Friday, December 28, 2007

Chaos

1900 square feet. 46 warm bodies. 8 pizzas. 12 liters of root beer. 2 waterfights, a driveway basketball game and one guitar jam session. It's called dinner with my family. My oldest brother said the best part about these gatherings is watching the young cousins play together. A nice sentiment, but quite honestly it's the brothers and sisters-in-law roaming the halls with glazed eyes in search of a square foot without lincoln logs, or rummaging through the medicine cabinet in hopes of discovering a spare bottle of valium that I enjoy the most.

The anniversary party is tomorrow. We're just getting started.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

For those of you who don't get my Christmas card...

...I thought I'd share a few quotes that were included this year:

We were piled in the car, starting to back out of the garage:
Drew: "Oh! I forgot my gray sweatshirt!"
Kristy: "Do you know where it is?"
D: "Yeah."
K: "OK, tell me where it is and I'll go get it."
D: "Well, if you go in...and you see something gray...that's it!"
~~

Drew: Hey Dad? Are you a doctor?
Cory: (sensing a setup) Yes.
D: Oh good. Then can you get this fork out of my butt?
~~

Samantha, trying to entertain some little kids at our house:
"It seems like they like Drew's burping better than the puppet show."
~~

Drew: Dad, do you have a song stuck in your head right now?
Cory: No.
D: [bursts into song] Shot through the heart, and you're to blame - you giiiive loooove, a BAD name!
[pause...pause...]
D: Nnnnnnow do you have a song stuck in your head?
~~

Samantha, going through my jewelry:
S: Where did you get this ring mom?
Kristy: My mom and dad gave that to me when I graduated from high school.
S: Ooooooh...this one's OLD then.
~~

Drew: "Samantha, just because I'M being annoying doesn't mean YOU have to be!"
~~

Samantha, yelling from her upstairs bedroom:
"WHAT is going ON down there???"
Me: I'm exercising!
S: Why is it shaking the WHOLE HOUSE???
~~

Sincerely,
Vern & Co.
Merry Christmas!!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Yuletide Highlight

I can't decide which part of my Sunday Christmas church service was the highlight today. The part where the main contribution of the program was a 7 member choir, the moment when the Bishop conducting the main meeting lifted up his leg over the pulpit to reveal his Christmas socks, or when the frail, old man got up to leave Sunday School early and farted four times on the way out.

Definitely a toss up.

Care to vote?

Friday, December 21, 2007

God is not dead in Los Angeles

We are in California for Christmas and a 50th wedding anniversary party for my parents. This morning I woke up around 6am and was unable to go back to sleep, so I decided to get up and go to the gym.

This is not a joke.

But here's my question. Why does television suck so bad at health clubs? It's the one time where I really need help maintaining focus on something else other than the perky former cheerleader next to me running a mile in the same time it takes me to turn on the machine, and I gotta say, CNN and ESPN don't cut it. I mean, come on. What are there, like 34 flat screens in one room and my choices come down to reports on worldwide catastrophe and men in tights? I'm not saying that the lady answering all your burning questions about refinancing and foreclosures doesn't know what she's talking about, or that Tom Brady isn't making somebody's day by beefing up their Fantasy Football scores, but that sure as hell isn't going to help me increase my speed into mile 3. I will say that there was one time I was running on the treadmill when "The Biggest Loser" (a weight loss reality series and not, in fact, a documentary on my life's accomplishments) was on, and I ran for an extra 45 minutes. I try not to go in the evening anymore.

I mostly rely on my iPod to help me through my workouts now, but I forgot to pack it. Which is why I found myself searching for reprieve from the TV monitors at six o'clock this morning, hoping for some kind of story to help me forget that I was running in public.

I never found reprieve, but I did get a fresh dose of surprise. Not because half of the channels were tuned to CNN, but because the other half were tuned to a 24-hr religious station! Here I was, staring at some emphatic scriptorian making grand interpretations on stage, waving his arms around like a circus performer without any animals, and this is what they had playing on multiple televisions in a public health club? In CALIFORNIA? California, where prayer in school has been publicly debated and is now a thing of the past and where the very pledge of allegiance has hung by a thread? Now, I think it's pretty obvious that I'm pro-religion, but I'll be honest. It's not my concern for salvation that has me sweating at 6am. I turned to CNN, hoping for something better when I read the following closed captioning: "FEMALE PASTOR HAS VISION ABOUT HER DALLAS FREEWAY...." They interviewed this pastor by the side of the freeway that runs through Dallas. She talked about a verse in Isaiah, Ch. 35 that mentions a highway being built, and now here they were, on "I-35". Apparently it's now a hangout for religious enthusiasts who stand there and preach to all the people driving by at 70mph. Sounds pretty effective. Later during a commercial break I saw a promo for a show coming up later in the week titled, "What would Jesus REALLY do?" As if Anderson Cooper knows anything about that! THEN, even later today we took the kids to Starbucks for hot chocolate and right next to us was a guy with his scriptures out, marking them all up, and typing some kind of report or sermon or something on his laptop.

The last time I was surrounded by this much religion in one day was when I attended religion class in college. For my birthday a few weeks ago my friend Ali gave me a shirt as a joke that says, "Got Jesus? It's hell without him." Looks like Los Angeles already got that memo.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Shameless

Since surprising Cory with the trip to Hawaii, I’ve received several comments about my rock star status like, “Wow, that’s so great that you had the whole trip paid for before you even told him! And with all your OWN money! What a great wife you are.” I’ve shamelessly accepted all compliments, drawing the line only when a person started to bow in my presence. I’m not afraid to say I think I AM a great wife. A great wife who really wanted to go to Hawaii wanted to show the love of her life the lengths to which she would go for his happiness. Indeed I went to GREAT lengths.

With a month to go on the deadline for paying for the trip, I was still a few hundred dollars short with no photography gigs on the horizon. I began scanning the home for items to sell on craig’s list – I stared longingly at Cory’s golf clubs, and wore a sinister grin as I lightly traced my finger over his collector baseball cards. Then reminding myself that I wanted to STAY married, I searched for different options. As if the mailman heard my pleas, two random checks showed up in the mail, one from our insurance company and the other from our escrow corporation. We both had to sign them, they both went into my account. Then later in the week, with only a few more dollars to be gathered, the voice of a coin shop owner I had recently spoken to echoed in my head, “I buy old jewelry and melt it back down for new jewelry…” he had told me. I ran to my jewelry box. I found a chunky piece of silver, an old earring that was missing its counterpart, and then, in a parallel moment of shame and glee, my eyes fell upon my Young Women’s Medallion. [Note to reader: In my church we have a program that allows young women to earn what they call a “Young Womanhood Recognition” award, similar to a young man earning his Eagle Scout. The crowning piece of recognition has come in various forms over the years. At the time I received mine, it came in the form of a gold, oval shaped medallion. Much like an Eagle Scout award, it seldom gets worn again.] Unsure of its value, I imagined Satan’s lips curling up in Grinch-like fashion as I tossed my medallion into a bag to take to the coin shop.

“I’m not sure if it’s plated, or solid, or even if it’s worth anything,” I explained to the owner.
“Well, the only way to find out is to cut into it. If it IS real, it will ruin it,” he warned.
I hung my head, suddenly ashamed that I even considered this and walked out the door.
“I regret that it has come to this,” I replied.
“Works for me!” I announced.

He got to work.
Cut.
Pour suspicious liquid over surface.
Watch it fizz.
Rub on a strange surface.
Declare to unfit medallion holder, “Well, it’s solid 10 karat gold. Which works out to about...(punching into the calculator) thirty-three dollars."
I agreed to the transaction, he wrote a check, I immediately went to the bank to make the deposit, and then celebrated the fact that I just hocked my YW medallion for an amount of money that would probably buy us both a bagel once we actually got to Hawaii.

When I came clean to Cory about my jewelry incident, I was prepared for him to be slightly disappointed with my cavalier regard for it. But in an unprecedented turn of events he not only wasn’t disappointed, but he LAUGHED!!! And he laughed HARD! Thus proving to me once and for all that there will never be another man for me.

In conclusion:
Trip to Hawaii: $5200
YW Medallion: $33
Bagels and Juice: $32.99
Selling my soul to the devil for $33, some bagels and a laugh: Priceless

Thursday, December 13, 2007

She's just not that into you

If my best friend was my boyfriend, I'd think we were only a date away from the "let's just be friends" talk. She's been trying to take me out for my birthday for two weeks now, but the juggling of two family schedules, Christmas, and both of our husbands on business trips has complicated our efforts. But if my best friend was my boyfriend and said he couldn't go out Friday night because it "conflicted with an HOA meeting", I'm pretty sure I'd think our relationship was on the rocks.

While on the phone with each other yesterday we tried again to find a good time. "Monday? During the day?" We both pondered and thought it had potential. Then she said, "Let's TENTATIVELY THINK about it." Tentatively think? I laughed and joked that it didn't get much more non-committal than that.

I guess it's a good thing we're already "just friends".

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Maslow's Hierarchy Of Christmas Card Needs

If Maslow were still around, I think he would have a separate hierarchy of needs for Christmas cards, and I believe it would go as follows:

First, there is the basic essential human need for a Christmas card. This is the basest of all cards, consisting of the pre-printed greeting and a signed name. Not ideal, but still better than bills and craft store coupons.

