Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Is this a test?

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Am I having a flashback, hallucinating genetic codes from GEN330 again?

Is is some kind of bizarro eye test?

No.  It's part of the handy-dandy password protected commenting world of blogspot.  Don't they realize I can barely string together letters that belong, much less these nonsensical strings that would make Dr Seuss scratch his head?   It's Xangalicious.

On to something I understand--the Saturday Six.   It's late, and I need a jumpstart.

I lost a few brain cells at my Tia's house, because instead of food this year, my Tio plyed me with alcohol.  Bubbly wine and a shot of tequila make Anna a fun girl...and the next day, I woke up with The Voice.  Ohhh, goody.  I sounded like Kathleen Turner, and if drinking too much and talking too loud will make me sound like that, then barkeep, pour me another. 

Saturday Six - Episode 85

1. Have you ever had a dream that you felt was a message from some "higher power?" Do you think it's possible to receive such messages through dreams?

I dream all the time, very vividly; yes.  Sometimes dreams have messages, but mainly I think they just work out something that's been bothering you, whether it's stressing you out or just on your mind, when you are conscious.

2. How much does a person's musical preference tell you about them?

Not much.  It's fun, from a nosy point of view, to see what people listen to, but I can't judge anyone on it; not when I'm a musical mutt myself. 

3. What time did you get up Friday morning? Were you part of the shopping madness?

I got up at five on Friday.  The only madness I was involved in was working.  Oh, and a little football in the afternoon, where the Sun Devils managed to send the Wildcats home with their tails between their legs (barely, but a win is a win, and bragging rights are priceless...nah nah nah nah nah).  

4. Take this quiz: What religion do you fit in with?

You fit in with:  Spiritualism
Your ideals are mostly spiritual, but in an individualistic way. While spirituality is very important in your life, organized religion itself may not be for you. It is best for you to seek these things on your own terms.
80% spiritual.  40% reason-oriented.

I think that "mutt" is starting to be a theme here.  Oh, I can hear my Nana lighting a candle and starting to pray Novenas for me right now....

5. Is the answer you received the religion you feel you really do fit in with?

Yes and no.  I think I'm more reason-oriented than 40% and that might get me kicked off the Spiritual team. 

6. READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #77 from Globetrotter2: Do you have any special nicknames for your significant other when you're annoyed or irritated with them? If so, give us a few of them (NO PROFANITY, please).

Oh, man.  Clean ones only?  No Spanish cussing?  Fine.  You know, I don't have any, but really, just saying someone's name, if you do it right, can convey the amount of annoyance one feels.  I'll go with that.  I'll say his name, using an inflection that makes the kids wince. 

Okay, it's time for me to go.

Not before I leave you with this, which was my true test today.

Ryan got scratched on Saturday night, in the face, by his 7 yr old stepcousin.  No biggie.  Boys will be boys, and it was an accident. 

I cleaned it up, but it remained red/swollen/infected looking even this morning.  Hey, I've read enough about flesh-eating bacteria, I don't mess around with anything that doesn't respond to my medical ministrations.  Only so much Dr Mom can accomplish without help from the pros.

So I called his teacher this morning, leaving a message that I was sending him to school, blah, blah, but making an appt for him so I'd probably come in and get him for it.   His face looked awful, and I was giving her a head's up.

Got the appt, and left another msg so she'd know what time I was coming, and hopefully let Ryan know what was up. 

She calls me, a bit later, and proceeds to lecture me, about "I don't need to know that you are coming for him, you don't need to make me aware of this, just go to the office and they'll call us;  I'll send him up, I don't need to know you are coming, just make sure you sign him out there."

I paused, a bit befuddled for a minute, then I got irritated a second later.  Excuse me, lady, but I have two older kids who have been going to that school for a long time.  I'm hardly new at this.  I do this all the time.  I snapped.  But I was polite about it. 

"I'm aware of this, that you don't need to be told.  However, I always do this with my kids teachers, you know, out of COURTESY." 

That made her pause.  But she continued nonetheless "Ok, just make sure you sign him out then.  And you know, it doesn't even look that bad; it looks like a bad windburn or something like that; and he says it's itching now." 

"I'm taking him in, because it's not getting better."  What? They hand out medical degrees with teaching credentials now?  Besides, she said it herself "a bad windburn"--which is RED, which usually signifies infection.  <Grrrrr>  He was in PE when I picked him up.  The PE teacher says, "Oh, yeah, I'd run one of my own if they had anything that looked like that."  Um-hmm.  Exactly

Doc says it looks like the beginnings of a strep infection.  Oy.  I don't want to think about all the potential places a 7 year old's hands have been; that he would share that kind of fun with a scratch.  Remember that even dirty hands can look clean, lol.   Doc put Ryan on some antibiotics.  Tasty.

I can't wait to share that with Ms. You-know-who.

Politely, of course. 

I may even unclench my teeth.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

So thankful

There are lots of things that I'm thankful for...many of them are tangible, the family and friends I see every day.  Some things are minor, some are major, some are 'a-ha' invasions of my consciousness when I least expect it.

*The padding sounds of little feet coming down the hall, her arms encircling my neck as I pick her up, as she say to me "why are you up?" in the sleepiest, most adorable way imaginable.

*More little, and not-so-little feet, sneaking up behind me to say good morning, hugs all around.  Even from the big kid, who still <sometimes> sits in my lap, on the occasions that it's vacant.

*The funny phone call from my brother, that lets me breathe a small sigh of relief that someone else is there to help me rein my Dad in when he gets all crazed about something minor, like the sports page.  (Is it too early to start drinking?)

*Knowing I'll get to go to my Tia's house, and revel in all the loudness, the shouting that is normal conversation there.  (While trying to avoid any mention of eating, because my Tio will be insulted if you don't taste his turkey; bulging waistband be damned.  Tums, anyone?)

*Songs sung by a three year old who makes up her own words.  Her rendition of "Jingle Bells" in the van last night was so funny I'm lucky Mr W was driving, because I'd have made a wrong turn.  She takes liberties with the alphabet, too, but she's got the melody right, so who cares?

*The unique love of my boys:  it's nice to know there will always be three men in the world who adore me. 

*My friends, new and old, who remind me that once in a while, Mom comes first, and that adult conversation is something to be prized almost as much as "googoo gahgah."  They are the little islands of sanity that I retreat to each day, and occasionally, we limbo--creaking limbs and all.

*Mr W.  Who still, after all this time, well...makes me happy, makes me mad, makes me laugh, and rarely makes me cry.  He takes all my craziness in stride, while still possessing qualities that make my stomach do the flip-flop it did the night we met.  (Okay, maybe there are four men in the world who adore me.  lol)

*My parents. 

My Mom.  Whenever someone compliments me on my kids, I almost want to call her and thank her right on the spot.  Because I learned how to be a Mom from her, and she's the one who taught me that the best gift a parent has to offer is love. 

