot:

Awesome.I am raising up some weird ones.
But I guess I know where they got it from.
This gave Sam and I some serious mileage:
And if a whole pub weren't enough, there were also rolling fields!
Sadly, it was not harvest season for the Cockfields.
And on that classy note, thus ends our trip to England.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Core Cards Creative Frenzy!!!

So apparently I decided to take the summer off from blogging.
What's up internets?
Everyone okay?

I had to pop in here, and post some stuff for one of my design teams, so ignore this post if you were looking for something less project-y from me.

The kids start school in a couple of weeks, and I will be back then. With a vengeance!

I haven't even shared all my England pictures with you! HA!
I owe you.

There will be things for you to read while you are eating your cold cereal in front of your computer monitor. Soon.
I have plenty to say, and should have the time-- most likely as I recover from the skin cancer I am sure I have accumulated.

In the meantime, here are some cards I made using some Core'dinations cardstock.
If you like making cards, I would suggest you give the Core'dinations cardstock CARD design team a whirl.
I have been on a few design teams in my day, and none of them have ever treated me better than Core'dinations.
Here is a link to the details:

First off, is a baby card.
I used some Whitewash Cardstock for the top of the card. I embossed it with a Darice embossing folder. Then I punched the circle window in the card, and strung the tags over the window. The whole thing is mounted on some Core'dinations Gemstone cardstock.
This is just a close up of the detail on the card.
Next up, I utilized a card base, and turned it into a mini-album. I stitched some Core'dinations Tags into the inside of the card for the "pages."
For the outside of the album, I used Core'dinations Black Magic cardstock that was embossed using another Darice embossing folder. I also embossed the hearts on the tags. When you add embossed shapes that are the same color as the base they are attached to, I think it looks really cool.
Opening the "card/book."

Just more detail shots:

The last one is just a generic card.
That's all. Sorry for popping in, and not really saying a lot. I am going to milk the last couple weeks of summer out of August!

I'll be back. Save my spot.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Bath, UK (The Roman Baths.)

Bath, must be pronounced Bahhhhhth.
Bath is easily recognized by the "bath stone" that the buildings are made of. It is a form of limestone, and when it was quarried, they found that the stone could be angled into any shape, unlike slate, that separated into layers.
The whole city was the honey color that you see here.
The stone was porous, you could scratch it.
Some of the older buildings were a darker patina, like soot and exhaust had stained the stone.

We saw these guys.
I am pretty sure they were death-eaters.

The biggest tourist attraction in Bath, are the Roman Baths.
They are the only hot springs in the UK, and were estimated to have been built in 836 BC.
It was hard to wrap my brain around walking on stone that the ancient Romans laid.

We walked down the streets of Bath towards the pump house.
Have I ever mentioned how much I love my husband?

Right there, on the streets of Bath, there was a camera shop.
"Let's go in and look." he said.
I knew that the dollar to pound ratio sucked, and there was no way I was dropping a wad of cash on a new lens in the UK.
We walked in, and looked around.
This nice store guy came over and I told him we were on "holiday" and my lens broke.
That nice bloke went in the back of the shop, and brought out a used Canon lens.
He sold it to us for 50 pounds!
Sam insisted. He was sad that I was sad.
I was back in business, baby!

We found our way to the pump house, where the Roman Baths are.
It started to rain a little, on and off, just a nice mist.
The rain, when it hit the hot spring water of the baths sent up plumes of steam.
It made for some pretty photos.
You will see those later.
England was very accommodating for me and my new lens!
Here is inside the Bath house, from the upper level, looking down.

Now I need to clarify here.
The bottom portion of the Bath house is original...from the Romans.
You can see the more gray colored stone, and then the bath stone that is on top is from the late 1700's.
I ran into this cute little tour guide who told me that the original bath house was in ruins when it was discovered.
They cleared out most of the original rubble that had fallen down into a central area, so they could re-build the general structure.
That rubble pile is in a big warehouse building where they keep broken projectors and whatnot.
He said occasionally archaeologists will go through the rubble and pull up carved relics.
He thought it was silly that "We are so concerned about keeping the tourists away from all of the statues that are new (built in the 1700's) and the real treasures lay in a rubbish heap."
I laughed at the fact that he thought the statues built in the 1700's were new.
Dude. That is older than MY WHOLE COUNTRY.
What might this be? A smile on my face, and a camera with a working lens!
Bath spa water fell as rain up to 10,000 years ago up on the Mendip hills above the city. Then it ran underground, until it found the limestone fissures and fault-line up to Bath.
There are many legends surrounding the waters of Bath. They are said to have healing properties that included curing of paralysis, palsy and gout. There are also stories of barren women becoming instantly fertile due to the healing properties of the spa water.
This is a photo of Gorgon. It was thought that those who looked at Gorgon would be turned to stone.
I guess I should have warned you about that one.
Internets, you still there?
Okay, good.
See the lovely steam?
The water in the spa is a balmy 115 degrees year-round.
They allowed people to get into the water and swim around up until the 1970's.
Then the FDA or someone came in and said the water wasn't safe.
It may have had something to do with the chick who DIED after swimming in the water from some form of fungal meningitis.
They tell you not to even touch it.
The water contains over 43 minerals. And who knows what else.
Of course we touched it.
Don't be a fool!
When in Rome, and all that.

I would have jumped right in and swam around. It was warm water. And contrary to the way it looked, it wasn't stinky.
The ducks weren't dead.
We figured it if was good enough for was good enough for Wadley's.
Seriously, how smart are those ducks?!!
If I am ever reincarnated as a duck I want to live in the Roman Bath houses.
All the kids, as always, very interested.

Incidentally, Jayden was easy to spot in a crowd. That jacket of his was pretty eye-catching.
You can see in this photo where the original bath house was. The brick wall is original up to the crumbly part as well as the bottom of the pillars. Here is a closer look:

You can imagine with thousands of years of use, the stone floors got worn down. When that happened, the Roman's just threw new stone slabs over the worn ones. The floors were uneven in parts.
Behold! Bahhhhth! Me and Heidi.
They had a bath area for women. A bath area for men, and then later, they just had a free-for-all bath room. A lot of naked parties happened there.
Good luck if you dropped your soap.
Inside the museum area, they had partially excavated areas.
They are still discovering areas of Bath.

This area has turned into a sort-of wishing pond for tourists.
There were coins in the water from many countries.
Sam wished he had his metal detector for the billionth time.
Which I am not sure why?
The money was visible.
I don't know why you would need a detector.
I guess loot is loot.
We all made wishes.
I used a really cheap coin.
Heidi said it was worth less than a penny.
Maybe that is why my wish did not come true.
I guess you have to use larger denominations.
I probably offended the coin gods.

More cool shots:
I had a hard time leaving the Bath house. It was warm there.
We bought a couple of things in the gift shop, and moved on.

Family group shot!
It was a long, fun day.
We all went back to the cottage and took baths to warm up.