Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Thoughts while traveling

Although a shorter trek than in the past, the drive home from my parents afforded me ample time to ponder all the important questions in the universe:

If dropping my bag of cheesy pretzels (chewing keeps me awake--and yes, I know gum would be less distressing come scale-time but I loathe gum) is a sign from the heavens that I should quit eating RIGHT NOW before I explode, why on earth was I allowed to forget my running shoes at mom and dad's? And is this a good enough excuse to buy newer shoes given the amount of money we spent on Christmas? (Never fear, I do have an older pair of shoes at home so I can make do, if I just find the motivation, although I like the idea of getting to buy new ones.)

Do people who drive 40 on the highway not understand what a hassle it is for those of us who drive 80 to have to slow down for them? Corollary to that, if your truck looks like the opening credits from the Beverly Hillbillies, chances are that you shouldn't be on the highway. When banjoes hit the highway, they splinter badly.

How do I make sure that my music doesn't download onto the kids' iPods? They would like some of it (it was fairly entertaining to have them act shocked and surprised that I am so very cool as to have current music on my iPod although Build Me Up Buttercup damaged my credibility a bit) but some of it is a bit sketchy for pre-teens. I mean, I am a grown-up and therefore the explicit version is okay for me. And how on earth have we raised children who can pick the swear words out of generally incomprehensible lyrics at one tiny level above mute but cannot hear a single thing when they are asked to do something for me?

How can everyone not love classic songs like Fat Bottomed Girls, Paradise By the Dashboard Lights, I Will Survive, and December, 1963? (I probably just killed my "cool" factor even more, didn't I?)

I came up with any number of pithy Facebook status updates while driving but do you think a single one stuck with me long enough to post it? Of course not!

Why do the kids all fall asleep just when you notice you're going to have to stop to get gas? And why can they not fall back asleep once the gas has been gotten?

Must dance shoes stink up the *entire* car? And since that is a rhetorical question, why must they come with us on long drives? Why must *any* sporting equipment accompany us on long drives? I need all available space for the strangely multiplying stuff that finds its way into the car on the way home (like the rejects from mom's pantry, because I'm likely to use that bag of stuffing mix any time soon, right?!).

Is it a rule that everyone on the road must pull off at the very same exit and that that exit will have only one gas station, necessitating sitting in line for the pump? Bet I was the only one who had a book handy to keep me occupied while I waited. ;-)

And finally, would Nintendo start making less annoying music for the DS? I have to turn the iPod and my inappropriate music up to ear shattering decibels to drown out the soul destroying, repetitive and tinny cacophony that they are obviously using to lull us into oblivion as they prepare to take over the world. The big question, though, remains: Are they Pinky or The Brain?

Most Entertaining

The most entertaining comment on a Christmas card this year came from the wife of an old high school friend. On the back of their card, she wrote, "I don't even know you and I look forward to your update every year." Of course, she didn't mention having any desire to actually meet me at some point but I think I'll take it as a compliment anyway!

Sunday, December 28, 2008


I don't know how many people ever even look at the sidebar on this blog but if you glance at it from time to time, you'll have noticed that the books currently on my bedside table have not changed in a coon's age (that's one of those fun "southern-isms" I can use now that I live in the sunny south and might be a redneck). You might also notice that the books listed there are rather heavy tomes, either in terms of literary value or just plain old weight (or both). So despite the fact that comfort food, which I gravitate towards this time of year, is hearty and stick to your ribs (mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, etc.), my comfort reading, and the only reading I've really been doing lately with the stress of the season, is light and inconsequential. As a matter of fact, when asked what I've been reading lately, the answer, more often than not has been "Smut." Perhaps not a kind designation but whether you call them "thigh thumpers," or "bodice rippers," or even "bored housewife books," they don't exactly have the heft or gravitas as say, War and Peace, which I actually do have a non-moving bookmark in at the moment. And it's not looking like 2008 will be the year I finish it although it can still be the year I tackled it. But these happily-ever-after books are my comfort reading. There's nothing better than my grandmother's mac and cheese, which, incidentally, my own philistine children don't like, prefering that cardboard Kraft crapola, a cup of overly sweet hot chocolate with marshmallows, a warm fire, snuggly jammies, and a romance novel filled with hot monkey lovin'. Yes, I am the perfect 35-40 female demographic and advertisers should flock to me for my opinions. And anyone wanting to send books spanning the literary spectrum from W&P to romances will not be turned away! So what spells comfort to you?

Friday, December 26, 2008

Running ramblings

I went for a run today after almost a week of sitting on my keister. I. Did. Not. Like. It. At. All. Who knew that it was possible to feel so badly after a mere week? I felt relatively decent as I set off, but then who doesn't? I even let my mind wander to the ultramarathon accounting I had just read, cockily thinking, "I could do that. I can just run forever." Well, maybe true some other day but not today. It was a definite sign that I *had* to check my watch at a mere 15 minutes out, wondering if it had malfunctioned as it hadn't beeped a distance alert. I was hoping to be at least close to 2 miles at that point (not because I'm that fast but because my internal clock is apparently off and I was just sure I'd been running for almost 20 minutes at that point). I actually almost stumbled then and there. On the plus side, I had chosen to run an out and back lollipop route so I had no choice but to continue plugging along on my chosen path. There were probably several things that contributed to the lousy feeling run (and I'll add a disclaimer and admit that the running portion was not any slower than it has been recently so it just *felt* lousy).

First, my weight has spiralled higher and higher since the marathon. It was clearly a bad idea to indulge in 2, count them, 2 (!) slices of chocolate chip banana bread before running. As if the additional weight wasn't bad enough, the bread sat heavily and reoccurred at alarming intervals during the run. Obviously I need to head back to Weight Watchers with all the rest of the sad New Year's Resolution folks in order to get back on track, both in terms of losing weight and in terms of reminding myself about moderation. Lugging the additional weight around is not only not healthy but is slowing me down (and likely causing passersby distress as they note the cottage cheese wobble they probably aren't used to seeing in full jiggle on other runners). On the plus side, Weight Watchers generally runs a no joining fee promotion around the New Year to entice all the holiday over-indulgers (and lifetime over-indulgers like me) to come in and get started. Gluttony is clearly one of the sins to which I am prone.

Second, it's been almost a week since I ran because I did such a number on my poor muscles with the cross training that I knew it was in my best interest to dial it back. When the choice becomes to keep running daily or walk through my days without heavily self-medicating, it's a fairly easy choice. Not to mention that I am a couch potato of long-standing so opting out of exercise is something of an ingrained habit for me. This was forcefully brought home to me when my sister suggested that my niece is the laziest child she's ever seen and my mother's response was that she (my niece) was just going to be less active than my sister had been--more like her aunt (me!) as a child. Anyone needing a blow to the self-esteem, sign right up to join my family (and yes, mom, when you read this, I know this wasn't how you intended it to come out, but I stand by my interpretation). I'd say I was just more cerebral and run with that but I don't think I'd have the energy to get too far today. ;-) And yes, sloth is another of my besetting sins.

Third, I am a mental disaster right now for no apparent reason. I just finished reading Haruki Murakami's What I Talk About When I Talk About Running and while I'm not sure this is a book with a wide appeal, as a runner (ha!) and writer (bigger ha!) it gave me a lot to ponder. I was reassured to hear that others experience runner's blues and have a tough time motivating themselves to get out there and run some days. Of course, for me, that has been every day lately. But just knowing I am not alone, helps infinitesimally. And finishing the book is probably the catalyst that got me out there today so for that I am truly grateful because I needed it. Even if I did only run 4 miles, walk 1 and finally run the last 1.25. The need for a walk in the middle was more mental than physical, which I completely recognize. Somehow, I have to stop giving myself permission to walk without taking it away as an option if I truly need it. Something to talk to my old coaches about, I guess (as if they need my stress-case self pestering them again!). No idea what sin this would be but I'm sure there's something I'm missing.

I was also mentally defeated by one of those stupid brag and gag Christmas letters. And it wasn't even sent to me! Every year I sit and read the Christmas cards my parents have received. Some of them overlap with those we receive but quite a few of them are old friends of my parents' who we knew as children but don't keep in touch with and so it's interesting to read their letters year to year. Very few of the letters are entertaining. Most of them are of the "how wonderful we are, how great our kids are, and how much you should want to be like us" variety. Usually I just make gagging noises and move on to the next one. I never believe letters that only mention the wonders of people's lives because everyone has ups and downs, even in the most wonderful of years. So I invent mishaps to temper the glowing reports of yearly bliss, not terrible mishaps, but just enough to make the "wonderfuls" a part of a normal life. But this year, there was one in the batch that got to me. It was generally hitting only the high points, of which this family clearly had more than their fair share. And I was cheerfully inventing temper tantrums for grandchildren, an unintentionally and shockingly Pepto Bismol pink painted room instead of the more sedate color they thought they'd chosen, and other mishaps of this ilk when I read the paragraph devoted to the youngest daughter. Not only had she gotten engaged to the most wonderful man *ever* (despite my inventing a predilection for dressing in women's panties unbeknownst to his fiancee), but these two uber-folk had run their first marathon together this fall. This alone wouldn't make me all bitter and jealous but the casual way that it was mentioned that they both ran this sub-four hours made my stomach roil. The worst of it is that the mom, who was writing the letter, didn't even make a huge deal of this accomplishment. She just dropped the time out there and left it dangling. Now, given the number of people who asked me how far my marathon was going to be, I suspect that the time doesn't impress all that many folks as anything to brag about. But let me tell you I felt huge waves of jealousy consuming me and amping up the stomach acid production in my gut. That is a d@mned impressive accomplishment! And I seriously wished it had been me running like the wind to earn the right to brag appallingly in *my* Christmas letter, because let me tell you, if I ever run a sub-four hour marathon, everyone and their grandmother will be in no doubt as to just how amazing that is when I get through with them. Not that I will ever run that quickly, ever, ever, ever. And that, as I plodded along, defeated by a 6 mile run, was the icing on the cake that was my lousy run this morning. Beaten by a saccharine letter that didn't even give a proper nod to the most impressive accomplishment in the entire family (at least as compared to what else made the cut in their otherwise unexceptionally gushy letter). In case you didn't notice, both pride and envy rear their ugly heads here.

