Sunday, December 27, 2009

Japan People

The Christmas season brought me a bar of dark chocolate that was perfectly awful. Bitter is not a strong enough word for the awfulness that clung to my taste buds. After gasping and gulping water, I told the Dear Hubs that he too should share in the experience. He took the tiniest bite which was immediately followed by a look of horror and a quick grab for the Crystal Light.

Our son, Mitchell, declared that he loved all chocolate and asked for a bite. I warned him of the impending gag and then offered him a teeny piece. He put the piece on his tongue and in mere seconds was rubbing that same tongue with a paper towel.

"Mommy!" he declared. "That tastes like soil! Who would even eat that? Who would eat that on purpose?"

"I don't know." I answered honestly. "I am sure there are people that think that tastes really good."

"Oh yuck! Maybe like people that live in Africa or something."

"Mitchell! Why would you assume that people in Africa would like that?"

"I don't know. I mean there are giraffes there and they eat just anything. And, lions. Lions eat whatever too."

I looked at him. I was confused.

Sensing my confusion, he proceeded.

"Our maybe like Japan people. Maybe that might like it."

"You know kiddo, you are Japanese."

Mitchell looked at me completely shocked and said, "What?"

"You. You are Japanese."

Mitchell looked from me to his dad and back again. He giggled and said, "I am a Japan people?"

I so wish that more people could view the world with his innocent eyes. I wish more people would look beyond their prejudices and see people from the inside out. I was stunned by the simpleness of Mitchell's discovery and how it completely baffled him. He sees people as people and does not classify them into descriptive categories. To him, we are Mom and Dad. We are not Caucasian and Japanese. I love that! What a place this world would be if we had more mutts and less labels.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Reflecting Back on 2009

Reflecting back on 2009, I see that the year started with all the promise of the fattest pig at a county fair. After all, the house was still standing and the tribe was in reasonably good health. In truth, when compared to 2008, the year ahead looked mighty fine indeed.

But, like that pig at the fair, the blue ribbon is all well and good but in the end, you find yourself in a skillet (I really do see a vegetarian diet in my future)!

In my work, I had a fresh slate to work with. After dismal sales in 2008, I was off to a fresh start. I worked diligently to bring my numbers up and succeeded (though my end-of-year numbers are a bit sketchy!). I spent a lot of hours working and a lot of time away from my family. That just makes me sad. I know I would make a stunning stay-at-home millionaire if someone would just hand me the check!

The dear hubs also found success at work though it to came at a price. His price tag? Dealing with an absolute psycho. What should have been an open and shut home sale turned into a fiasco with a listing agent who I truly think had a mental disorder. I inspected my hubs when he got home at the end of each day to make sure his hide was still intact. The deal finally closed escrow and we finally got paid but it took months of agony and headaches to get it done.

In March, I competed in my first duathlon and had my first mammogram. The duathlon was called the "Spring Fling" and it took place on the most miserable day of the year. Rain poured out of the sky. The 400 entrants had dwindled to less than 100. I admit...I made the choice to compete. And, I didn't come in dead last...that honor went to the poor girl who got a flat tire on her bike and had trouble fixing it. I learned that there is a HUGE difference between a road bike and a mountain bike...guess which heavy, metal disaster I was riding. And, I learned that it is very hard to run in the mud...not just because the mud is slippery but because it cakes to your shoes so that you feel like you are running on stilts. I also learned that "playing" in a rainstorm is rewarded with a nasty sinus infection. So nasty it grosses out children.

About the mammogram, I just have to wonder why that upper plate on "The Squisher" is clear plastic? There are few things more horrifying that seeing one's boob completely smashed like roadkill (yep, back to the veggie diet)!

The summer was a nice change of course. We enjoyed a lot of family time and spent a vacation camping at the coast. Our camp was invading nightly by - according to legend - a 65-pound raccoon. I believe that first night we determined that the thing weighed 35 pounds but he has grown considerably as the story has been retold. The first night that bandit absconded with my best Tupperware which was pack full of brownies. The Tupperware was saved but the brownies, though untouched by the raccoon, had lost their appeal. It was our first adventure camping in our four person tent. With two small children we realized a bigger tent must be planned for in the future and that one bag of clothes is not enough for children who seem to have a magnetic pull toward the ocean waves.

In August, Mitchell started Kindergarten. He couldn't be happier to have finally achieved "Big Boy" status. Miss Ellie? Not so much. She was inconsolable. Mitchell had left her behind at preschool and her little heart was crushed. I took her to enjoy a Mommy and Ellie manicure and pedicure but the blues still weighed on her. After many tears and devastating morning drop-offs, Ellie finally accepted that it was what it was and set herself to being a successful preschooler.

We are winding up the year a bit weather-beaten. The kids fell ill with some nasty bugs and I found myself sick with the swine flu (that county pig!). We have struggled this year with finances in a bleak economy. But, have found that time and time again, God has been watching out for us. We settled our backsides into the skillet right before Thanksgiving but received the grace of our health being restored and a little kicker from work to make ends meet. So, we escaped the cooking, just like Wilbur in Charlotte's Web.

I guess that 2009 wasn't all bad. It was, however, challenging. I am not sorry to see it go. I look to 2010 with a hopeful heart and a lot of optimism. When things look bleak my son's words echo in my ears. Once, after falling down, Mitchell sprang to his feet and declared, "That's OK! My spirits are still up!" So, it is with those words I shall look to the New Year. 2009 may have knocked me down (better than knocked me up!) but I look to 2010 with my spirits still up!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Back to the Books

January 1st will mark the beginning of my tenth year in college publishing. That is amazing to me! Prior to this job, the longest I held a single position was three years. Anything longer than that and I would get bored or feel the need to try something new. But, when I entered publishing the challenge became to work through any bouts of boredom and to challenge myself within my current job title. It has worked out well. Ups and downs, good days and bad. Overall, I have to admit that I really like my job even though no one truly understands what it is exactly that I do!

My first job, outside of babysitting, was working as a sales clerk for B. Dalton Books. That is actually where I first met my dear friend Zen over at onezenmom.blogspot.com. I stocked books and hauled boxes and suffered daily paper cuts. I ultimately declared that I would never work with books again.

After college, I went to work as a marketing assistant for a manufacturing company. One of my key tasks was to assemble catalogs, package them in boxes, and haul the boxes to the lobby for UPS pick-up. Seriously. I was back in books. I hated having to get dressed in nice work clothes only to sweat and struggle with boxes or worse - schlep through the rain with them.

After a very brief stint in non-profit where I hauled no books I went to work in advertising. In advertising I dealt not with books but with people. Crazy people with money to spend and unfathomable ideas. People that wanted to be treated like celebrities instead of home-builders and gadget makers and fast food assemblers. How I disliked that job! When I found out about the opening in the world of publishing, I went after the job like nothing I had ever done before. I wanted the escape from advertising even if it meant going back to schlepping books.

I, obviously, got the job in publishing and have been hear ever since...back in books! I have a car and a shed full of textbooks covering a world of disciplines. I do find myself hauling books this way and that but the perks of the job far outweigh the perils. And, I figure that hauling books is good exercise...except when it's raining and then it really is just miserable!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Words

I love words. I love linking them together and creating vivid mental pictures. I love learning new words. And, there are some words that are just fun. I was thinking of words that I love most. "Serendipity" is a chart topper for me. Not only is it fun to say but the bubbly excitement captured in its definition is truly an accidental discovery of something valuable.

