Band Momming Continues

Saturdays are FULL during band marching season.
After 4 or 5 of these competitions, I’ve got my Go bag ready: Gatorade, Farkle dice for down time, money for all the accessory vendors my son spots — Cane’s chicken, Mazzio’s pizza, all the big names come play but funnel cake was all mine; I’ve never whipped out seven bucks for fried dough so quickly in my life — fresh socks, a teen boy’s shoes (separate Ziploc, green closure for ensured safety.
My point: I’m ready for anything.
Then there’s the marimba pushing.
I know I’ve told you one or two little vignettes about marimba moving. ‘Tisn’t easy, rest assured. My quads light up with effort.
So I was certain I was prepared for the last round of percussion pushin’. Especially since the terrain was NOT mountainous like in previous weeks. In fact, it was downright dull…straight-line drives, ample space, paved walkways, easy peasy, and along the trek I tried to chat with my marimba-ist — a waif, pale, slight (my left thigh weighs more than she does), golden hair, big blue eyes, and mute as a stone — to no avail. Buttoned up like an 1800’s corset, I tell you. All my wiles and attempts at chatter fell on deaf ears. (Maybe she’s deaf?)
And after a non-adventurous trip to the field, we had to wait, all 22 of us percussionist parents, for…something. I was unclear. The sidelines were clear, I saw no impediment, I knew not why we waited.
Thus did I make one last attempt at convo. “You nervous?”
A shake of the head, which encouraged me. “You’re gonna do great!” I announced grandly, for which I got a most basic nod and near-eye-roll.
“You got this,” I muttered less enthusiastically as finally we were waved forward for set-up on the turf.
Set up, got a final nod from the unwilling recipient of my help, and I trotted to the sidelines.
Magic happened, as the band played their halftime show for the seemingly-one-zillionth time — each of which I watch with so much anxiety that I lose three pounds; I’m like a Tan and Tone machine in a fleshy wrap — and I marched right back out to the side of my best little frenemy to aid her against her will.
“You were so great! What a show! It felt so new”
Sure, I was reaching, desperate to get to this tiny mite’s inner core and make her like me.
I hear the percussion leader say, “Ready for power, ready for power,” and kids are streaming around grabbing extension cords, power outlets, microphones, no big deal. Power needs picking up, gotcha. Take with ye what ye brung, got it.
And before I took a breath to look to my left, my tiny acrobatic marimba-ist had gotten behind her set of keys and RUN, like a mighty wind, AWAY from me. She was a foal, hair streaming, practically frothing at the lips to get away from me.
“Hey!” I yelled. “I’m helping you!!”
And I began pursuit.
It took a minute, I can tell you that, what with being weighted down with my Go bag and a strong desire to be helpful. I thought actually that she was going to run me over and if not for a fortuitous tripping on my clumsy part, I could have been down. Medics called. The whole nine yards, right there on the football field. (I made a sports reference, did you get that? It’s rare, that’s why I’m pointing it out, so you’ll appreciate its uniqueness.)
“Whew!” I said when I finally caught up and had a tenuous grip on one side of the instrument. Fortunately she’d slowed a bit, maybe her battery needed changing, but this ol’ girl finally caught up. “You’re all muscle,,” I wheezed toward her, glowing, trying to compliment, trying to reach her core.
It was a long quiet walk back to the trailer where I bid her a hearty adieu and much success in the future. She ignored me completely.
Come to find out: “Power” means: run like you’re on fire. Points off if you don’t leave the field in x number of nanoseconds.
Also of Note: talking on the field — anywhere on the green turf stuff — even if it’s by a big ol’ nerdy mom who just really really reeeeeeaallly wants to help — points off.
Welp. Now I know.
And perhaps I’ll help another child with an equally large bit of equipment, probably not my son, because he shoos me away…
No funnel cake for him, I tell ya.