So despite the ugly run, I came home, hopped in the shower, and promptly shaved (another thing I hadn't done in about a week), noting that the lack of aerodynamics was probably the true reason for my pitiful performance. I'll have to come up with a new excuse tomorrow. ::grin:: Is whining a sin?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve service

Christmas Eve at church was a typical one for us this year. The kids were dropping like flies. First, T. claimed a headache before we even got there. Then once we went inside, he nabbed an activity bag to keep himself occupied during the service because "I might be bored." Partway through the service, R. sat down with a plunk, ghostly white. She felt faint and spent almost the entire rest of the service sitting in the pew looking wan. W. offered up sound effects during the sermon. Thankfully, the sound effects were fairly quiet since he knew they wouldn't please me at all. And finally, W. was experimenting with the best angle to hold his lit candle while T. tilted his precariously to make hot wax pour down the side of the candle and pooled on the paper skirt rather than singing the oddly disjointed hymns. For some reason, we didn't sing an entire hymn at one time until the very end, instead singing a verse here and a verse there throughout. Mighty disconcerting all the way around (both the wobbling flame/hot wax close to the hair of the elderly woman in front of us and the choppy songs). Add to our own family eccentricities a less than inspiring sermon and Edith Bunker's twin singing behind us and it made for an interesting service. The funniest bit though was how many compliments my mom received on my children's (and my niece and nephew's) good behaviour. Guess we're not the center of attention at all times! A good thing to remember when I am getting worked up at the kids. At any rate, a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone reading this. May you all find peace and happiness in the coming year.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Merry Christmas

We had an uneventful trip to my parents' for the first time, possibly ever. After we got in, we had to change clothes quickly and bolt dinner so we could make it to a holiday show for which they had gotten tickets. It was at the Savannah Theater (a place I recommend if you are ever in Savannah) and was a Christmas themed show with singing, dance, and a couple comedic bits. We worried that W., being such a jaded 11 year old, wouldn't enjoy it but all three kids seemed completely caught up in it. T. waved to Santa when he made his appearance and even got a couple of high fives (we were in the front row) throughout the show. The comedic bits were hysterical and we thought all three of the kids might wet their pants they were laughing so hard. After the intermission, T. got tired and climbed into my lap instead of sitting in his own seat. He continued to watch the show but by the finale, he was pooped out. How did I know this, you ask? Well, as one of the performers sang a beautiful and moving rendition of "O Holy Night," T. snuggled further into my lap and carefully tucked his hands smack down the front of his pants. I had to bite my lip, knowing that laughter would have been completely inappropriate at that moment. As more of the performers came out and joined in the song, I just hoped that they couldn't see over the stage lights to the small boy in my lap sleepily fondling himself. Now you know why we give little people lovies (and T. has three of them--no, bunnies and blankie are not a euphemism for something else either!), so they don't fall in love with inappropriate things. Time enough for that when he's older. ;-)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Technology--ain't it grand?

Last night we went to get our oldest child the Christmas present that will be the biggest hit in his short life thus far. We held out on giving him a cell phone despite the fact that "I'm the only 6th grader in the whole school who doesn't have one." (Hyperbole: we all rock at it.) But he's been to a few middle school events lately where D. or I have to give up our phone to him so we can find him in the crush afterwards and that was getting old. So we're caving, about two years earlier than planned, and he'll be ecstatic on Christmas.

Anyway, in order to get him a phone on our existing plan, we had to change our existing phone numbers to the Charlotte market (my number, since I am number challenged was from Ohio--3 moves ago--and D.'s was from Michigan). I may never learn my new cell phone number or my husband's but my kid will be happy and that's the most important thing, right? Harumph! So now my cell number is chock full of odd numbers when I like and find even numbers easier to remember (I know, I'm weird but then that shouldn't be news to anyone reading this by now) and absolutely no one knows the number, including me.

Cut to this morning when I go to log onto the computer and find I am without internet. Then I head to the phone to check that (we have one of those infernal bundles that claims to save you money but really just ensures that *all* of the technology in your house crashes at once so you can't reach anyone to complain bitterly that this is the umpteenth time in 2 months that you've had no phone or computer access). Just as suspected, no dial tone. As regularly annoying as this is, it has happened so frequently that I actually know how to solve the problem (at least temporarily). I scooted back to the computer and reset the modem four different times in order to bring the phone back up. The computer decided to mock me and stay dead but once ignored it for several hours, it finally pulled its act together. But, and this is the fun one, for a few hours this morning, no one could get a hold of me for love or money. Dead land line and new cell phone number and I felt like I was back in the old days when our lives weren't run by technology. I'd say it felt good but I'd be lying. We're so dependent on this stuff that all I felt was yet more seasonally inappropriate rage and frustration. Good fun. I'd give the phone and the computer up if I weren't so addicted to them. ;-)

Thursday, December 18, 2008


So my overzealous exercising has taken a toll. I think I pulled a muscle, if not something worse. My one thigh is simply killing me. It hurt after I went to the crazy, kamikaze body sculpting class (can you even sculpt a sphere or am I wasting my time?) but the following day I went to the spin class and then for a 4 mile run with a friend anyway. Clearly my body has to be screaming before I deign to listen to it, despite all advice to the contrary. After all this abuse, I was incapable of sitting without just dropping myself down (and hard) so I opted out of the strength yoga class--while it would have stretched the muscles nicely, I don't know that I would have been capable of holding the requisite poses. After all, my arms and legs start shaking shamefully quickly on the best of days. Then today I opted to swim instead of going to spinning in the vain hope that I could get in exercise without aggravating the cantankerous muscle. 2000 yards later and I am stiff as all get out again so my plan clearly didn't work. I am completely baffled as to how I could train for and run a marathon a little over a month ago and all of a sudden be so out of shape I injure myself. Perhaps the added weight I've gained just stressed everything out just enough to bring me down. Argh! Now I'll have to take a bathing suit and running shoes for Christmas vacation when I was only planning on the running shoes. I mean, I know we swimmers always said chlorine is as aphrodisiac but I'm pretty sure we were just fooling ourselves. Nobody really *loves* the smell of bleach. Then again, maybe it helps me smell squeaky clean. If I wasn't afraid of how easy it is for me to be couch potato girl, I'd just park my rear until the leg felt substantially better and then get started again, much slower, but I know how hard it was to get off the couch in the first place so I guess I just have to gut it out. Maybe I'll take my special "aches and pains" herbal bath salts with me too, just in case. Or does that make me sound like too much of a whiny wimp?

His type

So I've been pondering T.'s comment about a fellow first grader not being his type. At first I just plain old thought this was funny but now that I've put some thought into it, I'm curious what his "type" might be. Does she have to still sleep with a blankie and lovey? Should she sleep in her brother's room (T. spends many a night on his sister's floor so someone equally averse to sleeping alone would be good--oh wait, that sounds dreadfully bad, doesn't it?!)? Is it important she be a junk food junkie? Must she laugh maniacally at completely indecipherable Japanese anime? Can she be a suave and charming miss who compliments his smooth and charismatic self or should she be a meek and self-effacing thing content to let him shine alone? Will she talk a blue streak and give Mr. I-Like-To-Hear-Myself Talk chatterbox a run for his money? I guess I should ask him if opposites attract. Frankly, I'm not sure you can tell in a six or seven year old but I'm sure his analysis of what makes for good grilfriend material will be a form of high entertainment.

Christmas letter

For those of you on my Christmas card list, this is a duplicate of the letter in the card. For those of you who faithfully read the blog, much of this has been covered here already. But it might be new for someone so here it is:

It’s here! It’s here! We’re just sure you’ve checked your mailbox everyday in anticipation of the K. year in review for 2008, haven’t you? (For any smart alecks out there, this is a rhetorical question.) Since this is the season of giving, feel free to indulge in giving us your attention as we bore you silly for yet another year.

January: D. started working full time in Charlotte this month. This meant that his commutes home were far less frequent than the last two months of 2007 and made the logistics of getting kids to their ten thousand weekly activities far more interesting. The K. children must hold the record for late or missed practices (not that K. ever just flaked out and forgot—no, it’s all D.’s fault).

February: K. and the kids went north to the UP again this year. D. stayed comfortably ensconced in the sunny south. Who had more fun? Let’s just say that K. got to go sliding along the *roads* of Hessel, MI in an ice fishing shanty being pulled by a snowmobile. I think the answer of who had more fun is now glaringly clear.

March: Instead of D. coming back up to Michigan in the midst of unpleasant weather, K. and the kids went south, first to Savannah and then to Charlotte for spring break. There was no house hunting on this trip because house hunting with kids is about as appealing as poking yourself in the eye with a sharp pointy stick but we drove all over the city looking at general areas we might eventually consider. The kids loved Charlotte and were very positive about the upcoming move although the fact that there are no free snow days in NC did disturb them a bit.

April: D. earned his company incentive trips again this year so April was world traveler month. He and K. went to Egypt and the Bahamas. Both trips were nice but Egypt did not agree with D. as he managed to get sick all over the “most romantic temple in Egypt.” Somehow K. missed the romance. This was also the month that K. temporarily lost her mind and agreed to run a marathon. If you didn’t get the Mupdates as she trained, you missed quite an experience. [Side note to blog readers: these are all on here in the archives if you find yourself so inclined.[

May: D. continued to make the occasional long drive home to Detroit as the house was still up for sale, with just about weekly price drops. K.’s tennis season ended and she’s pretty certain that her record had a zero in it somewhere. If you want to assume that means she was undefeated, go for it, you optimists, you!

June: K. became a full-fledged, official dance mom this month at R.’s recital. What this hard to achieve designation entails is being able to strip and re-dress a kid in an entirely new costume (tights, shoes, earrings, and funky hat included) and pull off a completely new hairdo all while standing in the wings backstage in the space of about 10 seconds. K. did not mention this as a special skill on her volunteer application for the new schools later in the year, suspecting that it might get her blackballed from the classroom.