Another fun word to say is "hemoglobin." That word just bounces off the tongue. It lacks in definition, having a dry medical meaning, but really makes a comeback with the fun shapes your lips make to sound it out. "Hibiscus" is another winner. A cheery word with a beautiful, Hawaiian flower in the definition. I have tried growing hibiscus in our flowerbed because I wanted the sheer ability to say, "Oh that? That is hibiscus! Isn't it a beautiful hibiscus?"

Some words are embarrassing to say. Why are body parts so mortify in their names? I still shriek internally if someone says "penis" or "vagina." I much prefer their other common names of "pee-pee" and "hoo-hoo." How I got through childbirth is still a wonder.

Oh mercy! Some words are just icky. Icky sounding and icky in definition. "Hemorrhoid." The name lodges in the throat and conjures up painful mental pictures. The same holds true for "probe" and "varicose." Yuck!

I like love little-used words. I enjoy the challenge of incorporating them naturally into daily conversations. For example, "Well, tallyho then! I am off!" Or, "Methinks it is time for dinner." Yep. I am geeky like that.

Well it is time to wind up this wordy blog. So I will close with wishing you a "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" kind of day!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Can't Escape the Dork Factor

I was reading an article recently in which the person was asked, "When are you most yourself?" This question made me think. As a person with zero celebrity status, I have the pleasure - or maybe the curse - of being myself all the time. I don't try to put on airs because, in truth, I would be dreadful at such a task. So, whether I am running after my kids in the yard or working to close $100K worth of business I am me...my goofy self.

One dear friend once described me as a dork...and I embrace that label! I feel bad for people who think they have to act a certain way to fit in with a certain group. I love that I have an eclectic group of friends and I am my dorky self with all of them. That is a measure of true friendship...your true friends are the people that accept you and all your quirkiness.

Because of my dork factor, when I am with my friends laughter is as much of the conversation as words. I LOVE to laugh. I have a loud, guffawing belly laugh. Yes, I have been know to throw out a snort now and then as well. But isn't that fun? Isn't it even funnier when you snort when you laugh? It leads to more laughter. My kids have amazing giggly belly laughs. I love to hear them laughing as they play and run around. They haven't developed the snort yet but every so often the giggles bring about toots which results in peals of laughter.

I have some friends that are cool but most are dorks like me. We love life and take each day for what it is worth. We have challenges but we can laugh at them and ourselves. I am amused by people who can't laugh at themselves. They are so serious and so continually "on" that when something goes amiss they are mortified or worse...they are furious. Now, if I took myself that seriously I would be a mess. I am more clumsy than graceful and if I couldn't laugh at myself falling down I would be in sorry shape.

Everyone must have a dork factor deep in their core. People need to release their inner dorks and just be themselves. This world would be kinder if we all had a bit of goofiness in our days.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Broken Chin?

Last night, I was laying in bed with my three-year-old. We were talking about all the things that are important to little girls. We discussed favorite colors, Christmas presents, baby dolls, and our dogs. We were facing each other as we shared her favorite princess pillow. Very randomly, my sweet, adorable, darling little girl asks, "So when are you getting another chin, Mommy?"

Surprised I asked, "Another chin?"

"Yeah. Another chin," she responded in a very matter-of-fact tone.

"Do I need another chin?" I asked.

"Yeah Mommy," she replied. "Your chin is broken. You have a rainbow."

I lifted my fingers to my chin and feel the crease that runs between the top of my chin and my lower lip. It has always been there. I think it is because of my overbite (wouldn't mean Katie have a field day with this one!?!?). And it does sort of have an arch to it.

"This?" I asked.

"Uh-hmm. You have a rainbow cause your chin is broken. See I don't have a rainbow," she said as she ran fingers across her smooth little chin.

"Well, do you think I could just keep this chin?"

I could see that she thought this was a bad idea. Her little mind was working double-time. She was rubbing her chin and looking at mine. I just know she was thinking, "Why on Earth would she want that horrible chin?"

Finally, my darling daughter spoke in very careful words, "Sure Mommy. You can keep that chin. It will be alright."

And with that she patted my hand and went to sleep leaving me to ponder my rainbow chin and the mind of a child.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Ugh!

You ever have one of those days? You know, those days. Those days were nothing goes right and the more you try to make it right, the more frustrated you become? Today was one of those days for me.

Instead of complaining about it, I am going to take my bad day and put it to bed. Tomorrow is a fresh day! I hope that it starts on time and doesn't end with tomato sauce on my work clothes. That isn't too much to ask and it is good to have small, focused goals in mind as I work through the day.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Stepping Stones

I was thinking this evening about all the things I have gone through to get to this exact moment in my life. Nothing turned out as I expected it would and I am very thankful that God's plans are always much better than my own. I thought about how even my worst experiences prepared me or paved the road for my life now.

In my trip down memory lane, I skipped over the soul-crushing four years of high school and went straight to college. I thought about how I met one of my dearest friends on the first day of freshman orientation. I thought about how that friend later offered me a job that connected me with two other people who have become two of my dearest girlfriends. I thought about how that job offered me the experience I needed to get a different job. It was at that different job that a co-worker introduced me to his friend who later became my husband.

I even thought for a moment about the creepy, controlling, head-case of a boyfriend I had before I met my dear husband. Had I not dated such a wretch would I have appreciated my husband as much as I do? Would I marvel at my husband's calmness and mellow manner? Would I acknowledge that in my husband I met my match? Someone who embraced my thrill-seeking tendencies rather than shook his head and muttered miserably?

Had I not taken that job and met my husband I likely would not have had my home burn down. But then I wouldn't have been blessed with a new one. I likely wouldn't have had a few of the pets that have given us both so much joy. And, I wouldn't have two of the most precious gifts God has ever given me. I can no longer imagine - nor do I want to imagine - a world without my children.

When hard times are pressing on us it is hard to realize that "this to shall pass." That this moment is merely a stepping stone to get us to another place. An experience is something we can learn from whether the experience is good or bad. We wrestle through and then step to the next stone. I really do believe that everything happens for a reason...every block builds on the next.

Think for a moment about all the little things that helped get you to this moment...appreciate them! I certainly do. I appreciate the traffic ticket that sent me to traffic school which I disliked so much I drive much slower now. I appreciate the world's worst neighbor that we lived next to when we lived in town. If not for her, we might never have ventured out to "the country." I appreciate the carpet cleaner who, while cleaning my carpets, paused and said, "I have this feeling I need to tell you to be still. God wants you to be still." It was when I stood still I met my husband. And, I appreciate our dirt and weeds landscaping in our front and back yards. I appreciate it because I know someday we will have grass and I will relish that grass every day.

I hope that whatever stone you are standing on is a great one. And, I hope when you find yourself on one warped and cracked that you will remember that "this to shall pass" and you are simply paving the way for a brighter future.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Barbie Moms

I find myself increasingly in awe of Barbie moms. I really don't know what else to coin them. They drop their children off to school with perfect, Bump-it worthy coiffures. They dress in linen that, amazingly, never has wrinkles. They wear high heels, fake nails, and lots of Bling. Yes, they are awe-worthy creatures.