Next we have the card with the letter but no pictures. While not including a picture is disappointing, points are gained if the letter is funny. Points are lost if you talk too much about your 3-year-old speaking multiple foreign languages or mastering long division, but are regained if you share a story about them saying/doing something embarrassing in public. Any points gained by including a letter are immediately revoked if you write more than 2 pages. And really, if you write that much it had better be good.

Level 3 involves a card, and a letter, AND a picture. You are approaching perfection in the Christmas card world, but lose credibility if the picture is only of your kids. I don't care how cute you think they are, they're usually not all that. But major points for including all three card elements. However, when pictures and letter are included, actual card loses some significance and may not be necessary. Again, any points lost can be regained if you bring the funny.

Finally, self-actualization on the Christmas card pyramid. This is achieved with or without a card, but most definitely includes a letter of some sort which must consist of at least one self-deprecating reference and zero mention of your pets. Critical at this level is the photo that includes a picture of everyone in the family regardless of weight gain or hair loss. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to solicit a Photoshop tutorial on "How to shave off 30 pounds from your Christmas card photo."

Saturday, December 8, 2007

for one more day


Have you heard about this book? It's the story of a man who gets the chance to spend one more day with his mother who passed away 8 years earlier. I haven't read it yet, but I'm familiar with the sentiment it's intended to ignite. And that is, If you had one more day to spend with a loved one you had lost, who would it be and what would you do? I've given this a lot of thought, and I think I have come up with my answer. But first, another question.

What if you never really got one day in the first place?

I'll never forget hearing my sister's voice as she called me from the hospital. "I lost the baby," she said. The walls in my room went blurry, the voices of my kids downstairs faded into background noise, and my eyes caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror across the room from where my slumped figure sat on the bed. "What??!" I managed to ask, in the kind of voice that blends a gasp with confusion and disbelief. She seemed to be testing out the words herself, as if saying them out loud would either help it sink in or make her wake up from a bad dream. She repeated, "I lost the baby." I could hear the shock and confusion in her voice, and I struggled to process her words which seemed so disconnected from reality. This seemed impossible. She was only two weeks away from being induced, and though we knew that the little girl she was carrying had Down Syndrome, everything seemed to be going fine. I tried to be of comfort but fell pathetically short, as I guess anyone would. I would have thought that after all the years we spent together in this life as sisters, I would have something else to say besides "I love you", but suddenlty the space in my head and the air around me felt void of words and it was all I had to offer. There seemed to be nothing to do but cry. Which I did. For days. The thought of imagining my sister the very next day in a hospital, forced to deliver her baby girl whose cries would never vibrate the room was excruciating.

I flew out to California a few days later for a memorial service at their home where I watched in awe as my sister and her husband navigated their new territory. I was in the room when I had to listen to her re-explain to her 3-year-old daughter that she would be unable to give her baby sister the stuffed animal that she had picked out, but that she was more than welcome to put it in the casket. And, "...yes mommy's sad, but I love you."

It's been a little over a year now, and I still do a little knee jerk every time I see a little girl with Down Syndrome. Because I wanted the chance to be her aunt, to shower her with love and to beat up any mean kids who were ever...well...mean to her. I wanted my kids to be able to play with her and love her at our family reunions. I envisioned her older siblings who would have spoiled her on ridiculous levels. I imagined her being the best thing that ever happened to our whole family.

I. I. I.

Enough about me, what about my sister? That's why, after giving it a lot of thought, I would choose to give MY day to HER, to spend with her baby girl. Except the baby would be old enough tell her what a great mom she is, and that she's sorry it's hard, and that she loves her. She would smile back, give great hugs, and smear Cheerios into the carpet.

Just one day. Yes, I believe that's what I would do.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Deep Thoughts

Remember the days when overalls were cute and trendy?

*sigh* I miss that.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

What I Know For Sure - Vol IV

1. I don't care if they still sell it at the Nordstrom counter, Polo cologne only smelled good in the 80's. And if one of you could please pass this information on to the clerk at my grocery store I will love you forever.
2. Some people should never wear midriffs
3. And by "some" I mean "all"
4. The Bravo series "Real Housewives of Orange County" is horrible television, and I can't take my eyes off of it.
5. Five days of diarrhea can be an effective weight loss enhancer
6. You don’t have to be European to feel passionate about nutella
7. When water leaks from my shower, it comes through the light in my family room
8. $350 will fix the igniter on your furnace
9. $600 will get you two license plates on a new car
10. Both on the same day will encourage binge eating

Monday, December 3, 2007

Coincidence?

No. If I'm being truthful, the answer would be "no", I'm not interested in meeting Dr. Phil in person. So hopefully no one in my family (or friends posing as such) visits his website, because I shudder to think what would happen if they came upon this. Please, don't get any ideas. Unless the airfare to Los Angeles is included.

Friday, November 30, 2007

"Hey Zuzu, what happens every time a devil gets its horns?"

I hate Christmas, and I'm not afraid to say it. Actually, that's a lie. I am a little afraid, because I know I'm going to be judged for saying so. But that's okay because I'm not proud of it, it just happens to be the truth. Don't misunderstand, I'm not opposed to the Christmas that gets portrayed on the front of Pottery Barn magazines or Martha Stewart specials. Those look lovely. But I don’t have a set designer, a staff, or enough money to justify themed sheets expressly for the month of December. Instead I am left to loathe the practice of Christmas list-making that my kids begin in August, the blaring of non-stop Christmas music in department stores beginning mid-November, and the fact that if I don’t decorate with lit up deer and life size snow globes on my lawn my kids call our house “boring”. Wanna know what else? I hate buying presents, because no matter who I have on my “list”, I forget at least ten people. And I never know who those ten people are until they show up on my doorstep offering me homemade doses of "aw-crap-now-I-have-to-get-YOU-something.” Not only that, but everywhere I look I see people spending more than they can afford only so I can pay later for their bankruptcy. And my final point: Aren’t we supposed to be celebrating the birth of the Savior? Because I don’t think Jesus would be very impressed with our methods. More importantly, I don’t think He would require me to hang excessive decorations or spend money to fill my house with more crap.

So yes, when it comes to Christmas I have some issues. I have even gone so far this year as to call my closest friends and say, “For Christmas, I’m not getting you anything. Thought you should know.” At this rate, I have good news and bad news. The bad news first: This gets worse every year. The good news: I just learned that it is not my fault. Last week when I was helping with Thanksgiving dinner at my sister’s house the topic of Christmas came up and I heard my mother from across the room mutter something like, “I just don’t like Christmas.”
My eyes flew open wide as I gasped, pointed to her and shouted, “YOU! YOU did this to me?”
“Did what?” she asked.
*I* hate Christmas!”
She winced and gave me an apologetic nod while hesitantly adding, “I just never felt like that’s how Jesus would have wanted it.”
“Ah-ha!” I pointed at her and jumped up and down. “It’s your fault!”

So you see? My disdain for this time of year isn't psychological at all, it's just biology! What a relief. In the meantime my Bishop has asked me to write the Christmas program for church. After politely and eloquently sharing with him my thoughts, (I believe "Uh...but I hate Christmas" may have been my exact words) he replied, "Well then," he replied, "maybe there's a reason you're being asked."

Well then.
I hope he's right.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

40 Things I love about Cory on his 40th Birthday

Even though we've already celebrated, today is the actual day. Happy Birthday Studly.

1. His favorite way to drink water is to fill his cup with ice, add water, and then let it sit until all the ice is melted. This way the water is perfectly cold and the ice doesn’t get in his way when he drinks it.
2. He comes home from work early so he can play baseball with Drew before it gets dark
3. He can ride his bike for 78 miles
4. Over three Colorado mountain passes
5. He goes into the other bathroom in the morning to blow dry his hair so he doesn’t wake me up – his idea.
6. He did a face mask with me once, just to see what it was like
7. He let kids throw jell-o at him during a church activity
8. He never complains about taking parent duty so that I can do something fun with friends
9. Come to think of it, Cory hardly ever complains about anything
10. He works hard
11. He ate crawdads with my nephews, eel in Solvang, and squid heads in China
12. He is honest
13. He likes practical jokes
14. He doesn’t worry about what other people think of him
15. If it hadn’t been for him, we never would have gone to Israel
16. We had been married one year when I had surgery that resulted in 13 staples up my abdomen. I got sick one morning, and when he heard me throwing up he instinctively ran to the bathroom and pressed his hand against my stomach for support so it wouldn’t hurt as bad.
17. He is not afraid to say he’s sorry
18. He does our taxes
19. When Drew was 7 months old Cory took him on a weekend trip by himself to visit his ailing grandmother in California. It was her first introduction to Drew, and her last visit with Cory.
20. He has a strong moral compass
21. For Mother’s Day one year he spent THREE HOURS making me a salad out of the Martha Stewart magazine – he learned the hard way that Martha was going to make him roast and peel his own peppers and grow his own cilantro – we ate at 8:00 pm – it was the best salad I’ve ever had
22. His hugs diffuse my stress
23. He reads my blog
24. And not because I ask him to
25. The letters he wrote while we dated almost always included a reference to MacGyver as well as secret messages written and hidden under the stamp
26. He wants secret passageways in his dream house
27. He compliments me on a good hair day
28. He still laments the day that “Land of the Lost” was taken off the air without warning
29. Anyone who spends an evening with the youth at church learning a hip hop routine and then comes home to show it to me deserves nothing less than my affection
30. He is always warm, a nice bonus during winter months
31. Through thick and thin, he is not critical of me and shows that he loves me no matter what
32. I find this remarkable
33. He is the fun parent
34. He lets me paint and decorate the house however I want
35. Whenever there is a drawing, raffle or contest, he always expects to win (which he often does) and if he doesn’t, he is genuinely surprised
36. It took me a LOT longer to feel ready for marriage than it did for him, but he never pressured me
37. He can hang with geeks AND athletes
38. He waltzed with my Grandma on our wedding day
39. He sang to Michael Jackson and Madonna at a Chinese karaoke bar
40. He asked me for forever

