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.