The Bloat

This week has been all about Band Momming, Tornado Watching, and Jobbing.
The band mom part was fun. The rest is all stress, all the time. Tornado sightings for two nights already this week and it’s only Tuesday. Leave work, park in front of the TV and watch meteorologists compete with each other across channels for the prime shot of a funnel.
It’s quite entertaining.
And in Oklahoma, this is really a Spring sport. October storms, well, that’s extra.
As with most sports — all the ones I watch: Superbowl, tornado chasers, and Band; they’re sports, prove they’re not — I snack.
My new snack of choice: Julio’s Original Seasoned tortilla chips.
To know: I’ve been curbing the gluten since the first of September in solidarity with my Bubs’ sensitivity to the carb loaded glue that makes bread taste oh-so-good.
Thus the tortilla chips; no gluten, still fun.
Perhaps I’ve indulged overly much in my gluten-free lifestyle, because after so much time Tornado Sporting and Tortilla Gulping. well, it’s no fair at all, but my Go To Shorts did NOT rise properly up my suddenly bloated thighs. No forgiveness whatsoever; two excited puffer fish, those are my thighs.
Who knew that excessive salt was so cruel?
Today, I threw myself into the Diet Overload: no carbs, no gluten, no salt. Can you believe it? It’s awful, after so many days of gluttony, nada.
And a tornado is bouncing across the state. Come on! I’m human! What fun snack is there for me NOW? I mean, my goodness, the funnels are up and down and running and being chased by hordes of people. Stress is high, snacks are required! n
But my big ol’ thighs say no.


Marimbas Up Moore Mountain

A marimba, the weight of which cannot be undervalued.

I’m a proud Band Mom. My Bubs plays percussion, like, all the time, not just in band class proper. It’s become his adorable…ahem…habit to tap on things, slug things, snap, click, cluck, all sorts of weird twittering noises I can’t define, in order to get a feel for resonance.
He’s a rhythmic soul, a melody-based being in search of the ultimate groove, man…in my Band Mom mind.
In the normal “Mom” role, all the tapping and clapping and drum-sticking drives me nuts. I take lots and lots of deep breaths in order to find my Karmic center, blah blah blah.
I’m trying to be Hip, as people said in the 1900’s.
Along came marching season, a thing that 2020 disallowed, so I had no idea what it really meant. Summed up: hours and hours of watching two hundred kids dressed in polyester bib overalls stand around waiting for Go TIme…the playing, and the musical portion of the pageantry that IS Band Season!
More specifically, I watch 13 bibbed percussionists unload heavy equipment and push it around a track to land somewhere near the 50 yard line, play five minutes and fifteen seconds, then reverse order and move heavy things BACK to the trailer, seemingly acres and acres away.
As a Good Band Mom, I want to help. It’s in the DNA script, the Maternity Gene.
Last week, “we” played in Moore, the heart of the City, where giant high schools large enough to host 14 tractor/trailer rigs, buses, a few U-Hauls, and one thousand parents for an entire day — 17 hours — of good clean musical fun under a sweltering sun, immoderate ninety degree ambient temperature, and whining, all on my part.
Note to self: still need to buy new shoes; the old ones cratered in the Moore HS parking lot.
But earning my Mom o’ the Year badge meant helping my sweet innocent tiny six-foot-three baby and his friends — mostly girls, mostly petite — with lugging mammoth bits of wood and steel up and down the sideline of the football field.
So after the performance — the definitive contest winner, if you ask me — I rushed down like an ant smelling sugar cane, grabbed onto the end of one of the marimba sets, and said to its player, “Lead the way!”
She kindly asked, “Would you like to steer and I’ll push?”
To which I gallantly responded, “No, no, young lass whom I could crush with my overloaded handbag — side note: want a Gatorade? they’re very heavy — much less my middle-aged girth, you shall guide while I shall push this beast, as I know not where to lead its nose!” (I think I’d put my hands on my hips and looked toward the moon for best effect; she seemed underwhelmed.)
She shrugged.
I should have taken heed of that shrug; ignoring her knowledge of the way the land lay would be my downfall, as this was her third trip around the majestic plains between goal post and bus and I had meandered toward a snack bar a few times and accrued far less mileage than she had that day.
We set off! A band of merry marimba-ists, end-to-end like elephants on a glorious star-filled night, nine-thirty-ish and still the awards ceremony to view. I was optimistic and naive.
M’lady guided us off the field, I fought the turf, a substrate far less forgiving than say, grass. Who knew? I was learning as I went. And huffing a lot.
“Tuff turf,” I joked, a reference to not only the field but my progressive age and an old movie, one she had not watched apparently, and in reflection, not a big loss on her part, though Spader…yummy.
I was winded, a tiny bit, I’ll admit, in that beginning flat stretch, but the ground, she hated me and my marimba wheels, so we tussled until we reached pavement, no big deal.
But at the base of a tiny driveway outside the field, my leader made a right turn onto the quickest rise ever known to marimba movers. I really thought I was going to go high center and my arms shouted, “We’re done.”
Still I pushed on, into the mountainous regions not mapped in any Oklahoma atlas, I assure you. Past a pond, past losers who’d crapped out and couldn’t make the rise. (…not really. No one flagged but me, and only in my mind. Really, I was a sport; I rallied.)
Even as the band student asked, “Are you okay? Should we trade places?” and as blood flowed strong through my ear canals, blocking her gentle hint that we should indeed trade places, I wondered about the next day’s headlines in the local paper: Band Parent Made Immobile While Moving Marimba.
Oh, the embarrassment for my Bubs. Couldn’t have that. I soldiered on and at last — at last! — the hills rolled into a gentle flat plain and once again I could breathe fully and not as though through a straw.
Once the wheels had stopped turning and tunnel vision abated, I heard the band member, the marimba-ist, the one I’d followed to my near-extinction, say, “Would you like your Gatorade back?”
I don’t speak of that night often, and no, I didn’t take the precious girl’s Gatorade. I had three more in my bag.