My Dad, who in spite of his gruff nature and bad temper, is my champion.   He has the most amazing work ethic I've ever seen, and for what?  For all of us.  He spoils us all like mad, and there really isn't a more Kodak moment than when he is sitting at the table, with a grandchild in front of him, sharing his breakfast.  Even my new-Mom fervor of trying only one food at a time was squelched when I saw him very gently feeding Nolan some eggs, so many years ago.

*My Nanas, who are still around, and don't think my kids are disrespectful when they call them "shrimpy Nana" and "two-Nana". 

There are things out in the great big world that I'm thankful for too.  But for me, the most important thing I like to touch on is my family.   I didn't grow up with much, but I always had a circle of people around that loved me, and helped shape who I am today.

And I will always be thankful for that.

Gobble gobble

In the steel gray-blue light of morning, right before the sun comes up, there is just enough light to see.

Enough light to look in on all the sleeping faces of the people that I am most thankful for...covering the stray foot or two that has escaped the blankets.

Enough light to make sure I don't step on the cats as I make a bleary-eyed trek down the hall.

Enough light that I can release the hounds, and they won't be begging to come back in right away.

In the still quiet of the early morning, I ponder all the little things that make me grateful every day, alongside the big ones.  

But what I'm really pondering, dreading, and up in this early morning for right now, is the turkey.

I've often wondered why people get so intimidated by cooking a turkey.  Afterall, it's just like roasting a giant chicken.

Although, wrestling one out of its protective plastic wrapper ranks right up there with trying to open a condom in a hurry.   You really need it out of the protective packaging.  But your hands are slippery, and the once-conveniently wrapped package is just all over the place while you are scrambling to keep it where you need it.

I know lots of people are in urgent cares and ERs today with knife issues, but how many of them are there because the unwieldy bird fell off the counter onto their foot?   (Twenty pounds, falling from a 3 1/2 foot counter;  it doesn't take a math genius to tell you that's gonna hurt.)

I feel bad, for Mr Turkey too.  Maybe because I'm a woman, and know the indignity of having someone up to their elbow inside you, removing precious cargo (a baby, in my case; that package of mysterious innards, in Mr Turkey's case).   At any rate, I am a little sympathetic, for this naked bird sitting in my sink, and almost want to say a few words of comfort to him.  Words of comfort are all I can offer at this point, as dinner and a movie are no longer an option.

Why, why, why can't they put the neck AND the innards in the same cavity?  Is it really necessary to have to invade the poor bird from both ends??  Hasn't he suffered enough for me? 

After nearly severing a finger removing that plastic harness that binds the legs together, I moved on to seasoning.  I think this is also a problem for some folks, because there is no way around it:  this is where you really have to touch it, rub it, and revisit the cavity again; and I think it would be nice to just shove the thing in the oven, and skip the rubbing of the outside with butter, or oil.   Oh, I get over my girly sense of ewww (at this point, I remind myself, you wanted to be a doctor?), and I season it up.  No one likes a bland bird, and nothing will move me to tears more than a failed cooking attempt.

Which is really what this is all about, isn't it?  Your loved ones come together, for a few hours of goodwill that will hopefully carry on throughout the year, or at least until Christmas, and you don't want to let them down by making turkey jerky.  You cook the bird, and are rewarded, thankfully, by its golden goodness; all memory of its sad nakedness forgotten, you inhale that wonderful smell and tell everyone it's almost time to eat. 

Which brings me back to all the things I'm thankful for, that I'm putting in another entry.

No room here, what with that giant chicken taking up all the space. 




Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Midnight quickie

Haaaa, made you look! 

So mature of me.  

We had quite a busy day today.  I was home, all day, for maybe an hour.  Here, there, everywhere--I need a clone.

One of my tasks was taking the boys to get their haircut.  Mr W has been taking care of Ben and Ryan's since they prefer to sport a nearly bald shortness, just like Dad.  But Dad has been really busy lately, and since I was taking Nolan in already, I figured might as well take care of all of them. 

Woohoo, not a wait at all, maybe five minutes.

We'd finished up and were heading out to the van.  As I turned to open the doors, there was a young man standing next to the van parked next to mine.

He graciously said, "Go ahead."  I was pleased about this, because parking lot etiquette, or the lack thereof, makes me crazy.  People don't care that you are strapping kids into carseats, they just want the spot next to you.  No, don't mind me as I bump your butt with my car door.  I hate it, and you'd think other parents would understand, hey, she's got a stroller, but noooo, it's all about 'me first, me first.'

Anyway.  He struck up a little conversation with me, not anything too weird, just along the lines of normal "take your time, don't worry about it" niceties.  Asked if they'd gotten their haircut; lots of "that's cool" and "have a nice day." 

I got into my seat, and he got into his van.  Hmm.  I'd assumed he was driving off or something, but he sat in the passenger side.  I thought he was waiting to go past me into the Subway right in front of me, but no.  He didn't invade my space or anything like that, and I'd gotten everyone into the van fairly quickly, so I was shrugging it off when I hear a chorus of voices:

"Who was that?" "Who was  that stranger?" "Did you know him?"  "Why were you talking to him?"  "Don't you know about 'stranger danger'?"  "Yeah, you tell us not to talk to strangers.."

"Chill, boys.  He was just waiting for us to get into the van.  He was just being courteous so I could get Audrey strapped in."

"Mo-oom.  We don't like it when you do that,"  chimes Ben.

"Yeah, he was a stranger," Ryan weighs in.

Sigh.  Great.  Now I'm feeling nervous.  Lock my doors.

"Mo-om.  He liked you,"  Nolan says..

"Oh, he did not, Nolan."  I suppress a giggle.  "I hardly think a chubby Mom with four kids is parking-lot-pick-up material, mijo."

"Well, then why did he keep talking to you?"

"I don't know."

Meet Nolan, my chaperone.

I still don't think he was doing anything except the idle chatter of someone that's thinking "Hurry up, lady."

But as I drove away, I caught myself turn my head so Nolan couldn't see me smile.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Man in black

We went to see Harry Potter yesterday morning.  We all liked it, but I have to admit, I was a bit disappointed.  However, I do realize, as I pout about all the scenes that could-have-been, that the movie can't go on forever.  I didn't mind the dark tone, or the violence, I minded feeling rushed through the abridged version.  I'm sure it'll still make scads of money at the box office, and I'll see it again. 

While we were waiting for the start of the movie, there was a preview/interview regarding the Johnny Cash bio, "Walk the Line" (?).  I love Johnny Cash.  When I was little, I was convinced my Tata was Johnny Cash (same hair).

We used to call Nolan "Johnny Cash".   What else could you call a two yr old with a penchant for wearing all black (top and bottom)?   The all-black stemmed from a love of Batman.  And anything with Batman on it--usually black.  (I was soo delighted that he loved Batman.  We watched the cartoon all the time, and well, he is my favorite--you can keep that goody-goody Superman, and send over the dark knight, anytime.)