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Random Facts

I've been "tagged" in the blogosphere to share a few random facts about myself - one asked for 6 items, the other for 7. So I compromised and chose 8. If you do not feel better about yourself after reading this then I am powerless to help you. Here you go:

1. I have signed my Congressman’s name hundreds (thousands?) of times – a skill I acquired during a summer internship on Capitol Hill
2. The left side of my chin is still partially paralyzed from when I had my wisdom teeth pulled
3. I know all the words to the “Xanadu” soundtrack
4. I had two Navajo foster brothers growing up. One was awesome, the other stole money from my brothers and caught me dancing in front of a full length mirror in my Dolphin shorts, an incident I didn’t live down until he left.
5. I was in a TV commercial with Ed Greene, one of Denver’s news station weather gurus
6. Once when riding in a car with my friends I began singing along earnestly to “Almost Paradise” on the radio. I thought I sounded good. My friend Kara was massaging her temples when she asked me to stop, unable to hide the edge in her voice. I still sing out loud to the radio, whether I sound good or not. Except now I know that it’s most likely “not”.
7. My first job was cleaning light fixtures in a light store on Saturdays. The only reason they hired me was because it had been my sister's job, and she was leaving. They hoped I might be as great as she was. They were disappointed, but never said so out loud. And yes, ALL of the lights. In the whole store.
8. Face, torso, arms, back, head, left leg, then right leg. I dry off in this order after a shower every day.

I now tag "kizz", kerri, ginger, lorie, and "madame mim".

Monday, November 26, 2007

Hawaiian Highlights

Three days in Oahu, four days in Kauai, and four more days at my sister's house in Arizona for the Thanksgiving holiday. It feels like forever since we've been home. After a total of six separate departures, landings, and security checks, I have very few complaints as our flights all took off and arrived on schedule and kept all of our luggage in tact. My only nagging question is why my brand new 10 oz. bottle of coconut lime verbena lotion (bought specifically for this occasion)was seized and ordered to the trash by the TSA and yet the character sitting next to me dressed in black with a two foot long chain suitable for whipping and strangling that hung by his belt loop breezed through security. Whatever. Anyway, in case you're wondering if I just made this whole thing up about a trip so I could get out of blogging for a couple of weeks, here's the evidence.

This was my very favorite thing from the whole trip - that's me in the water after jumping from the top of the waterfall!

The Prince Golf Course on the north shore of Kauai came highly recommended as a way to attain golf nirvana. We didn't pass it up:

This is where I gained a testimony of Jo Jo’s shaved ice. Cory ordered a blackberry raspberry flavor served over vanilla ice cream with a vanilla crème poured over the top. I am still having dreams about it.

Our waiter the night before recommended this beach as having great waves and being the best for body boarding. He left out the part about lava rock lining the ocean floor. Cory decided to risk it, I decided to watch (translation: read my book) from the shade of the swaying palm trees on the shore. Only one of us walked away unscathed.

The "Grand Canyon" of Hawaii, Waimea:

Cool lighthouse:

While mom and dad frolicked in the Pacific, the kids hung out at my sister's where they endured grueling hours of movies, outings, and Sonic EVERY DAY for lunch!

Cool couple at a cool resort looking far from cool as they approach the very uncool phase of middle age but trying hard to appear cool anyway:

Since arriving home last night with snow on the grass, we've traded in our flip-flops and swimsuits for winter coats. Reality can be harsh, but there's still no place like home.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Hawaiian Hiatus

I'll miss you guys over the next little while. Really, this is going to hurt me more than it's going to hurt you. [insert evil laugh]

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Speechless

I had Thursday's post figured out before Thursday even got here. Because Thursday was November 8th, making it the first day of the END of the sugar fast. Thursday was also my first day of working at a 3-day Christmas boutique where I happen to know that they serve fresh, homemade cinnamon rolls daily. The plan was to eat my cinnamon roll, experience enlightenment, attend parent/teacher conference, then stop by my friend Ali's house for our official end of the sugar fast party where eating chocolate cake, cotton candy, and root beer floats was no longer a crime punishable by shaming from peers. I planned on taking pictures of our wide-eyed Wonka-like experience and posting them here under the title: "Whoever said nothing tastes as good as thin feels has never had Patti's cinnamon rolls."

So you can imagine my astonishment when not only did I NOT experience enlightenment at the first bite of the cinnamon roll, but it made. me. sick. As in, when I got to the party I still felt so gross that I could not even fake a longing for a Reese's peanut butter cup. I choked down a few bites of ice cream just to try and redeem a little of the pleasure I used to know. I honestly don't know what to make of it. I fear this situation will somehow change me into an organic-eating-Omega-3-popping-birkenstock-wearing-cabbage-chewing-yoga-seeking-*gasp* "say you're not eating FRENCH FRIES!!" girl, because I prefer making fun of those kinds of people. On the other hand, my little experiment has witnessed changes on the scale and differences in the way I feel.

Then again, I hear the island of Kauai has the best shaved ice EVER. And you can get it served with cream poured on top, which sounds like an idea worthy of some kind of solid gold trophy in the shape of a cone. Well then, maybe there is hope after all....

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Dear Dr. Phil:

My daughter has cried herself to sleep for two nights in a row because we put our old car up for sale. She said she has become attached to it after all this time and worries that it might not go to a good home. Lately I have been thinking that we should move to Guatemala and build homes for the poor so that she might hone her abilities to handle change. Would this be an effective approach in your opinion? If not, is there some kind of potion I can mix and shoot into her veins while she is sleeping that will allow her to part with crusty stuffed animals and endure my hairstyle changes?

Sincerely,
Confused and Concerned in Colorado

Sunday, November 4, 2007

The next, NEXT best thing

From the time we started dating Cory told me his plans of owning a Corvette by the time he turned 40. I was 22. I just smiled and nodded and thought, "Oh how cute. He has goals." I'm pretty sure that nowhere in his plan did it have a clause stating what to do if pragmatism got in the way of said Corvette, so let's just make one right now and let's call it...the "minivan clause". This clause states that in the event of needing a new vehicle to accommodate your family you might have to forego your man car even though your crucial timeline of a birthday is a mere few weeks away.

So, no. Cory's not getting a Corvette to celebrate his four decades of life. Recognizing his need for a plan B, he stated to me a couple of weeks ago that all he wanted now for his birthday was for the Rockies to win the World Series and could I please write Todd Helton a letter stating his wishes. I don't need to elaborate on how THAT turned out.

Scrambling for a plan C he mentioned to me the other day, "Maybe you could send me to baseball fantasy camp?" Little did he know, I already had a plan C. It started over a year ago when I told the banker across the desk that she had to promise me there would be "no paper trail, no statements sent to my home, no ordered checks, no evidence whatsoever that I had opened this account." I'm sure she thought I was a battered wife saving for an escape, but quite the contrary. I was a grateful wife trying to surprise my husband but needed a way to stockpile money and withdraw it without my accountant of a spouse knowing about it. It worked, and I've been stashing all of my side money from photography jobs into this account, just so I could do what I did on Saturday night.

I chose a new Hawaiian restaurant near our home to break the news. Near the end of the meal I lied about needing a bathroom break and ran to the car to retrieve the box of goods I had prepared earlier. I slipped it next to me and a few moments later asked if anyone was ready for dessert, at which point I revealed the box and handed it to Cory. Inside was a Hawaiian t-shirt, some coconut lime lotion, some macadamia nuts, an Almond Joy, and a lei, and taped to the top of the lid was our itinerary for a 7-day Hawaiian Vacation.

Twenty-four hours later he is just beginning to digest the reality of leaving the Rocky Mountains for sunny beaches very soon, but I think he likes the idea. I couldn't help but ask, "So, are you disappointed that it's not fantasy camp?" to which he replied, "Oh, it's fantasy camp!"

So if you happen to notice a future lull in posting, I have one word for you: "Aloha!"

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Do drug dealers and mafia take their kids trick-or-treating?

I joke that my neighbors are Russian mafia. I’m sure it’s just a figment of my wild imagination, but I can’t figure out how else to explain the Mazda by day and Mercedes by night, or the fielding of phone calls in a park when there’s nobody else around and the person in question isn’t even with his kids, or why his wife and children would be out walking down the street at 10:30 at night in the middle of the week. So I admit that I was a little surprised to see him out on Halloween taking his adorable little girl (dressed appropriately in satin and tulle with a tiara) trick-or-treating. Go figure. I guess he’s just like any other guy, raising his family and running a really successful trash removal company.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

What I Know For Sure - Vol III

Is this getting old? I'm not afraid of the truth, so tell me if you don't think this is funny anymore. In the meantime, here is my list for November.

