28 February 2011

Granny's Gadgets #9

Are you feeling lucky?

You should be because this week you get two Granny's Gadgets in the same day!

Woo hoo!

Great things often come in pairs ;-)

I ate this whole grapefruit when we finished filming.  It was delish.  Juiciest, sweetest thing ever.  Even my 2-year old liked it!  What 2-year old likes grapefruit?

Do you like grapefruit?  What is your favorite citrus fruit?

Have you ever used one of these bent knives or jaggedy spoons?  Other citrus-related gadgets?

27 February 2011

It's all coming back to me now...

The little excerpt in blue was typed on my phone while I was in the bathroom, stepping into my ...

ice bath!  

it is so cold... i cannot imagine sitting my booty down into  this!  ohmyGod...

here goes... booty going in...wait... i'm afraid... lol

No video like Amanda ... not only am I just not as hot and cute, but my kids were all being duct taped put into bed by my superman-husband so that I could experience the freezingness and all its glory in peace and privacy...

Well, I did get my heiney in, and it just about froze its little self to a tiny little ice cube.  And I did scream.  Briefly.  And I didn't fill the tub enough :(  but was too frozen stiff to move and turn on the water again.  And just wanted it to all be over... I don't remember it being this bad.

Today was tough.  

Birthday partiespresent-shopping for the partiessoccer practicesleep-over retrievalpick up a kid from grandma's house... lots of driving and strategizing for the who what where when.  And in the background, never faraway was my 8-mile run in the hills... sitting there... looking at me... knowingly.  Knowing it was going to kick that heiney that would later be frozen in an attempt to ease the pain from the kicking.

The last thing to do was done at 4:10, and then we all headed up to the hills... family-style exercise time!  Same place I did my awesome 5+ mile run a few weeks ago.  It is really pretty.  

I called that run "Hilly Goodness". This one was more like "Hilly Ass-Dragness".  It was brutal.  But I got it done and in the 'right' amount of time. It was supposed to be 10-minute miles for the 8 and I finished in 1:19:51.  A scant 9 seconds under.  The hills made the per-mile times sort of erratic, but nothing was faster than 9:33 and nothing slower than 10:15.  

It hurt so much.

Not in that bad "oh-no-I'm-injured" way.  In that "holy frijoles, what the heck was I on when I thought this was going to be a fun thing to do?"  Yeah, it just hurts from good, old-fashioned hard work ;-)  

So it's all coming back to me now...  
  • how good it feels to work really hard, 
  • how flippin' cold an ice bath is and how hard it is to actually sit your booty down in one
  • that it is possible to still get the run in even when living a busy life
  • how important it is to get that run in especially when living a busy life, 
  • how fortunate I am to get to run in such a lovely place, 
  • how fortunate I am that I can run.

Hope you all had a great weekend, too!

IQs, Cupcakes and a Very Minor Accident

The other day, Big G was talking about intelligence.  He started asking me about IQ and what it was and what it meant.  After hearing the explanation, he then said, "oh, right... I've heard about that.  What's the average IQ?  Isn't it, like, 70?"


Looking together, we found this site...IQ basics.  70 is not the average IQ.  85-114 is considered to be the "range of average."  Of course, after all this talk and research, I had to know my own IQ.  I used to be pretty 'smart'... good test taker and such... but as I have spent more time momming and less time actually stimulating my intellect, I have noticed that I do feel less and less intelligent.  That sounds pathetic... I guess it is...

So I took this online test.

Did I wait until the kids were in bed and I was in a calm and quiet, serene, uncluttered space?  No.  Why would I do that?  I might have had that foresight had I still been as 'smart' as I was in the olden days.  I needed to know now.  So I read and figured and clicked and clacked and hit "submit" while being climbed on and screamed at and hearing someone hollering
"mommmm!went pooooop!"  
which translates into "wipe my butt."

I couldn't wait to find out the results of my Intelligence Quotient test.  The screen told me it would be emailed to me.  It wasn't.  I tried to obtain the results again.  No email.  Oh, right.... spam.  Check the spam.  The results of my IQ test were fittingly in my spam box ;-)

Believe it or not, quite a few synapses are still firing correctly!  Truly, I was astonished.

You'd never know it if you had seen my bone-head move last night, though... I walked by an open cupboard door and closed it as I passed... but not until my foot was perfectly positioned under the sharp corner so as to gouge the heck outta my Achilles.  It hurt so much that I almost shouted out profanity.  And I felt not-so-bright.  Four good-sized chunks of flesh un-gently removed... and blood.  
Blood, I tell ya.
I felt like such a dingdong.  Wish I had a DingDong. But I didn't... 
Baby X had made cupcakes... all by herself.  And she gave one to meeeeee!  

