Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Not kicking butt, but still taking names

Fact: In high school I always wanted to be on the dance team. And for disclosing that, I will award myself 100 blogger points. It's true, I have always loved to dance, but a combination of an addiction to self loathing and an aversion to gold, quarter-sized sequins somehow kept me away from those tryouts. Instead I nurtured my love of music and moves at our church youth dances, a time which my husband confesses he would love to enlist the Back To The Future Delorean to take him to see because he wants to ask me to dance so he can replace my memories of standing on the sidelines during slow dances with happier recollections of lovestruck chemistry wants to stand on the sidelines, point, and declare that he would never, ever date a chick that ridiculous. But as an adult, unless you are single, a little trampy and like to bar hop, there's not much in the way of a dancing outlet for me anymore.

That is, until my gym introduced a "Hip Hop" group exercise class a few years ago. I went once, and I was HOOKED. Every Tuesday at 7pm I had a date with Marty the instructor. Marty was a middle-aged balding white guy with moves that would make Justin Timberlake beg him to hop on his bus and join his tour. I LOVED THIS CLASS!!! My friend and I even had nicknames for all the regulars:
Tank - hot girl, moves deserving of a front row spot, always wore a tank top
Hoops - high schooler, used to ask the teacher to clarify certain moves after class while twirling her hair, wore humongous hoop earrings
Backstreet – as in “Backstreet Boys”
Red - middle-aged PE teacher with Red hair, better moves than most in the class
Noodle Boy - used to drink beforehand to get pumped up, regularly came in with a girl way out of his league, dance moves similar to what you might see if a 5-year-old was slurping up his spaghetti
Ahab the Arab – When this guy came to class I kept waiting for him to confess, "Smile!! Because YOU'RE on Candid Camera!!" He side-stepped like a drunk Teletubby and ran into everyone within twenty feet. There would be four or five of us looking at him with our hands in the air as if to say, "What is your deal, man?" and he never even noticed.
Bubble Gum – wore bright pink shirt every time, couldn’t take her eyes off herself in the mirror
Solid Gold – think “ballet meets Janet Jackson”, dated the instructor.

These nicknames were known only to me and two of my friends until “Noodle Boy” struck up a conversation with us after class one time. In a weak moment I confessed all the nicknames to him, and he didn't appear particularly flattered. But after that he would slide past me during class and yell, “Noodle Boy’s on FIRE tonight!!” with flair.

I went to this class religiously for about a year and a half. Then my kids got a little older, nights got more complicated, and dates with Tuesday fell by the wayside. It’s been two years. Tonight, I decided to go back.

If I simply admit that it wasn't pretty can I just stop there? Fine, I'll continue. But I get 50 more blogger points. Let me just say that my gym crush Marty is no longer the instructor. The only regular left is "Red", and if I had a nickname for myself it would be White Chick In The Back Who Should Have Stayed Home And Made Cookies. The last 15 minutes of class he split us up into four groups numbered 1-4. We would proceed to go into the middle of the floor, with our team, and perform for everyone else who would stand around the perimeter and cheer. We had to do this three times. By the end, I had named the teams:
Team #1: "We Used To Be On The Dance Team"
Team #3: "We've Been Coming To This Class For A While Now"
Team #4: "That's Right Y'all, Let Me Show You A Little Somethin' Somethin'"
I was on Team #2. I'm torn between "White Chicks Can't Bump" and "Hey There, Excuse Me? Could You Do That Double Up Back Hand Swipe Kick Back Jump To The Side Thing Just ONE More Time? I Think I Almost Got It".

Sunday, January 27, 2008

A year in the blogosphere


January marks my one-year anniversary of being a blogger. I’m not exactly sure what that means, but I feel like there should be cake. When I first started I wondered if I could possibly have enough to say to keep this site interesting. I suppose when one has opinions ranging from park running etiquette to green beans to the issues that are bound to come up in our children's therapy later, I should have known I might write regularly. As for the "interesting" part, well, that's not for me to judge.

If you are thinking of starting a blog yourself, allow me to share a few things I have learned over the last 12 months. First and foremost, asterisks are more powerful here. No longer the step-child of punctuation, the asterisk in the blogging world is used in a fuller capacity to illustrate *laughing* or the *sigh* or more serious bodily functions such as *wetting my pants*. I couldn't believe its effectiveness the first time I read something that way, and now I celebrate my friend the asterisk.