1. Filing my heels with a pumice stone and shaving my legs should count as an upper body workout
2. If you’re in the middle of using an eyelash curler and you feel a sneeze coming on, you should remove the eyelash curler immediately instead of trying to power through it. I’m just saying.
3. I have a TV crush on John Krasinski
4. It is always good to remove your shirt before opening a pomegranate. This can be especially tricky for women.
5. Rosie O’Donnell’s therapist is underpaid
6. Whatever psychological damage I’ve done to my kids so far, it’s not as bad as the poor kid at the junior high school who’s being dropped off in his dad’s milk delivery truck
7. I will never buy the Bedazzler
8. “This is going to be really short” is music to the ears when commencing a middle school band concert
9. Mixing velvet pajamas with flannel sheets can be a catastrophic combination for a restless sleeper
10. If you have a 'y' chromosome and you find yourself walking around a craft fair carrying a stuffed moose the size of your SUV, this is grounds for revoking your man license

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

"Luckyyyyy!"

Fact: I don't understand how Halloween got started. More importantly, I don't really care. Because I can't think of one single reason why I should argue about my neighbors throwing chocolate in my direction in exchange for uttering three simple words. It's a plan I can get behind. My sugar fast is not over, however, until Monday, and so I am forced to amuse myself in other ways this year. And that's why I'm sharing this picture with you, because this is Cory in his costume last year and even twelve months later it almost makes me pee my pants to look at it. THIS is the guy I pledged to share my life with for the entire remainder of my existence, and there were too many witnesses at that event to back out now. Plus, he happens to be awesome.

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Weird Guy

I was in my local Wal-Mart shopping for Halloween candy for tonight's "Trunk-Or-Treat" when I saw him at the other end of the aisle, and I instantly moved to the next aisle to avoid him. He's not a horrible person, he just creeps me out and I wasn't in the mood to be superficially social. As I moved through the chaos we came face to face and I couldn't avoid him without being rude, so I said hello.

Me: "Hey, how are you?"
Weird guy: "Good, how 'bout you?"
M: "Fine. Are you shopping for a Halloween costume?"
WG: "Oh no. They don't have the costume that I want."
M: [against my better judgment] "Oh? And what's that?"
WG: "A teletubby with a chainsaw."
I raised my eyebrows in mock interest, but said nothing.
WG: "You know, because they're supposed to be nice. That's why it's funny."
M: "OK then. Good luck with that." You freak!

Fires

Many have inquired over the status of my family during these crazy fires, and I thank you for your concern. As a result I just wanted to give a quick update for anyone who's interested. Cory's brother and his family were the first to leave their home on Sunday, grabbing only a couple of things on their way out. They are still unable to return home, but are reassured by the fact that their answering machine is still picking up. My parents were in Kentucky when they received their evacuation orders, so my nephew called them in the middle of the night to ask what they wanted him to grab. This same nephew would later avert police to rescue some animals from another family's home, and is encouraging us to swoon, sigh, and flutter our eyelashes while saying "my hero" in his presence from now on.

My brother Greg and his family escaped to an uncle's house, but were gravely concerned about the survival of their home since their area was also hugely affected. They were recently allowed to return to find their home intact, and we're incredibly grateful. There are a million others besides family that we were concerned about - most of them received good news despite very close calls. Even though there are some whose homes did not survive, we feel grateful that all the people that we love are safe. I suppose it's a bad sign when the President of the United States is landing his helicopter on the football field of your old high school, but I guess it's good that more help is on the way. In the meantime one of my sisters-in-law has fled to Northern California with her kids to breathe fresh air!

In the frenzy of emails that have been exchanged within my family this past week, my favorite sentiment came from my mom who signed off on one of her updates with the words, "Love you all more than I did yesterday."

Ditto.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The hunt against Red in October

Cory said that all he wants for his 40th birthday (which is quickly approaching) is for the Rockies to win the World Series. At the moment they are several runs behind the Red Sox in game one, and he has already mentioned that "It's not over 'til the fat lady sings." I toyed with the idea of bursting into song, but then Sam asked, "What's that supposed to mean?" We shot each other a quizzical look but concluded that opera was involved somehow, though we've never been to an opera so we can't say for sure. Anyway, the mood in Colorado has become electric during the Rockies amazing winning streak, and Cory has morphed into a version of his former 11-year-old baseball obsessed self. It's almost like being married to Tom Hanks from "Big", only it's the opposite.

He called me earlier today to invite me to have lunch with him. I always accept these invitations, so I met him in front of a restaurant. Only when I pulled up and saw him waiting, I had to stop and laugh before the focus to park correctly would return. Someone at work had brought purple hair spray to work, and Cory got half the can. My husband, the professional CPA certified accountant was not only wearing his Rockies jersey to work but he had sprayed his hair purple in support of the big game tonight. My husband. Purple hair. And not for Barney tryouts.

And that's why he's the fun parent.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

*gasp* "They like me. They really like me!"



It's my first award. I'm not even really sure how these work; all I know is that my friend "justrandi" at her blog voted me as fabulous, mostly because laughter is my best medicine and I am my own best material. I feel optimistic that as long as I live I will have things to talk about, due mostly to the reality that I am not getting any cooler with age. In the meantime, I will bask in the honor of this award, and word is that I am supposed to pass it on.

This part is easy, because if it weren't for my friend at kiwords I never would have started blogging. Hers is the first blog I ever read, and I was instantly hooked. I am always awed by how well she seems to know her children, but mostly it's her humor that sucks me in. What else can you do but admire a mother who validates a disgruntled son complaining that his brother called him a "slubby pee head" and then immediately starts laughing after he leaves? And how could I not vote someone as "Fabulous" who came to my door with a ribboned gift of well wishing on the first day my daughter started middle school? I can't. So Kira, congratulations. You're fabulous.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Currently open to alternatives

I have two main coping mechanisms. Humor and food. On rare occasions the severity of a situation has rendered me comically speechless, and as I've mentioned so many times you don't even care anymore, I am currently going without sugar. SO. Hypothetically speaking, if your brother's family, your parents, and your brother-in-law's family all had to evacuate their homes because of raging wildfires in Southern California and you didn't want to make jokes about it because it's not funny and you are also unable to eat your way through it with snickerdoodles, WHAT WOULD YOU DO???

Hypothetically.

The Lake

10-15-2007
Have you ever seen the movie "Hoosiers"? Filmed in Indiana in the 1980's, I went to see this movie in the theater with my high school basketball team. It was supposed to inspire us. Perhaps we are indebted to Gene Hackman for going to the State Championships. Anyway, there's a scene in the movie that's hardly even a scene, it's just a small moment when he is driving his car through this rural town. The car takes a turn around the bend in the road under a glorious canopy of trees that have already changed color; as the car moves forward the fallen leaves flutter in its wake, creating the perfect fall moment and a sudden desire to move to Indiana. Ever since then I have been addicted to Fall, mourning its brief duration before it even gets here.

Every time I ride my bike around the lake this time of year I am reminded of this movie. There's one spot in particular where the road bends, the trees outline its path and hang overhead, and leaves flutter at any passing object. This morning was particularly brilliant. Having rained all day yesterday the weather was indeed very cool this morning, causing many of the lake's regulars to stay home. The active rollerbladers, avid cyclists, and dedicated runners that normally crowd these trails had given me the lake all to myself.

Normally I complete this ride armed with my iPod, chap stick, cell phone, and lots of water. I take control of my space and blast Def Leppard on the tough inclines. (I know. Def Leppard?? I can't explain it myself.) But today was different. Today I felt like Snow White must have felt in that forest, an outsider who didn't belong there. Except I wasn't wearing a dorky dress. And there were no dwarfs. And I didn't talk in a helium induced voice. And for goodness sake, when someone tells you to beware of a witch don't you think you should show a little more common sense when accepting food from strangers? With warts? Okay, so maybe not so much Snow White. But the point is, today I felt like a visitor. Within five minutes I had to stop my bike to let four deer cross the bike path and dart into the trees. I almost felt guilty, as if I had invaded their space. Had I seen them earlier I think I would have tried to be more quiet.

I watched squirrels collect their breakfast, ducks swim in the wetlands, birds soar overhead, and observed up close the collection of dew on a thick strand of grass. I walked for several minutes along the water's edge and just tried to be quiet. And to listen. And I decided right there along the beach that no matter what else happened to me today, this morning was a gift.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I guess the good news is, I’m not supposed to die yet

I believe that our blessings in life come in two different ways. First are the ones we know about, obvious acts of good fortune that cannot be denied. The second are the ones that we don’t know about, but occur as simple acts of grace while moving on with daily tasks and we are none the wiser. It is the first kind that I’d like to address at the moment.

I was driving my car the other day on the way to the mall. There are two left turn lanes that veer into the mall entrance at the command of dual green arrows on the stoplights. As I approached, one of the lanes was moving at a snail’s pace and had several cars in line. I could not figure out why they were moving so slow when they had a green arrow, so I switched to the other lane that was completely void of other cars and continued through the light. Then several cars honked, and I snapped to attention wondering why they hated me, and it hit me. Not another car, luckily, but the realization that there had been no arrow, only a regular green light.

Oh. My. Gosh. I wanted to flash a sign to the other vehicles and express my apologies, because I wasn’t trying to be a jerk or invite harm to others (or myself). And then I realized how close I had come to one of the oncoming cars traveling at approximately 65 MPH. The reality of what I had just escaped began to sink in, so I pulled into a parking space and tried to breathe. That could have been soooo bad. That was so close. How did I not notice that? I’m a good driver! And this car is only three weeks old! People could have gotten really hurt. Wow. Sooo bad.