Me? Depending on my work schedule for the day, I can be seen dropping off my children in anything from my running gear to black slacks. If I was placed into the outfit of a Barbie mom I know with certainty I could not pull it off. I lack grace. I walk with a goofy gait. I laugh loud and sort of like a clucking chicken. I like sneakers...really, I love them. I would rather wear denim than silk. I have good manners, but I certainly don't eat with style. I don't eat with just my teeth for fear of smudging my lipstick because I rarely wear it.

The Bump-it hairstyles elude me. I wrestle with my hair daily and most often opt for a simple ponytail. I do put my make-up on with care, but it isn't an art for me. My make-up isn't dramatic or alluring. It is functional. It covers up blemishes and ruddiness.

Perhaps my simple sense of style is why I find Barbie moms so intriguing. I wonder how many hours they spend getting ready each day? I wonder if their husbands have ever seen them without make-up? I wonder if their homes are spotless? I wonder these things but I don't want them. I don't want to be perfect or even attempt to be. I don't want to worry more about my clothes than my priorities. I don't want to be prettier than the other moms in the PTA. I don't want that stress. I want to enjoy my life; to enjoy my family. I want to run around the back field with my kids and laugh instead of squeal in horror if my son lobs a mud ball at me. I want to let my daughter put purple lip balm on me and be able to leave it there because she thinks it is pretty.

I will never be a Barbie mom and I am OK with that. Instead I will settle into my own skin and be the best sort of mom I know how to be. A mom who is simply herself.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

A Night Out is in Order!

OK...I am one day shy of it being a full month since I posted something. It is life! Life is so busy. I really do hate it when the days on the calendar start filling up. A lot of it is work. Summer is over and I am back working in earnest until Christmas Break. A lot of it is school stuff. With a kindergartner among us, my dear hubs and I find ourselves busy monitoring homework, attending PTA meetings, helping with Mitchell's first fundraiser, and managing all the paperwork we find in his backpack each day. A lot of it is family stuff. This is the fun stuff. Day trips to the ocean, birthday parties for friends of the kidlets, swimming at Auntie's or Grandparents.

I do notice that there is one thing clearing missing from the little boxes on the calendar. There is no date night. The dear hubs and I have not blocked off anytime for us. We have time noted for our friends independent of each other. I had a knitting adventure with my Mom written in. The dear hubs has a dinner with his buddies planned. But there is no time for him and me. A time to just sit and have a nice dinner without the constant, "What is this? I don't want this? I don't like green beans! Can I have more milk? Wait, I mean MAY I have more milk PLEASE? He is looking at me! Ellie totally has a booger in her nose! He made me spill my milk!" And, maybe catch a movie that isn't animated...though I am pretty big on Disney and Pixar. We could grab a coffee and people watch. We could wander the aisles of the bookstore at leisure. Everything could be in slow motion.

What would likely happen is we would eat our quiet dinner too fast because we are programmed that way now. We would talk about the kids and wonder what they were doing at that moment. I would squeeze in a trip to Target to get a few household items before we hit the bookstore where I would find the cutest picture books that I just know the kids would love. We would collapse in chairs at Starbucks at the end of the evening and marvel at the energy of youth and quietly question their clothing and piercings. We would begin to look at our watches a bit too anxiously. One of us would suggest we probably ought to go pick up the kids. We would reminisce about our quiet and relaxing night out. We would say we should do it again very soon. Then, as we park in front of the house, we would quickly steal a glance and each. Very quietly I will say, "Sweetie?" He will reply, "Yes?" And, I will say, "I am going to beat you in and get the first hugs and kisses!" We will both exert more energy than we have in days and rush to greet our children with the unconditional love found only in parents and puppies!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Talking with my Hubs

My wise friend, Zen, recently posted a blog about S-E-X and touched on the fact that communication is an essential part. I couldn't agree with her more. I was thinking about her blog and thinking about my relationship with my husband and the fact that I can talk to him about, literally, anything. I think this is the way it should be. If you marry someone, you should be comfortable talking about even the most uncomfortable topics. Your spouse is your partner through thick and thin...through the best and worst of times.


My husband has seen me dressed to the nines and he has seen me perched on Death's door with my head in the toilet. He has seen me when I am brimming with grace and when I am spewing anger. He knows that I would rather wear my jeans than my slacks. He has seen me exhibit the patience of a saint and he has seen me irrational. He knows I weep openly at sad movies and long-distance telephone commercials. He knows I have a soft spot in my heart for animals. He has seen me dancing in the kitchen and loves me even though I continually attempt to add the Running Man to my list of moves. He knows how self-conscious I am. My husband also knows that he has the most amazing power to hurt me; and we both know he never will. I am my most vulnerable with my husband and our relationship is stronger as a result.


My husband has seen me in labor and laboring at yard work. He has seen me in the light of accomplishment and in the darkness of defeat. He has seen me at my wittiest and at my saddest. He knows my fears and my vices. He knows what I treasure. My husband knows how to tease me in a way that makes me laugh rather than breaks me down. Because we know each other so well, my husband can say one word at the right moment and send me into peals of laughter.


And, yes. I can talk to my husband about anything. It hasn't always been easy but we both work very hard at communicating with each other. My husband can ask me anything and I will respond honestly. And, I know the same is true for me asking him about things. Marriage is hard work but it is well worth it. It is so FUN! I love being married and am so thankful that I get to spend my life with my husband.

Communicate! If you are taking your clothes off for someone you have permission to ask and to tell. You want to get to the point were your spouse can say, "Hemoglobin Globe-trotters" and you double over with laughter!

Be sure to check out Zen's post on S-E-X at http://onezenmom.blogspot.com!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Hmmmm...

...me thinks I better get over Writer's Block posthaste!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Jump 51

I used to be a avid skydiver. Back before I had a husband and children, my passion was indeed jumping out perfectly good airplanes. Though I do love land activities, I will admit to often missing the feeling of flying.

I recently came across my old log book where I diligently tracked the details of every jump. I took the plunge 157 times. This is a mere drop in the bucket compared to my friends with wings who literally jumped thousands of times.

My log book is hard to decipher. It seems I spoke a different language as a skydiver. I read entries that said, "Launched a round. Rotating molars - 4 points! Yee-haw!" and, "Meat Missile! Wahoo!" While those cause me to search in the furthest reaches of my memory to remember what I possible meant, I also read entries that brought me right back to the moment. Jump 107 detailed, "Adrenaline rush! Opened at 4000'. Could see for miles! Very alert. Very intense. Very fun." This was my first night jump. I remember that intense feeling of jumping into blackness. My senses were on hyper-alert.

And, then, there was Jump 51. The infamous jump. The log simply states, "Good jump - bad landing. To the ER." I will preface this with saying that most skydiving accidents are skydiver error. I am no exception. My gear worked perfectly. I, however, malfunctioned. At an elevation where I should have been committed to my landing, I second guessed myself and drastically changed my landing pattern.

I remember the seconds before impact. I clearly thought, "This is going to hurt." And hurt it did. With the wind to my back instead of my face I hit the ground at approximately 25 miles per hour. I remember having my hands out in front of me while weeds whacked my face as I dug a shallow trench in the landing field. Once the motion stopped, I literally jump to my feet and shouted, "I'm alive!" This was immediately followed by my bending over in utter agony.

I was told that I would forget the pain of childbirth. I have to say, nope. Not so much. The pain I felt on that day - June 6, 1994 - was also one that stays with me. I think I recall it because it still nags me. My pregnancies and stress have found me gripping my back and breathing in some gorilla form of Lamaze.

