Category Archives: My life

Dark Over Light

pastel painting of a landscape, trees, road, lake, sky

Dark Over Light, 6×9″ pastel on sanded paper. ©2018 Marie Marfia

On Saturdays I visit my mother-in-law. We moved her to Ludington not very long ago to have her closer to us. It used to be a 3 hour drive to go see her and now it’s a half hour or less. She’s only been in the memory care unit for a few weeks and she’s still trying to adjust.

Sometimes she’s feeling pretty good about things. But a lot of times she’s depressed. She knows her memory is failing and she doesn’t know anyone in the new place. It’s hard on her. Steve and I come see her 3-4 times a week.

Last Saturday I took her for a drive. We went to the beach and then to the boat landing by the river. Then we went back to the memory care place and worked on a jigsaw puzzle for a while. She got sleepy and decided to take a nap.

I sat on the floor in her room, waiting for her to nod off. She said, “You’ll be gone when I wake up.” I explained that I would be back again soon, that her son would be coming to visit in two days.

“You guys sure take good care of me,” she said.

“That’s because we love you,” I said.

“I love you, too.” she said.

“I know.”

“How do you know that?”

“Because you tell me all the time.”

“How do you know I’m telling the truth?”

“You have an honest face.”

That seemed to satisfy her. She leaned back and closed her eyes. I waited until I knew she was asleep and then left.

This painting is on ebay as of 9pm tonight. Bidding starts at 99¢.

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So very much of me to love

…for the last time

When I was looking for Christmas lights last week in the storage unit, I accidentally found the bathroom scale. It was wrapped in a towel, at the bottom of a box full of linens. I thought, Oh, Steve will be thrilled because he’s been wondering where it was and threatening to buy a new one ever since we moved.

At first, he was happy.

“Yay! You found the scale! Thank you!”

Fast forward three days. Steve says, “I need you to take the scale back.”

“What?”

“It’s not good. I was happier before I knew how much I weighed.”

“Why, how much do you weigh?”

“None of your business.”

“Is it more than (insert number here)?”

“No!”

The discussion then moved on to all the people we know that weigh more than him and after a while he felt better. Crisis averted.

But weight! There’s more!

Frankly, I was of two minds whether to bring it back at all. It’s been nice not knowing how much I weigh for a whole year. Right up until someone told me, which, in this case, happened at the doctor’s office, during my yearly exam. “167,” the nurse said. Later she asked me if I was feeling depressed and I told her, “Hell yes I’m depressed! Did you not see that I now weigh 167 pounds?”

How I used to do it

It was right about then I knew I needed to re-think my weight management tactics. Up until now, I’ve always used two basic methods to keep track of how I’m doing. One is the How Well Do My Jeans Fit (HWDMJF) test and the other is the Pee My Pants (PMP) test.

The HWDMJF test works like this. I buy a single brand and size of jeans, and for me those are Gloria Vanderbilt, size 14. When I can no longer get into them, I know it’s time to cut back on my food intake and up my daily exercise time. Simple.

The PMP test is simple, too. If I accidentally pee my pants while either a. laughing, or b. sneezing, then I know it’s time to drop some poundage.

Except the last two pair of GV jeans that I brought home were really loose on me. So loose, I had to go back and buy a belt to keep the crotch from tripping me while I walk. I know for a fact that I’ve never been larger in my life than I am right now. So this means that some time between the last time I bought blue jeans, probably 2014, and last month, Gloria Vanderbilt made their size 14 jeans bigger. This means that I can no longer rely on Gloria to keep me informed about a weight overage, damn her.

Which leaves only the PMP test, and, of course, the problem with the PMP test is it relies on damp underwear to work.

There’s a new test in town

I know there’s a better way, and likely it will rely heavily on numbers. Facts and figures, along with being told what to do by inanimate objects, like bathroom scales and calorie counting apps, are some of my least favorite things in the world. I’d rather believe in the fantasy that allows for things like bonbons for breakfast and a second beer at dinner and fifteen minute walks with the dogs to keep my weight under control.