So, no. I guess it’s not my time to go, for which I am grateful because how lame would that be to die in the middle of a sugar fast?? Anyway, I’m dedicating this entry to my busy guardian angel. Thanks for another day.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

China

The drive home from the airport to pick up Cory from his sojourn to China took about a half hour. Aside from his recalling what it was like to sing to Madonna, Michael Jackson and The Village People in a Chinese karaoke bar (and I will always regret missing that) he mostly told us with great pride all of the gross things that he ate. Squid heads, deep fried baby eel, pig's ear, and ligament soup all made the list. He kept repeating how as a woman who doesn't even like fish, I would have died, and he took pride in the fact that after chomping down on a particular "delicacy" (side note: have you ever noticed that if something is considered a delicacy it is likely the nastiest thing you will ever eat in your life?) his Chinese guide stared at him, shook his head and said, "I'm not sure you're American. I don't even eat that stuff." The only thing he admitted to being gross were the fermented soy beans. Now there's a brilliant idea. Leave it to the Chinese to actually make soybeans worse.

So last night as we juggled a concert for Samantha, baseball practice for Drew, and the Rockies game (Holy crap we're going to the World Series!!) I stopped by a local grocery store to pick up some fried chicken for dinner. I have probably not had fried chicken since, like, Sonny and Cher broke up. But I was testing it out for a future event and wanted to see if it was any good. And...are you ready for this? It GROSSED CORY OUT!!! "So greasy," he said.

I responded with love and told him, "You're a freak." He agreed. It's good to have him back.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Is it too much to ask for a standing ovation?

I think it’s the least you can do. I have gone without sugar for a week now. By far the hardest day was Saturday when I went to a bridal shower and felt like an alcoholic at an open bar. How was I supposed to focus on the unveiling of toasters from neatly packaged Bed Bath & Beyond gift boxes when the hostess had made homemade chocolate peanut butter truffles and set them in the middle of the refreshment table? Answer me this: Are there any four better words to put side by side in the English language than chocolate – peanut – butter – truffles??? I didn’t have any. I ate carrots and celery and wheat thins. And since I had minimally helped with some of the details of this party, the lovely bride-to-be had prepared me a thank you gift. I opened my bag to reveal a lovely candle, scented appropriately for this time of year. But surrounding this candle was...are you listening? Paying attention here? This is important. Because she had surrounded my thoughtful gift with Dove chocolate!!! The GOOD kind!!! As in, put this in your mouth and prepare to hear the trumpets of angels. As soon as I opened the gift bag I ran for the drawer, grabbed a Ziploc, stuffed the chocolates inside, sealed it shut and delivered it immediately to my neighbor across the street.

So yes, I believe some clapping would be appropriate. And it wouldn’t kill you to stand up.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

To Whom It May Concern:

I told my kids that I would be back in half an hour, just enough time to pick up some vegetables for a bridal shower and run through your establishment’s drive-thru for some sausage mcmuffins, a rare but occasional Saturday morning indulgence for the young ones at my house. I was surprised to find a very long line of cars at your drive thru near the end of your breakfast shift, so I opted to come inside. It did not take long to sense the agitation of other customers in front of me who appeared to have been waiting a while. But for a company that put the “fast” in food, I judged them as being too immersed in the “I want it NOW” attitude that is so prevalent in today’s culture and determined to be more patient than they. So I waited without complaint, as it appeared that everyone behind the counter was working very hard. I waited for ten minutes…then fifteen…and then your gentleman [at least I think it was a guy - the man boobs and ponytail kind of threw me off, but I’m sticking with the male assumption] at the register changed the overhead menu to the lunch options. I started to feel a little agitated when the salads and cheeseburgers began being delivered to customers who had only just arrived and I was still waiting for your hen to lay her eggs. You think I’m kidding, but after TWENTY-FIVE MINUTES of already waiting I saw your manager return from the back of the room carrying three eggs in the palm of her hand and shaking her head. The dude (?) at the cash register was standing with his arms casually gripping the side of his machine with all his weight shifted to one side, staring straight ahead as if to say, “Sorry, helping is not actually my job. Taking orders is my job. I take orders, and give the receipts to that lady over there. That’s what I do. So don’t look at me.” Finally, after thirty minutes of waiting I received my order. Your staff threw in an extra mcmuffin and a cup of orange juice, and though I had prepared a nice little speech for your manager I was more interested in getting home. You bought me off with a sandwich and some OJ, but now that I’m home I think you owe me more than that. Cholesterol and stress can be a deadly combination, so when you think about it you very nearly killed me today. Just thought you should know.

Friday, October 12, 2007

My college boyfriend was on the A-Team

Cory’s having lunch in two different countries at about the same time today. And by today, I really mean tomorrow. Follow me? Well, he’s currently on his way home from a weeklong business trip in China, and he will be in Hong Kong at about lunchtime. After a couple of other connections he will eventually land in Los Angeles, where the time is thirteen hours earlier and again, it will be time for lunch!

We have missed him a lot this week, but in preparation for this scenario my friend Jill decided it would be the perfect time to rent and watch movies from msn.com’s Top 10 list of Movies You Need To See Before You Die. "Breakfast at Tiffany’s" was near the top of the list, so we started with that. It’s the first movie I’d ever seen with Audrey Hepburn, and I have to say that I don't get it. This movie was lame and is hardly deserving of continued popularity. Other than the fact that Hepburn’s waist is the same circumference as my fist, the only thing I gleaned from this film is that when the DVD cover describes Hepburn’s character as “eccentric”, what they really mean is mentally unstable. We know more now than we did in 1961, and Hepburn’s character was more in need of medication rather than to fall into the arms of the likes of George Peppard. WHO, by the way, was driving me nuts the entire movie because he looked so familiar. I finally recognized why, and confirmed my suspicions by referencing my college scrapbook with pictures of my freshman year boyfriend who bore some striking similarities. Later I “Googled” George Peppard online and learned the second reason I was trying to place him – in his much older years George Peppard was the cigar smoking leader "Hannibal" on "The A-Team", a show my family used to watch with regularity. [Total sidetrack: One night as we sat around watching this show my Dad came thudding down the stairs, decked out in all of my mom’s jewelry and imitating Mr. T. That’s the kind of visual that lasts a lifetime.]

After the B at T’s disaster, we tentatively inserted “Roman Holiday” on our second night, again with Audrey Hepburn but this time starring Gregory Peck as the leading man. I was prepared for it not to have a happy ending, as it won 11 academy awards. We all know the Academy frowns upon happiness, so I wasn’t surprised when the couple didn’t end up together. Nevertheless, I have to say that if Gregory Peck had gone to my high school I would not have frowned upon games like “Spin The Bottle” and “7 Minutes In Heaven”.

It’s been an entertaining week thanks to Jill and her trusting some list-making intern schlep at msn.com, but Cory, it’s time to come home. I’ve been hearing threats of Casablanca.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Let's Talk Radio

I like to listen to a particular morning show on the radio, and every day at the end of their show they have a contest to see who can be the best "last caller of the day". People can call in and talk about whatever they want and the person who they find the most entertaining wins a prize. I decided to give it a try. I called in and told the story about setting off a secret alarm in a mall jewelry store and didn't realize it until the police showed up, quarantined the entire clientele of the mall to the other end, and drew their guns. It's a good story. There were three other "last callers" whose stories were weak so I thought I had this contest in the bag. I grabbed a piece of paper to write down the information I would need to claim my prize and they started to vote. The first person said they thought my story was the best. Sweet! I wonder what I won! Then the other host chimed in and swayed the rest of the crew to vote for another woman whose husband gets squirmy over eye goop. I lost to an eye booger. Three seconds after disconnecting from the airwaves my phone rang and Ganelle, who had apparently heard me on the air yelled, "YOU WERE ROBBED!!" She's totally right.

On a different day and a separate station I heard the worst radio contest ever. The deal was that if you were the right caller you would give them your weight, and then you would win that many pounds of frozen tuna. Seriously? Just when I thought there would be a contest to favor chubbier people and all they've got is tuna. Who wants to win that contest?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Proof

I'm a mom, that's no secret. But lately I have accumulated more proof. For instance, it's new territory for me to buy my child deodorant, get a $3000 orthodontia estimate, and have conflicting sporting activities for each of my kids at the same time in opposite directions. I'm also outgrowing my usefulness with homework help, which I honestly didn't think would happen for a little while longer. And for the record, children don't seem to appreciate it when you look at the work they've asked you to help with only to say, "Huh, I used to know how to do that."

Just the other night I noticed that my daughter looked emotionally, physically, and mentally spent. I looked on in sympathy and asked, "Samantha, what do you need honey?" Her expression grew fierce as she spoke with daggers, "I need to be able to RIP up this homework and have my teacher be okay with it!!" I applauded her ability to articulate precisely what she wanted, but remained powerless to help.

Yep. Gathering more and more proof all the time.

Monday, October 8, 2007

What I Know For Sure - Volume II

I had so much fun with the What I Know For Sure post that I have decided to make it a regular feature, complete with useful quotes from Oprah, and utterly pointless knowledge from me. So here it is: Volume II

Happiness is never something you get from other people. The happiness you feel is in direct proportion to the love you give.
–Oprah Winfrey


1. Mouthwash is useless as a hand soap
2. I have enough turtleneck sweaters
3. Barbra Streisand is not nearly as cool as she thinks she is
4. I am happier when everything is clean and in order
5. I’m not a neat freak
6. These two worlds collide on a regular basis drawing me closer and closer to the precipice of insanity
7. A $20 gift certificate to Nordstrom is about as useful as winning a parking voucher for the Super Bowl
8. Sending your kid out the door wearing camouflage shorts, American flag crocs, and the same shirt he has worn for three days in a row is a recipe for a low parenting moment
9. So is hearing your 2-year-old repeat the expletive they just heard you say after your water pipe burst the day after you installed brand new hardwood floors
10. Commercials that speak in text messages are only clever the first time around. I mean it. It’s not funny anymore.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Is there a 12 step program for this?

