Monthly Archives: July 2012

On My Weekly Fitness and Health Check-In [7.29.12]

Ugh.  What a stupid installment this is going to be.  I’m going to end up being ashamed of myself.  I didn’t keep up with my exercise regime.  Duh.  I never do.  I suppose I’ll have to take myself to hand and really enforce my self-imposed rules?

Instead of eating potatoes or chocolate, I should definitely just go for a walk or guzzle a gallon of water.  Seriously.  I did do three days of my DDR, but goal was five.

Two days ago I was proud of not eating any gluten, but I wrecked that, too.

After the week I’ve had, I couldn’t find the appropriate amount of motivation to continue my path to maintaining healthy and fit.

If one single person attempts to speak to me about my parenting this week, I cannot, in all good conscience, hold myself responsible for any verbal whiplash one may receive.

I really hope that I can do better this week.

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On Being a Single Mom

I’m warning you all now that this is personal, and it may make you uncomfortable, especially if you’re my family, but nothing I’m saying isn’t something you all already know, family.  That being said, let’s get on with it.

On multiple occasions, it has been alluded to me that it is a simple thing: being a single mom and only having one child.

I have been told I am lucky and that it is easy for me.  I get breaks.  I only have one child.  It MUST be simple.

Let me make this perfectly clear:  IT’S NOT.

It’s been approximately a year and a half since my son’s father and I broke up.  Initially, I was told I was being selfish, and that I just wanted to go out and party, and have an easy life.  How I would manage that, when I was choosing the HARDER path, I don’t know.  I suppose it’s all in perspective.

Initially, he and I split, or rather, I chose to be single, because he and I were no longer in an actual relationship, but I’ve covered all of that.  And anyway that wasn’t the only factor.  He wasn’t involved in the family unit.  He spent all day sleeping and all night playing video games.  He missed the first time Q crawled, his first steps, and other important milestones – partially due to his work schedule, but also due to his apathy.  So there’s that.  It was by no means an easy decision to come by.  And at that time, I was working full time, going to school, participating in an internship, AND raising my baby on my own.  All the while, I continually worried whether or not I was doing the right thing.

All of my life I have been deathly afraid of following the same path as my mother.  Now, I have no idea what it was like being her.  But, I know what it was like being me being raised by her.  I have four siblings, only one of which has the same father as me.  I watched her go through substance abuse problems, I’ve had two step-fathers, and multiple other pseudo-step-fathers (if that’s a thing).  I had a HECTIC life growing up.  It was stable in that I was enrolled in the same school district from kindergarten to graduation.  I lived in four different houses growing up.  I mean, I loved them all.  I climbed trees, and played outside, and rollerbladed in the street.  However, the different “father” figures in my life, the cycle of no discipline then angry mom then happy mom then depressed mom, made for a not great environment.  But my mom was a single mom.  She had THREE children.  I’m sure it was terribly trying.  On the other hand, I don’t want to date/marry men my child doesn’t get along with at all or be neglectful of his feelings or even of him because I was busy looking for a man.  From my perspective, that’s how my childhood went.  I’m not saying it’s entirely accurate, but again perspective.

And now, I am a single mom.  I am FRIGHTENED BEYOND BELIEF that I will travel that path.  So far, I am not that, I don’t think..  I don’t have substance abuse issues, and I am certainly not actively looking for a man to be in my life, to validate my existence, etc. – recent post about dating notwithstanding.  [Yeah, I wanna go on a date or two, but it’s not necessary to my existence, or to raising my child.  Q has a dad.  THAT’S his dad, and his only one.]  I read a bedtime story to Q every night, and make him supper every night, and make sure he knows the rules and boundaries.  I always hold his hand when we’re crossing the street, and I give him v-8 fruit juice to make sure he gets all the vegetable servings he needs.  And we almost always have healthy snacks rather than junk food.  I always tell him I love him, hug him, and kiss him when I say goodbye.  I hug him when asks, and even when he doesn’t.  It’s my ultimate hope that I raise a respectful, well-mannered, groomed, happy, carefree, loving young man.