After the "stumble," a friend took me to the ER where we were told to wait amongst people feeling a tad under-the-weather and kids with runny noses. After over an hour of impossible pain, which was not relived by sitting or standing, I approached the triage nurse.

"Please," I implored. "How much longer is my wait?" My words came out in gasping bits.

The nurse, looking bored beyond comprehension, replied, "Well, it will be awhile. Tell me, how would you describe your pain."

I looked at her and chopped out, "Excruciating!"

I don't know whether she sensed the truth in my voice or feared I was about to come unraveled, but moments later I found myself laying on a gurney getting x-rays. After the x-rays, I lay on that gurney curled up as the doctors talked in hushed tones. A woman came by sweeping the area. She looked at me and said, "Hold on." She came back with a pillow and a nurse with a vial of the good stuff. I thanked that woman profusely before I floated into the clouds on a psychedelic journey.

After that, my biggest concern was that the paramedics who came to transfer me to a larger hospital were not attractive. Weren't all paramedics attractive? I may have voiced this out loud. Whether I did or not, I found I wasn't concerned that I had fractured my back. I wasn't concerned that I had come dangerously close to severing my spinal column. I rattled off the number to my parents' location. They were out of town for the day...no worries!

The next few days was spent in the hospital followed by numerous doctor appointments. I was fitted with a brace that fit pretty well under my clothes. And, I was on the mend. I saw a neurologist because of the location and nature of my injury. He warned me to never skydive again. Three months later, I sent him an 8x10 glossy of my first jump after the accident with a note thanking him for helping me keep my wings.

I hung up my wings a couple years later. I felt a nagging that I couldn't shake. I decided to try something on land and signed up for a marathon. Since then, running has been my passion. But, I still look up at night and know I once flew the skies with creatures just like me. That gregarious bunch always had my back and will forever have my friendship.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The "Grabbing"

Though we became engaged about five months after we met, my dear hubs and I initially began our courtship on a cautiously optimistic tone. We had both be burned...to a crisp...by previous companions and were in no mood for games or nonsense. Still, we did the things that only those who date seem to have the stamina to do. We would talk into the very wee hours of the morning and, then somehow, I would get myself to work by 7:30 each day.

I remember one particular evening. My now hubs had come over to my house and we had dinner and watched a couple of movies. And then...amazingly...he kissed me. I had been waiting for that kiss! So now, in addition to our long talks we added the kissing element (remember when you could kiss for hours!?!?). As our evening progressed, I looked at the clock and was shocked that it was 4:30 a.m. I had scheduled a run with my friends and was supposed to meet them in an hour. I remember sternly looking at my now hubs and saying, "I have to try to get some sleep before I run. You can stay and nap with me but we are just napping! No funny business!"

Soon, we were snoozing on top of the covers as far apart as my full-sized mattress would allow. No one was more surprised than me when I awoke to find my hand firmly planted on my dear hubs nether region. I gasped! I remained motionless. Was he awake? Why on Earth had I grabbed him? How long had I been holding onto him...er, It? I listened. He was breathing steady. Maybe he was still asleep. Gingerly, I released my grasp and quickly move my hand back to my side of the bed. I lay there, horrified, until the alarm sounded and I hastily made my way out the door.

Neither of us spoke about the "grabbing" until after we had been married for a couple of years.

"Hey, remember that one night, when I said you could nap with me before a run?" I had asked.

"Oh, yea. The night you grabbed me?" he laughed.

I was surprised to learn that he had been awake. I asked him what he had thought when it happened.

"At first I was excited, then I realized you were asleep. Then I got nervous. I was sweating cause I didn't know what to do, " he said. Then he added, "Mostly, I was surprised."

Well, I am certain he has been surprised many other times that I am unaware of. I don't think I have grabbed him in my sleep anymore. I have woken myself up petting his head but everything stays above the waistline. Perhaps to my hubs dismay, that is as frisky as I seem to get in my sleep these days.


Monday, July 6, 2009

Fine!

It was my turn to put Miss Ellie to bed last night. After her two stories she looked at me and said, "I want my daddy!"

I replied, "Well, you get me. Tomorrow is Daddy's night to put you to bed."

She huffed and said, "Fine!"

I decided to lay down with her for a bit so I stretched out on my side next to her. My mistake.

Fuming she hollered, "Don't look at me!"

"OK!" I responded. But, before I could look away she shrieked, "Fine! I am just going to go under here and pick my nose!" And, with that, she flung her blanket over her head.

I didn't want to check to see if she was actually picking her nose because if I did she would surely see me trying desperately hard not to laugh at her!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

We huffed...


...and we puffed! And we bleeeew the candles out!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Tomorrow is the big 3-6!

So, tomorrow I tack on another year. Unbelievable! My life has taken many twists and turns to arrive at this very point in time. I can be pensive and reflect on my journey, but instead I find myself immensely enjoying the sound of my dear hubs and children attempting to bake a cake. This is my hubby's first cake baking experience. And, lucky for him, it seems our almost five-year-old is the Grand Pooba of cake baking. Not only is our son barking commands, but our daughter is parroting him. So everything is echoed. I am sure my husband is exasperated, but from where I am sitting it is highly amusing.

I hear the click of glass, the whirl of the mixer (which I am surprised they located), the opening of the oven door, and the arguing of siblings. My son is detailing the next steps to my hubby. It seems there will be lots of sprinkles involved in this masterpiece. I can't wait to taste this cake which has been made with copious amounts of love. I am sure Betty Crocker will come through for my kitchen full of big-hearted bakers.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Exasperation

It is only my children who know how to push my buttons to the point of exasperation. They completely bewilder me at moments. I am amazed by their sheer gall and boldness. If I could somehow harness this fierce energy I would be a force to be reckoned with. No one would dare cross my path on a bad day. I would not filter what I say. I would not take care to not offend. I would say what I feel, when I feel it, whether it suits anyone or not.

My children don't have filters. They stand bold behind their beliefs whether that belief is that bedtime has arrived too early or that dinner is some form of poison in disguise. They will put their hands on their hips and argue their point until I am bedraggled by the mere conversation. They can talk sideways, backwards, up, and down. And, before I know it I have been talked into a corner confused at how I got there.

I am extremely thankful that these vexations are not the norm. However, having just experienced one, I am certain I will still be recovering by the time we have the next occurrence. I am not quite to the point of writhing in a corner, but I will admit that hiding under the covers sounds very appealing at the moment. And chocolate. Chocolate sounds delightful. And, a massage. A massage to ease my tension. But, instead, I will peek in on my sleeping children before I go to bed and I will see their peaceful faces and know that every exasperating moment is merely a pebble on the road of life.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Mitchell is sitting in my lap...

Let's see if I can get him to answer some questions.