For the last four days I have been without internet access at my house. The experience has taught me what I already suspected, and that is: I'm totally addicted to the internet. Not in a creepy, up to nothing good kind of way, but more in a I want to check the food network to see if they have a pumpkin chowder recipe and while I'm at it check the current value of gold and hey I wonder if A&W has a website with information on root beer by the keg? kind of way. Friday morning I honestly stood at the top of my stairs, immobilized by the disruption in my routine of not being able to check our local news for the weather or to see if I received any life changing emails overnight.

Our problem is not yet solved, but for the moment I am relishing in the ability to write and post. FYI, tomorrow begins my attempt at trying to go without sugar for ONE FULL MONTH, so if you're a really good friend you will call by Wednesday to check on the children. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

It's all about goal setting

There’s the triathlon, and then there’s the mini-triathlon. The marathon, and the half marathon. There’s even a walking half marathon that a friend of mine has done a couple of times. Then there’s the 10K, followed by the 5K, which is essentially a half 10K. I’ve known people who have done all of the above. Multiple times. And even though I’ve managed to squeak out a couple of 10K’s in the last few years, I really hate running. So today when I tried to muster up a few miles around the neighborhood I wondered, why is there no such thing as a walking half 5K? I’m here to say that I think it’s about time we make room for the little people.
A walking half 5K.
I think I could be really good at that.

Do you want fries with that?

I have very fair skin. I grew up by the beach. I’ve had lots of sunburns and my skin is continuing to pay for it. Last week I attended a pre-surgery consult where a cute, blond twenty-something took down my medical history. "Does anyone else in your family have skin cancer? [Yes] Strokes? [Yes] High blood pressure? [Yes] Diabetes? [Oh my gosh, did you hear that Reese’s just came out with a nougat based chocolate bar?] Previous surgeries? [o-o-p-h-e-r-e-c-t-o-m-y] Serious injuries? [I’m still a little bitter about “Chaka Khan” being our warm-up music on my high school basketball team but I suppose I’m over that now] Current medications? [Candy corn] Do you drink? Do you smoke? Have allergies? And THEN…

“…What are your hobbies?” Now answer me this. What is my dermatologist going to do about the fact that I enjoy photography, writing, chick flicks, practical jokes and "Everybody Loves Raymond" reruns? So if I die on the operating table at least they’ll know what I would have done in my spare time had I survived? Or perhaps if I simply suffer some paralysis what are they gonna do, send me some flowers and a copy of “Steel Magnolias” on DVD? I mean really.

My pre-consult was a twenty-five dollar inconvenience, but it landed me on the operating table today to remove the localized cancer on my shoulder. The shot. The numbness. I sensed a cutting motion and then heard a spraying sound.

“What’s that sound?” I inquired.
“We’re cauterizing the incision rather than using stitches.”
“Oh.”
[Pause]
“What’s that smell?” I ask.
“That’s your flesh. We’re having a little barbecue.” I looked around and verified that I was, in fact, at a very classy medical facility and not in Jeffrey Dahmer’s basement.
“Nice.” I replied.

The doctor finished up and took a picture with his digital camera. I guess I have really pretty shoulders.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Clifford, the Big Red God

Not too far from where we live there is a costume store. Even though they are in business year round, it is only during these festive months at the onset of Halloween that they dress people up like Frankenstein and Cher and throw them out on the street to promote their business and scare new move-ins.

But today I drove several miles away to take Drew to baseball practice and out of nowhere on the street corner was someone dressed up as Clifford . I looked around for some kind of strip mall that might have a costume store, but the only thing on this street corner was the "Peace With Christ" Lutheran Church. I looked across the street; nothing but single family homes. I looked on the other side of the church; condos. So I can't say what kind of dire situation might have caused Clifford to leave his sanctuary on Birdwell Island, but it must have been for a good reason. I figure with Barney being loathable despite his peppy songs and the Teletubbies orientation being in question, at least we can rest assured knowing that Clifford is apparently a Christian.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Our little girl is growing up

I believe a car can say a lot about a person.

I drove a Suburban in college. It was 15 years old, had a thick orange stripe down the side that was once touched up with acrylic paint after a minor accident, and my Dad was constantly reminding me to “check the oil”. It was awesome. On my 20th birthday my Dad installed a horn in my dash that played over 22 different songs. It took a while before people realized that I did not in fact sell ice cream. My Suburban earned a nickname during those years. Two in fact. Its primary term of endearment was “The Beast”, but since it also took a long time for the heater to warm up in the winter months, my friend Jon liked to call it “The Fridge”. The Beast was a really fun college car. I still remember putting 17 people in it with my 6’7” friend Shawn lying on the hood, posing as a hood ornament and driving through Taco Bell to order a water with 17 straws. Ahhh…college life. It’s startling to think we actually thought we were hysterical (*wink*wink* to my new friend Randi).

You see, I was the kind of person in college who loved the cars that had been converted from a hearse to a painted cow. I thought that people who drove cars like that must have had tremendous personality. And when I drove down 700 East playing "The Yellow Rose of Texas" for all the neighbors to hear, I too felt like one with character. The only other car I wished I could have had during that time was a Jeep. I imagined that the kind of people who drove Jeeps wore jeans and t-shirts and went hiking and ate Odwalla Bars under pine trees and roasted s’mores every weekend, and that seemed like a good life. Anyway, I always wanted a car like that. After I graduated college I had to surrender the Beast back to my parents, then Cory and I got married and we shared his Nissan Sentra. We moved to Colorado, put ski racks on the top and drove it to the mountains in our early married life as if to say, “We are young and sporty.” Samantha was born, and I believe that this is when all my minivan issues started.

There seemed to be this notion that when the sperm connects with the egg, one should go out and sign a contract for a Dodge Caravan. Well, I wouldn’t have it. I couldn’t bear to be one of 129 minivans in the church parking lot on a given Sunday. To me, buying a minivan was like becoming inoculated with a Stepford injection of the Mormon kind and that the side effects involved the denim jumper becoming my constant companion and wood crafts becoming an at-home business. We bought a Honda Accord.

Shortly after Drew came along, the pressure to become minivan-ized intensified. “They’re so roomy”, “It’s so easy to get kids in and out”, “You can drive other kids”, blah blah blah. First of all, since when did “driving other kids” around ever serve as suitable motivation for anything? Oh, so you mean to tell me that not only can I fit MY kids in there, but I can drive YOURS to school too??? How could I have overlooked all of these perks?? We bought a Ford Explorer. Its maiden voyage on I-225 blasting Depeche Mode’s "I Just Can’t Get Enough" on my new 6-CD changer was an epic journey. My sunroof was open, my windows were down, I sang along and bobbed my head to the beat. There was plenty of room, I had no problem getting my kids in and out, and I wasn’t carting along other children that didn’t belong to me. It was the car I had always wanted, and it not only fit my family but it fit my personality.

The car is now 10-years-old and starting to fade in its glory. A few months ago we were taking my family to the Renaissance Festival and my kids were each bringing a friend. It didn’t even occur to me that we didn’t have seats for everybody until the day before. My friends were on vacation in Florida, and I knew their minivan was sitting in their garage. I called their cell phone and asked if they would mind if we borrowed their van for the day. They graciously agreed.

We got in and I thought, “Wow, it’s really roomy.” We drove the hour or so to the festival and when we arrived I noted, “Hey, the kids sure got out of there with ease”. And finally, “The kids had so much more fun here with their friends. It’s a good thing we were able to borrow the van so we could take them along.”

This last weekend was good. Friday we took the Explorer to do exactly what its title suggests and we went 4-wheeling in the mountains:


Then we went hiking at 10,000 feet above timberline to this:

And on Saturday, we went and bought this:


Not quite so different from an Explorer, an Odyssey also bears a connotation of adventure, right? Ithaca, here we come.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Everything I need to know about jogging in the park I learned from Kristy's blog

As I’ve mentioned, I like to exercise in the park near my home. The paved path loops around in a respectable half-mile loop, which means it requires multiple laps to get a proper workout. What this also means is that you might repeatedly pass an oncoming jogger who is out doing the same thing you are. And this presents the question, what is the proper interaction etiquette for multiple encounters with the same person in a short period of time? I don’t believe a list of appropriate behavior exists, so I came up with my own set of rules and I am passing them along to you in case you ever find yourself in a similar quandary.

Passing an oncoming park-goer the 1st time – I believe it’s polite and right to issue a quick hello. Who knows? They might live down the street from me. I make exceptions for inclement weather, however, as no one is interested in talking when snow is being inhaled through their nostrils.

2nd pass – A quick acknowledging nod is acceptable, no words are necessary. A tight pursing of the lips would also be fitting. Not a smile, yet not a complete dismissal.