Hark, the Herald, of Crayola Utensils

School is upon us and for such a momentous occasion, one requires school supplies.
Lovely, new, uncapped, pointy, newly lined, still smelling faintly of the woods, school supplies — to ink, of graphite, spiraled or loose-of-leaf — are fabulous.
My Bubs needed some, too, as he is the one entering hallowed halls of learning. Me, I’m simply going to the library — I have a key to a library, I’m awesome — and for that I, too, insist upon cups full of writing instruments.
My kid appreciates not the glory quite so much as I, but…he’ll learn…for now I’ll continue to corral the remnants at year’s end because, hey, school supplies, in any form, are beloved.


Week 4: A Late Entry

This fourth week of Anti-Aging Because Aging Sucks started so well!
I must say, I recommend police escorts.
We spent Saturday morning on a community bike ride that consisted of 6 folks — three community civilian bike riders, two officers who formed a new “bike unit,” and one officer in a squad car to stay behind/zoom ahead as needed to ensure safe travels through the mean streets of this little prairie ville.
And oh, my goodness, I love an escort.
Lights flashing, zipping and zooming so that I never miss a pedaling moment…so cool.
If ever you see “Community Bike Ride” posters, I recommend you air some tires, chew some rehydration gum, and put on the weird padded shorts because dang, those seats are intense.
It’s worth it all.
And if you need a community, come to the prairie. We’re ready and willing to throw another ride.


Week 3: the Struggle is Real

This very morning I sat in my kitchen with Ben and Jerry clutching a spoon suspended a hair’s breath above One Sweet Whirled when I heard the voice of my trainer, “Would this fulfill you or just fill you?”
I’ve heard her say before, “If it’s something you need emotionally, eat it. Otherwise, it’s a meh.”
My thighs screamed, “Listen NOT to the voice of reason!” over the whisper of my heart: “Yeah…this is a ‘meh.'”
Proud of the fact that the pint went back into the fridge.
Then I ate 78 grams of protein to counteract the need for sugar. Win!
But don’t tell the trainer that even my heart could NOT resist a shortbread cookie straight from an online recipe for Biscuits with the Boss. (If you don’t know about Ted Lasso, please run to any streaming device and rectify that lack immediately.)
So I WON…then I lost a little bit…but then I went to yoga.
See? Week 3 of Aging Gracefully — at Least with Less Whining — is going swimmingly!
Now for Day 2…


Ahem. We begin Week 2 but call it Week 1 because nothing that went that poorly should count.