July: K. and the kids headed to the cottage for the month but reality intruded and the lovely vacation was interrupted by the need to go back to Detroit, move out of the house there (and we were doing cartwheels that we actually sold it—albeit for a massive loss), head to North Carolina, see the new house for the first time ever (anyone mentioning lack of storage or closets will find themselves on D.’s s-list but will get nods of agreement from K., who moved into the house sight unseen), and move in there. Actually, K. thought it was perfectly reasonable to let the movers drop off the boxes and head back to the airport to go north again saying, “The boxes will wait.” Poor D. lived in box city all month.

August: When we got home from up north, we settled in to face the joys of moving “on the other end.” Kids had to be registered for school. Doctors were found. Vaccinations were obtained. Unpacking was avoided (mostly). W. entered the seventh circle of hell….ummmm….I mean he started middle school, that fun and happy place you spend the most angst-ridden years of your life. (Wish us luck in the coming years!!!!)

September: K. was still unpacking, not very quickly. D. was staying out of her way.

October: Did you miss the fact that K. ran a marathon? Were you living under a rock? That was, of course, the only thing of note that happened anywhere in October.

November: K. was still unpacking (and not done either). We’re all just hopeful she gets her act together so next year’s letter doesn’t start out the same way this one ends.* This was the month that K. also cooked her very first Thanksgiving dinner after successfully avoiding it for 13 years. And R. was the only one to get sick after eating so K. considered it a dinner well done. Because it’s not a full year without a gut-churning call from the school, we got one this month about W.’s behavior. One people-packed conference later and we are looking into therapy again. Oops! Did we move states with the kid with adjustment issues? Who knew that would cause a problem. ::sigh:: OK, so we knew, but we thought we’d dodged that one when it all went so swimmingly in the beginning. At least R. and T. seem to be adjusting well.

*update on the unpacking: it’s getting closer to being done but there are still boxes hidden away in the basement and since they are currently blocking in the Christmas tree, this is a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad thing.

As we dig ourselves out from under the remaining boxes, we hope that all of you are surrounded by family, peace, love, and happiness throughout the coming year.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


One good lunch of macaroni and cheese later and all is right with my world again. I may still not be jumping with Christmas joy but I have actually tackled some of the disaster in the house that was surely dragging my mood even lower. Amazing how comfort food works. Never mind that the scale says I've been resorting to comfort food a bit often these days! My tummy is happy and that makes my head happy. Is that one of those weird body part connections that the ancients seemed to acknowledge (oftentimes wrongly--just look at the whole wandering uterus thing they believed in) that we poo-poo in this modern age? Whatever it is, it works. No wonder the only thing that grows in winter is me: colder, older, fatter. ;-)


I am not in the Christmas spirit. No tree (still behind boxes I'm not yet unpacking but should), no baking (gotta get on that or the stockings will be disappointing to some), no lights (okay, that's not such a shock given that I hate stringing lights outside and rarely accomplish it), no presents wrapped--hell's bells, no presents for my sister or dad yet at all, and just no smiling feeling that Christmas is just around the corner. This is not like me. I'd chalk it up to the lack of snow but actually moving south and increasing the sunlight I see daily has helped the seasonal blahs so it's not really that. Could it be that I still feel unsettled here? And yes, I know exactly who is to blame for that. D., of course. He's to blame for everything. ::grin:: I don't know, someone smack me with a stocking quickly or I'm going to deserve the coal I'm sure to get. Although I'm not even on the Naughty list this year (much to D.'s disappointment!), I've been too wishy-washy and blah for that. So wrap me in tinsel and slap antlers on my head but someone, somehow needs to infuse me with the Christmas spirit.

Littlest Casanova update

So the first grader has been full of comments about his romantic situation. A sampling:

"I broke up with M. She wasn't my type." (How does a six year old have a type? I think I still wanted to marry my dad when I was six.)

"Today I remembered that I liked another girl but she didn't stick like S. did." (Is that how he attracts them? Flypaper?)

"Only 7 more years until I can date. And I'm not even 7 years old yet!" (13?! This child thinks he's going to be actively dating at 13? Saints above. Fathers lock your doors and we'll try to hold him off for a few extra years but you've been duly warned!)

The worst of it is that he's darn cute, positively charming, and brimming with self-confidence so by the time he's 13, he could be downright full of himself. And if he ever gets wind of the religions that allow harems or polygamy, the mind simply boggles. It would solve all of his problems though since he's now up to 19 girls who like him. Oh, and the good news? He claims he's not kissing his girlfriend "yet." Ai-yi-yi!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Learn from me...

Never use your finger to swipe melted chocolate out of a spoon. And if you forget and do that, don't try to minimize the burning on your finger by sticking said chocolate covered finger in your own mouth. Is it any wonder I only bake once a year, said the girl with a burned finger and a burned tongue? (But no chocolate went to waste!)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Gift exchanges

Why does someone always bring a picture frame to a gift exchange? And why do I always end up with it? You know those gift exchanges where people can steal gifts from other folks? I am not a huge fan. Unless the exchange is specifically meant to be funny (white elephant gifts), I tend to come away from it grumbling that I have to drive something else to GoodWill. Now I do not begrudge GoodWill the stuff, but I'm sure they have more than enough picture frames, just like me. I have picture frames with no pictures sitting all over my house. So I definitely don't need more frames that aren't even my taste. I swear I'm going to start claiming the random people in the advert pictures that come with the frame as my relatives just to stop people from commenting on (okay, laughing at) the empty frames. It's either that or find real pictures to put in them and, well, that would take more energy than I have these days. So GoodWill, you luck out. After last night's gift exchange, I'll be by with another load for you the next time I head out of the house. And yes, it will include at least one picture frame.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

You might be a redneck...

if you go to Walmart for Christmas presents and come out with accessories for shooting* (a shooting vest and glasses) and a Swiss Army knife. Could living in the south be rubbing off on us?

*the shooting involved here in the K. family is of the sporting clay variety rather than the hunting variety but that doesn't make my current purchases any less funny.

Oh, and I hope D. doesn't read my blog because if he does, he now knows my big brainstorm for his stocking.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The love life (lives) of little kids

At dinner last night D. told the kids that they weren't allowed to come back to the house, even to visit once they left for college at 18. It took them a minute to realize he was pulling their legs. The boys, once they twigged, just said, "Daaaaaad" in that oh so put upon way children have when parents are being ridiculous. R., on the other hand, put him in his place with ease. She got up from her chair, walked over to him, draped her arms around his neck and sweetly said, "If you won't let me come back once I'm 18, then I won't wait until I'm 34 to start dating." I'm raising one smart cookie, aren't I?! I asked him how it felt being over the barrel like that. LOL! Apparently R. is allowed to come home but the boys still may not. Actually, D.'s rule for the boys was that they must only date one girl at a time. This is probably not going to be a hardship for my sweet, innocent (but immature), and fiercely loyal W. but it could prove difficult for T. the Casanova of the first grade.

T. got off the bus this afternoon and announced, in a voice so jaded you'd think he was weary of the world, "A girl kissed me on the cheek when I was leaving school today." It's obviously a hardship to be so popular! Here's hoping our next teacher conference isn't going to be about inappropriate stuff at school. I can just see it now: my kid will be the next kid in the national news for being suspended because of kissing in first grade. Look for him soon on a tv near you!

Sunday, December 7, 2008


# of boxes left to unpack: 35 (the computer virus is good for something!)
# of toenails that have come off in the past two weeks (toenails are for sissies anyway): 4
# of books I've scanned into LibraryThing so far: 4655
# of shopping days until Christmas: 15 (if you include Saturdays, and I'm so behind, I must!)
# of yards swum today: 0
# of miles run today: 0
# of Christmas parties to which we've been invited: 2 (1 down, 1 to go)
# of ideas for a Christmas present for my tough to buy for brother-in-law: 0
# of ideas for a Christmas present for my equally tough to buy for sister: also 0
# on the scale this morning: holy s#it! As my grandmother used to say, "None of your damn business. Suffice it to say it was obnoxiously high.
# of squirrels, dogs being walked, leaves, shadows and assorted other ephemera that have sent the dog into a barking frenzy today: infinite

More nonsense

I've finished unpacking my books (no this doesn't mean I have them all put away, just that they are out of boxes). Why is it that the last box, which was the most deformed, was the one to contain the old and precious books that sit on my dresser? One of the books, which I would offer to my cousin if I was a nice soul (but my cousin is a wanker--I hope no Brits are reading this since they'll be more offended by the word than my American readers will) but I'm clearly not, is warped into the strangest curve I've ever seen. Actually, many of my books are curved out of shape, which makes my anal retentive self nuts, but this particular one is too old to make me comfortable just piling loads of other books on top of it to flatten it back out.

Why did I focus on the book boxes rather than organizing the back room in the basement where the Christmas decorations are completely buried? Never let it be said I am rational.

Is it time to throw out the leftover turkey yet?

Why is it that every room I enter seems to have a burned out lightbulb? And because life can't be easy, every light fixture in this house seems to use yet a different kind of bulb. So the people at Lowe's are going to start greeting me by name shortly!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Rhetorical questions

Do the calories in baked goods count if they are bought from neighborhood girls running a bake sale to benefit charity?

If I hid the fact that I ate the thing from my kids, am I any better than my kids, who sneak and hide candy whenever they find it? (See why I'm calling these rhetorical questions?)

Am I a bad mom/fan if I spent the entire basketball game laughing my butt off at the chaos and cluelessness that defines 6 year olds playing something with a passing resemblence to basketball?

Why must there always be one overly intense parent at all kid sporting events? (Luckily he wasn't on our team.)

Is it wrong to take such glee in being the possessor of a handicapped parking pass this Christmas? (And for those about to get stroppy with me, I don't use it unless my grandmother, to whom it belongs, is with me but I find myself inviting her to go out with me each time I leave the house. ::grin::)

Why must we always be the one dark house in a line of heavily decorated, glowing with lights for Christmas houses? No, we're not Jewish, just lazy.