However, I am constantly worried that in choosing this path, I have irrevocably screwed up my child.  Irrevocable.  That’s for life, folks.  Have I screwed up my child for life?!  By CHOOSING to be a single mom?  I worry about that A LOT.  And, do I give him enough love to make up for the fact that his dad no longer lives with us?  Can I teach him to pee in the toilet the way a guy does?  (The answer is no, by the way, because we haven’t even tackled the first hurdle in potty training.)   Am I a terrible mom because I’m not patient with him all of the time?  After having a two day “break” from him, am I terrible for being annoyed that he repeats the SAME sentence forty-two times until I repeat it word-for-word back to him, and then still have to acknowledge what he said with another comment?  Is it really crappy of me to laugh when he repeats swear words?  Am I teaching him swearing is okay?!?  Do I let him watch too much tv, even though we only watch PBS or other educational cartoons?  Should I spend more time building train tracks, playing race cars, etc., since I don’t see him seven days a week?  Should I feel guilty because his new phase of temper tantrums in reaction to not getting his way EVERY TIME I say no, sometimes forces me to take refuge in another room rather than yell at my kid?

It’s not easy to have these constant worries weighing me down.  And let’s keep in mind that while I get a “break” from my child, at his dad’s, discipline is different, so is bedtime, so is the way in which his dad handles meals, and play time, etc.  So I’m constantly dealing with a child who is constantly adjusting to two different home lives.  Well, you two should just do the same things in both houses.   Well, we would, but then, if we were able to settle our differences so easily, wouldn’t we still be together?  Maybe.  But that’s not the case, now is it?

And while he’s at his dad’s, I’m usually either so exhausted that I simply attempt to catch my breath, or attempt to catch up on my cleaning, laundry, etc. because it’s impossible to do when he’s here.

Did I mention that Q had “reactive airway disease”?  It’s basically asthma, but with a fancier, less stigmatic name.  That requires medicine every four hours, and many times as much as every two, during the middle of the night when he is reacting.  These bouts of reaction happen about once a month for days at a time. 

In the end, my point  is that it is NOT easy and just because I only have ONE child doesn’t make it any more so.  And before anyone tells me it is, try walking a mile in my shoes.  Perspective.

On Why I Have Not Been on a Date in Over Two Months.

Some might say to me, “Savanah, the reason you are single  is because your standards are too high.”

Are they though?  Are they really?  Here’s my open letter to any dude who may be interested in dating me.  Of course, I haven’t actually shared this with any of them, based on the fact that I haven’t responded to an overture from any guy in a while now, but I think I might just make this my standard reply.  After all, copy and paste exists for a reason.

Dear Men:

My standards are simple:

You must be self-supporting.  No fry cooks or Retail Store hourly associates need apply, please.

You must be intelligent.  I’m not talking rocket scientist, brain surgeon, or  even a college degree requirement (although, I’m not discouraging that, and I would, in fact, prefer that.), but it IS a requirement that you know how to spell, use proper grammar, and I can use words with more than two syllables when speaking to you and not have to constantly define them.

You CANNOT do drugs.  I’m not talking occasionally having a drink or four with friends on a Friday night, but I am vehemently opposed to substance abuse.

You should not have facial tattoos. [I’m not discounting tattoos entirely, but if you dress up in a nice pair of black slacks and a white button up shirt, are you going to look like a moron?   Or will I think you look like a moron?]

You must be physically fit and/or not  uncaring about your physical appearance. [I don’t want some freaky overly-muscular fellow whose steriod use is probably affecting his rage, not to mention his you-know-what count, but come on, I am NOT going to want to go out with someone whose stomach protrudes more than mine did when I was NINE MONTHS PREGNANT.

A belly this large is only acceptable on women who are actively developing a child in utero.

I’m not saying this is absolute, but I’d like someone who would be willing to be my running and/or fitness partner, because, quite simply, I need one.