The first 7 days of my 31 day challenge were not the best. Caloric content through the roof, reluctant-at-best exercise in which the motions were made but effort was not spent, and my attitude…poor, and I’m being kind.
So. Today is Day 8 but I’m claiming it instead to be 1.2.
The main difference: I prepared this time — went to the grocery store with a list of Trainer Approved foods; counted the actual calories I’ve consumed today in my fitness app, the one my trainer can see because I hit “share with friends” and now I hope she shall be kind like a friend would be; thus I haven’t gone feral today because I’ve eaten, at a normal pace, with appropriate time lapses between snacks.
I’m killin‘ it today.
Tomorrow? Tomorrow will be the true test.
a. I’ll be at work, where I get busy, I get grumpy, and I know where the chocolate is hidden
and 2. …well, I don’t know why there’s a 2.
Let’s refer back to the first reasons tomorrow will be the true test, because actually there are things in the one statement.
Thus, there are THREE reasons why tomorrow will be the true, true test of my re-inspired dedication to 31 days of the Epic Challenge of Getting Old Gracefully, AKA Aging Sucks.

Tip: “serve your food in a pretty bowl.” as I’ve read under “helpful hints” when “making a lifestyle change so as to decrease the suckiness of aging.”
The bowl? Pretty. The food? Pretty tiny, even when surrounded by melamine design.


Googly Moogly, It’s only Day 4

Star Date: Four.
Four of 30 big ol’ days of training for the rest of the days.
Counting calories, bicep curling with the stapler, using apps for tracking water and food.
Ended up with a migraine on day 2 because of the stress…or because I didn’t want to play anymore…not sure where I stand on the maturity level today, what with all my whining and calf raises to reach the top shelves.
Busy, busy…I’m off to app…and things…


Day One of Training for “Aging, an Epic Saga”

Oh, sweet goodness, it’s May — birthday month — and I’m feeling exceptionally old.
My bat wings are fully formed, my Grandmother’s jowls are burgeoning and ready to drip from either side of my single-haired chin; I maintain a feeling of youth through inhalations of caffeine and re-readings of Calvin and Hobbes, and yet all of that equates to a Crap Fest.
Ugh, aging sucks.
In an effort to continue bolstering a sagging attitude, lowering butt, and to stop looking upward at every opportunity in feeble attempts to scaffold the dwindling elasticity of a droopy countenance, I’ve incorporated a trainer.
Now, on this first day of the third day of the fifth month, I’m weighing foods and counting calories. I have wellness-geared apps on my phone to aid the process. The trainer is on standby with prompts and smiles while I repeatedly clench my butt to perch above the couch cushion, again to bolster…things.
Supposed to fast for 18 hours a day at my age…recommended by nutritionists, scientific minds, medically trained pros. I did that today as well, minus three hours. I made it to 15, felt faint, called it a win.
It’s Day One, this Third Day of the Fifth Month of the 50-plus-ist year of my Life.
Threw on some short Lycra pants seen only by my dogs and bent over to touch my bare toes…sure, I felt a stretch but mostly I recognized that it’s time for a pedicure and to shave the winter coat.
Log dinner calories, participate in Fight Club at 7:45, down two Aleve at 9 with the remaining 34 ounces of water I need to drink today to fulfill my hydration schedule for today.
Pee at 11.

Aging sucks.


Waiting for Blizzards

Smoking Grass

Snow is to start at midnight and continue until Monday at noon, dumping up to 20 inches during ambient negative temps and wind chills so low I could kill a boar and leave it outside until the grill is heated.
That was the forecast at sunset.
Thirty minutes ago, updates report that we might get 8 inches of the white stuff with no temps below zero.
I’m giving it until 3am to learn that tomorrow will be sunny and forty degrees.
Millions of dollars in sonar, radar, blipping machines that tell the time on Mars and no idea when or how much snow will fall.
At sunrise tonight I pressed my into the “throw boiling water in the air and it will turn into vapor, or snow, or fuzzy stuff resembling steam…I don’t know…just do it.”
Come to find out, 16 as a positive integer is not cold enough to vaporize anything, but boiling water will shock dormant flurry-covered Bermuda grass into early death.
Friends say, “Wait until the temp is negative 15 and try again,” but I’d already compromised my personal ethic by venturing outside during less than freezing temperatures, so waiting another thirty degrees to throw water to the wind is not on my horizon.
Also, smoking grass looks similar to a whale trying to breach the prairie.
Come spring, I’ll be reseeding the lawn.