Anyway, as we watched the preview, there was a scene where someone was giving Johnny crap (can you imagine that) about the all-black ensemble (pan to Joaquin-Phoenix-as-Johnny--wow); I looked over all the kid heads at Mr W, who looked at me right then too--and we exchanged knowing grins as we nodded our heads towards Nolan.  So funny that we both remembered it at the same time. :)

Looks like a good movie, maybe we'll go check it out.  Decked out in black, of course.

For now, I'm pleased to see that Patrick is continuing the Saturday Six.  It's got a new home, here.  This week, it's episode 84.  I think.

1. What was the last movie you watched at a theater completely alone?  Haa.  I don't even get to go to the bathroom alone, much less to a movie.  I can't remember!  How sad it that???

Would you have enjoyed it more or less if you had gone with someone to see it? Who knows?  I don't mind going to movies alone, so I'd probably be fine on this one.  I'd enjoy it...about the same, alone or with someone. 

2.  What was the last non-sexual thing you did around the house completely naked?  I took something out of the oven.  No one likes burnt chicken nuggets.

3. How well do you know your neighbors? Would you like to know them better or not know them?  Well enough to know when something doesn't seem right about their house.  I don't feel the need to know them better, but am anyway because my kids spend enough time outside that I wind up chatting with them.

4. Take this quiz: How much of a conspiracy nut are you?  I am 29% conspiracy nut.  Not obsessed, but interested.

You are a little bit of a conspiracy nut. You know about the big conspiracies - but it doesn't take up too much of your time. You have accepted that people lie, and get away with everything - so you don't dwell on the loch ness monster too often.

5. Of the following "conspiracies" mentioned in that quiz, which single one would you most like the "truth" about and why?  Ha, the alien one.  I think that the universe is a vast place, and to think we are unique, that no other life exists, well, come on.  

6. If you had to create a slogan that defined your life, what would it be?  "Motherhood.  An Army of one."

Friday, November 18, 2005

Parental torment can be sweet

I don't know if I've mentioned it, but there will be a dance in the Spring for the sixth graders. 

Nolan's class has been all a-twitter about it since September.

All that forethought, all that social planning--if only they showed that much enthusiasm for homework.

I don't know how it came about, but his father and I have been tormenting him.

First of all, like most kids, if he sees us hug or kiss, we get a big "eewwww."

Secondly, the thought of us being seen somewhere in public with him is starting to not be so appealing.

Because I am a sicko, I decided we would tell him, every chance we get, that we will chaperone this soiree in the spring.

So we shake our groove thang in the kitchen, and tell him, "Look, we're perfecting our moves."

We wiggle around the hallway, promising him that it'll look better in a bigger space.

Dancing cheek-to-cheek can be taken to another level entirely, and I swear, I think I saw the words, "My eyes!  My eyes!  It burns!" spontaneously appear above his head last night.

"Stop that,"  he says, exasperated as can be.

"No way, man,"  we tell him, as we double over in laughter.

We have no intention of doing it.  It's just fun to mess with the kid.

I'm sure he'll find some way to return the favor.

It doesn't take much

Recently, someone mentioned that it seems that the little things in life are the things that get me excited.

It's true, it doesn't take much to get me to smile.  Here's a few:

*When the moon is full, on a crisp clear night, I find myself pausing to look at it.  It's not like it won't happen again, but it's a nice surprise when I'm not expecting it.  And I'll grab someone else, and make them look too.

*Finding the perfect pen.  For the thousandth time.

*That serendipitous moment between adults, as you look at each other over the heads of the kids, and exchange an amused look at what the kids just did.

*The little grunting noises Max makes because he's happy to see me, wiggling his giant girth, reminding me he's still a puppy.

*Remembering someone's birthday.  On time.

*Hearing from an old friend.  (Bienvenidos, Crystal~)

*Hugs.  Little ones, big ones...

*Snuggling in the morning, making everyone late for school.

*A good hair day.

*Scruffy beards.  Because nothing will make the little hairs on the back of my neck stand up like that against my skin.  I'm ticklish.  It makes me laugh.

*Warm cookies.  As in <stage whisper> "Nolan, ask your Mom if she's gonna bake some cookies..." (because they see me in the kitchen with the big bowl)

*Sleepily rolling over and helping Audrey climb into my bed.  And as I reach to pat her back, bump into Mr W's hand beating me to it.

*Suddenly being the first in line in a crowded supermarket that only has two cashiers per 100 people, because <eureka!> someone opened up a new lane.

*Getting in the car for a long day of running from here to there, and hearing all my favorites.  Without resorting to the iPod.


Get back to me in about ten days, when the holiday madness will be in full swing.  I bet I won't be finding much to smile about then, as I battle some blue-haired snowbird for the primo parking spot at the mall.   

No, sir, an RV will not fit in "compact" parking.

Yup, as I rescue Audrey from the potentially limb-crushing effects of poorly wielded shopping carts, I think I'll be doing a bit more grimacing than grinning. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Boo hoo

Yesterday afternoon, my oldest was in a pre-teen snit.  Moody, but not wanting to discuss it.  Moody, and getting on my nerves.

I mean, I understand the angst that comes with the tween category.  Be as moody as you gotta be, just don't rain on everyone else's parade.  You aren't the only child in the house.  Go to your room, or something.

Ugh, his mood continued when we left for aikido...and seeing as there are bitchies swirling in my air at the moment, my tolerance was low.  Shut up and leave him alone, I decided, don't make matters worse.

Tough for me, the touchy-feely, 'tell me' Mommy.

Anyway, he told us later he'd had a rough day.  A rough day where the girls at his table (group of desks) were upsetting each other, and stressing each other out to the point of tears.  Over math and the dictionary, of all things.  The girls were throwing proverbial hormonal elbows, and he didn't realize it's best, in these situations, to duck.

I was at a loss.  I mean, how can I tell him this is the tip of the iceberg of what he's about to be privy to?  That the girls, from here on out, will be acting like a broken nail is cause for alarm?

I don't want to scare him, afterall.  He's gonna have enough on his mind as it is just dealing with himself, much less dealing with the histrionics of his classmates. 

"Sorry, son, that's rough,"  I said to him.  "But you should expect some of that, from time to time, "  I added.   His Dad added a few words, too, and I couldn't hear them.

I'm sure they were along the lines of "I'm still dealing with it, now, and I'm a grown-up," as he gestured towards me with his head.

I glared at him anyway.

And he ducked.


Dance of the hormone fairies

I don't know if I should be disturbed or amused by the fact that I have more in common with my teenage nephew than I thought.

While my oldest is entering the phase where the dance of the hormone fairies is beginning, he is still just wading into the waters of the big...the big...the big hor....ha, look, I can't even say it, so let me start over....

I've taken an informal poll amongst my friends.  We are all in our mid-to-late 30s.  And we are all being plagued by a similiar problem.

Somehow, in the middle of the night, someone snuck in and gave us the hormones of a fifteen year old boy.  And some of us didn't need any help to begin with, and are now plagued with thoughts that make our husbands blush.