But there comes a time in a girl’s life when she has to stop living in a dream world and grow up. For me, that time is discovering that I’m 57 years old and weigh 167 pounds. So I’m hereby putting myself on notice. No more PMP or HWDMJF tests. From now on, it’s the SOTSAFTF (Stand On The Scale And Face The Facts) test or nothing.


Do you like my writing? Why not sign up for my newsletter and get it delivered straight to your inbox? G’wan. You know you want to! The sign up is on the right. Talk to you soon! –Marie

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Black angus bull munching on a haystack that probably has at least one bug in it

Going buggy

It could have been worse. It could have been assassin bugs or spiders. If it had been assassin bugs or spiders, I probably would have made Steve drive back home and never slept in the camper again. But it was stinkbugs. They don’t bite and they’re kind of comical. They toddle rather than creep, half inch long odiferous shields with legs. I thought they smelled like raspberries. Steve thought they smelled like Jolly Rancher green apple candy, but then, he’s a chemist and he’s got a much more discerning sense of smell than me.

Bugging out

We were on our way south to visit our son, some friends, and also to pick up some of my artwork. We took the camper to save some money. On the first night we happened across few stinkbugs sleepily wandering around in it.

“Hey, there’s another one!”

“I found two in the bathroom. Out you go, little stinkbugs.”

They were easy to catch, slow moving and tickley in the palms of our hands. We lobbed five or six of them out the door of the camper and congratulated ourselves on how merciful we were being.

“Go hibernate somewhere else, you little pests! Haha.”

Things get (b)ugly

Two nights later, in a state park in Ohio, I woke up, heart racing, because I’d felt something crawling on my face. Earlier, we’d found about a dozen more stinkbugs hiding in the folds of the curtains that enclosed the bed. Steve was gently snoring next to me. There was a little light coming through the camper window but I couldn’t see anything, couldn’t feel anything. I probably just dreamed it, I thought. I pulled the covers over my head, just in case, and went back to sleep.

The next morning, I stared at the camper mattress and thought, “I wonder how many stinkbugs would fit under there?” I picked it up and looked underneath. Turns out the answer is lots and lots.

We immediately began hurling them outside by the handful.

“Gah!

“Gross!”

There’s a limit

As we got farther south, we found more and more stinkbugs. They flew out of the AC unit in the ceiling, they crowded together in the storage areas under the seats, they were hiding behind the valances over the windows. It looked like a stinkbug rave party. It felt like a plague. Around North Carolina, we started to question the wisdom of letting them live.

“Should we be killing these things? Are stinkbugs an invasive species?”

As usual, when squishing insects is required, I cede all control to Steve, who is the man and supposed to take care of these things.

“Hand me a paper towel, please? I found some more.”

“I hate stinkbugs.”

“Me, too.”

We ended up leaving a trail of stinkbug corpses in every state between here and Orlando. I feel bad about this, but not that bad.

Black angus bull munching on a haystack that probably has at least one bug in it

©2017 Marie Marfia, Dumbo Tucks In, 6×9″ pastel on paper. This is one of our friend Doug’s bulls. He named him Dumbo because of his floppy ears and sweet disposition. This painting is on ebay.

And the point is…

The trip wasn’t completely dominated by stinkbugs, fortunately. I got to have dinner with my favorite group of homeschool moms. Steve and I stayed on his friend’s cattle farm for a few days and I did graphic design work on the deck in 70 degree weather. My favorite part of the trip, though, was seeing our son, Nick. He looked really good, healthy and not starving at all, plus he taught us an obnoxious card game that we can’t wait to inflict on friends and family up here, just as soon as we remember the rules.

My friends, as always, told me in no uncertain terms what I already suspected was true, which in this case was that I had to quit sending my kids job listings via email. My son also imparted an important lesson to me, showing me he was fine and that all the stewing that I do in the middle of the night, whether brought on by actual bugs or merely what’s bugging me at the moment, is all about me and not him. He looked pretty wonderful, and required no help, just love, thankyouverymuch. I’m glad we went to see him. It was worth all the stinkbugs just for that.

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