Is it disingenuous to tell my children that we are reducing our carbon footprint by eschewing outdoor lighting? (The answer to this one is probably yes given the number of lights generally left on around here without a soul in the room.)


I went to a sculpt class with a friend yesterday. When we admitted that we were newbies, the teacher looked at us and announced that this was a very advanced class. Hmmm. Was she trying to tell us we weren't nearly fit enough to keep up? Prolly. And given the fact that when I looked at myself in the mirror as she told us to check our reflection to make sure our form was correct, I can see why she'd think that. My form? Round. Oh, my back was straight enough but everywhere else was round.

D. and I went to a ghastly boring Christmas party last night. I was terribly impressed that he used the "babysitter needs to get home early" ploy to get us out of there, especially since we didn't have a babysitter. ::grin:: The bad news, however, is that we're roped into a Valentine's Day ball with these people. Black tie even. I am a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl. Couple that with the sheer dullness of everything last evening (who gives a *long* political speech at a Christmas party? Answer: the assistant ambassador of a European country that will remain unnamed who apparently doesn't get enough outlets for his windbag self) and the heavy, greasy, yuckiness of the food from this country and this ought to be a doozy of a ball.

It's a very bad thing to ignore the fact that your virus protection software is about to expire. No matter how many other things you have to spend money on (Christmas anyone?!), this is non-negotiable. After all, it's no fun to have to sneak time on D.'s work laptop. (Thank heaven for Saturday golf so I have a few uninterrupted hours!)

T. came home with his first AR book. This stands for Accelerated Reader for those of you without young or whose small fry are not forced to read and take these asinine (sorry, I meant assessment) tests for school. Apparently not all children in his class have moved into AR hell yet because T. told me that Ms. M. called the names of her "sophisticated readers" and he was one of them. Now I suspect that she didn't use that term, if only because the parents of the non-sophisticated readers might object so this is all his creation. I love the vocabulary coming out of my 6 year old. That he uses these terms and concepts correctly is enough to make his word nerd mom so proud.

I went for a run the other day. But it turned out to be a walk. The iPod was dead and I just couldn't muster up the oomph to run without it. I almost quit without doing anything but I made myself go for a walk. It was actually really nice. Now if I could just find a walking buddy, I'd be set. I do look a little odd talking to myself and the neighbor I greeted (in the midst of my rambling soliloquy) looked a little concerned that the crazy lady was talking to him and admiring his dogs. I'm not sure if he was afraid I might be trying to lure the dogs home to eat or what but he quickly hustled them inside once I told him how lovely they were.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Found on the counter today

I checked W.'s grades online again and blew another gasket. It'll be bad when I just stop caring, right? His grades are completely mediocre again and he's sporting another "D" in the admittedly boring elective. But boredom aside, he is definitely smart enough to be getting far better grades with very little effort. SO I wrote out a list of the assignments (and one quiz) for which he has earned a zero (ie didn't ever turn them in--and whether he did them at all is debatable). He was not happy with my pronouncement from on high that he's not playing with friends again until the grades improve. He sat down and did one of the assignments, all the while protesting that he'd already done it once. Then, to show just how put upon he is, he wrote me a note and left it on the counter next to the homework for me to see this morning. It says: "I just want to be loved --W. K. brother son underapricated [underappreciated]" There was also an arrow pointing to the contested homework and the comment "my Homework thats been done twice." All I can say is that this is going into his baby book and it's a good thing he wasn't awake to hear me belly laugh. Me, my unrealistic expectations, and my lack of appreciation for my oldest, very aggrieved boy--child. ;-)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Finished eating for now

I've chewed my way through an appalling amount of food today. I didn't do the clean the bathrooms thing because, well, really, who wants to clean the bathrooms if they don't have to? I did try to stem the tide of bad choices though by eating my way 2/3 through a vegetable tray. And this was no measly little tray either. It was the full on party-sized platter. While eating this much of it was not a proud moment, the fact that I put the dip in the fridge without even opening it was a small victory. I had a few other things too, mostly healthy but the less said about them, the better!

In my pantry and fridge scavenging, I discovered things that shouldn't be at my house because I can't be trusted around them. Eggnog, even the "lite" variety, is horrifyingly awful for you. Granola bars with chocolate chips in them might taste better than your average bear but they aren't a smart choice either. And anything chocolate should always be kept in the freezer so as to threaten expensive dental work if eaten without timely forethought. Crackers and chips should only be bought in snack-sized pouches so that there's no shame in the temptation to eat the whole bag. Reading all these fabulous dieting (lifestyle change) tips, I'm boggled by my inability to actually lose the weight. Oh wait, you actually have to follow the advice? Huh! How about that.


I thought exercise was supposed to help negate the obscene amount of eating I did over the holidays, not exacerbate the problem! Somewhere I read an exact number of pounds that the average American gains over the holidays. I don't remember the number but do know it was in the ballpark of 5 lbs. from November to January. Because I am an overachiever in all that I do, I gained that 5 in November alone. And since it's unseasonably cold (D. actually felt compelled to call and tell me that this was the coldest November on record here in the sunny south--and he suspects it's our weather curse at work again), I didn't want to go for a run this morning. Actually, the brutal wind was what convinced me today that running was only necessary for fur-covered creatures caught in the middle of the road with a car barreling down on them and even then, it might be warmer to huddle up and pray. And while I can indeed grow an impressive pelt on my legs if I quit shaving, the rest of me doesn't grow fur very well (thank heaven!!!). So without nature's own insulation (not counting the winter blubber layer I've socked in around my middle), I headed to the pool. Because wet hair in cold, windy weather is a better option. :-P It took all my get up and go to get up and go too. But I went, put in my yardage (hint to all those who automatically choose the "fast" lane at the pool: by default, being male doesn't make you fast and it probably won't kill you to be in the "slow" lane while your puddling around in my lane while I'm trying to put in an actual workout with intervals and such might just stress me out beyond all that's rational), and headed to the grocery store. And I used up every last ounce of willpower I owned while at the grocery store to avoid buying peanut butter pretzel sandwiches dipped in milk chocolate. Damn you Snyder's of Hanover folks for creating such a tempting (and mighty delicious--you don't really think the willpower works every time now, do you?) snack that you then strategically place on end caps where I cannot avoid seeing their deliciousness taunting me as I make my way up and down the aisles. Well, I made it out of there without the tasty yummies masquerading as something marginally okay to nosh on by claiming pretzelhood, but as mentioned before, I used the last of the willpower to swerve out of reach of said goodies. And now I'm home and eating like a hoover vaccuum. I can only rationalize about one small snack's worth when I consider the amount of exercise I actually did. ::sigh:: I may never lose this holiday weight (never mind the moving weight I also added over the past few months). My only solution will be to go and live at the Y, although that is within walking distance of Dunkin Donuts and that's not a good option either. Off to try J.'s stop eating trick of cleaning a bathroom. After all, who wants to eat when their hands smell like Clorox and have been near a toilet?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Box countdown and other uninteresting bits

I'm down to 78 total boxes. Woo Hoo! If you had any idea how painful and slow this unpacking has been, you'd be doing cartwheels for me. Of course, I still have that 78 to get through. Any guesses as to how long it'll take?

I've lost yet another toenail to the running gods. Interestingly, this one didn't turn black first. Instead it gave up the ghost (ie went white and died) without any warning. On the plus side, I've gotten really good at removing them myself and this one had the added bonus of complete family gross-out factor since I did it while watching a Christmas special with D. and the kids.

My in-laws are headed home and I'm in clean-up mode, especially since the next guest is arriving in the spare room tomorrow (my grandmother). I think I must not be a very hospitable person but I can only take other people for a very few days before I just want them to leave. Other people mess with my ingrained habits by requiring me to be sociable and all. And that's a serious strain on my good humor. Yes, I know, I have very little good humor to speak of so visitors are treading on thin ice the minute they arrive. I don't know whether to chalk it up to being a brat or to being introverted. The latter sounds ever so much nicer, doesn't it? Plus, then it's a personality trait I have no control over and somehow that makes it more palatable. At any rate, I've been holed-up in the basement alone ever since they left, ostensibly to unpack but really to escape all need for civility, even towards my own family.

Friday, November 28, 2008

No travelogue but...

Since we didn't travel for the holiday this year, I can't write up one of my famous travelogues, but apparently it's not the traveling that causes barfing, it's simply holidays. There's nothing quite like being up to your arms in soapy dirty dishes when your child comes to you, holding her hands out, and says, "I was coughing and I barfed on the stairs." Apparently she tried to catch it as it happened (won't she be a good mom someday? Already trying to catch the elusive vomit!) and it was dripping from her hands and arms. So I left the dishes to scrub the stairs. ::sigh:: I'm trying not to take personally the fact that she urped up my first-ever turkey dinner. After all, it couldn't possibly be my cooking, right?! On the plus side, hosting the holiday at our house meant that we actually used our good china for the first time. We were given 14 place settings of it as wedding presents and it took us 13 years to use them. Could be that we are officially grown-ups now with all the adult-type stuff going on here lately (get your mind out of the gutter!).

Thursday, November 27, 2008


The meal is still cooking, which means I haven't given anyone food poisoning yet. I got up this morning and headed out to the Turkey Trot (8K), which I ran in a slightly slow but reasonably respectable 9 minutes a mile dead on. When I parked for the race, I purposely chose to park in the Barnes and Noble paking lot because I have yet to get lost around books and I do tend to have directional issues. I hung around with my former Team in Training teammates and coaches for a while after the race and before heading back to the car, asked them to point me in the direction of the Bojangles where packet pick-up had been. I figured once I got there, I was good to go because B&N is almost within sight of it. Well, I miscalculated slightly. The entertaining thing is not that I got lost, because I am wont to do that all the time. It's that I am clearly magnetically attracted to bookstores because I ended up in Borders' parking lot instead of B&N. Had I had a wallet with me, I could have done some serious damage. LOL! I wandered around a bit and once I got away from the gravitational pull of Borders, I did manage to find B&N and head home to stuff the turkey and pop it in the oven. I didn't get a shower until all of the food was cooking so I told everyone that nothing should need salt given that I was seasoning it all with my sweat. Something tells me I won't be allowed to host Thanksgiving next year. Bwahahaha!