I could eat it because it was gluten-free ;-)  

I felt much better.  

Have you ever taken an IQ test?  What did you think of it?

Do you like a treat when you get a boo-boo?

25 February 2011

Vecchio Venerdì... Picking a winner...

Does every human go through the nose-picking phase?

I think so.

Thankfully, most of us outgrow it.

At least when we're not in the car ;-)

24 February 2011

The forecast calls for...SNOW!

It almost never snows here.  In fact, I can count on two fingers the number of times in my life it has snowed here.  that means it has snowed here twice in the past 47+ years, for those of you who are number-challenged ;-)

It does snow nearby in the higher hills every couple of years or so, but you have to drive 40 minutes to the "mountain" to the west or one hour to the "mountain" to the east to see any sort of accumulation (a few inches or so).  Actually snowing here... in the flatlands... super rare.  Even in the lower hills it's rare.  I remember it happening when I was about 10 years old.  It was the cooooooolest thing ever.  I know those of you in more wintry climates are thinking, "get over it, woman."

My kids have never seen snow.  They are sitting by the window right now.... waiting.  It isn't supposed to even be a possibility until Saturday morning.  I told them that.  They want to wait.  And watch.  They are crazy.  Snow crazy :)

I hope we get snow.  Of course, it might make this weekend's run a little more treacherous... especially since I am out of practice when it comes to dealing with the elements ;-)  Last night it was in the 40's when I went out for my run.  My husband was worried about me being too cold.  So sweet.  I was fine.

The run was supposed to be a speed workout.  I didn't have the patience for all that stopping and starting and warming up and rest-in-between pieces jazz.  I just wanted to go out and run for a bit... so that's what I did :)  I stepped outside, clicked my 'start' button and off I went.  I decided a few minutes into it to try what someone called a "progressive" run... I think it was Mamarunsbarefoot.  I did three miles... 9:49 for the first 3/4, 8:46 for the middle mile and a half, and 8:23 for the final 3/4... followed by 1.2 miles of cooling down at about 11 min/mile.  I loved that the whole thing was over in 40 minutes!

I don't think I could have waited much longer for dinner.  It was already 9:30 p.m.!

Do you like snow?  Did you when you were a kid?
–I love snow.  Glad I don't have to deal with it every day ... especially with kids... extra especially with little kids and babies.  I loved it when I was a kid because it was such a novelty.

Would you like to live where it snows or where the weather is nice all the time?
–I think getting it a little more often than we do would be nice...or I'd like to live a little closer to some place that gets a little accumulations.  But I really do like our weather :)

23 February 2011

Musique pour Mercredi

This is lovely...

... even though the guy in the background is pretty distracting with his weirdish searching in the dark.  

Who is he?  What is he looking for?  What is his deal?

I love Carla Bruni, though :)

Random Happenings

We had wacky weather the other day... pouring rain that turned into pelting hail!  

And produced this:

This happened right as we arrived at school... without raincoats and only one umbrella for 5 of us! And
 the umbrella broke!  
It was hilarious!  The kids were super troopers about it all... nary a whine nor a complaint... lots of giggles and smiles :)  

LOVE it when that happens 

... not the broken umbrella part; the kids having fun part ;-)

Right now my kids are On Break.  It is a 10-day long Break.  Must be nice...

I have written before about this school's penchant for days off.  This particular doozy is that whole "Ski Week" thing that encompasses the President's Day (or is it Presidents' Day... it is about two presidents, right?).  Oh, and while I am on the topic of President's Day... what the heck!!!???  Remember how I mentioned that I was going grocery shopping with all 4 kids in tow?  So we get all in the car (not easy) and they are all fighting and screaming before the car doors are even closed... actually before I even get into the car myself... I debate whether or not this is such a good idea.  But Monday is Grocery Day and we are down to a "cocktail onions and mustard" sort of situation... hmmm... what can I make with ketchup, unsalted butter, cornstarch and bacon?  We had to go.

It was closed.  

Yes, you read that correctly.  A humongous, big-deal-not-mom-n-pop, Whole Foods-ish grocery store was CLOSED for President's Day!  I laughed so hard.  The kids were concerned.  Is mom off her rocker?  So we headed to Trader Joe's and picked up what we could.  
They were perfectly behaved.  
I think the insane-lady laughter may have had something to do with that ;-)

We had lovely weather and headed to the park today to meet some friends.  It was a group of wee ones who are around Miss C's age.  The olders were not thrilled to be going to Totland *snicker, snicker* but since Miss C is forever being carted around to all their goings-on, it is only fair that they need to suck it up on occasion.