1. What is Mommy's favorite color?

Pink

2. What is Mommy's favorite food?

Broccoli

3. What is Mommy's work?

Computer

4. What is Daddy's work?

The shop...where he does jobs

5. What is Mommy's favorite drink?

Water

6. What is Daddy's favorite drink?

Crystal Light

7. What is Mommy's favorite thing to do?

Rest

8. What is Daddy's favorite thing to do?

Pet the doggies

9. What is Daddy's favorite food?

Tacos

10. What's Daddy's favorite color?

Red

11. What is Daddy's favorite resturaunt?

Taco Bell

12. What is Mommy's favorite TV show?

Lost

13. What is Daddy's favorite TV show?

Lost

14. Who does Mommy love?

ME! (That is what Mitchell answered! Smart boy!)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Poem by Mitchell

I am a boy
I hear a Rhinoceros
I see a little squirrel
I want a real bear

I am a bear
I pretend to be a zebra
I feel my heart
I touch my head
I cry when I am hurt
I am good at playing

I understand being patient

I say I'll be good
I dream I touch a squirrel
I try to be good
I hope to be a Paleontologist when I grow up
I care about giving my sister kisses every night

I am Mitchell




Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The TV

The kidlets were playing in their toy kitchen. They decided they would clean their toy kitchen. They then decided they should clean the house. They started with the TV. They applied lots of water to the TV to clean it, because, to clean anything you have to use water. And, it stands to reason that the more water ones uses the cleaner something becomes.

The good news is that the kidlets won the battle in the war of water verses electronics. They did not electrocute themselves. The bad news is that the TV met an untimely demise. But, really, I would rather have my kids unscathed than a TV that works. And, it was an ugly, obnoxious TV anyway. You don't realize what you don't need until you raise children in your home. Like a full set of dishes or chairs withouts stains. Really, what fun is that?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Stand Up and Fight!

I have many fears. I have big, overpowering fears about losing my children or my husband. I have everyday fears that are more like concerns. Concern about our finances; concern about making healthy meal choices for the kids; concern for our general health. And, I have silly fears. Worry that if I chose to wear my boots with my slacks, will I fall yet again at work. Worry that my child will pop the balloon they receive at a restaurant (yes, I fear balloons...laugh if you must. I am not afraid to jump out of a plane though. Silly, I know).

Through all my fears, one is consistently in the forefront of my mind. I am terrified of being attacked from behind. I have no reason to have this fear. I have never been attacked from any direction. I have never even being in a physical fight. But, this fear sticks with me. I even implored my husband when we were dating to never sneak up behind me. He has never intentionally done so but he has caught me off-guard a number of times. My response is to jump and shriek and then laugh nervously while my blood pressure returns to normal.

My fear of being attacked has served me well. I look people directly in the eyes if I pass someone while on a run or walking up to the ATM. I walk with my head up and soak in details around me. I try in earnest not to put myself in foolish situations. I am cautious but unprepared for what might happen should a predator ignore my show of confidence and attack. Actually, I was unprepared until last week. I was attacked. Thankfully, it was by a man in a padded suit in a self-defense seminar but the feelings I felt when his arms grabbed me couldn't have been more real.

My son's karate instructor, Master Dave Johnson, hosted a day-long self-defense course this past weekend. I attended because of this being attacked fear I haul around with me everywhere I go. I was thinking it would be a lot of, "if this happens...do this." I was completely wrong. We learned that there is no standard way to defend yourself based on the situation. Every situation is unique. Every situation has its own variables. You have to be able to draw on your knowledge and chose in an instant the skills that will serve you best in your given predicament.

As we went through the punches, and kicks, and jabs we began to see how combinations of moves could help defend us from an attacker even if it is just enough to get away and run. It was not textbook self-defense. It was real life self-defense.

At the end of the day, every student was "attacked" five times. Even though it was expected, the adrenaline was real. Before my first attack, I was shaking. It is like waiting for a very important test score. Like waiting for some impending evil to happen. I was going to see if I could apply what I learned in a three to five second attack. My first attack involved a lot of slapping and struggling on my part. By my fourth attack, I had my screaming in and was liberally issuing heel palm punches and thrust kicks. By my fifth attack, I had the guy over my shoulder and on the floor in front of me. I felt utter shock at the sight of him at my feet. And, I felt empowered.

I hope that I never have to use my newly found skills. I also know that I need to continue polishing them and refining them so that I will be able to call upon them in a moments notice. I am going to take Master Johnson's class again without hesitation. I encourage all my friends to take his class or a similar one. There is no price-tag to steep for your life. I would pay all that I had to keep my friends and family safe. We live in such an uncertain world I figure a few basic self-defense skills will help keep me safe, or at least give me a better chance of escaping an unpleasant situation.

Remember, don't sneak up behind me. It really freaks me out. And, now, you might just end up on the ground in front of me!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Fun House Mirror

It began about a month ago. Every morning, after I am dressed for work, I do a once over glance at my attire using the full-length mirror hanging inside our closet door. It is just a spot check really. Making sure my buttons are in the proper button-holes; my shoes match my outfit and each other; no stray globs of toothpaste are attached to me.

It was completely horrifying to me to look in this mirror one morning only to see a short, squat, pot-bellied toad looking back at me. I couldn't fathom how this transition could have taken place without my seeing signs of it. Granted, I am not a skinny twig, but rather I would describe my build as athletic. The figure facing me in the mirror was the opposite of athletic. I mourned the image. I recalled how my son had patted my belly the night before asking, "When did you get so fat, Mommy?" I was stupefied. I had let myself go. My love of food outweighed my morning runs. I felt deflated...in a completely fat way.

Morning after morning my psyche took hits from the image in the mirror. I tried to embrace the belly, the boobs, the thick thighs. I tried to find outfits that would disguise my unpleasant metamorphosis. Nothing seemed to work. There wasn't a single pair of slacks, jeans, or capri's that could flatter my new figure. Every top seemed tight and every blouse seemed inflated by my expansive, barrel-shaped torso.

I took action. I upped my runs. I ordered a Pilate's DVD. I ate more reasonable servings. I bought pre-measured, single serving ice creams containers (really, why give up ice cream completely?). I replaced my Dr. Pepper with Crystal Light. Yet, my efforts were wasted. Every morning I was greeted by the toad. I was infuriated and dejected at the same time. My husband's assurances that he had no idea what I was talking about upset me. I knew he was being nice. Probably fearful I would sit on him and squash him in his sleep.

Finally, I reached my breaking point. I dressed with care for somber, family event one evening. When I opened the closet door for my once over the toad looked back at me. In an instant, I reached up and pushed the toad back with all my might. The door the mirror resides on, slammed into the wall. Take that you toad!

Then it clicked. I had noticed something when I pushed the mirror. It straightened. I looked more closely. I pushed the mirror gently with my finger. It straightened again. I watched my reflection as I straightened and released pressure on the mirror. Me, toad, me, toad, me, toad... I felt tears brimming in my eyes. Tears of sheer relief. I realized the mirror was warped. Warped from the hands of children shoving behind it to see if the world of the mirror was real. I literally jumped with glee. I raced to the kitchen junk draw for my 3M double-sided sticky strips. I stuck two behind the center of the mirror and pressed it firmly against the closet door. The mirror stuck; straightened. The fun house image was gone. The old me stood in its place.

I gained a new perspective from my many weeks with my warped mirror. I realized that I am far to hard on myself. I realized that I should continue my runs (and my new found love of Pilate's) for the joy I experience and not for a feeling of obligation to simply lose weight. I didn't like the me that obsessed about weight and food. I like the me that eats with gusto and delights in second helpings. I acknowledge that I want to have a healthy lifestyle for my benefit and to set a positive example for my children. But, I acknowledge that as I age, I will change. Some changes will be easy and some will be utterly mortifying. I will continue to apply my potions creams daily to combat or slow-down as much of the aging process as possible, but I won't deny that I will age regardless of my efforts. I will defend myself as much as I can without becoming compulsive. I believe as long as I can keep the toad at bay, I will be just fine.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Little Boys and Farts

Little boys are into farts. Heck, big boys are into farts. My nephew is no exception. He spent the night with us and as we were driving out to our home he was telling me all about his imaginary friend, Fire Fartman. Really sounds like a dashing fellow if one can get past the odor of his many talents with farts.