Oh, and for those who care about my poor feet, even this mere 5 miles left me with blisters on the bottom of both small toes. Clearly I am not designed to be on my feet for more than 6 seconds a day. I wonder if anyone would be interested in carrying around my sedan chair (as I balloon to a billion pounds from lack of exercise). Actually, I wonder where you can even find a sedan chair anymore.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The day so far...

We had a lovely breakfast with the E. family. The kids played hard and were very disappointed that they had to leave for the rest of their Thanksgiving journey (both because they get along great with the E. kids and because they knew that we would be cleaning like demons once they left). We unpacked a slew of boxes (actual count will have to wait until after the holiday, by which time I hope to have even more unpacked). We've organized the basement playroom almost entirely. My sis-in-law will have more than enough space to throw down a mattress and sleep in there. I went to pick-up my race packet and as I was pulling out, I discovered that my ratty children had been in the back of the van, where I have all the Christmas presents I have bought thus far stored. (They didn't get the back completely shut and the blanket I had carefully covered everything with was runkled around and no longer neatly tucked.) I went to packet pick-up in a bad mood only to discover that the t-shirt for this race is quite possibly the ugliest (grotesque actually comes to mind) I've ever gotten. Truly hideous. So many cute things to do with turkeys (it's the Turkey Trot) and they have to make the shirt creepy. I come home and have my sneaky children lie to me about getting into the trunk. I'm now contemplating returning all of their presents. Just think how much money we'll get back!!! I didn't scream at them. But I did work them like dogs, assigning chores right and left that they had no choice but to do for fear that that one fuss would be the one to send me over the edge. The laundry is in so everyone will have fresh sheets tonight when they get here. And now D. and I have moved all the book boxes that were in the bathroom out so that everyone can actually shower as well. Such service we supply. ::snort:: The K. bed and breakfast is the place to stay! Well, maybe only if you don't mind cold cereal for breakfast because I'm too pooped out from making sure there were all those other amenities like open beds and a cleared out bathroom to offer to make something.

Tomorrow ought to be a blast. Running a race and cooking my first ever Thanksgiving (I've avoided it successfully for 13 years but I guess the streak is over) dinner. With luck, fewer people will get salmonella than don't. And if a relaxing hospital stay is offered to those suffering, I might be first to sign-up. Salmonella's not the one that *always* kills you, is it?

I have to admit

that I actually bought pre-chopped celery and onion for my stuffing tomorrow. My excuse is that I am running in the Turkey Trot tomorrow morning and won't have time to do all the prep work needed to eat at a reasonable hour with the race too. In reality, I'm just lazy.

Unpacking redux

7 boxes down yesterday in a mere 3 hours (just imagine how long that means it's going to take me to finish! ::sigh::). And I've moved a lot of stuff into the storage area so that it's quite possible that C. will actually have floor space in which to lay out a mattress. Good thing since everyone descends on us today! My favorite unpacking discovery yesterday? A 3/4 deflated balloon. That joins the empty soda can, the wad of plastic store bags, and the light switch pull string on my list of all time most ridiculous things to have moved (this time). Maybe they were using the balloon as cushioning. Or maybe they were just dumb as a box o' rocks. Back to the salt mines this morning!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Unpacking update

I feel like I should have a box countdown on here (not that it would be updated very frequently!) so here's today's tally: 108 boxes left to unpack in the house. The vast majority of these are book boxes but they are stacked in inconvenient places so must be dealt with. At least they no longer block the bed in the guest bedroom. Now I just have to drag them out of the guest bathroom so my in-laws can shower while they are here. ::sigh:: Hopefully I can drop this number fairly significantly in the next week or so. Then again, I am a professional procrastinator and not even the thought of company has inspired me to get with the program and get it all unpacked.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Christmas shopping

I don't know if we can afford the turkey for Thanksgiving now, but I'm almost finished with my Christmas shopping for the kids in the family (including the niece and nephew, one of whom also has a December birthday). Talk about a serious drain on the wallet! As the kids get older, they want smaller, more expensive stuff. The older two are getting one gift each from us given the price of what they've asked for while the smaller kiddo (also the only believer left in the crew) is getting about four for the same cost. Now I just have to think about the adults and stocking stuff for everyone. Any suggestions for stocking goodies for a 6th grade boy and a 1st grade boy gratefully accepted. Why is it that girls are so much easier on the stocking front? R. is getting some of the gawdiest, ugliest socks on the planet and she'll love them. The only thing I can think of for the boys that they might like as much as her socks would be mud and twigs and that would just get the stockings irreparably dirty so not an option.

Eclectic or schizophrenic?

I frequently check out other peoples' bookshelves for little clues into their psyches but I never really considered what mine might say about me. As I continue to load my books into LibraryThing, it turns out that my library says I am completely random. I've just finished adding all of my romance novels (yes, I admit to my formerly guilty pleasure--and the kitschier the cover, the happier they make me, as if I'm thumbing my nose at academia) but then I added the newest book we're going to read for bookclub and the combination/proximity of the bodice ripping of "Deception" and the staid history of "River of Doubt" about Theodore Roosevelt pretty much sums up my reading schizophrenia. In the interest of fairness, I am not thrilled about the latter but I think that's more a mood thing than anything. Winter tends to find me reading books that end happily. Everybody needs some joy in life when they have to be wearing twelve million layers just to stay warm. Plus, the kinds of books I read this time of year do tend to warm you up in their own special way. ;-) I rarely consider the strangeness of my collection but as I continue to add books (and I still have 70 book boxes to go at about 70 books per box), it's fascinating to see what a wild eclecticness I've managed to acquire.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A milestone of sorts

Last night the Y had one of its monthly middle school fun nights. Thinking that he'd probably say no, I asked W. if he'd like to go. He said yes and was terribly excited, after all, they have a very cool game room for kids 7 and up. While he was there, we planned to go out to dinner with some neighbors and then come home and watch football wih them. So it was time to go and my sweet guy comes downstairs to tell me he and D. are waiting for me when I notice that his hair is not only combed, but it has been wetted down so he's all dapper and ready to go. I asked him about it and he got embarrassed so I dropped it. We dropped R. and T. at the neighbors and picked them up. I asked their 8th grade daughter and her friend, who have been to one of these evenings if they thought W. would like it (they are at the bus stop with him). They seemed fairly doubtful, which made me a bit apprehensive but he was so gung-ho that I wasn't going to say anything. We took him to the Y and when we dropped him off (we weren't allowed to come in, thank-you very much because we are *so* embarrassing), T. teasingly told him not to pick up too many girls. I think he actually blushed. We grown-ups went on our way and had a nice evening. W. did call once to check-in. We actually think he was just tickled beyond tickled to have my cell phone with him and wanted an excuse to use it. D. eventually went and picked W. up and brought him back to the football gathering. I asked how it was and he was flying high. He'd had a fabulous time despite the fact that two of his "mortal enemies" from school were there. He also confided in a whisper that what Mrs. P. had teased him about had happened because there were two girls there who liked him. Telling me this made his absolutely giddy and pink with embarrassment (unlike his younger brother, the self-declared and matter-of-fact Casanova of M.R. Elementary School). I'm so pleased he enjoyed himself, had the courage to go without any friends, and got a good taste of growing up. In my head he's still the little peanut who liked to eat dog food, climbed into his sister's car seat to be with her, and charmed his preschool teachers with his enormous vocabulary. But I guess he's growing up. Of course, once he was back with us, he scooted off to play Legos with his little brother and sister. So he's still sort of half child and half pre-teen.

Friday, November 21, 2008

News flash

I ate so much candy, I don't feel good. I didn't think there was a limit to how much I could eat without ill effects. But there is, and it was a surprisingly small amount. I must be getting sick.

Random musings

Studies show that people are more likely to overeat following a swimming workout than any other kind of workout. Is that related to goldfish eating until they explode? No wonder I'm so at home in the water.

I like the smell of my new shampoo. It's a sort of lime-coconut thing. The bad news is that it makes me crave Thai food and I've even considered gnawing on my hair at non-mealtimes (as if it would be ok to gnaw on it at actual mealtimes).

I signed up for another race today. I feel more apprehension about it than I have about almost any race besides the very first one I ever ran. Why is that? I have nothing to prove to anyone, especially for an 8K.

I am completely swamped and uninspired to pick up my filthy, dirty house. And I suspect that it's vaguely Marie Antoinette-ish to think I should just hire someone else to clean it because that will help the economy. Apathy as political statement; no, I swear I'm not a part of the slacker generation.

I haven't even started Christmas shopping but I have bought my kids outfits for the Christmas picture. Of course, they won't let the clothing ever grace their bodies again after the picture has been taken, but somehow I still consider it money well spent. Then again, they owe me a picture in decent clothes that I like given the obnoxious cost of *each* of the gifts they have on their lists. Cell phones, laptops, iPods, Bakugon sets, a bike, etc. Have you ever seen such confident greed? They are going to be so disappointed on Christmas! (But at least I'll have gotten my picture long before then. )

I can't settle into a book right now, which is a truly tragic reflection of my state of mind. The number of books I've started and set aside on the bedside table just keeps growing and growing.

Why is the upstairs in my house freezing cold? It has its own thermostat, which is set at a reasonable temp and yet it is definitely bone-chillingly cold up there. Here's where I display that clearly less than stellar science ed-you-kay-shun again and confess to thinking that I remember heat was supposed to rise. Perhaps this only holds true in intro classes! But if the main floor is pleasantly toasty (we just discount the chilly basement altogether), why is the upstairs frost-bite territory?