I used to wonder why the guys in high school were so obsessed.  Drop a pencil, and as you are standing back up after you've retrieved it, you realize 5 sets of eyes are not looking at the chalkboard, but at the fact that your sweater gaped a bit more than it should have.  For a second,  I thought it was just because chivalry was dead.   Oh! <look down>  Ooops! <blush>

Now, I understand.  And sympathize. 

I think it's some kind of payback for all those teenage years when we couldn't be bothered with the changes all our male friends were going through.  All those years spent protecting our virtue, coming back to haunt us.  

It's a 'hitting our stride' thing, one of my friends suggested.

Unfortunately, another mentioned, our men are at a different stage at this point; although up to the challenge, they need a chance to breathe.

For pete's sake, who turns this down?  "Do you want to meet for lunch, or do you want to meet for <lower voice> lunch ?"

Time constraints?  Are you kidding me?

I don't know how long you've got, buddy, but I'm sure I could  work around it.


Anyway, suffice to say, there are some days that are just filled with carnal suffering.  Unfortunately, these days are often capped off by nights where the little ones don't go to sleep, or are up wandering the halls at inopportune times.

Times that try a woman's soul. 


**I have to add this--although he may not have time for me at exactly the time I have in mind, well...we do get it together and manage to be on the same page more than this entry might give the impression of...and considering that I actually have uttered the words "thank you" <without even thinking them first> recently, and forgotten my name on more than one occasion, let it be known that there is a reason why I am always chasing after him.**

Ghost town blues

It's like a horror movie.

One where you walk outside your house in the morning, and realize as you drive your kids to school that there are no cars on the roads.  No people in the grocery, or at gas stations...

The town is empty.   There's a whooosh of debris blown up by the wind as you drive by.  No neighbors are answering their doors.

Natural disaster, or some errant virus slaying the masses?

I'm sticking around, watching, waiting...

I don't think the cavalry will sweep in and rescue us, or anything like that. 

It's just that I'm not big on change.  I'm really bad at it,  even considering the amount of changing and shuffling the family decks as I do all day.

I'm scrolling down, and ignoring the match.com, NASCAR, and Bank of America ads.

And stocking up on canned goods and water.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Check the mailbox

I have a confession to make.

I really, really hate checking the mail.  It's always 90% crap, 10% things I need to deal with.

Earlier this week, the mailman decided to slap me on the wrist, and left me a pink postcard telling me that my mail was at the post office, so I had to go there to claim it.

Nice.  It'd only been a couple of days, I think.  (I know, it's a mail-fraud-stealing danger, I know...I'll be good from here on out...)

But 'tis the season of the catalog, and it filled up fast.

My, my, what's this??


It's the Kraft Food and Family magazine.  The holiday issue.  "OVER 50 of our favorite Holiday recipes" the front cover exclaims.  Oooh!  Goody!!!  (claps hands)

Have you ever seen the pictures in this thing?

It should come in a plain brown wrapper, this tasty bit of food porn.

Not that I'm one to necessarily buy a lot of prepackaged stuff, because I usually don't.  I might cheat a bit, and use something as a side, but usually I use this book for inspiration.  Quick weeknight ideas.  Yummy "gotta take that dessert in to work" ideas.  It's just a perk that if you need to rely on it, the Kraft products-you-need-to-use propaganda is spread throughout, so you don't have to think, just write it on your shopping list. 

And it's so fantastic to look at.  Nothing could ever be that perfect, could it??  I mean, once a child sticks his/her finger in the side of the cake, it's all over, isn't it?

I love Martha Stewart Living, and her FOOD cookbook that is the size of Reader's Digest but a much better read.  But that stuff can sometimes get complicated; and we all know that Mr W isn't going to try anything entitled "Goat Cheese and Red Pepper Pasta,"  or anything containing the words "balsamic vinaigrette."  Come to think of it, the kids would probably have issues with it, until they take the first experimental bite and proclaim "Mommy, you're the best cook.  You should open a restaurant."  (Yeah, right.  Right after I open up this can of soup, and accept the Nobel Peace Prize.  There's nothing like keeping all these kids happy to give one lessons in diplomacy, afterall.)

"Do you believe in holiday magic?" the front page asks.

I don't know.  Let me take a look....

pg 22...(choc peppermint cake)...pg 41 (italian veggie bake)...pg 47 (chops-on-top pork & stuffing supper)....

Anyone got a cigarette?

Princess Balboa

Earlier this week, Ryan got into the van, full of a story about how:

"Kyle pushed me on the playground, and I fell down.  I can't believe it, he just pushed me, and I got hurt.  I told the teacher.  He had to go sit by the wall."

All in the breathless cadence of a seven year old, the sentence was out in fifteen seconds.

I'm driving away, and I hear Audrey start to babble, talking to herself, me, who knows?

I catch this:  "....hurt Ryan...and I'm gonna go to 'chool, and I'm gonna find Kyle, and I'm gonna push him down...I push him down, and pour spiders on his face." 

??? What? <grin>

"Sweetie, what are you talking about?"

"That boy, he's mean, he hurt Ryan.  I push him down."

I see.  "And the spiders?"

"Spiders are 'cary.  I 'care him."

All this time, we joke about Audrey not dating when she's older, with all the men in her life. 

Here she is, protecting one of them.    It's probably a good thing she doesn't know what that kid looks like.

My three year old, not the Princess we think she is, but Defender of the Realm.

I kinda like that.

And should there be any doubt that she is abandoning the girliness, this also has happened, over the last week or so...

I parked the van, and got out, opening the door behind mine, because that is where her carseat is.

No Audrey.

What the.....?

There she is, in the passenger seat.  The visor is down, so the mirror is exposed.  She's checking her lippy.  (*kid lippy*) I do a double take, as she leans in, closer to the mirror, and wipes the excess that is outside her lipline off her face. 

"Now, I'm ready,"  she announces.

I don't know where she got that from. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2005

The Tuesday Two--Get your robe on!

I feel I can tackle this, now that I'm covered up in a bathrobe (in addition to pjs)...the Tuesday Two is letting its hair down!


For each pair, choose A or B, (indicate which question you're answering!)

You are invited to a party at a nudist colony through a program that seeks to introduce the concept to people who aren't already members.  You know the following things going in:  1) There'll be nothing "inappropriate" going on, 2) You won't know anyone who is there, and 3) You'll never again see any of the people who are present for the rest of your life.  Given these conditions, would you attend?



While housesitting for a close friend, you discover some nude photos of your friend that were left out in the open, and apparently completely by accident.  Would you look at the photos, and would you tell your friend that you found them?

I'll take "B", $300, for a daily double, Alex.

I have some hot, good-looking friends.  You bet your ass I'd look at them! 

Oh, stop it.  We are all voyeurs, on one level or another, or we wouldn't feel our eyes drawn to look at the occupants inside a house with open blinds.  We wouldn't stop to look at accidents, or bar fights, or the waitresses at Hooters.  No one would ponder, fake or real?  You wouldn't suddenly feel the need to check your mail when the neighbor is out mowing his lawn without his shirt on.

Everyone looks.  Admit it.