Later that evening, all three kids were playing out in the back. They were running every which way and playing in that totally absorbed way that kids do. When the world fades away and only the play at hand exists. As I watched them, my nephew suddenly broke away from the group and came running toward me in a mad dash.

"Hey, hey! Auntie, you know what?"

I couldn't possibly so I replied, "No. What?"

"You know sometimes when you fart? Like when you fart, sometimes poop comes out of your butt?"
Oh no, no, no.

He continued, "Well, I was just out there playing and I farted and some poop came out of my butt."

I hung my head, closed my eyes, and sighed. Welcome to my world.

Then I looked at him and said, "I will go get the Shout."

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Um, yeah. He's a clown.

I had a brief, very brief, career in the world of non-profit. It didn't take long for me to realize that, though I found the end result of my efforts rewarding, I just wasn't cut out for the job. During my employment with the local non-profit chapter of a very worthy cause, we coordinated one of our largest, annual fundraising events. The weeks and days that led up to the event left everyone on staff exhausted though we eagerly awaited the day of the event to see the actual turnout.

The day was beautiful. The sun was shining, the volunteers were present, the vendors were in place, and people were arriving. I just needed a chipmunk and a bird to sing with for the ultimate Disney moment. As I was taking in the sight, I noticed a paunchy fellow in a charcoal gray Members Only jacket standing off to the sidelines. Oh, yeah...this wasn't in the 80's it was 1998. He had on dark sunglasses and was shifting his weight from foot to foot. I approached him and asked if I could help him with something.

"Yeah. Are you with the organization putting on this event?"

I replied that I was as I attempted to make eye-contact with him. He would not look and me but rather looked around as if he suspected we were being watched.

"OK," he said. "I have him."

"You have who?" I questioned.

"I have Ronald."

"Ronald who?"

Frustrated, he replied, "Ronald MacDonald. I have him."

"Oh great!" I replied as I spun around looking for said clown. "Um, where is he?"

"He's close," Members Only replied.

"Close?"

"Yeah. When you are ready to transport him I will get him."

"Transport him?" What the heck was this guy talking about?

"Yeah. Do you have a transport vehicle?"

"Well, we are just crossing a parking lot, but I supposed I could wrestle up a 'transport vehicle' if you really need one."

"OK. I need you to get the vehicle and meet me at the black automobile sitting right behind me at the curb."

"Uh, the minivan?" I asked even though it was the only "automobile" sitting at the curb.

"Shhhhh!" the guy scolded as he spun his head around looking for, I assumed, adoring fans or Ronald groupies.

What a weirdo! I walked away and located a Mule (think four wheels with power-steering, not donkey). I got in and floored it until I screeched to a stop in front of the minivan. Sure enough, Ronald emerged.

"Hi Ronald it's a pleasure," I said as I extended my hand that was met by void space. "Er, Mr. MacDonald, I guess, it's a pleasure." Still nothing. Hand still hanging in the void. So I drew back my hand and gestured to the Mule, "Shall we?"

So off we went. Ronald, his handler, and me. The three amigos on a two-minute journey across a parking lot.

When we arrived at our destination, Ronald's handler looked at me and asked, "So, what would you like for Ronald to do?"

"Oh, OK. Well," I turned and addressed Ronald, "you were here last year so if you could just repeat that performance that would be great."

"Actually, you need to talk to me," said Members Only.

"About what?" I ask.

"No. You need to direct your comments to me. I will confer with Ronald."

It was just too much.

"Are you serious?" I asked incredulously. "You want me to talk to you when you are standing next to Ronald who is standing in front of me with two ears of his own?"

"Actually, we no longer wish to work with you. Where is the gentleman who worked with us last year?"

"What? This is ridiculous. He is a CLOWN!" Oh yes! I said it. It was at that point that I knew Ronald was not deaf. His painted face screwed up into a look of horror and he literally gasped. It was as if I had physically punched him and knocked the wind out of him.

Members Only took immediate action and stood between me and the faint-looking Ronald. "Look Lady. Ronald MacDonald is NOT a clown. He is a persona. If you want Ronald to participate in this event you will get us the gentleman that we worked with last year. Our conversing is over!"

"Fine!" I seethed. I walked back to the Mule and fired it up. I muttered and I cursed and I grumbled about Ronald the "Diva" as I quickly located my boss (and my dear friend) and told him that we had a situation with Ronald and his handler. My boss was able to smooth Ronald's ruffled feathers and I received a mild scolding from the advertising agency that represents Ronald MacDonald the persona and not Ronald the clown. But, seriously, in my book, he will always be a clown. How could he be anything but? Even if his face wasn't painted white with a big red grin he would be a clown for the way he acted.

These days when I see Ronald at non-profit events I always have the urge to trip him, but I refrain. I look at him and thank goodness that it is him, not me, in the big, floppy red shoes and red, bushy wig. I am thankful to just be me and not a diva "persona."

Monday, May 11, 2009

A Mom

I am a mom. It is weird to think sometimes. The girl-next-door who never thought she would get married, let alone have little kidlets. But here I am. I have been blessed with a puzzlemate who complements me perfectly. And, together, we have these two precious children. These children who have an amazing zest for life. These children who make friends with the neighbors when I haven't taken the time. These children who literally do stop and smell the roses when I don't even notice them bloom. These children who study and know every crease in my face and every change in my appearance. They are amazing! And, me...I am blessed to be their mother. They inspire me. They baffle me. They leave me in awe. They fill me with joy. And, they test me. They try my nerves. They push the boundaries. They push my buttons. But, they are mine and I love them beyond comprehension. I look at them and wonder how I could create something so perfect and wonderful? But, if you ask they will tell you. They will tell you that "God made me this way." And, again I find myself in awe of such a simple yet profound statement.

I wish I could keep the world simple for them. I wish I could take away every ache and broken heart that I know is facing them. I wish I could ease every worry and anxious moment. I have a desire to shelter them but that is not letting them live. They long to explore and experience. They are living life. As much as I have yet to teach them, I learn much more from them everyday. Kids are amazing creatures. Mine have forced me to reevaluate my life. I no longer live for me. I no longer work so I can buy new clothes and trinkets. I live for them. I live to be with them and share their experiences. I work to provide for them. To provide them with clothes and food and experiences and, yes, trinkets and treasures.

I know I am a mom because I smile when my children smile. My heart breaks when theirs is hurting. And disciplining my children has been my greatest downfall as a parent because it is so hard. I try so hard to understand what is going through their minds when they don't even understand that themselves.

But whether being naughty or nice, my children are the most precious gift I have ever received. They bring me the greatest joy. I marvel that I have been entrusted to care for these amazing creatures. I was delighted to wake up on Mother's Day to two kidlets calling me "Mommy." Of course, they were calling for "Mommy" to get them breakfast, but still, they were calling!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Forget the Swine Flu for a Moment...