How is it that I gained weight and a pair of mostly lycra running pants looks worse on the chub but still slides down my butt until I've worked up a sweat that plasters them to the aforementioned chub? I'm sure the sight of me reaching down and yanking up my drawers is a really pretty one for all drivers in the neighborhood. Apologies offered.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


A human pretzel I am not so perhaps yoga sounds like a strange place to find me. But after a tight and cold run this morning, I decided to join some neighbors at their beginner's yoga class. The legs can always use some stretching, right? And heaven knows that my balance could use a refresher course. I did take yoga well over a year ago so at least I knew what I was getting into. What I'd forgotten (or never learned) would fill a book though. First, I forgot that yoga is done barefoot. And I've previously established here just how gross my feet look right now (and probably for the foreseeable future since I haven't exactly given up running). Seems everyone else gets pedicures. Just what is the problem with looking at gnarled stumps, I ask you? ::wicked grin:: Then, because I didn't want to be the dork who showed up with things all wrong, I didn't take my own mat. Never doing that again! Do I want my nose touching a mat someone else's bare feet (no matter how pretty) have been touching? Most assuredly not!!! Just the thought of my face anywhere close to feet, strange feet, skeeves me out. So we poked through class and I think I did fairly well although I noticed that every time I raised my head out of proper alignment so I could check out what the instructor (or failing her, the woman in the front row who seemed to know what she was doing) was doing, we were instantly re-directed to turn our gaze somewhere where I couldn't see squat. Then we got the whole gentle conversation about yoga not being a competition so it didn't matter what our neighbor was doing. Shoot! I really was only trying to figure out what pose I was supposed to be in, but if I'm being honest, I guess I have to say that competition did cross my mind once or twice. Okay, maybe a lot more than that. So sue me. Anyway, finished up class and have to admit I was a tad disappointed that I wasn't too shaky and sweaty afterwards. Maybe I could do more than beginner. I so rock. Moving up after only one class. Oh wait, there's that competition thing again. And I had to chuckle over two things. One, after class, T., one of my neighbors, told me I have really good core strength. I exercised good self-restraint and didn't laugh. I don't even have a core. I just have a bowl of pudding. The second thing was imagining my mom doing her yoga class this summer in jeans and sneakers. Actually, this one has the potential to work me up to howling with laughter if I think about it too much. (Sorry to throw you under the bus mom.) Jeans and sneakers. ::giggle, snort:: So anyway, I'll probably go back, if for nothing else besides the final pose, which is really just hanging out on your back with nothing to think about besides breathing. We could all use some of that down time in our lives.

Running in the cold...

Is like a long, slow strip-tease. Yes, I realize I live in the south and it is perfectly balmy compared to my friends still in northern climes (you don't fool me though, we were running inside on the treadmill by this time last year. So there!). But it's cold for here and since I've tried to rapidly assimilate myself, I am calling it cold. And it was chilly (wind chill counts, you know) enough today to require long sleeves and long pants and a wind breaker to run in. I probably could have done with gloves too but I neglected to dig those out. But I digress; back to the strip-tease. As already stated, I started my run with long pants, long sleeves, and a windbreaker. My hands were carefully tucked up into my sleeves and the wrist openings firmly clutched closed in my frozen fingers, GPS signal for the watch be damned. The iPod earbuds kept me from inner ear cold aches so that was good. But as I ran, I started to warm up, which is, of course, at least one reason to run (I assume that the effort to warm me up is also somehow making my metabolism gear up--and don't even think of disabusing me of that notion!!!). At mile one, my hands let go of the sleeves and even poked out into the cold. Between mile one and two, I partially unzipped the windbreaker. Between three and four, I completely unzipped. Between five and six, had I not worried that I'd trip trying to wrestle the thing off and tie it around my waist, I would have taken it off completely. The neighbors were surely grateful that my run was only 5 miles today. Thursday I might go 6 miles. The mind boggles thinking of what would come off next!

Bleach and chemistry

I realize that I was an English major, not a chemistry major but my understanding of bleach is that it is supposed to leach the color (or in this case, stains) out of things. Am I mistaken in this understanding? I fail to see how the white cotton t-shirt that W. *must* wear as a part of his gym uniform could possibly go through a wash load with half a bottle of bleach (I don't like to leave things to chance) and yet still come out looking yellow and gross. Now I do realize that as a 6th grade boy, he has developed sweat glands that could possibly qualify him as a toxic waste dump, environmental hazard, or even a WMD if he swings those underarms around ill-advisedly. But (and it's a big one), the entire shirt is yellowed, not just under the arms. Okay, so he frequently (read always) forgets to put his gym uniform in the wash after wearing it so it goes days before I remember to insist it needs complete disinfection. But shouldn't a half bottle of bleach take at least some of the yellow away, even as it eats holes through the fibers? Apparently not.

And now thinking of it, I wonder where the back-up uniform I paid for is? W. claims he's never received it. Guess I have to track that down, right after I find the winter coat W. has also lost already.

Oh, and speaking of chemistry, R. was in her bathroom mixing up potions again, despite being grounded for the results last time. This time she was mixing water, Elmer's and body lotion with glitter. Again, the excuse for this was that she was bored. Given the smell of this latest potion and the fact that she was putting it all into the water squirt bottle for her hair, I am leaning towards thinking she was creating a shellac-type hair product and she's actually used it in her hair for dance. How else is she keeping those frizzy curls up in a slick bun without my help? A for ingenuity. F for creating yet another mess mom has to figure out how to chip off the bathroom sink. Maybe I should sic her on the bleach problem. She's either going to be a chemist when she grows up or she's going to be the unibomber. Growing up in our family, I know which one I think she's more likely to be but I'll let you all figure it out when they show the sketch of her on the news.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Behavioural conference

It wasn't as bad as it could have been. W.'s teachers all seem to genuinely like him. They think he is incredibly smart (one even tossed out the word brilliant but like the high and low scores in ice skating, I think we have to discount that). They truly want to help him overcome his freak-outs (no one was unkind enough to use the word tantrum, but that is what they are). But none of them know how; nor do we. Final analysis: he's incredibly hard on himself, is incapable of calming down in the moment, and should probably see a therapist. ::sigh:: As D. and I walked out, we realized that we are to blame for the troubles this child is having. When D. was young, if it didn't interest him, he put no effort into it. And I'm a perfectionist. Mush the two of us together and you get W. and with that genetic heritage it's no wonder he loses it completely. A therapist is going to have a field day with this boy-child of mine.

Oh, and for the record, I managed to make it through the conference without crying. If I can hit a milestone like that, surely anything is possible!

Today at the Y...

Warning! This post contains some completely disgusting stuff. Since you've been warned, you can't hold me responsible for mental anguish suffered as a result of your own overactive imagination.

Despite feeling weak as a kitten after yesterday's horrific migraine, I decided that I needed to go swim and do the short Ab Attack class I've sort of added to my Monday schedule semi-permanently. So after dawdling at the bus stop, I did indeed head off to the Y. Today I ended up in the slow lane, partly because when I first arrived, there was a guy who was clearly a *real* swimmer, and not out of shape and splashing along like me, doing an *actual* workout in the fast lane. I decided to leave him to it and popped into the slow lane. Because of the water jets in this lane, detritus tends to collect to the right of "t" in the middle of the lane instead of being washed into the gutters and run through the filters. Gross as this is, at least it's on the bottom and likely to stay there. It was the hair ball the size of a large rodent wafting through the water that almost did me in today. The fact that it was swimming along faster than I was, was also disheartening. But I got in a decent length workout, even if it was pitifully slow.

I went to change for the 10 minute ab class after my swim and discovered just how sadly out of shape I am. Now I realize that putting clothing of any sort on a wet body is tough, but when you have to struggle for a good two minutes (and I'm not exaggerating) in order to wrestle the sports bra on your body, it's a sign. Either you are the flabbiest, most spaghetti-armed, out of shape loser on the planet or the weight you've gained has all settled smack into your chest. Or both! And neither option is a pleasing one for me. Once I did finally wriggle myself into the workout clothes, I felt the need to reassert myself. So I pulled my grossest toenail off. See, I warned you it was a bad visual post! Since my feet were easily the most hideous at the Team in Training alumni gathering this weekend, I thought it was time to do something about it. And I don't like other people touching my feet so a real podiatrist was out. But after 45 minutes in the pool, the toenail was nice and pliable and it came off without any pain. Now I just have to figure out how to get rid of the black, callused growth that was under it.

Toenail-less, I headed to Ab Attack where was I was a total wuss and couldn't even do cruches for 4 minutes straight. Pitiful! And the number of bits that hurt were impressive. My wrist protested holding up my entire body weight during plank (never mind how it felt about hover). My one thigh muscle, which bothered me in the pool doing backstroke (how weird is that?), was still low-grade annoying. And my abs, well, it goes without saying that they were on strike. So all in all, a totally successful class. NOT!

Now I just have to channel the toenail ripper-off-er during the conference for W. instead of the wimpy, weepy, marshmallow mom. I suspect that if I blurt out, "I peeled off my own toenail," they will instantly understand from whence many (all?) of W.'s problems come.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


If you're a migraine sufferer, you already know the list of symptoms that accompany this most fun of all headaches. If you're not, they can (but don't have to) include light sensitivity, noise sensitivity, painful throbbing behind only one eye, heightened sense of smell, aversion to heat, nausea, and so on. If you're lucky like me, all of these hit you like a ton of bricks. But, if you're like me, you are too stupid to put life on hold and get rid of the migraine before you go about your day. Sometimes, if you do what I don't and climb back into bed, you can catch the migraine while minor amounts of drugs will take care of it and before it blows up in your head, completely debilitating you. Like I said, though, I don't tend to do this so I'm at the mercy of my own stupidity and have to pray hard that massive amounts of powerful drugs will knock out the now raging pounding going on in my head.

The good news? Massive amounts of drugs did work today although I still feel weak as a kitten from them and I'm headed back to bed in mere minutes. The bad news? I had a wing-ding of a time getting to this point because, well, today I decided that going to a movie with R. was a good plan, throbbing head be d@mned! Every choice I made snowballed into something worse and I could kick myself for it (or I could if I wasn't afraid that the throbbing would come back if I did).