Would I tell them I saw the photos?  No.  Probably not. 

But I'm sure I'd have to explain at some point why I'm staring at their...assets.


Well, I meant to post a special entry, because yesterday (the 7th) was my one year anniversary here in j-land.

Time flies.

Especially when I can't decide what to write, and Audrey has decided that I exist only to do her bidding.

Yeah, why write when I can be giving a three year old a pedicure?  (She's so cute with her little blue toenails.)

Thankfully, my children all come with an "off" switch...bedtime.  Thank god for bedtime.  Yay, bedtime!

These past few days, I've been surprised and amused by my brood as well as my husband.  My thoughts are all over the place, so bear with me.

First of all, my oldest decided he would like to journal, too.  I was a little apprehensive about him doing it, because I compete with the kids for the computer enough as it is.  And I was being protective, of his little sixth grade heart.  But I let him do it, anyway.  And if you can't pimp your own, who can you pimp?  Visit him--and remember, he's only eleven.   (He asked for help, setting things up and with the first entry.  I told him he's on his own, from then on out.  "But will you still check my spelling and punctuation?"  How cute is that?)

Secondly, I rediscovered one should never underestimate the persuasive power that comes with being a grandchild.  We were at my Mom's on Saturday.   My Dad, Mr W and I were watching a football game, when Ryan waltzes into the room.  He climbs up into my Dad's lap, and gives him a hug.   Then he hits him with his request:  "Tata, would you buy us the game, Star Wars Battlefront II?  The boys and I would really like to have it."  "What's that?"  my Dad asked.   I filled him in, that it was a new game whose release was timed to coincide with the release of the movie on DVD.  (marketing, it's all about marketing...)  "Where can we get it?"  "Target."  "Let's go."  He's putting on his shoes, and I notice all of a sudden, Ben and Nolan appear out of nowhere; "what'd he say?" written all over their faces.  Oh, I know this trick.  My Dad went down the hall (for his wallet, probably) so I piped up "Okay, whose idea was it to send Ryan in for the kill?"

Laughter and finger pointing ensues..  "He did!"  "No, he did!"  "It was your idea!!"  Nolan confesses:  "Okay, Mom, this is what happened:  Ben was too chicken, I was too chicken to ask, so we told Ryan to do it, and Ryan agreed, because he said, "Tata cannot resist me," so we sent him in."  Pause.  "Does this mean you're going to tell him not to get it for us?"

(Like I have a choice.  I've given up long ago on trying to talk my Dad out of spoiling them, it's a grandparent's right, and I stay out of it.  Unless, of course, he's buying them cigars and liquor, or talking about taking them on a special trip to Nevada for their 16th birthdays.)

Off we all go to Target.  They are all happy happy.  Until we get back, and the Xbox gets temperamental.  I hate the Xbox for this reason.  I believe ours came with a hormonal chip in it somewhere, that decides it hasn't been treated right and makes it not run for the rest of the day.  I figure on some level, they are getting training for their dealings with women.

And speaking of women...  My oldest is experiencing his first round of serious like, as in "I like her that way.  Like her-like her."  She's adorable.  I'm wondering if this explains his behavior as of late, because I haven't found a pod in his room yet.  I was convinced there was one, because he's normally quite even tempered--and lately, he's been Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.  I know he's growing up, this is fine.  Getting a little mouthy to prove it is not.  His secret being out in the open has made his mood brighter.  The clouds are open, and the sun is shining...for now.  

In light of this, I asked his Dad to have a little chat with him, about well, you know.  And he did, too.  I wasn't forced into an awkward conversation that involved diagrams, which I can only be thankful for--although, I did mention that he shouldn't worry about what the other kids say, and listen to his own heart.  Dad kept it simple, short, and sweet.  I don't think it took longer than 10 minutes, and I was not present.  Whew.

Thanks to the chat, and what my husband did for Ben yesterday, I have to say, my husband, well, he rocks.  Ben lost a molar.  He put it in a plastic baggie, and later when my husband was on a cleanup rampage, he threw it out.  And didn't realize it until after I'd taken the trash out.  I suggested Ben draw a picture for the tooth fairy, or write her a note, which would be fine.  No, my husband went out to the trash can, found the right bag, went through it, and brought the tooth back in so Ben could put it under his pillow.  I can only hope he cleaned the baggie off, but really, why get picky at this point?  Tooth crisis averted, and Ben got 2 bucks for it.  <shakes head>  I can't believe him sometimes.  He's amazing.   

And I shouldn't be surprised about that.

Saturday, November 5, 2005

Red is my color

<I didn't forget you, Monica...at last, the Home Depot tales>

Nothing can cause more despair than when you are standing over a toilet, and the water just keeps on rising, rising, rising...and sloshes all over your bathroom.

I looked at all that water, realized my little mop was not going to cut it, and cursed my husband loudly as I looked at the clock.  It was 8:30 pm.  He was at work.  I was hugely pregnant, just getting everyone ready for bed, and not looking forward to what I knew I must do.

"Come on, kids,"  I said.  "We have to go out for something."

"What?  It's nighttime..."  Nolan (then 4 years old) protested.  Ben (then 2) put his arms up for me to pick him up the second I said "go out."

"What happened, Mommy?  I heard you say some bad words."  Nolan asked.

"The toilet is clogged."  He gave me a funny look.  "It's not my fault, all I did was pee.  That had to be your Dad's doing, before he went in to work,"  I ranted.  "And now, because there is water all over my bathroom, we need a mop and a plunger.  We have to hurry to get there before they close.  <choice words, muttered under my breath...>  "What did you say, Mommy?"  "I'm gonna kill him when he gets home." 

I'm feeling all the crazies only a pregnant woman can feel; just ready to either cry or hurt someone, as I load the kids up into the car. 

We make it to Home Depot with some time to spare.  I grab a serious mop, and a plunger.  Ben is sitting in the big basket, so things are moving along rather smoothly.

I should have known.

We're waiting our turn to pay, and Ben starts flashing his big baby blues at people, talking away.  "Hi, I'm Ben.  This is my brother Nolan.  I'm two, and he's four.  My Mommy is going to have a baby, and it's a boy baby." 

Ordinarily, it's cute.  Considering it's late, and by this time I'm crossing the line from 'irritable' to 'homicidal,' I'm not finding it so cute.  I sigh as I push the cart up, finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, envisioning my pjs and blessed slumber.  Now, he starts chatting up the saleslady, in addition to the 5 or so people waiting in line. 

"We had to come out and buy this stuff because my Mommy went poop and plugged up the toilet."  I feel my face flush immediately, as chuckles erupt down the line.

How do you respond to that?  No matter what I say, they're not going to believe me. 

I settle for the Mom-glare that would melt an iceberg, whisper to him to be quiet and shrug, "It really wasn't my fault" as more chuckles emerge from my fellow shoppers.