You CANNOT be clingy [Nothing is worse than a clingy partner.  It’s not romantic, it’s not appealing.  I have my own life, I have other things to do than constantly validate you emotionally.  I don’t have time for that.  I WILL stop speaking to you.]

If my having a kid is a problem, hey I get that.  I don’t necessarily want to become the parent of a child that’s not my own, but I’m not disqualifying someone based on that criteria alone, either.  

You know what else would be good?  Geographic relevance.  I’m not sure if that makes sense, but what I mean is that while I’m not discounting long distances, having a child DOES restrict me a great deal, and I’ve determined that it’s simply not feasible for me to travel four hours to see someone for a two hour date.  I just can’t afford it, nor can I handle that kind of hectic lifestyle.  As it turns out, I’m not meant to be a jet-setter.  Go figure.

My friends keep telling me that I need to date outside of my “type”.  To that I say, I’m not that desperate, yet.  I can’t see myself ever being that desperate.  I don’t want a roid-rager; any guy who is missing teeth and/or hair; any guy who is overweight or otherwise OBVIOUSLY not taking care of himself; or any guy who appears to have been slapped fifty times with the ugly stick.

I would like a guy who has his own life, but likes hanging out with me on the two days per week I am available, if he is also available, someone at least two inches taller than me, preferably not blonde, he has to have all of his teeth and hair, no gut/be thin, I must be able to use    “big words” [and yes, someone once told me that the “big words” I use are too confusing], and I need to be attracted to him.  That’s at LEAST one third of the male population, right?! ?  Just kidding – that’s not a real statistic.

In short, if you don’t meet the qualifications, please refrain from further contacting me.

Sincerely, 

Savanah

Does that make me too picky?  I’m going with a no on that.  Does that mean my standards are too high?  I don’t think so.

What led me to write this “letter”?

This stellar example of genetic perfection guy.

With this message:

Ok listen there was some urge to message you I dont think it came from my pants. I think I genuinely find you interesting, strong, and intellectual, and gorgeous. So stop the clock! I hope I made the right choice. Ill end this in a more Mankato urban medium. “Hollar back at me?!?”

Is that supposed to be romantic?  Is that supposed to strike a chord of similarity in me?  Is that even supposed to incite my curiosity?  It doesn’t.  “Ill end this.”  Ill?  Like, “I am sick”?  Hollar – I believe you mean holler.  I think what really got me was that the urge to message me DID NOT come from his pants.  REALLY.  Thank you for clearing that up.  I was nervous.  In fact, my initial thought was, “Gee.  I hope that he didn’t message me solely because of a stirring of his loins.  I hope it’s an intellectual match, too!”

Yeeeeeeep.  I’m going to be single for a loooon time if this is my “dating pool”, by which I mean sludge pond.

On My [New] Weekly Fitness and Health Check-In

So this week, I made it my number one goal this year to maintain a fit and health lifestyle, with the assistance of my awesome PlayStation 2 game, Dance Dance Revolution.  Yes – PlayStation 2 .  I have determined that I need to monitor myself in a way that requires more effort than just mentally saying “Good job you.”  I need a way to check in on myself.  So I am now going to subject all of you to my weekly fitness/healthy lifestyle check-ins.  

Here’s the thing, I can’t eat gluten.  So, that’s actually a big help – preventing me from eating tons of crappy snacks that I used to always buy.  That’s a start.  And at the beginning of figuring out that I couldn’t eat gluten, I lost a ton of weight.  Easiest way to lose weight ever – just get an auto-immune disease, such as celiac disease.  Just kidding, it’s not that fun not being able to just make a sandwich for lunch.  While I haven’t been diagnosed with celiac disease, I am gluten intolerant.  It’s really hard to eat out, but I guess at least I can always order a salad.  Of course, there’s my problem – I don’t always order a salad.  I cheat.  I still crave things like pizza and chicken nuggets.  Gross.   Those foods taste good, sometimes, but come on – all that grease.  Ugh.  Sometimes, I’m ashamed of myself.  But mostly, I just enjoy the dough-ey goodness that is pizza.

But my biggest downfall?  Coffee.