Secondly, italics and bold have largely been trumped by the ALL CAPS feature. Gone are the days of making your letters darker to let people know that you mean it, NOW WE HAVE ALL CAPS.

Third, periods are overused for emphasis. It’s. Quite. Effective.

You should probably also know that commenting in your own comment section is not looked down upon. I still struggle with this. Nevertheless, I am warming up to the idea that in the blogosphere, subscribing to the "everybody's doing it" philosophy won't necessarily land you in jail or encourage underage drinking, but it will make you appear more popular as you beef up your comment numbers.

Going into my second year, I'm hoping to make my site look cooler and figure out someday how to finally get my widgets on. In the meantime, thanks for coming along for the ride. And a word for those who comment, you have no idea the power you hold over me. If comments were crack, I'd have to attend weekly meetings.

Now, about that cake....

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Punk'd

So, my youngest brother works with Matt Romney, one of Mitt Romney's sons. One day when they were talking my brother said, "Hey Matt, wouldn't it be funny if..." and this is the result.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Low cooking moment

My homemade macaroni and cheese? Goooood.

My homemade macaroni and cheese made with vanilla soy milk because I'm out of 1%? Not a culinary highlight.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Mourn with those that mourn

It is an unfortunate characteristic of mine that I sometimes feel other people’s emotions on an abnormal level. While most people are sick of hearing about it, I cried last week when they officially closed the case on Natalee Holloway because I imagined what that must have felt like for her family. I obsessed for months during Elizabeth Smart’s disappearance and sobbed in gratitude the day she was found. I fantasized about tracking down a bully at the school who was being mean to my friend’s kid and cried myself to sleep for several nights in a row after learning about the violation of another’s. I have actually cried watching a guy in a wheelchair win a bunch of money on Wheel of Fortune because I imagined how it might help him with health bills. And don’t even get me started on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. [Before I continue, I really think I should get blogger points for admitting the Wheel of Fortune thing. Even though there’s no such thing as blogger points, I’m making them up right now. And I just earned, say, fifty.]

Today is going to be a very difficult day for some treasured family friends who are burying their one-week-old baby. My parents and brother’s family will surely attend the service, which will undoubtedly feature a mixture of grief over the loss and gratitude for support. I am hundreds of miles away feeling cramps in my chest and helpless to offer any real comfort. I’d love to be the one who writes just the perfect thing in a card that causes a blanket of peace to overwhelm them, but after watching my sister bury a child I recognize that those perfect words don’t really exist. Instead, the road to peace is long, arduous, and very personal, so I am wondering where I fit in. With words coming up short and attendance being impossible, it feels like the only remaining option is to sit here and invite feelings of remorse, hoping that doing so might take some of it away from them. I’m not sure it will work, but trying is all I’ve got. Hug your kids a little tighter today, will ya?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Adding to my misery...

...they've given the school traffic lady a megaphone. Have mercy.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Where the refills are only $1.75

You know you live in the west when one of the state's largest revenue generators is called the "National Western Stock Show". We go every year because Cory gets free tickets from work. Because under no other circumstances would I go to tour cattle trailers, pet goats, or get a hat signed by the owner of a used car dealership. But for free? Hey kids, check out the nards on THAT thing!

Except this is the great lie of the free stock show tickets. It costs $6 for a hot dog that you wouldn't even serve in a homeless shelter and $8 for your kid to layer colored dirt into a glass bottle. BUT, we did get to stand a couple feet away from Miss Rodeo USA on her Clydesdale and it IS one of the last remaining places where one can wear Wranglers without getting beat up.

If you wanna call that a bright side.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

To my good friend Jill:

If you get a call from the Wal-Mart photo studio saying that you have won the drawing for a free photo session, please don't hang up. It's probably not a joke. You may have nominated your "sweetheart" today in honor of upcoming Valentine's Day. They say the drawing is random, but somehow I feel your story about your husband finally graduating from his PhD program after 13 years of school and this being the perfect way to celebrate just might warm those red and pink hearts they had on display.

Just thought you should know.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Reunited

The computer and I, we have been on a break. But thanks to some friends in the I.S. department at Cory's work, we are back together. Much like any dysfunctional relationship, there were moments when we were apart that I stood awkwardly in the middle of the room looking from left to right, taking note of all the things that I could be doing with this new allotment of time, but found myself unable to commit. Co-dependency works like that. So anyway, WE are back, and I have a few thoughts that have accumulated over the last few days.