"Gee, thanks, Ben,"  I hiss at him as we leave the store.  I'm just beside myself;  I mean, it's not enough injustice to be carrying around a baby that makes you look as though you should paint "Goodyear" across your butt and be done with it, nooooo, now I have to deal with the added shame of having been branded as the defiler of toilets.

Needless to say, it was a long, LONG time before I set foot in that Home Depot again.

And the next time was a winner, too.

Nolan and Ben were walking behind me, and I was pushing Ryan in the cart.  I kept turning around and checking on them, because they were wearing soccer slides and walking really slow.  As usual, the object you seek in Home Depot is always in the aisle either two aisles back (which you just passed) or in the aisle on the complete other side of the store from you.  I'm tired (yes, it's pointless to ever consider not being tired) and cranky (another after work jaunt); I just want to get the hell out of there and go home.  

I hear "clap!"  "ker-thud" "clap!"  "ker-thud" over and over.  What the heck are they doing?  I look over my shoulder, and have one of those moments, where you have to make a choice and hope it's the right one.  The boys were letting the slide dangle off their toes, and flinging them up in the air, and giggling like mad when they landed and made a funny noise.   Like I mentioned, I was tired, and just trying to get it done so I could get out.  I decided not to make a big deal out of it, they were entertaining themselves, and not using duct tape to do it, which was just a bonus.  They continued this way all throughout the store, which was fine, as there weren't many people in it.  No harm, no foul.

I'm heading for the register, and turn around to make sure they were following closely.

Nolan is walking funny. ???  "Why are you walking fu--"  I start to ask, and I look down at his feet....where he is now only wearing one slide.  "Where's your shoe?"  I ask, irritated.

He and Ben exchange a guilty "you tell her--no you tell her" look.  "Um, I don't know."   ??? "It's your shoe, buddy, how do you not know?"

"Okay, don't get mad..."  (Truthfully, does any good ever come with what follows that particular statement?  I think not.) "I'm not mad." "Well, you know how we were playing with our shoes?  I lost mine because it went waaaaay up high (gestures upward) and it didn't come down."

"Where?"  "Back that way," he replies, gesturing <you guessed it> a couple of aisles back.

Sigh.  "Come on, let's go look."

We went up and down the aisle a couple of times.  I decided that this was stupid, the shoe was lost, and most likely, judging from his gestures, lost up amongst the pallets stacked up to the sky.  "Let's go."

"But Mommy, my shoe..."  "No.  We're leaving.  You'll just have to hop to the car."  There were pleas, and some tears, but I held fast.  "Look, you don't even know exactly where you lost it.  I'm not asking them to crawl up on top of all those pallets/shelves/boxes just for one stinkin' shoe."

He hopped to the register.  He hopped to the car.  He hopped into our house. 

I felt my familiar flush, and vowed never to set foot in that Home Depot again.  And I didn't--until right before Audrey was born...and I went alone.

And the kids?  Well, as a result of this incident,  shopping always requires footwear that cannot be dangled or flung.

It doesn't matter, though.  There are other ways to get Mom when she's out shopping, like announcing to everyone "Hey!  something stinks over here--did you fart?"  in a voice so loud people on the opposite side of the store from them start sniffing the air and looking at each other quizzically, while trying to maintain that aura of "It wasn't me."

Really.  It wasn't.

Friday, November 4, 2005

Guilt, bribery, and a little divine enlightenment

<because I was inspired in Tina's journal, and this entry, and told her I'd tell my story, too...>

Once, when I was about oh, 10 or so, I found a couple of copies of my Dad's Playboy in my parents' linen closet off their bathroom. 

Of course, I looked through them.   Shocked, but curious. 

Certainly, I'd never look that glamorous, not like that lady on page 45, laying on that luxurious bearskin rug.  (oh, give me a break, it was the 70's, weren't they all posed on bearskin rugs or red silk back then?)   If I'd only known that glamorous was not the look she was going for...I might've dropped the magazine and run for my life.

Soon after that, the bratty little girl from across the street, came over to play. 

Of course, I decided I needed to share my finding with her. 

She is two years younger than I am, so really, I had no business showing her, but for whatever reason, couldn't help myself.

She looked, too, it's not like she threw them to the ground, covering her face in horror.

No, instead, she proceeded to chant, ever louder, about "I'm gonna te-eell, I'm gonna te---ell" as she ran out my front door towards her house. 

Luckily for me, she had really long hair, and her Mom braided it all the time.  I had something to grab.  That's exactly what I did, too, I grabbed her by the braids and pulled her back up onto the sidewalk.  I was horrified, mortified that she'd tell her Mom, who coincidentally, happened to be one of the most notorious gossips I've ever  met. 

I could just see it, gleefully spread all over town:   what a bad influence I was; how cochina (dirty) of me to be looking at that trash; with no amount of good grades or good deeds ever being enough to clear the stain from my name. 

Then there was the fear that my Mom would kick my ass.  

I grabbed a quarter from my pocket, and pressed it into her palm:  "I'll let you have this, if you swear not to tell ANYONE what I just showed you."

Greedy thing that she was, she took it, and I breathed a sigh of relief. (Not that I believed her for a second that she truly wouldn't tell, but for the minute or two that I shut her up.)

I decided I needed to tell my Mom what happened, just in case.  I was afraid, for sure, but I figured better she hear it from me, then hear it from the gossipmonger across the street.

My Mom was surprisingly cool about it.  She didn't go nuts, and I'd be willing to bet she had a chat about the magazines and their placement with my Dad after that.

Unfortunately for me, this is where my conscience kicked in.  You see, I was raised Catholic.  I went to catechism and attended Mass with my Nana fairly regularly.  I had absorbed enough information to indoctrinate me properly in the school of guilt.  While I may not have worn the uniform of the Catholic schoolgirl, I bore the marks on my psyche as thoroughly as though nuns had drilled them there themselves.  As you may know, a little Catholic guilt goes a long, long way.

After this little incident, I became convinced that I was going to burn in Hell...for looking at naked ladies and sharing them with others.

I couldn't shake it, this nagging fear that I would be burning for all eternity at any given time.  I was a wreck, I couldn't sleep, and I would pray in the bathtub for a divine sign that I was forgiven.  So much so that I remember one bath, the bubbles were fading but all that remained was an "I" shaped island of froth; I patiently sat in the tub, pruning so badly I looked like a shar-pei, as I waited for the rest of the message "forgive you" to be spelled out in the foam.  It never happened. 

What did all this guilt serve?  It made me a church-going maniac. 

My Mom never suspected why I was so interested in church, why I called my Nana and made a date with her every weekend, why I was suddenly so devout.  I think she thought I was going along because after Mass, my Nana always took me to Dairy Queen.  My reward, my bribe for sitting still in the pews.  

All I know is DQ certainly beat the pillow-shaped pastel dinner mints Nana kept in her purse.  No matter how tightly she wrapped them, they always had an element of gritty Kleenex lint about them.  Going through her purse was a pastime of ours as we sat through Mass....during the sermon, when the die-hard priests would go on, we'd take inventory.  She always had Juicy Fruit (see where I get that from), the mints, Kleenex, lipstick, and a pen or two.  I can still smell her powder as I think about it.