3rd pass – I am no longer interested in being polite, but I also don’t want to feel like a jerk. At this point I employ a few strategies. First is a method I call the B.H.S. or the Back-Hand-Swipe. At the moment where eye contact feels obligatory, simply raise the back of your hand to your forehead and swipe your brow as if the workout is really starting to get tough. Second is an avoidance strategy I call “All of the sudden I need to change the song on my iPod”. Third, look at your watch and then grasp it between your fingers as if you are pressing the side buttons. They will think you are timing yourself, which not only serves the purpose of avoiding eye contact, but also makes you appear really goal oriented.

It should be noted that many of these tactics are only necessary when exercising alone. Walking or jogging with a friend is a strategy in itself because you can always appear to be engrossed in conversation. Also, if you happen to be on a path where you are not likely to pass the same people over and over again, I have a game I like to play. It doesn’t have a name, but it’s highly entertaining. Last summer my friend and I were tracing a path that winds around the lake across the street from where I live. I saw an approaching jogger; I waited for the right moment when they were within earshot and just about to pass us when I said, “So, what exactly does gonorrhea feel like?” Another jogger approached, and I went for it again, “I guess it’s the best you can hope for when you’ve only got one ovary.”

Remember: these are exercising tactics, not a list for making your parents proud. Doesn’t it just make you want to go running?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

What I Know For Sure - Volume I

"I know for sure that what we dwell on is who we become."
Oprah Winfrey

I subscribe to the Oprah Magazine, and in the back of her magazine every month she concludes with a section she calls: "What I Know For Sure". The tone is normally introspective and thoughtful, such as the quote I listed at the top of this post. I've decided that Oprah Winfrey is not the only one who knows so much, and so not to be outdone by one who makes more money than I can fathom I have created my own list. So here it goes: my first Top 10 List of WHAT I KNOW FOR SURE:

1. Ben and Jerry’s was made for PMS and cats were made for…other people
2. There’s a book called “Chicken Soup for the Scrapbooker’s Soul” and while I generally enjoy the chicken soup collection, and I’ve actually been known to scrapbook, this book is crossing the line
3. I don’t ever want 1-877-POOP-GUY to be my contact phone number or “The Pooper Scooper” to be my tag line. I don’t care how desperate I am for work.
4. Anyone who says we are all created equal has never met Richard Simmons or seen the balance in Bill Gates’ bank account
5. Pierce Brosnan is aging well
6. Animal puppets as part of a marketing strategy should be punishable by death (so help me if I could reach through my television and grab that little Bar None dog by the neck I would scare children everywhere, but it would be worth it)
7. Cory is a great kisser
8. People with cell phones in a bookstore discussing their therapy session with their friend while perusing the self-help section should use better judgment, because people like me reading up on the Photography literature are listening. Intently.
9. There’s no longer such a thing as a store without a frequent buyer card. Even my pharmacy issued me one the other day. Do liquor stores have them too? Because I don’t think anyone should be rewarded for drinking too much, or at all for that matter. I guess I don’t know for sure about that one.
10. Cleaning the bathroom by flashlight is even less effective than you might think.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Not a laughing matter

The conversation with my sister included a long, drawn out story about a pre-adolescent breakdown that had occurred in my home the night before. “I just don’t have the tolerance for these meltdowns, especially when…” and that’s when she started to laugh. And didn’t stop. The pitch began to rise, the emphasis gained momentum, and the frequency increased. Harder and harder she laughed, until I finally caught on and said, “Aaaaaargh…I know!” Sensing my ultimate understanding of the situation her volume amplified, and she laughed even harder. “I’m hanging up on you now,” I said in mock irritation with her and sincere irritation with myself. I clicked off the phone and quickly reflected on bits and pieces of my adolescence from whence the giggles of my elder sibling originated. I called her back shortly, her chuckling now reduced to simmering snickers of amusement, and she tried (ineffectively) to conjure up validating experiences to try to make me feel better.

The thing is, I was not a rebellious teenager. But I was a VERY moody teenager. I don’t know how they managed to keep letting me in the door at the end of the day back then, and frankly I’m a little surprised that I’ve turned out to be such a delightful character. What I do know is that my mom eventually ran out of ideas and that’s when she would send my sister to try and figure out what the hell was wrong with me how she could help. It’s why she knows so much, and why her laughter might have been warranted.

“I’m just worried that she has an anxiety problem,” I tried to explain. She chuckled at the irony of my assertion and encouraged me to write it down for posterity. I gave up on our topic of conversation, making a mental note of all parental hypocrisy instilled since the day my first child was born and called a trophy store to have "Do as I say, not as I do (did)" engraved on a plaque. It should be here in a couple of weeks.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Photo of the day


My friend came over with her new baby this morning so we could take some pictures. We tried all morning to get him to sleep and it took a while, but as you can see, it was worth the wait.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Your cheerleader for the day

There's a park in the middle of my neighborhood that I love. I call it my breathing space. The paved walkway takes you through a scenic loop that boasts a sweeping view of city buildings nestled at the base of the Rocky Mountains. I frequently walk or jog in this park where many people come to exercise, walk their animals, or bring their kids to play. One day I was out on a walk when I took particular notice of a young girl slowly approaching. She was tall, slender, and with a backpback slung over her shoulder I assumed she was on her way home from school.

It wasn't so much the girl who got my attention, but my interpretation of the girl. When I looked at her I didn't see any visible, obvious flaws, but her body language seemed to be screaming defeat. Hands in her pockets, head down, shoulders sagging, I believed I was approaching a young woman who faced some sort of difficulty in her day, or perhaps her life; I wasn't sure. I had no way of knowing the source of her sobriety, but I sensed it. Did she do poorly on a test at school? Have an argument with someone she loved? Does she hate going home because it's not a happy place? Was she shunned by her peers? Or was I just experimenting with my imagination? Regardless, I had this intense desire to walk up to her, straighten her shoulders, and look her in the eye and say, "Hey, you're beautiful, talented, and one of a kind. Whatever is bringing you down, don't let it. You are outstanding!" I quieted the voices in my head by imagining Neighborhood Watch posters with my picture on it, and I let her pass without comment.

Not long ago I sat across the table from a teenage girl whom I had invited out for lunch. She wears her defeat and insecurity differently than the girl I met in the park. She displays it with an unwritten invitation for all boys to treat her like crap, because any attention is better than none. She is tall and slender and beautiful but can't see anything other than the girls who are prettier than she is. She has been dealt more than her fair share of life's challenges, and after realizing that she can't cut those challenges out (literally) has decided to try partying them out instead.

I wanted to scream in her face, "You're beautiful, talented, and one of a kind! Don't screw up your life! You are outstanding!" But it was our first real meeting, and I wanted her to come back. I worry sometimes that I let down that girl in the park, even if she doesn't know it. Stranger or not, maybe those words would have done her some good and I was just a big chicken. But since I can't change that, I'd like to offer this to all of you who might be struggling and reading this today:

You are beautiful, talented, and one of a kind. You are OUTSTANDING!

Don't let anyone else (including YOU) tell you otherwise.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Memo to me

Samantha talks to herself all the time. In the bathroom, outside, in her bed, you name it. It seems to be her method for working out whatever's on her mind.

"Why does Samantha do that? And where does she get it?" I wondered to myself...out loud.

Six years ago today...

...Samantha was a morning Kindergartner, and Drew was a baby. Our morning ritual at the time was that when Samantha woke up she would come in my room and watch "Arthur" until I got up with Drew. This morning had started out like all the others, except that when Samantha came in to turn on the TV she had to fiddle to get it on the right channel, and spent enough time pausing on channel 9 for me to hear Katie Couric announce that another plane had just crashed into the World Trade Center. Another plane? I bolted up in my bed and ordered Samantha to leave it there.
That's when I first heard.
A few weeks later I felt encouraged to write down my thoughts at that time; here are some of them:

* One of the first things I did was call my sister whose husband worked in downtown NYC. To my relief, he was involved in off-site meetings that day, but they were seriously worried about many of their friends. After informing me of his safety she had to go - her phone was ringing off the hook.
* I kept Samantha home from school that morning, unsure of what the day would bring. Was it over yet? I heard of a crash in the middle of Pennsylvania - we all assumed a correlation, but had no details to confirm it. Samantha was angry with me for missing school after she found out that she had missed making sheep with cotton. She came home wondering if all people who fly planes are bad guys.
* I wondered if we would go to war. I speculated about Cory losing his job. I thought about my nephew who had just left for a 2-year church mission in Brazil and wondered if he would have to come back to fight in a war. I remember looking around my house at all of our belongings and thinking, "this is just stuff".
* I felt like a snob. I became increasingly aware of how we must have looked to other countries who already lived this kind of reality EVERY SINGLE DAY. Like a bully who suddenly meets his match or a philanthropist who suddenly loses everything. I decided I didn't like being on the other side.
* Albeit in an unfortunate way, I felt like America got her patriotism back. Flags flew everywhere from small towns to downtown office buildings and people were generally nicer to each other.
* Feeling completely vulnerable and helpless, I tried to focus on having faith. Faith that God would keep his promises. Faith that what He says is true, and that good will ultimately triumph over evil.

Six years later, I'm still trying to focus on that.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Food! Games! Entertainment!

Two Tamagotchis, 23 teddy grahams, 7 puzzle pieces, and lots of m&m's were only a few of the gems I walked away with. I even took home some prize money! One quarter, two nickels, several pennies, and a Bahamian coin. You see, it's not really necessary to waste one's time at a carnival. All you gotta do is clean out your car.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Track Meet

Samantha had her first track meet today. Since there are ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY-FIVE kids on the track team, the events are starting out as being somewhat randomly assigned. Ever since track has started Samantha has talked about her preference for sprinting over the longer runs, but we simply weren't sure where they would put her.