First: Why is the middle school asking me to volunteer to chaperone their first dance of the year? And if I say "yes", why does that feel like contributing to the delinquency of a minor? And why does my daughter want to go? Buying a training bra, starting to wear make-up, spending more time with friends, getting braces, these are all things I am prepared to handle. SCHOOL DANCES??? I'd rather rub my butt with a brick.

Second: At the beginning of my sugar fast back in October, I relinquished a monstrous bag of recently purchased chocolate chips from Costco to Cory and asked him to hide them from me. The sugar fast has been over for two months. We still can't find that bag.

Third: I've decided to run a marathon. On a moving walkway. As soon as someone organizes that.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Paperwork

I’m entering a new phase of parenthood called “orthodontia”. Samantha recently had a complimentary consultation with one of our friends who is an orthodontist in the area. After detailing that it would only cost a few thousand dollars to subject her to treatments seemingly inspired from visits to the Tower of London, they handed me the paperwork.

Name.
Address.
Occupation. I can’t resist. I write “Domestic Goddess”.
Employer. I feel small leaving it blank, so I write, “My Big Bad Self”.
Emergency Contact. At the time my best friend was in the middle of building a house and living with her parents. I wrote her name, and in the space provided for the address I filled in, “homeless somewhere in Parker.”

And then I began to think about it. Emergency Contact? Now, I’m not disputing that orthodontists are indeed doctors. But what exactly would constitute an orthodontic emergency for which they would need to track down my BFF meandering around in her Pilot chanting, “September the house will be done…September the house will be done,”? I can just see it now:

“911, What is your emergency?”
“My daughter…[heavy breathing] she’s crying and I can’t get her to stop. She needs a different color of rubberbands like, YESTERDAY!!”

OR:

“I’m sorry to call so late, but little Susie has swallowed her headgear again.”

Now that my friend is in her house and has a real address, I should probably amend the paperwork. But really? I’m not even sure it’s necessary.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

To the lady in the red tank top on the front row at the gym, elliptical machine #6

I have two words for you: Odor. Eaters.

It could change your life.

Well then, I guess I had 7 words for you.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

And all before 9:00 am

The Taylor Made Burner is not for sissies. It's a custom made golf driver that Cory received for Christmas, and its arrival would remind him of how it added 80 yards to his tee shots. The computer said it was delivered to our house yesterday at precisely 4:18 pm, but it was nowhere to be found. After calling UPS this morning, we learned that they did in fact deliver it to a home with our street name, but the house number was one digit wrong. The customer service lady advised me to work it out with the original shipping location in Southern California.

I decided to work it out with MapQuest. Turns out the house the club was mistakenly shipped to was only 5 miles away. I called a friend to accompany me, so that in the event my map led me to the home of a psychopath, she could help scare him off with her long braids and her 2-year-old. When we arrived at the address my friend announced, "Oh look, they have a fishing boat. They must be nice." I walked to the door, but before knocking looked on the porch to my left and found THE PACKAGE. It had Cory's name on it. I held it up in triumph and ran back to the car before any shots were fired.

Cory's thrilled. His Dad is relieved. But if you woke up this morning to a stranger running across your lawn in her pajamas holding a long box over her head, just know that all is as it should be.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

So, I'm either PMS'ing or just a sentimental freak

There are certain things that I'm really good at memorizing. I have inherited the ability to know an inordinate amount of phone numbers from my mother, and it's a trait that comes in very handy when I'm not at home with the directory at my disposal. I know my credit card number by heart, as well as the 800# for Frontier Airlines, my gym membership ID#, my frequent buyer code for Wolf Camera, and dozens of phone numbers of friends and neighbors.

In addition to my affinity for numbers, I've tried to commit to memory certain events and moments in my kid's lives. We all know they grow up too fast, but video cameras are not always handy when you need them and the camera doesn't always capture the moment. My mother-in-law keeps a photo album on each of her grandchildren, and during our recent visit my kids got theirs out and looked at their pictures. Drew flipped to a picture that was taken when I was not there, so I hadn't seen it before - he was about 2 years old, fresh out of the bath, in clean jammies with his hair still wet and freshly combed. My ovaries started to hurt and I panicked, because right there staring back at me from the page seemed to be proof that I was already failing to remember. And while I am completely content to be past that two-year-old phase, it made me miss it terribly.