Eventually, I let the guilt from that little incident go.

Which was right around the time I found a new reason to go to church, in the form of my cuter classmates.  Some of them served as altar boys, and some of them had mothers who dragged them along to Mass. 

Let me just say there's nothing like the eye contact you can make when you go up to Communion with a well-scrubbed boy trying to look like he knows what he's doing.   I made sure to say a little prayer of thanks for those ladies.  Thank you, for bringing your dishy boy to Mass.  Forgive me, Father, as I sit here and think sinful thoughts.  

I figured we were even, Father and I, as my nose was out of joint that I wouldn't be allowed to be an altar boy.  Nowadays, Ithink they allow it, but back then, well, I still remember the sigh my Mom let out when I grilled her about it.  It just seemed so unfair, one of those "because you're a girl" explanations that made no sense.  Why should only the boys get to know what's in those cool gold containers? 

I still can remember where they all sat, and who you could expect to see there at which Mass.  How sick is that? 

Sick enough that I'm beginning to feel a bit of guilt right now. 

Old habits die hard.

Burn, baby, burn.


Wednesday, November 2, 2005

Tuesday Two--part two

Yup, the week I decide to play, it's a special two-for-Tuesday-two.   This will bug me, as I nod off, so I had to do it.   Otherwise,  I'd feel like I got to the last chapter, but decided to return the book without finishing.  :-p


If you feel that you are your worst enemy, then think about the worst quality you have that makes you feel this way:  if you had the power to remove that quality from your personality with the snap of a finger, would you?  Why or why not?

<damn this infernal font that will not change...what is up with this?  anyone?  the comments are small, if you get the alert at all...you need to type the entry in 14 or get itty bitty letters...grrrrrr...magnifying glasses...conspiracy....pfft>

Okay, I've always considered myself to be my own worst enemy. I'm hard on myself.  I'm stubborn.  I procrastinate.  Individually, they are quirks.  Together, they are noise in my head that complicates my day, so I'm counting them as one.

Would I remove this if I could?  Nah.  I'm used to it being there, and I know how to turn it off, or turn it up, when I need it.

There are days when you need to kick yourself in your own pants.  (turn it up)

And there are days when it's better to sit in your pajamas. (turn it off)


Tuesday, November 1, 2005

Tuesday Two--Part one

It's my first time playing Patrick's Tuesday Two. 

Here we go: 


Name a song that somehow connects you and another person:  a loved one, an ex, or a friend or family member...and describe how it became "your song."

I had to think a minute on this one.

It's "Sexual Healing" by Marvin Gaye. 

Before you get all "oooh and hehehe" on me, and your minds head to the gutter, let me tell you why.

Mr W and I had been dating about six months and we were at a dance.   As you may recall, I was pretty young when we started seeing each other (ahem--cough 14) and I was still trying to figure out what was what in the grand scheme of the "I like him like him" scene.  

I knew we had fun together, and I did like him.  A lot.  But as far as knowing what feeling in love was, I wasn't clear.

So we're at this dance, and the song starts playing, and he leads me out onto the dance floor.  He's quite smooth about it, I remember, and as we started to dance, I caught a girl from his class giving him the once over in a wistful way. 

You know how it is.   Someone is not a hot commodity unless they are suddenly unavailable.  And she had quite the crush on him, I think, because I remember not liking it much when she spoke to him.  So flirty. 

Look, you little tart, you had three years of the divine Mr W all to yourself, you missed the boat, now step away from the cute boy before it gets ugly, I thought. 

We were dancing, close, but not so close as to alarm any chaperones.  I was looking at him, and I don't know what happened, but I felt like I was seeing him, really, for the very first time.  My breath just caught in my throat.  He was just adorable, in that sexy, seventeen year old,  just out of the shower for my date kind of way.

I looked at him, and knew he was ultimately trouble.  Afterall, he was making me tingly in places I should not have been.  Ahem. 

We left the dance early.

Now, nothing really happened that evening, I mean, please, I was 14 years old, and not even good at kissing yet, much less anything else.

But I'd be lying if I didn't say I started to really think about it.

And I found out that that feeling I wasn't sure about, that made me wonder "Is this it?" was love.

So easily distracted

Last night I intended on doing my Saturday Six before I started ranting about running.  I couldn't help myself, though, I was holding that ice pack to my knee and trying to type. 

The good thing, is it seems to help. 

The bad thing is it's still not vodka. 

Anyway, I took the quiz over the weekend, I went to the trouble to add up my answers...so here, at long last, is my Six.  I may even be inspired to do the Tuesday 2 as well.

Saturday Six - Episode 81

1. What is a bigger pet peeve for you:  someone trying to talk on a cell phone during a movie, a baby crying in a restaurant, a dog barking on your street, or music played loud enough to rattle windows.

 Cell phones are usually not a problem in the movies I go to...it seems a lot of people prefer the "vibrate" setting.  (Hey, when you have kids, and not a lot of time, you take  a thrill whereever you can get it.)  Babies crying in restaurants are a way of life for me.   As long as it's not one of mine, I could care less.  Ditto for the dogs barking.  As far as loud music, there's nothing more annoying than the thump-thumping that signals a Ford Escort with speakers instead of a backseat coming your way.  Ugh.  Here's a word for you, my decibly-challenged comrade:  HEADPHONES.  Wreck your own ears, and I'll wreck mine.

2. What is your favorite cologne or perfume that you wear most often?  Which one is the one you like the scent of, but don't wear often or at all?

I'm a little sensitive about revealing this.  Last time I did, the person I told started wearing "my" scent too.  Now I have a huge bottle of perfume I can't wear without thinking of her instead.  Ah, so it's minor, but still.  Right now I rotate with some stuff from Bath and Body Works (eucalyptus/spearmint or lavender vanilla or a new one, too new for me to remember, it's pink...romantic?) and the one that people compliment me on from Victoria's Secret (pear).  I like Happy, which is the fragrance I can't wear anymore...and used to wear Beautiful quite a bit, but it's a little strong for the strained-peas-and-carrots set.   And I love, love, love it when men smell good.  Eau de hombre?  Ha.   My favorite place in the mall is the men's fragrance counter, where I dream of someday convincing Mr W that he needs to wear it.  For me.  Until then, I just breathe deep whenever there's a great smelling guy around, and concentrate on keeping my hands to myself. :D

3. In your opinion, what is the best way to tell someone you value how much they mean to you?
I don't tell them.  They know.  I'm not that hard to read. 

4. Earlier this week, I posted a personality quiz:   If you haven't taken it, please do; if you already have, how accurate were the results compared with your true personality.