We went to see Madagascar 2 with a neighbor and her daughters. I didn't drive myself. Good for the environment, very bad for the suffering. Thinking that perhaps some caffeine would help the head, I got a medium (but have you seen the size of a medium soda at the movies lately? Sheesh! The Titanic could sink in that cup) soda and a medium popcorn (also stupidly oversized). We went into the movie and settled in. My head felt marginally better when the lights went down but then the Dolby Surround sound or whatever system they use assaulted my ears. Now I generally think I am going deaf but when I have a migraine, I can hear a pin drop three states away so why I thought getting my eardrums root canaled at a theater was a good idea is beyond me. I am also severely light sensitive as well so even though I viewed the previews from behind closed eyelids (and I do mean viewed since they were so bright as to burn through my lids) my head started pounding harder. Concentrate on drinking soda and hope that caffeine infusion will calm head. Suck, suck, suck. Stomach is starting to roil. Better have some popcorn to absorb some of the extra acid. Chew, chew, chew. Suck, suck, suck. Completely miss major chunks of the movie while breathing slowly and deliberately and trying to convince tummy to stop the somersaults. Upon realizing that the nausea was rising and my efforts at mind over matter were failing miserably (you can recognize this stage easily because even swallowing your own spit makes your gag reflex kick-in), I excused myself down the row and sprinted to the bathroom. There is very little worse than throwing-up in a public bathroom. And popcorn hurts on the return trip. So I swabbed myself down (I was clammy and sweaty all at once) and returned to the movie. Now normally throwing up helps the migraine subside but no such luck today. It just made things hurt more. The light and sound from the movie pulsed brighter and echoed louder and I squirmed up and down in my seat trying to find a position that kept the continuing nausea at bay. Blessed relief when the movie was over. But then my neighbor wanted a refill on her popcorn and we stood by the refreshment stand for that. By then, my sense of smell had sharpened accutely and I started to sweat with the effort of not vomiting right there as the smell of stale popcorn and whatever that yellow brick of fat they pop it in is called swirled around me. We finally get outside the theater into the cold air and Q. says she's forgotten her jacket inside. I would have cried but that would have made my head pound harder, plus the cold air was helping miniscule amounts. We get in the car and since T. is from Texas, the cold is killing her and the heat is jacked way up in the car. We made it a whole 5 minutes before I had to beg her to turn it off. As a fellow migraine sufferer, she totally understood though (thank heaven) and even turned the air on for me. This is probably the only thing that kept me from asking her to pull off the road to be sick again (or maybe mind over matter works briefly in certain cases). But I had to bolt out of the car as soon as we got home, without even a thank-you for driving. I made it into the house, ran past D., who had just gotten home from a business trip, and promptly rid my stomach of the few remnants left in it. And actually, a book I just read described what happens physiologically when you throw-up (I know, I know, I read strange stuff) so I also cleared the upper portion of the small intestine too. Even so, I choked down a massive dose of meds on a wing and a prayer that it would stay down and headed to bed. I've been up for an hour now, ate a small dinner, and think I'll crawl back into my blessedly dark and quiet room now.

For those of you who don't get migraines, aren't you glad?!

Friday, November 14, 2008


I went to the pool again today since it's raining appallingly and my thigh muscles are still killing me from the bright idea I had to try some speed work during my short and painful run the other day. Plus I'm still committed to the whole cross-training idea too (give me at least another week to become less than enchanted). So I trot off to the pool in an completely inappropriate bathing suit since the only one I own not designed for sitting *beside* the pool and soaking up the sun was in the washing machine (only half way through its cycle). So we've established that I look stupid with a sun worshipper suit, cap and goggles on. I get to the pool and my inner swimming snob comes out. Water aerobics has commandeered most of the pool (no surprise) and there's one guy in the slow lane and one guy in the fast lane. They are both swimming like drunks weaving down a sidewalk and neither one is particularly fast. So I hop into the fast lane (I still have delusions of grandeur from my previous swimming career--plus the slow lane is right next to the wall and you get hit with the jets) and the guy moves over to make room for me. Luckily slow lane guy gets out and I slide over there instead so I can have a lane to myself. I poke my way through my own workout, noting as I do that fast lane guy is at least faster than my breast stroke, which if you knew me in my swimming days you'll know is still not a great recommendation for his being in the fast lane. But he doesn't hang around too much longer and when he leaves, I slide over into the fast lane (also an optimistic designation for me at this point) to avoid the wall jets. Being in the fast lane gives me a good view of the lower halves of all the older folks doing water aerobics. This is not a pretty sight (and lest you think I'm being mean, my own jiggles would make me a rather unappealing sight in the same situation) and I spend as much of my swim as possible breathing and looking toward the empty lane instead of at the wiggles and jiggles of the portly, lily white, over 60 crowd. The one time I forget exactly why I am looking the other direction, I look back towards the class and am horrified to see something glutinous and opaque making its way undulating and amoeba-like through the waves the class has generated. ::gag:: That, combined with the 5 100 IM's I barely managed to pull off convinced me that swimming was over for the day. I will note that I did a total of 1500 yards and didn't cheat even one stroke on the butterfly legs of the IM's. And finally, thank the good heaven for chlorine because I don't know what the thing in the water was, nor do I want to know. As long as it wasn't carrying some communicable disease, and thanks to the chlorine it most likely wasn't, I might even find my way back to the pool again--but not for a few days so the filters can deal with whatever it was!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Personal hygiene

I fear puberty. But I think this new obsession with personal hygiene is a good thing and probably attributable to that same scary freight train. You could have knocked me over with a feather when the oldest boy child came downstairs this morning and asked if he could take a morning shower. This is the same child who never throws his nasty gym uniform in the wash. And the child who, less than a month ago, whined about being forced to shower before bed after playing outside all afternoon. And the same child who seemed to have a serious allergy to his comb. And the same child who had to be badgered to brush his teeth. Hallelujah! There's hope. (And hopefully this means there's hope for them all eventually!!!)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bad idea

Never try to shut the rear of a minivan when your 11 year old has put his bike in there. Handlebars and rear windshields do not go together well. And glass shatters in spectacular patterns. ::sigh::

Duplicate titles

Do publishers rename books from country to country simply to get suckers like me to buy more than one copy of the same book? If so, it's working. ::grumble, grumble:: While LibraryThing is very cool (I'm whitreidtan over there) and I am having fun cataloging my library, it also notes when you have duplicates of a book, even if the title is misleadingly different. This is of no concern for books like Alice's Adventures in Wonderland since I have one lovely leather edition that my dad gave to me when I was small but also a paperback version that also contains Through the Looking Glass. So in my own head, these are two different books. But while entering books today (and I even broke down and got the bar code scanner--too fun), I ran across a book I have in British and American editions. The former is called Lions and Liquorice while the latter is Vanity and Vexation. Color me grumpy that they are the same book. And I was *always* guaranteed to buy both because they are re-workings of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, my biggest book downfall. Which one to let go? Which one? I like the American cover better but the British one is just somehow inherently cooler (as well as original). Decisions...


Just in case they find my sad, lifeless body in a slump by the fridge and can't determine the cause of death, someone step in and tell them it was because of leftovers. Yes, as the mom, I am obligated to finish (or at least try) the leftovers of all the meals I've made that no one else will touch. But if my children don't start eating more than a bite or two of each thing, I'm going to have to have more lunches like today's, which included a chicken soup that was originally very good (today it smelled a little off) and tomatoes growing their own penicillin (fancy knife-work got rid of the most egregious mold). Food experts will be pleased to note that I did throw the remainder of the soup away after my lunch was over because it would likely have been able to animate itself and cook me a whole new lunch all on its own by tomorrow. And the worst tomatoes are gone so unless the three remaining go rogue by tomorrow, I'm done with my weekly mold quota. Thank heavens! When in my kitchen and faced with leftovers, you have to trust in antibodies because expiration dates are for sissies. :-)

Small fry journals

Every mom should be the subject of he children's school journal at least once over the years they are required to keep one, right? I remember the sole time I made an appearance in W.'s. It was when he was in kindergarten right after a particularly bad weekend. His entry said "I don't like it when my mom yells." It was, of course, not spelled this well, but still, the sentiment just warms the little cockles of your heart, doesn't it? R. must not have found me terribly objectionable since I can't recall her writing about me in her school journal. Hers tended to be more about her friends and her weekend excursions than about my temper (although I have seen "I hate her" recently written in her diary after I punish her for some misdemeanor or other). Yes, I read her diary. And I have no qualms about it either. So there! And now I've made my debut in the youngest's school journal as well. October's came home on Monday and in reading through it this morning, I see T. wrote of me: "my mom Did a vare long ras She neid to tak a icE Bath." Interesting to see what all makes an impression on kids. W. thinks (thought) I'm a yeller. (I am.) R. thinks I'm hateful. (I don't think I am but what do I know?) And T. will always remember me sitting in a bathtub full of ice water. (Odd but less psychologically damaging than the older two's impressions, I suspect.)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

October determination list

Yes, I am nerdy enough to make a monthly determination list of all the books I want to read each month. I pretty much never accomplish the whole thing but I do like trying. Last month I listed 12 books I wanted to read over the month. I read 10 of them and an additional 6 that weren't on my list. Of the two I didn't read, I did start one of them (War and Peace) so it's still in progress and is on the November list (here's hoping I finish it this month). The other one is still buried in one of the book boxes but I do hope to find it and read it this month too--or it gets punted to December's list and being the anal-retentive that I am, I hate having books span more than two months of my lists. You're probably laughing at my quirky eccentricity already (and that is the official way I refer to it because freakish OCDness seems so very negative) but in case anyone is interested, here's the final October determination list:

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (still in progress)
Sammy’s Hill by Kristin Gore
Strange Encounters by Daniel Botkin
Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga
The View From Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg
Grendel by John Gardner (didn't read--didn't even start)
A Not Entirely Benign Procedure by Perri Klass
Elizabeth and Her German Garden by Elizabeth von Arnim
All the Wrong Men and One Perfect Boy by Spike Gillespie
All This Belongs to Me by Ad Hudler
Pomfret Towers by Angela Thirkell
Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

additionally read:
A History of the World in 10 ½ Chapters by Julian Barnes
Monique and the Mango Rains by Kris Holloway
Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos
Honku by Aaron Naparstek
Five Men Who Broke My Heart by Susan Shapiro
Remember Me by Sophie Kinsella