...and instead focus on the monstrous, system-cleansing, nameless, vacation to Hell, 24-hour bug that is making the rounds. No amount of scouring the house saved the dear hubs and me from catching this wicked virus. The dear hubs scored a double whammy with a Friday diagnosis of walking pneumonia. We were two adults that were definitely down for the count.

It came on fast. One moment I am crawling into bed ready for a good night of sleep and, literally, the next moment I am overcome with body aches and a great urge to heave. And so it began. I vomited consistently all night. Anything from my mouth to my stomach was purged. Not a single particle was left behind. I am certain I purged the plaque from my teeth. Nothing was spared.

At 5am I found my self talking to a fuzzy form of my dear hubs. I was explaining my weakened state. It was when his form dissipated into nothingness that I completely freaked out. I hopped from my sick bed on the couch and staggered down the hall in tears. I woke my hubs from a precious, much-needed sleep to relate that I had experienced my first, true hallucination. That got the hubs up and he sat with me until Mother Nature beckoned him to the perils of the bathroom. I cried, and did what any 35-year-old wife and mother would do...at 5:30am I called my mom.

When Mom answered I began talking in weeps and sobs. She had gone through this same bug just two days prior and was up with my sick father at that very moment. She knew what was going on. A half-hour later Mom was sitting with me, her mere presence emitting a phenomenal healing power. She came armed with 7-Up and anti-nausea syrup. She coached me through the last of my heaves and left well before Phase Two kicked in.

Phase Two came on like a tornado. With mere seconds of warning I dashed to the bathroom. I grabbed the sink counter and hung on for dear life as my system began to purge the lower states.

The dear hubs and I emerged from our respective hovels late in the afternoon. We appeared skeletal and hollow. The hubs was off to pick up the kidlets at his mother's house. Earlier, she had immediately agreed to watch them for the day. I crawled back into my mess of blankets on the couch and slept a hard sleep until the kids were home and I was flung back into Mommy-mode.

The kids were oblivious to our sickly state. They came home with the flurry of requests that are typical of preschoolers and pre-preschoolers. They wanted dinner, they wanted cartoons, they wanted to play, they wanted to draw, and, perhaps most thankfully, they wanted to cuddle which afforded us a few extra minutes of much needed rest.

Beware...the swine flu is making the news, but there lurks a greater evil. Wash those hands and arm yourself with Lysol. I've been to the edge and back. It is a brutal journey. Let sleeping swines lie and don't disturb the evil, 24-hour mega bug.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sick Kidlets

Our kids have been truly fortunate to have avoided any serious ailments thus far in their lives. Each has only had one previous bout with the flu...that is until now. Last night, I was up literally all night with my son. I found myself saying, "it's OK sweetie" and "get it all out" in my most soothing voice. I was patting his back and dashing after cool washcloths. All while trying not to get completely grossed out. Sickness is ugly! And, it smells.

This morning, I e-mailed my boss to let him know I would be out tending to the kids and then I went to work disinfecting our house. I spared no cleaning product! I scrubbed and wiped and rinsed and mopped. I did a job that would find favor with any HazMat team. I killed all stray germs with vengeance. Angry that they made my kids sick.

And, I cuddled. I took turns holding and rocking the kids. My daughter is on the mend but both kids are currently in competition over which one is the most sick. My son says he trumps my daughter because he "threw up eight times last night and you didn't!" Oddly, I remember doing this same thing with my brother. Like it is a badge of honor knowing exactly how many times you tossed your cookies during the night.

As the day has worn on the kids have gotten a little more sparky. Their eyes are lighting up. Their conversations are more animated. They are more mobile. That is not to say that they won't collapse in a heap if the sibling is getting even an ounce more attention. Me? I am just worn out! The hubs? He is actually sick also. He had to fend for himself. I called out the digits for phone number to reach our doctor and he made his own appointment (a first in our years of marriage!). So he is at the doctor and then has a short grocery list...saltines, 7-Up...

I think tomorrow the tribe will be much better. Not batting a perfect score but definitely back up at the plate.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Bullies

I have been up early these past couple of weeks to get to where I need to be for work. I have caught up with my favorite morning radio show. The latest topic of morning conversation has been bullies. Ah, bullies. I caught myself reflecting on my first encounter with a true bully.

Her name was Irma. She was in the eighth grade and I was in the seventh. For whatever reason, Irma decide early in the school year that she did not like the look of me. She wore a black beret everyday. It was rumored that she burnt most of her hair off a few weeks before the start of the school year in with a home perm gone bad. She called me a "rich, little white girl." Well, she had the white girl part right but that was about it. I was 12. I didn't work. I had no money. Any money I did have was from my parents and they certainly were not rich. We were not destitute but I remember my mom buying "Sugar Snacks" in a bag as opposed to "Sugar Smacks" in the cereal aisle.

I didn't really fear Irma until I saw her in action. I was walking to my locker one day and heard a commotion behind me. I turned to see my first, and last, girl brawl. Two girls where throwing fists at each other. When one girl proceed to knock the other to the ground and ram her head into the concrete. I saw that the dominate attacker was Irma. I stood frozen, watching as male teachers rushed to pull the two girls apart...or rather, pull Irma off the girl she defeated. My bones felt weak and my blood ran cold. It was at that moment that I feared Irma.

I told my mother about my fears and she said, "Bob and weave. Get a good punch in and then run like crazy." Was she serious? Bob and weave? I decided to consult a higher authority on the topic and went to my brother. He was a bit more helpful telling me to "go for her eyes" and "kick her in the kneecaps". But, he ended with the same advice as my mom, "After you do that, run like the wind!"

Somehow, I made it through the school year without getting pummeled. I still remember my mom dropping me off for school on a day we had to dress up for pictures or something. I was feeling like a nerd in a most unattractive tea-length skirt, nylons, and flats (I surely do not miss fashions of the 80's!). As I hopped out of the car my mom called after me. I peeked back in and she said, "If Irma comes after you, throw those silly shoes off so you can run faster!" Um...OK. I will do that after I bob and weave a bit.

Irma may have been the first bully but she certainly hasn't been the last. I met other bullies in high school and even professionally. I have run into bullies years after the fact and they look surprisingly weak and unhappy. I no longer fear my bullies. I no longer wonder how fast I can run in the opposite direction. My dear hubs once told me that he sees bullies as weak people who try to dominate, intimidate, or put down another person because they are afraid. Often, they are afraid of being picked on themselves. I don't fight my bullies. I don't throw verbal barbs at them. I don't mock them behind their backs in hopes they don't turn and see me. I just ignore them. Actually, I pity them a bit. How sad to be so unhappy that you have to pick on people as you work your way through life.

That said, I am not sure how I will react should one of my children ever be bullied. My years in school were a lot less violent. I will certainly take it seriously and I know that bobbing and weaving isn't likely the answer. I don't think running is the answer either. My Granny (my amazing great-grandmother) always told me, "Pretty is as pretty does." But she also advised to never lie down and take anything. Maybe the answer to defeating bullies is a combination of both. Stand up for yourself without resorting to bullish tactics. Watch your words and your actions (and, OK, sneer just a bit as long as the gesture isn't seen!).

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Death of a Dryer

This weekend, our dryer went kerplunk. It continues to tumble clothes with all its might, but it no longer sucks in the propane to heat itself up. The dear hubs pulled the beast away from the wall and hopped down in the space behind it. He found himself standing in a gooey mess. And, I had a moment of recall..."Oh yeah! I remember a bottle of detergent that tipped over a couple years ago...gosh! I didn't know that much poured out. Wow. What a mess, eh?" Uh-hum. The hubs disassembled the thing and tinkered and tugged. And, for a few moments we had heat...and then again, there was none.