But not just plain, black coffee.  Coffee with cream.  Coffee with sugar.  In short, I basically like to drink liquid candy.  I mean, I don’t drink soda, so there’s that.  But I definitely have replaced soda in my life with candy-flavored coffee.

But what was my original point?  Oh, right.  Losing weight due to gluten intolerance – easy.  I lost 40 pounds in a month and half, approximately.  I had no clue how it was happening, or why, but it was.  And I looked good, all skinny and whatnot.  Now, I have gained about ten of that back, and I say “NO, Savanah, do not let that happen!”  I refuse to buy a whole new wardrobe, again.  [Even though shopping is fun!  ;)]  And I refuse to let myself be that unhappy with my physique, or that complacent even.  I need to be pro-active.  So here we go.

So, first – DDR at least five times a week.  I’ve done three days since Thursday, because I skipped Saturday.

Second, cut out cheating on gluten-free.   I say I’m going to do this all of the time.  Let’s see how much wherewithal I have to stick to it.   I’m much more likely to cheat at home, than in front of others.  Bright side, my cousin coming to room with me, so maybe having someone else around will help.

Third, reduce/eliminate candy-flavored coffee intake.  I can  tell you right now, this is going to be the zinger.  I just heart my coffee so much.

Wish me luck!

 

 

On Mid-Week Musings [No. 3]

There are these things that I keep seeing pop up everywhere called 5 Year Journals which I was first made aware of by this blog here.  I’m not sure if I have the wherewithal to keep a 5 YEAR journal, but I’ll keep adding to my mid-week musings.  I feel like having a “goal” [for my blog] is a good thing.

Ps: remember when I was all, “Ooooh I’m SOOOO going to work out on a regular basis!”?  YEP!  Nope – I kind of suck at that.  BUT, then today, I remembered that I have Dance Dance Revolution, which I LOVE!  I’m bringing that back, baby!

Whoo!

Anyways, if I remember next year to check this particular dat for my five year “journal entry”, then today’s question is:  What is your number one goal this?   Do you see what I did there?!  Because my number one goal is to maintain a healthy, fit lifestyle, and cut out the crappy food, foor good, that I allow myself to eat.

And for some final inspiration this week:

You must do the thing you think you cannot do.  —Eleanor Roosevelt

On How It Runs In the Family

Writing is a skill, talent, hobby – call it what you will, but whatever you call it, it runs in my family.  It comes straight from the matriarch herself: Irma Schwantes, my great-grandmother.  She has been writing for…oh, I don’t even know how long – but at least about as long as I have been alive.  I honestly don’t know if she wrote before the 1980’s.  I am guessing she probably did.   Maybe I should dig into my history a bit more.

Grandma began writing for the Worthington Daily Globe in 1985, and has been writing a weekly column pretty much ever since.  That’s a LOT of columns.  Imagine if I could keep this blog going for as many years!  She now writes for the Fulda Free Press, the newspaper for my home town.

She even has a published book!  It’s called Reminiscing: A Collection of Columns, which is just that – a collection of her columns, which was published in 1995.  You could buy it; it’s only $6.00.  🙂  But I have also received permission from Grandma to share some of her columns with you all in the blogging world.

In any event, this creative spark seems to have been passed down to many, many in our family.  But keep in mind that I come from a HUGE family, with Grandma having had 11 children, and all of those children having children, and so on; so, maybe that’s just statistics.  We’re five generations into it, and our family reunion is big.  Having just been to the 2012 reunion this past weekend, my mind was blown when I found out that in 1990, on my grandparents 50th wedding anniversary, only 7 great grandchildren had been born, including myself, with one on the way for later in the year.  (I’m fourth generation, by the way.)  Now?  I am not even sure how many of us there are, but there’s A LOT!

So without further ado, here is the May 20, 2009 edition of Grandma’s column Souvenirs:

About a week ago Mitch Albom wrote a column concerning children’s names, that got me to wondering if my children liked the names I had given them. I had always wished for a baby sister, and had a favorite name picked out long before I ever had a baby. 