So far November is not going all that swimmingly as per the list. There are 11 titles. I've finished 2. I've read 4 books not on the list and I'm in the middle (or beginning) of 4 more that are on the list but two of them are beasts: War and Peace leftover from last month and The Far Pavilions, which was idiotically tacked onto November when I optimistically thought I'd be finished with W&P (which I'm not terribly engaged by yet so not reaching for at every moment). Oh, and in addition to reading all these books, I'm still working on unpacking the basement and thinking about running a race on Thanksgiving. Overschedule myself? Who me?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Adventures in underwear

Getting new bedroom furniture meant that I had to finally excavate the drawers in the old dresser before hauling it to the garage for Good Will. This turned out to be fairly entertaining, especially in the ole underwear drawer. For starters, I have more nylons and such than any one person should ever have (and some of them have never been opened). They must all be left over from high school when my mom was in charge of my dressed-up self because I *never* wear them now, even at my dressiest. I flat out refuse. Then I came across the mountain ranges of underwear that I had long forgotten. I found an enormous maternity pair, which we briefly considered running up the flag pole and using as a flag. When I stopped laughing and waving them about, they went into the picth pile. Also finding their way into the pitch pile were the too numerous to count pairs with elastic that had died a grisly death. You know it's time to retire the undies when you pull at the waist and hear the crunching sound of oomphless elastic and notice that the waist no longer goes back to its original size. Shame on some of those pairs because they were cute. Then again, they were from high school, the last time I myself was cute. I found about 5 pairs of brand new underwear, tags still on them, as well. I vaguely remember buying them btu have no recollection of why I didn't wear them. The good news is that these will save me from having to buy stuff to wear to the gym so I'm presentable in the locker room. The funniest find of all was the bright red, lace thong that was a gag gift from my college roommate. D. wanted me to save that one, despite the fact that I don't think I've ever worn it (just trying it on made me wiggle around like I had a permanent wedgie) so since the elastic was still decent--which begs the question of how old the stuff with bad elastic was--I kept it. But I promise to never wear it with the uncomfortably low-rise jeans I seem to have bought by mistake. How's that for a mental picture you didn't need?!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Do they know I heard them?

T. started crying in the next room. W. said, "Don't cry. Don't cry. I didn't do it one purpose." R. chimed in with, "Don't cry. I'll play with you if you don't cry." Then she followed it with an explanation of why they'd get in trouble and be grounded if he cries and tells. Perhaps I should go and see what is going on now that R. is threatening to mess up T.'s room if he tells me. Hmmmmm. Methinks it is rough (and unfair) being the youngest in this family!

New furniture

Is there anything more satisfying than changing the entire way a room looks? After 13 years of marriage, we finally bought ourselves a bedroom suite. It's not all in the room yet because we are still moving the old stuff out but I am tickled in ways I can't even explain. The room looks totally different (not that that's a surprise considering we were still working off of the furniture I used growing up, hand me downs from my in-laws, and a few pieces of Wal-Mart specials). A former total hodge-podge now looks like grown-ups live in our room. Sure hope we don't have to live up to the new look! (Especially since I'm being a baby about the nasty paper cut I got cutting open the cardboard protecting all the lovely furniture.)

My kid? But he's just a baby!

I went to the monthly Bunko game the other night and ran smack up against more proof that my children are aging at a rapid pace. I saw a neighbor who I hadn't seen since we moved in. She and her 7th grade daughter (who is my height) and several of her daughter's friends (also all tall) all came over to bring us a sinfully delicious chocolate cake to welcome us to the neighborhood. We were talking about that and I mentioned how fabulous the cake was, not having remembered the horde of girls on my doorstep. She, however, was laughing about W. coming to the door, seeing the gaggle of girls and backing away calling for me. Apparently, when they all went back to her house, one of the girls mentioned W. and said, "He's cute!" When C. told me this, my first thought was, of course he's cute. We've always known he's a beautiful child. Then I realized this wasn't a mom kind of comment but a girl only a year older than he is kind of comment. Suddenly my baby is old enough to considered cute. (She did also say he needed to grow an inch, but...) If he's getting old, I'm getting old. And I. Will. Not. Allow. This! Is it bad to be glad he's immature and innocent and probably years from this?

Saturday, November 8, 2008


Soccer season is over! Can you hear the hallelujah chorus singing? Onwards to basketball. ::sigh::

Friday, November 7, 2008

Home again, home again

R. is home from her three day long field trip to Williamsburg, VA. I did the same field trip when I was in 7th grade so she has been looking forward to it and gloating that she got to do it so much younger than I did. I knew she'd have a good time although she was alternately thrilled and apprehensive about going without me (given my aversion to other people's children for extended periods of time, I didn't choose to chaperone).

So on Wed. morning at an appallingly early hour, I schlepped her and her things to the school. Somehow I was the only mom there still in her pj's (and some of them had hair and make-up done--I may never fit in here!!!). Luckily R. loves me even though I'm not a fashion plate, although I fully expect this to become a bone of contention as she heads into her teens in the next few years. I drugged her up with Dramamine (she's the orignial car-sick kid) and sent her on her way. After that, she was on her own. Apparently she had nightmares after the "haunted" Williamsburg tour (no surprise to me) and spent the night coughing. She enjoyed walking around the following day and said the woodworking was the most interesting. But her souvenir from the trip? Candy and a book. Now I know she's my kid! She was sweet enough to get her brothers each some candy and some Ghiradelli chocolate for me (she must have heard me talk about the Ghiradelli mile in the marathon). Sweet kid. :-) But that night she spent the night alternating between coughing and vomitting. How badly do I feel for her chaperone?! I wasn't called about it though so when I saw her get off the bus smiling tonight, I asked about the pillowcase-less pillow. Her answer was that it was in her bag. I was so focused on making sure she didn't get sick on the return trip (her chaperone had contraband Dramamine for her) that it never occurred to me to question why the pillowcase was in her bag and not on her pillow. Yup, she barfed all over it. Ironically, when the buses were delayed getting home tonight, I was crossing fingers that it wasn't because R. had been sick, causing everyone to have to stop while she was swabbed down. I can't decide if what happened is better or worse. I'd say only three girls know she was throwing up all night but if I remember girls that age, the entire grade knew about it within moments of them meeting up for breakfast the next morning.

I didn't go on the trip and yet I still have to wash nasty puke-y stuff. Ain't parenthood grand?! But I'm glad Barfing Betty is home and glad she feels fine now. Now to get flowers or something to apologize to K. for having to deal with my sick kid all night.

Things I learned

Not having graced a gym or pool for so very long, I had to re-learn some of the things I used to know (and found out a truth about my underwear).

1. If you are not living a sheltered life and participating on a team that has assigned lockers, you will need to bring your own toiletries and things like a brush. Since I've never had to cart this stuff with me, being spoiled and having my own locker full of it, this meant I had nothing necessary yesterday.

2. Foaming body soap from the shower dispenser might be fine on the body, but it leaves quite a bit to be desired in the hair. Shampoo is clearly one of those "bring 'em yourself toiletries."

3. Your face will clench up and feel all tight after a long time in the pool. While this is ostensibly a good thing for wrinkle elimination, it reminded me that I am old and leaching all moisture from my face is a bad thing in the long term. (Moisturizer is another of those toiletries.)

4. People you don't know persist in talking to you while you are changing in the locker room. Maybe it's just me, but unless I'm flashing back to 15 years ago when I was surrounded by friends in the locker room, I have no desire to linger there and even less desire to chat with perfect strangers while standing in my underwear. This brings me to my final point.

5. If people other than my husband are going to be seeing my underwear, it's probably time to retire the tatty stuff I've been wearing since college. Yes, exercise-inspired underwear shopping. Not my idea of fun but the alternative is to continue to wear the holey, dingy bits I already have and that thought is almost enough to keep me from exercising entirely!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

W. and grades update

My children have been testing me lately to see if I am serious about the consequences I've determined should accompany any and all of their poor choices. Trash the basement? No tv or computer for a month. Check! Eat candy all over the house and stash wrappers to hide evidence? All halloween candy gets donated to the local hopital's children's wing. Check! Don't pull up your grades? Be confined to doing homework of mom's choosing (home-schooling on steroids since he'd also still have to attend school in addition to my lessons). Thank the good heavens that I haven't been tested on this one. I am happy (well, happiness is relative since I know W. is far smarter than his grades show and that means he spent the first 3/4 of the grading period not working to his potential) to say that he's pulled all grades to C and above as of the end of October. With any luck, one or two of those might morph into A's and B's by the time all quarter grades are recorded. So I don't have to make him the world's most miserable 6th grader ever although he is going to be annoyed to find that I'm still going to have a conference with his teaching team to suggest that they don't cut him any slack and let them know my philosophy on my children's schooling (ie: he needs to learn accountability without us lowering expectations given his wily but under-worked brain).

Cross-training or new and improved ways to kick your own butt

I'm sitting here with jello-y arms, smelling a familiar scent on my skin. No, it's not the scent of sweat, with which I have indeed become very intimate these past months, it's the scent of chlorine oozing from my pores. This is what I smelled like constantly through 15 years of competitive swimming. But I have treated pools and swimming as if they had some communicable disease for the past 15 years. Nice symmetry there, eh? 15 years of daily swimming and 15 years of avoidance (with only minor one day here or there lapses). Today, though, I made the commitment to getting back in the water. I not only need to give my decrepit joints a break, but I realized that my running felt significantly better when I was cross-training, as opposed to only running. So, in the spirit of overkill, I'm considering joining the Y's master's program (they only practice twice a week for an hour) to make sure I have directed practices. I'm looking to see which spinning class I can join since I thoroughly enjoyed that when I did it last year. And I've joined a new running group that meets twice a week to keep me in that as well since I think I mostly committed to a half marathon in a couple of months, suggested I'd run another full marathon next year sometime, and said I'd look into yet another half marathon next spring. Loads of running, master's swimming, and a spinning class. Anyone else smell a triathlon coming on? Honest to goodness, I should probably have my head examined, especially given how sluggish and sloppy I felt during today's 1100 yards. It should all keep me busy though and it's cheaper than happy pills, right?!

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