Today I'm trying to memorize what it felt like to have Samantha come in unsolicited, throw her arms around my neck and thank me again for the Nintendo DS we gave her for Christmas. I'm trying to freeze in time what she looks like before the final stages of puberty take over, and how she looked as she came in my room late last night and said, "Mom, I was wondering if you could give me some advice." Last night while retrieving a couple of grocery items from the store, Drew helped me carry out a bag and declared that he was holding it on the bottom with his other hand in case the bag broke, then his hand would catch it. He seemed proud of himself as he closed his mouth in a tight lipped smile and revealed the subtle dimple in his right cheek. For some reason, I didn't want to forget it, so I told my brain to please try and remember this very small and seemingly insignificant space in time. On the way home I called my mom because I needed her special roast beef recipe. My dad answered. While talking to both of them I had to smother the sudden emotion that bubbled to the surface as I realized that this little interchange wouldn't always be my privilege. And while I'm not worried about my parents dying anytime soon, they will eventually, and then who will I call about roast beef?

This very minute I'm trying to engrave in my brain walking in on Sam & Drew two seconds ago as they laughed while wrestling on my bed, and witnessing Drew running commando to the shower proclaiming, "I am NAKED boy!!" as if introducing the latest and greatest superhero. Cory is pacing the floor downstairs, on the phone and taking care of some church business. When he's done he will come upstairs and tease the kids before coming in to greet me. I command my brain to take notes, and pray that it is listening.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Home

Two weeks we have been gone, during which periodic comments were dropped about how winter was finally making a bold statement back home in Denver. Such as, "Oh, I hear they got two feet the last couple of days! The airport had to close down," to which I replied, "Bummer. Hey, wanna go get ice cream?" Or, "Hey, I heard the temperatures in Denver are in the single digits," and I'd say, "Huh. I'll be sure to have a moment of silence when we get down the beach." But then we went to Mexican food after and I forgot.

Because you see, Denver has not always been my home. THIS. THIS made more sense to me. The football throwing and looking for seashells while walking among the palm trees was my ritual growing up. Even in December, it felt perfectly normal. When we left San Diego this morning it was almost 70 degrees. When we landed in Denver it was in the 20's, an advertised improvement over the previous days.

After walking in the door of our house I declared it was "good to be home" for the sake of the children and then in an attempt to salvage some of my California juices that were fighting to stay alive, suggested we dine at our favorite Mexican place for dinner. Which we did, but somehow the festive pink walls and over-sized sombreros just don't scream "Ole!" when one is wearing a winter coat.

Why do I live here again?

(((cricket))) (((cricket)))

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

My niece is richer, and I just made some guy's night

I was 23 and married before I ever had a cute date for New Year's Eve. Every year during my prime time as good dating material, New Year's Eve was a consistent disappointment. Today we were hiking down to the beach when two of my nieces began discussing their NYE plans and the unfortunate flashbacks of the lackluster nights of my past, spent watching everyone else lock lips at the stroke of midnight while I spit into a kazoo wearing a party hat, came flooding back to me. Before I knew it I made this offer to the niece who's only ever kissed one other, "Hey, I'll give you fifty bucks if you kiss someone tonight." Her wide eyes questioned my sincerity. "Totally serious," I confirmed.

Word began to spread about my proposition and within a few more minutes my sister-in-law threw in another $20. Then another brother-in-law gained enthusiasm and offered another $20. We attended a family party that night, the girls stopped by before continuing on to the dance, and my sister-in-law's brother jumped on board for another $40.
One kiss.
$130.
She's 5'11", blond, gorgeous, and quite shy. But with $130 on the line she was highly motivated. She called this morning to inform me that "Operation: Rockin' New Year's Eve" had been successful. Apparently she had her eye on a few guys she had flirted with through the evening, but with 30 seconds to go on the clock they were nowhere in sight. So she grabbed the nearest gentleman and said, "Excuse me, could you do me a favor? I need someone to kiss at midnight." Can you imagine if you were that guy? He was more than happy to oblige, and with about ten other friends looking on as witnesses, they applauded at the moment of conquest.
My brother-in-law was so impressed that he threw in an extra twenty dollars.
In the end she walked away with $150.
Best New Year's Eve ever.