I never did get a baby sister, but I always remembered a little girl I had met at a cousin’s house, and after I married my husband and became pregnant, I vowed that if it was a girl she would be named Darlene after the little playmate I had come to know so many years before. I chose the name Faith as a middle name because as a very young wife, I needed a great deal of Faith to become a homemaker and mother. Darlene Faith—but soon she became our little Dolly, and the nickname stuck through all the years, even unto today.

During my second pregnancy we had moved to St. Paul as there was no work to be had in our home town. We had made plans to return back home though for the birth which was predicted for about the first of April in 1943. I had my first ambulance ride at that time. And we named her Diane Cheryl, the middle name coming from Cherish, as we were very grateful to have a successful delivery of a healthy happy baby. Diane was quite a bit smaller than our Dolly had been, our landlady came up to see her remarking on the fact that she was kind of Dinky compared to her sister, and occasionally we did fondly call her “Dinky” but she outgrew the nickname and never got another. 

When our third one was almost due my husband received his draft notice in the mail advising that he report to Fort Snelling at just about my due date. What to do???

They weren’t supposed to be taking any men with 3 or more children. It must be a mistake. Letters were written, to no avail, so it was that on October 17th Frank had to report to Fort Snelling. The rules in those days meant that as soon as he left his job at National Battery Company our health insurance was null and void. Fortunately the baby waited until the 19th to make her entrance. It had been a few days of stress, but all turned out well, as Uncle Sam paid the bill. I had chosen her name, Yvonne Hope, but every time I told it to anybody they asked how do you spell that? In order to save my daughter a lifetime of spelling or explaining her name I changed it to Christene Hope. That one got tagged as being too old fashioned. So I changed it to Sandra Hope, but she became Sandy almost immediately. And she still is.

Her Daddy had to be away, first in Little Rock Arkansas, then after a short visit home he was sent to the Pacific Theater of Operations. I stayed in our rental apartment in St. Paul with the three little ones waiting patiently for the war to come to an end, and my husband to come home. It was January of 1946 when he came home, and we soon moved back to New Ulm after that as Frank used his GI loan to go into business with my brother Helmuth, and that’s when Roxanne Alice came to be number 4 in our family of girls. Although more fondly known as our Roxie. As for her middle name Alice, it was the name of Frank’s younger sister, and also reminded me of Alice who lived in Wonderland. 

Frank’s Gramma Schwantes had died about that time so we moved into the home she had occupied for some years. One Summer evening a man came looking for Frank, it was the father of a young man who had been killed in the battles on Luzon. They went off in his car to talk it over privately. None of the veterans in those days wanted to discuss anything about the war with the wives or families.So I waited anxiously for Frank’s return again that evening. 

It was quite a bit later that he returned. I think the children may have been in bed by that time, so he did tell me what the father had wanted to know. It seems the parents had not completely accepted the fact that their son had died in the war, until Frank gave him details of the battle. It was the first time I had heard it too. He told how they were rounding a bend in a trail on a hillside on Luzon when they came face to face with the enemy, who immediately opened fire killing Frank’s best buddy, one who had come through basic training and all with him. With automatic rifle at the ready it was perhaps a reflex action that he pulled the trigger so fast as to save his own life. It was with great difficulty that he told me the story. We never spoke of the war again. 

Within a few short years we welcomed more daughters into our family. Cynthia Dawn, born with the “dawn” of a new year in January 1948, and Francine Starr in June of 1950 being named for her father since he was by then being teased by his brothers-in-law for not having a son, nicknamed Franky from day one, and then in November of 1951 along came Rhonda Joy, and our pastor announced before the entire congregation that she was named Joy because we were happy to have another little girl. About that time another job change brought another move to Minneapolis, and there came the boys, with Frank Kingsley, also named after his father and grandfather, but Kingsley as we knew he’d be King of the roost with all those sisters, at least until his brother Paul Douglas came along. Paul who reigned as Duke along with brother King. They ruled for about 3 years until one more daughter Darcy May, and a few years later, brother Richard Dean, came along to finish out the brood. 