Well, we had plans to head to the hardware store anyway. With our tax return, we planned to buy a new barbecue because our current one is almost rusted through on the underside. And, we needed to buy some lumber to continue work on the kids' clubhouse (which is going to be a sight to behold). So, we added a dryer to the list. And, I told the hubs, we might as well get a pair since the washer has a tendency to spit oil on our clothes from time to time.

Armed with limited knowledge we headed to Lowe's. Good golly these things are expensive. We stuck our heads in machines made by Maytag, and Bosch, and Whirlpool, and Samsung (don't they make stereos?). Things clearly have changed since we bought our last set just over five years ago. Now everything is about energy savings and efficiency and water conservation. And, most everything loads from the front and sits on a stand. The stands cost extra (to the tune of $500 extra) so needless to say, we skipped those. I am not too good for a bit of back breaking laundry thank you very much! There were shockingly few dials...mostly buttons and a few with gauges. There were some with timed start delays. There were features for dry cleaning and washing silk and wool. There were some with a function labeled "sanitary." Shouldn't all loads come out in sanitary condition? I expect that when our washer and dryer arrive the instruction book will look something like an encyclopedia.

We settled on a middle-of-the-road set that has "sport" in the name. It can wash up to 12 pairs of jeans at once which should really be like 24 pairs of kids pants right? We do a lot of washing around here so anything that can compound the loads is cool in my book. And, I am hoping the set arrives soon because we are going hillbilly with the dear hubs' boxers drying in the back yard right now. We were told our new washer and dryer will be delivered on Thursday and, with all its nifty features, I expect it will make us dinner that night too...maybe something on the barbecue.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter was delightful!

There was much hunting of eggs at Auntie's and at home...



























And, then there was dancing...joyous dancing...


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting!

Mitchell has found his niche! His loving Karate...or actually Seieido...lessons. And, when I asked Miss Ellie if she wanted to take ballet or Karate she screamed, "Karateee!" So, Master Johnson will have another student in a year or two.

We hoped that Karate lessons would boost Mitchell's confidence since he is a shy guy. I have seen positive changes already. The fundamental lessons and discipline of the sport seem to be a natural fit for Mitchel. He does have Samurai warriors in his ancestry so maybe it is in his genes. And, I did have a grandma that was a bulldog! Whatever it is, I am so happy to see Mitchell coming out of his shell!



Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Poor Fashion Selection

It is spring right? In the spring I usually switch out my warm clothes for the lighter fare in the bin in the garage. My children have larger wardrobes than me but our tiny closet forces me to separate our attire by seasons. The dress code for work is business casual though, I admit, I take liberties with the casual part. So, being spring, I found myself working today in a near-sheer black top - that my modest self wears a black tank underneath - capri pants and little prissy flats. I say prissy flats because they make my size 9's look smaller and daintier. I had no jacket, no other slacks to don, no other shoes to sport aside from my running shoes and even I can't go that casual! I was also 150 miles from home.

So, I left the hotel and bristled a bit at the chill in the air. I found a black sweatshirt in the car that I thought I could wear just until I got myself to work. Well, work for me is largely outside. I call on college professors and that has me daily traversing campus. I got to campus about the same time as the storm clouds. I spent the next few hours hunkered under my umbrella and racing from building to building. Here is the thing, when the rain is coming in sideways, an umbrella is little help.

By 1:30 I was soaked to the bone. I looked like a drowned-rat...wait, I looked like a LAME drowned rat. I was the boob in my frilly spring gear when I should have been making tracks in wellies and a raincoat. And, unfortunately, my hair always betrays me. It there is something amiss in my world, my hair will rat me out. Somehow, the sideways rain drops flatten my fine, thin hair into a style seen only in the back of fashion magazines where they put a bar across the woman's face to conceal her identity.

I had to throw in the towel. I had to call it a day. I hauled my soaked self to my car and made a beeline for the hotel. I am dry now but my hair is still suffering traumatic effects. I hope the sun shines tomorrow since another pair of capri's is waiting in my suitcase!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Monkeys in the Bed

I woke up this morning to find two monkeys had crept into bed with the hubs and me. One body was sprawled across me like a sack of potatoes and the other was wedged smack dab in the center of the bed. I was able to snap one picture before the monkeys sensed my presence and greeted the day with smiles and amazing crops of bedhead!





Saturday, March 28, 2009

So, we cancelled our land line...

...because we tired of battling with the phone company to fix the static on our line. Actually, static was pretty minor compared to the crossing lines we experienced prior to that. It was unnerving to pick up the phone on the first ring and find another person saying hello to the same caller. I usually hung up. I figured if the stranger answering my phone really wanted to talk with my mom, that was fine with me. Maybe a friendship would blossom.

The thing that forced us to drastic measures was the computerized voice on the automated repair system saying "We will be out to repair your line between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Friday." Seriously? They needed us to stay put for 12 hours. Well, we did. And, they never showed. Oh, the acres were smoking that night! I was furious. I whipped out my static laden phone and starting punching numbers. They must have known it was me. No matter what I tried or how long my hubs and I traded off waiting on hold, we could not drum up a live person.

So, we cancelled. You can bet I talked to a live person then. She tried everything on her little check sheet to get me to hang onto that phone number. She finally stopped trying when I said, "Your company asked up to wait for a repair appointment that would take place between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. and no one ever showed up. Why would I want to keep service on this line?" I heard...silence. I waited a couple beats and the asked, "Hello?" She replied, "Um, oh yes. I am just processing your request."

When a corporation gets so big that customer service falls on the list of priorities it is time to pack-up my business and take it elsewhere. In this economy, I want a bit more for my buck. In this case, a live person to speak with from the get-go would have been a pleasant start.

I forgot to blog about the St. Patty's Run!

Shame on me! I have been so busy with work that my blogging has been sporadic at best. I just realized, as I read the post of a dear friend, that I neglected to blog about our local St. Patty's Day Run. I blogged about the duathlon that I hauled myself through, but not the run a week prior.

Mitchell and Ellie geared up for the St. Patty's Day Run despite the cold circumstances that met us on the doorstep. I certainly have a penchant for running in the muck and gloom. Mitchell ran the 1/4 mile race with a huge grin plastered on his face. He really enjoys running. He pumps his little arms and his nimble, coltish legs flat-out fly. We later learned that he scored a medal for second place. Actually, he and another couple kids shared second place. I am not sure how that works out, but Mitchell was delighted nonetheless.
Miss Ellie...well, let's just say that Miss Ellie was traumatized by the sight of Ronald MacDonald. She takes after me in that she wants no part of that crazy clown. He absolutely freaked her out. When her race came up, the dear hubs was set to run the 1/8 mile stretch with her. I think he made about 10 steps with her attached to his leg before he scooped her back up to the safety of his arms. Now, I really don't know how the scoring went with her race, because Miss Ellie scored a first place medal. I think she was confused by that as well.
My running buddy and I ran a great 4 mile race thanks to her black German Shepard acting as our pace setter. We finished in 38 minutes and were rewarded with a bottle of water. There were no medals waiting for us. Not even for spirit! Drat!