Weighing in at sixty pounds with 2/3 of it being legs, I thought she had a fitting physique for a track athlete and believed it a reasonable possibility that she could end up where she wanted to be. I've been very proud of her willingness to try something new, and I trusted in the experience of the coaches to find a suitable event to fit her abilities. Which, in my mind, did not include any kind of title involving the words "shot" or "put".

Seriously.

Call me crazy(or judgmental), but when I envision a girl who does the shot put I imagine a stocky build, short hair, a slight mustache, and names like "Edna". You know, the kind that you try to avoid running into in the bathroom and that you don't like to make angry. I do not visualize petite frames with bulging blue eyes whose shoe size is the same as "Edna's" thumb.

But Samantha was on the list for Shot Put and the 800 Meter run. She nearly cried in the car as she announced her fate, but she showed up and did both events today to the best of her ability and did great. She may not have a particularly bright future throwing balls that weigh more than she does, but she's definitely a champ.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Homework

Read for twenty minutes, write a sentence. That was the homework. It's part of the homework every night for my 2nd grader. I should clarify that it does NOT say, read for twenty minutes, then ask your mother what to write, and freak out when she doesn't tell you. She may give you several hints, which the homework also does not specify as being necessary, but she loves you and is trying to help without making it too easy. The homework also does NOT say that writing three sentences should take three hours, and nowhere does it specify that the flapping of arms with paper and pencil in hand will help to coerce a "gimme" from your mom. However, after the third hour of desperate pleas such as, "IIIII dooooon't knoooow whaaaat tooo wriiiite..." while contorting your body the way of the rubberband, your mother might have to leave the house for a breath of fresh air to avoid a situation that might land one in foster care.

I'm not sure of the reason he wants to kill me exactly, or why he's chosen this method, but it's proving highly effective so far.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

The Seventh Day

We try to make Sundays at our house just a little different than the other days of the week, a small attempt at taking a break from our regular activities to recharge our batteries. We have a few DO’S and DON’TS for Sundays that are pretty steadfast rules, and the kids are so used to them that when a neighbor shows up for hopeful spontaneous play they don’t even hesitate to respectfully turn them down. Lately, however, I feel we’ve become a bit lax in our quest for one peaceful day of the week, and I wonder if we need to reassess our unwritten policy.

For example, noticeably absent on our list of DON’TS is the order to avoid the VH1 series “Scott Baio is 45 and Single”. It’s an egregious assault on my personal character to revel in the fact that Charles is no longer in Charge, and yet here I sit: guilty. I also neglected to specify to my kids that there should be “no steamrolling each other while wrapped in the area rug”. Gotta remember to write that one down. And though it seems fanatical to pen out a rule for “no lip syncing to Bon Jovi or Elvis while Dad is taking an extremely rare and deserved nap”, there does come a time where it would be helpful to have that in writing.

Then again, there’s no other day where my kids interact with each other the way they do on Sundays. In addition to using a music stand as a microphone and our window seat as a stage, today they have played games together, practiced math facts, and taken turns wowing each other with new tricks off the back of the couch. But finally, near the end of the day Samantha collapsed on the couch as a way of saying, “Party’s over,” to which Drew appropriately responded with a body slam on her lap. He then looked up at her, fluttered his eyelashes, and in a mocking tone asked, “Momma? Read me a story?” He thought he was hilarious, but Samantha moaned in disapproval and pushed him off. I staved off a fight and distracted them with two spoons and a bowl of cake batter.

Sunday. Our day of rest. Maybe one day we’ll be good at it.

Friday, August 31, 2007

An epic tale

My friend Sherise shared something with me a while ago that was so funny to me that I asked her for permission to share it here. She said yes.

So, she has a little notebook that she keeps in her purse to use as an exercise log. She opened it up the other day and found these words that had been penned by her 10-year-old son, a John Clancy in the making:

HUNTING THE MONSTER
by Jimmybobjoe Poony

Day 1
I entered the cave. It stunk. Probably its poop.

Day 2
Heard roaring. It might be farting.

Day 3
Found monster. It's my brother. He must have gotten lost at the Barbie convention. He loves Barbies. Too much.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Lead by example

One thing that I love about my mom is that she always seems prepared for us to take the next step. When I drove off to college there were no tears, no desperate final hugs; simply a mandate to work hard and have fun. So I did. Then when I was 18 my older sister graduated from college, and I had just completed my first year. My sister had no immediate plans so instead of rushing into post-graduate life she said, "Let's go to Europe!" So we did. And my mother not only supported this plan but let us borrow a little money to make it happen, when she herself had yet to fulfill her own dreams of traveling the world.

A couple of years after that I earned a scholarship to work in a Congressman's office during the summer as an intern. (Which makes me sound cooler than I really am - the truth is that Congressman Packard's office is where my sister landed that first post-graduate job, discovered they had a scholarship to award to an intern, and she picked me. It's all about who you know.) My mom could not have been more thrilled. A politician at heart, she threw me on a plane to Washington D.C. and waited for me to write legislation and change the world. I hope she wasn't too disappointed to never spot me on C-SPAN, but it wasn't a total loss. After all, I did respond to thousands of constituents, formed a crush on the guy who worked at the Republican National Committee, and memorized the days that chocolate/peanut butter frozen yogurt was being served in the cafeteria. I was very important there on The Hill.

Always the cheerleader, my mom has been excited for every new chapter in my life. But despite her example, I feel completely unprepared for the bigger phase changes in my children's lives. I know this topic of middle school angst is getting old, but I'm just not used to having Samantha gone every day until five o'clock because of track practice after school. On her first day of practice I noticed that she had forgotten her water bottle. Afraid she might not survive the 90 degree heat I filled it up with ice water and met her at her locker after her last class. (*Gasp* I'm a locker stalker!) The girl who had previously waved at me during her first practice now looked at me and said, "Uhh...what are you doing here?" (She's a quick learner) Someday she will thank me for that ice water. Or not. Whatever.

So here's my conclusion. Either my mom was just a really good actress, or I'm just not very good at learning by example. OR, my mom's not a freak, but I am. OR, any opportunity to get rid of me as a child or otherwise was ALWAYS met with a smile and a wave. Come to think of it those were some pretty enthusiastic waves. VERY wide grins now that I think about it. And do I recall...leaping? Hey, wait a minute...!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Note:

Having erased my "About Me" section during my techno-issues a while back, I have written another one in case you want to check it out. FYI.

New territory

You know you're in middle school when you walk in the first day and hear an administrator yelling orders in the hallway, and when confronted with an issue by a student you hear the teacher respond, "Sucks to be you!" I guess the days of pats on the back and "don't worry, we'll help you figure it out" for new students is a thing of the past.

And in elementary school when someone mentions a meeting after school what they really mean is, "Parents come and write this down, and students - try to sit still while we talk this out." So when we met the track coach and she invited us to the meeting after school on the third day, I dutifully showed up with my planner in hand and my big, bulky purse slung over my shoulder. This is when I made observation #2: Parents don't come to meetings in middle school. Apparently. And if they do (which they don't) they also don't bring their other children with them to feign death defying duels on the stage in the back of the room while said meeting is in full swing.

I marvel at my gift, because it takes a special kind of person to enter a middle school at the age of 36 and walk out feeling just like the dork I was when I was 13. But my daughter is officially signed up for track, and luckily she is still painfully unaware of how uncool I am, waving at me during all of the meeting intervals and motioning me outside during her laps around the track at the end. I smile, feeling momentarily grateful that while many things are changing, not everything is.

Monday, August 27, 2007

You know you're a Mormon when...

It's the stuff that little girl's dreams are made of, to stand in front of a group of people and be declared royalty as she is presented with a crown and a sash. There are all sorts of places this could happen; Homecoming, Prom, the State Fair, a pageant.

Or in my case, a Jell-O Festival.

I have officially arrived.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

A walk in the park

Question: When you run into your gynecologist in public, do you say “hello”?

Depends. The zoo? No. That’s easy. A baseball game? No. Just start clapping, heckling, or act like you’re explaining what’s happening to your kid. The grocery store? Still no. Simply become instantly enthralled with the fresh produce. But your neighborhood park? When you and he are the only ones there with little people? And his adorable 2-year-old granddaughter has latched on to your 7-year-old boy as a suitable role model and wants to do everything he is doing? With him? THEN I say it’s probably time to go ahead and set aside the fact that this is the man who has violated you every year for the past decade and say, “Hey”.

Me: “Hi Doctor ‘K’. (He furrows his brow as if to say, “Do I know you?” Ha – does he ever.) I’m one of your patients.” Perhaps I might look more familiar if I were wearing half a shirt made of pink tissue paper.
Dr. K: “Oh yeah, you look familiar.” Comforting? Not sure. True? Maybe. What he always says in these situations? Entirely possible.
Me: “Is that your granddaughter?” I asked, noting her quarter-sized blue eyes and adding, “She’s adorable!”
Dr. K: “Actually no, she’s my daughter.” Now my doctor is at least in his mid-50’s. And not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just not the kind of situation you expect a man entering retirement to announce. So it’s possible, I can’t totally remember, but I might have let out an audible gasp. To which he replied, “Yep. That’s what happens when you go off the medication!”

Memo to self: Never go off the medication. And the next time I run into my OB-GYN at the park, maybe I should just turn around.