Saturday, June 20, 2009

About Getting Older – A Little Bit of Inspiration

So I have been busy lately – very busy.  I went back to work.  Then I started gaining weight. More on that another day.  Then I decided to lose the weight.  The plan – I did it before so I know I can do it again – eat better (low carbs – that means no more candy, cake or ice-cream -  and more protein) and EXERCISE.  I’m not a fan of just exercise.  For me the activity has to produce something you can see, so I’m doing yard work – for now weeding and mowing. 

Today I’m mowing the back yard.  Half way through the job I notice that my thumbs are stinging - blistered with peeling skin.   Am I turning into a dainty little pansy in my older age?  Not that my age is anywhere near old. 106_3602 But I have to say that NEVER BEFORE have I EVER gotten blisters from just holding onto the lawn mower.  What’s up with that?  Is my aging skin not tough enough to take it?  Am I going to have to slow down and give up physical hard labor just to protect my suddenly delicate hands?

Next year I will be 40 but part of me still feels like I'm 15 and invincible, capable of doing anything.  This is good and bad…good because I’m not afraid to do physically hard labor, but sometimes very bad when I over exert myself to the point of near self-crippling mutilation.  Sometimes I just don’t realize my limitations until WAY AFTER the damage is done.  This I blame on the sweetest, toughest, most inspiring woman I ever knew – My Grandma Huff.  Sorry mom, you’re still a very close first runner up.  So, I had to stop in the middle of mowing to bandage my owwies, document the moment, and write this story before I cripple myself for the rest of the day.

About my Grandma -This spritely, slightly hunchbacked woman was a machine when it came to hard work.  She shared stories of her childhood picking cotton every day in the Texas summer heat.  As an adult she got out of bed before the sun almost every day of the 22 years that I had the privilege of sharing this earth with her and worked outdoors long into the heat of the day.  She was like an army of one in my eyes.  She worked the earth with her hands and never complained about scrapes, cuts, bruises or being tired.  I once caught her pouring LEADED GASOLINE on a bleeding, cut thumb and she didn’t even flinch at the pain.  Then she bound it with a rubber band until I thought her thumb was going to turn black.  No booboo strips or anti-bacterial ointment for her.  At that point I was old enough to stop her – so I took her inside and dressed her wound with ointment and a band-aid.  She told me that was how it  was done in the old days.  I would never have survived that because I’m a total coward when it comes to pain.

Its a wonder she survived her childhood to live well into her 80s, but Grandma was tough, resilient, hilariously funny, loved to pull pranks, and could guilt anyone into doing whatever she wanted.  She drank at least one full pot (sometimes more) of fully caffeinated coffee every day – even in the summer. Every year she decorated her house inside and out for Christmas, grew about two acres of garden and worked most of it herself from beginning to end.  Her house was immaculately clean.  She never owned a microwave or dishwasher, cooked almost everything from scratch using lard as one of the ingredients, and every  year she told us this would be the last time she would every be able to do any of it because she probably wouldn’t be with us next year.  I grew up just knowing she was going to die at any moment and we would never see her again, so when I was eight I decided that if and and when she died I would be buried with her because I couldn’t imagine living without her.  This went on for about twenty years that I can remember.  I don’t know how many years she said that before I heard it the first time.  I was blessed to know her and to learn everything that I could about the importance of hard, unglamorous dirty work.

And now back to me.  My thumbs are bandaged 112945and I finished mowing the back  yard – not yet crippled, but I’m sure I’ll be feeling (regretting) this in the morning.  I’m also inspired to aim for my goal (the weight loss) and I’m not going to let something like the Texas summer heat, blistered thumbs and a few sore muscles (from head to toe) stop me.   I will lose this weight and my yard will look better as a result.

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