I never liked the name my mother had given me, and had always wished she had named me June for the month in which I was born. I never heard any of my children complain about the names given them and as I look back on them today, I remember how I had Faith that God would help me to become a good mother, and how I “cherished” the little girl who came a month early. 

Feeling as excited as “Alice” in Wonderland at having daughter number 4, and appreciating the baby born at the “Dawn” of a new year, or the “Starr” who later became our “Middle Kiddle”, or the “Joy” of another healthy daughter at that November time of Thanksgiving. 

And then when after all those years of hoping for a boy, finally getting one, and then another, they just naturally had to be crowned he “King” and the “Duke” and then a few years later, there was Darcy “May” named for a friend of the family and the month in which she had been born, followed again in 3 years by our last son Richard Dean, as he was named for a friend too, as he became the financial “Dean” among the siblings. They are all grown now. Sadly we lost our oldest son to cancer a little over a year ago. We all miss him dearly still and feel honored to have been allowed to have him with us for the short time the Lord lent him to us. He says “I’ll lend you for a little while a child of mine”. 

May I add a Happy Birthday wish for both Darcy and Paul who have birthdays in May?

May God Bless us All. 

On Mid-Week Musings [No. 2]

Are your parents divorced?  [ X ]  Yes     [    ]  No

Do you generally remember your dreams?  [    ]  Yes      [ X ]  No  I think I probably only remember a fraction of them.  But if I forget them how would I know?!

How do you prefer your eggs cooked?  It generally depends on my mood.  I really enjoy omelets, hard-boiled, and sunny-side up.  However, I can make scrambled eggs in the microwave so I make those most often.

Have you seen a ghost?  [    ]  Yes      [ X ]  No  –  Or rather – Uuuuum…I doubt it.

Have you named a vehicle?  [    ]  Yes      [ X ]  No

Which of the following bothers you most?  [    ]  Being Tackled     [    ]  Paper Cuts      [    ]   Nails scraped on a chalkboard      [ X ] Silence

Well, as annoying as being tackled would be, I already put up with that, sort of, from my three year old.  On the contrary, there should be an option here stating “Listening to crappy country music”; THAT’S worse than silence.

The most expensive thing you ever paid cash for:  Well, I guess that depends on what is meant by cash.  Like cold hard greens?  Probably drinks at a bar, like a round for $30 or something.  Writing a check?  Either the dentist or the mechanic – apparently teeth cleanings and fixing your car cost the same.

Have you seen a tornado with your own eyes?  [    ]  Yes      [ X ]  No

Have you been in a long distance relationship?  [ X ]  Yes      [    ]  No  –  They don’t work very well.

Have you won a game of pool?  [ X ] Yes  [    ]  No  –  Not on purpose, though.

Have you seen a baby being born?  [ X ]  Yes      [    ]  No  – You know, because I gave birth that one time and all.

Do you scrub your tongue when brushing your teeth?  [ X ]  Yes      [    ]  No  –  Most of the time, to be specific, but not always.

Have you been in the ocean?  [ X ]  Yes      [    ]  No –  Only once for about two hours.

Have you had a black eye?  [ X ]  Yes      [    ]  No  – Yeah, thanks, sis.

Have you hitchhiked?  [    ]  Yes       [ X ]  No  –  That seems dangerous!

On Quotable Quotes No. 1

My cousin and I are of like minds.  That being said, a quote:

          ‘The time after high school is very intriguing. It can take a ugly duckling and help her

          blossom into a beautiful swan. It can also take an already beautiful swan and turn her

          into that thing you see on the side of the road and think to yourself “oh my god what was

          that? A bird? A coon? Was that even from this planet? It’s so nasty and bloated and.. Oh

          my.. Has something been chewing on it already? Mercy, nature can be a cruel cruel place..”.

          This, my friends, is why I wish luck to the many youngsters out there today and also why I

           think high school reunions can be so exciting. Be thankful for what you have and remember

          that those things you find undesirable can change, life is predictably unpredictable.’