Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Thoughts while traveling

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Most Entertaining

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

Sunday, December 28, 2008


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

Friday, December 26, 2008

Running ramblings

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve service

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

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Merry Christmas

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

Friday, December 19, 2008

Technology--ain't it grand?

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

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

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

Thursday, December 18, 2008


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

His type

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

Christmas letter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


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


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

Littlest Casanova update

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Learn from me...

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

Friday, December 12, 2008

Gift exchanges

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

Thursday, December 11, 2008

You might be a redneck...

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The love life (lives) of little kids

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

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

Sunday, December 7, 2008


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

More nonsense

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

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

Is it time to throw out the leftover turkey yet?

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

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Rhetorical questions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Found on the counter today

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

Monday, December 1, 2008

Finished eating for now

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

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


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

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