I took the quiz.  If it's good enough for Oprah and Dr Phil... I scored 43.  It's funny, because I made Mr W take it too;  he scored so low, I had to take his pulse (29).  It's just further proof he's the soothing glass of milk counteracting my spice.  lol  

41 TO 50 POINTS: Others see you as fresh, lively, charming, amusing, practical, and always interesting; someone who's constantly in the center of attention, but sufficiently well-balanced not to let it go to their head. They also see you as kind, considerate, and understanding; someone who'll always cheer them up and help them out.
21 TO 30 POINTS: Your friends see you as painstaking and fussy.
They see you as very cautious, extremely careful, a slow and steady plodder. It would really surprise them if you ever did something impulsively or on the spur of the moment, expecting you to examine everything carefully from every angle and then, usually decide against it. They think this reaction is caused partly by your careful nature.

5. When was the last time you feel you got as much sleep as you really needed in a single night?

1993, when my first kid was born.  I don't think I'll ever get enough sleep, ever again. 

6. If a stranger walked up to you and handed you a briefcase with enough money to pay off every debt you had down to the penny, do you think you could start from then on living debt-free?


Hey, is that Oprah coming towards me, holding a briefcase?  (see what I mean?  not enough sleep :p)

Stop sign, mailbox, lamp post, stop sign...

Thanks to VH-1, I have the cheesy, 80's version of "Dancing in the Streets" --done by David Bowie and Mick Jagger--stuck in my head.  I'd rather it be the kickass Van Halen version, but who gets to chose what it is when a song gets stuck in your brain like that?

Tonight, I was reading Trace's (private) journal, and she was talking about running.

Running seems to be a theme in a few places lately.  It must be the weather.  Cooler.  And the fact that no matter how you fight it, the holiday season marches towards us.  Who wants a piece of pumpkin pie?  Christmas cookies?

Lace 'em up, girlfriend.  You gotta suffer for your sugar.  Not everyone is blessed with the "Inga" metabolism.

We all know an "Inga."  She's six feet tall, weighs 110 pounds on a good day, and "just can't keep any weight on."  My heart bleeds for her.  Quick, someone, pass Inga a carrot, I think she's about to pass out on the runway.

See?  There's that word again. 


I'm outing myself.  I've been running for about a week now. While the Christmas cookies do have something to do with it, I have another reason, too. 

Last year, I promised myself after walking the PF Chang's Rock-n-Roll 1/2 Marathon, I'd run it this year.

Yeah. I've been keeping that up. <crickets resume chirping as I turn off the alarm, again>

I thought my friend, the supa-diva of the trailhead, Jenny, had forgotten about it. 

No such luck.

She remembered.  And asked "So, how's your training going?"  (the nerve of her :p)

<more crickets chirping...where's the exterminator when you need him?>

Sigh.  "I've not really been doing it.  I'm running out of time, aren't I?  Maybe..."

"You have plenty of time.  (12 weeks) And you promised you'd run this year.  I'll do it with you.  We'll go at your pace, and if we walk some, it'll be fine."

She knows I like to run.  She knows I want to try this.  She is great at reminding me about me.  I decided I have nothing to lose; I'll give it a go. 

I can do this, I told myself.  It's a mind-over-matter thing.  It's a put-one-foot-in-front-of-the-other-thing.  You know, 'the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step', and all that crap.

I'm my own "si se puede" team.  I managed to make it out all week, save Fri and Sat.

Progress, slow progress, has been made.

I'm soooo impatient, however.  I want to go out there and kill it like when I was a teenager.  LONG, LONG ago.  

"Hey.  Psst.  Hey, you."   My muscles whisper to me.  "Could you back off on this a bit?"  (I keep going, just a bit further...)

"HEY, HEY YOU!"  My joints shout at me.  "What the hell are you doing?  Why aren't we in the magic chair?" <shooting pain up my calf>  "We are in charge here, and we are telling you that  it ain't gonna happen, sister.  Turn around and take us home."  (Fine, fine, I'll walk.  Just make it sttoooppp.  I keep going, until my little course is complete.  Run.  Walk.  Run.  Curse.  Walk.)

Hello, stiff knees.

Hello, ice packs.

I'm in the magic chair alright, homemade ice packs on my knees.  (Jen told me about mixing alcohol and water; you freeze it, it makes a gel, and it's fantastic.  Unfortunately, I was under the assumption that it would be vodka, and not rubbing alcohol, in the baggie when  she first explained it to me.)

I felt myself grimace and dig my nails into my palm the other day as I made myself go a few more feet.

All I hear in my head is "mailbox...lamp post...stop sign...make it to the next mailbox...lamp post...driveway...stop sign..." as I look for a landmark, a place to get to.  And a place to stop, walk for a bit, and resume my mind-chant.

I find I'm serious about this. 

I find that I need new shoes, and the ones I like are nowhere to be found, of course. Once again, I'm turning to my friend, and she met me at this place where they videotape you running (greatsign me up!); analyze your foot strike; and help you decide what you need in terms of footwear.  I balked at first, but Jen said, "Oh, no, they only videotape your feet."  Sure, I'll believe her.

But I'd like it in writing that there will be no footage of my ass that the salespeople will chortle at afterhours; no special "hall of shame" surprises for their company Christmas party.

The saleslady is nice to me.  She sets it all up, and omg, I have a go at it, on the treadmill, in front of an almost-empty store (thank God for small favors). "Let's have a look," she says.   

I barely hear her commentary.  I'm mesmerized, focused...on the image she's showing me.  Oh, f**k, look at those ankles.  They are huge.  I don't care that my right foot is good, the strike good, the lines good, or that my left foot overpronates in spite of its good strike.  I just want to try on some shoes.  (**And while you're at it, take me off the screen and destroy that tape.  Where's that big ACME magnet when I need it?**)

I must be high to put myself through this.  It's the sleep deprivation finally taking its toll.  Maybe it's the fact that I'm not having any more babies, so I've substituted a painful exercise of endurance for shits and giggles in place of childbirth, breastfeeding, and potty training.  (Although something tells me I should stick with what I know, I am not about to bring forth any more spawn.  Besides, there's that burning question:  runners' high vs. nursing euphoria--which holds the greater power?)

As I try on shoes, I ruefully note that not even my shoe size can be a single digit.  Can't a girl get a break here?

I try on a few pairs.  I take a few steps around the store.  Hey, I kinda like this.  But I'm torn, as there is a lot of slippage in one heel.  The other pair are a bit short.  And the ones I could compare it to, <say it with me> are not in the store at this time in my size. 

To her credit, the saleslady is cool about it all.  Will hold the ones I tried until the others come, and call me to come in and try 'em all again once the others arrive.  I can handle that.

Until then, it's lamp post, mailbox, stop sign....

Lamp post, mailbox, stop sign....burning sensation.  Burning sensation?  WTF?  THERE??

Did I mention that no one warned me about the joy that is chafing??  There's something that'll stop you dead in your tracks; a happy bit of news you don't want to discover when you are already a ways away from home.

Oh, sure, I hear all about how some folks shave their junk; about bandaids on your naughty bits; about vaseline; and about going commando under the running pants (no, I don't; I'm not joking, hell no, I don't) but nooooo, somehow, this little detail, this tiny, important detail, gets left out.

I'll get over it.

They just better not be lying about the runners' high.