Here's Q-Man, all bummed out on the swings:
Baby X climbed to the top of the highest thing, 
setting off a toddler climbing frenzy as they all tried to imitate her... much to their caretakers' collective dismay:
And Miss C was happy to just hang :)

Big G was not there... he was home SICK.  Of course, it is vacation... someone has to be sick.

What would you do with four kids who were on a 10-day Break? And leaving town is not an option.
– we were going to do fun stuff like go to the Children's Museum, the local Little Farm and see the baby pigs, the zoo... but rain and sickness just don't really work with outings.  Today we made pudding and went to the park.  Tomorrow we are going to make teeny tiny cupcakes and who knows what else.

Did you have lots of holidays when you were a kid?
– we had some that other kids didn't get... Malcolm X's birthday, International Women's Day, MLK's birthday before it was nationwide... but that's because it was Berkeley ;-)  And I remember having Lincoln's AND Washington's Birthdays creating consecutive 3-day weekends.  I liked that.  But I'm telling you, my kids' school has WAY more days off than I ever had.

22 February 2011

Walkin' on those letters...

Miss C does these things spontaneously... even if it does seem like I am prompting her because I am all talking in the background and asking her what she's doing and urging her to keep doing it... and it is super hard to video her or take pictures of her because as soon as she hears the 'click' of the camera or the 'bing' of the video recorder, she always demands to "see the baby"... meaning herself.

One thing I think is really funny in this video is when I ask her what letters she is walking on... she holds up that 'M' sideways and says 'E'... it does look like an 'E' when you look at it that way!  Right?  And the 'X'... she says it's Baby X's name.

So you might not realize what a genius she is unless I fill you in ;-)

21 February 2011

Granny's Gadgets #8

Have no fear
Granny's Gadgets is here!

Squeaking in under the 'Monday Wire'... whew ;-)

This is another not-so-mysterious gadget... although I had no idea what it was until my husband told me.  I had never used it (or one similar) before tonight and always just used what I call in the video the 'conventional method.'  But I'll tell ya, this sucker works great!

Here... look:

And now that I know it works awesomely, and I also know how to use it, and my cooking skills are being refined every single day, I think that pretty soon I'll be making lots and lots of soufflés... cuz that's the only thing I can think of off the top of my head that really requires egg separation.

Oh, and meringues!
So maybe I'll make something meringue-y, too.
Lots of pouf.

Do you like to eat pouffy things?  Like what?
–I like whipped cream... a lot.  I will even put it on cheesecake.  And I like soufflés... kind of.  I think.

What else might YOU use an egg separator for?  I need ideas.
–oooo... I just realized... couldn't I use this to make chocolate mousse?

Danny's book!

My blog buddy Danny is a teacher.  He has written a book for kids and would LOVE for you to check it out!  Please visit this link:

Investigate Trapezoids

and let him know your thoughts!

My Longest Run... since having kids

Yesterday I finally got that 8-miler done.  She was a bit squirrelly... but nuttin' I couldn't handle ;-)

The pace was supposed to be "maintenance," which for me is supposed to be 10:00/mile.  As you can see from the numbers below, I was kind of all over the place... that's why I used the adjective squirrelly.  And I must say that I don't really know for certain if those times were taken at certifiable mile marks because I went off of googlemaps and sort of fudged where to gauge the miles would be.  It was an out and back, so I was noticeably quicker over the same distances on the trip out.

This is the farthest I have run since November of 2001.  My legs are feeling it.  At this point in my fitness and life, 8 miles now warrants an ice bath.  Wish I had realized that when I finished the run :P  

The best news is ... my hip did not hurt.  did. not.  Super YAY!  It is feeling stiff and sore now, but no pain at all while running.  I almost cried when I finished... partly because of the no pain, partly because it has been so long since I have run that far, and partly because I was super hungry.  I had to leave before breakfast in order to get the run in before my husband needed to go out for the day.

Yeah, when you are lolling about in bed thinking you have a cush life while your husband makes everyone breakfast, it is a sharp jolt of reality when he comes in to announce that he needs to leave soon so you'd better a get a move on if you're going to fit that run in.  Soon?  How soon?  Like "exactly as long as it takes to throw on the clothes and do the run" soon.  No brekkie... No potty...

As most of you know, running really gets things moving...  I think that is partly why my first half was faster.  I was racing to the portapotty at the turnaround.  I realized I was going to need that bad boy pretty early on in the run. It became my focus... my goal.  Even though it meant running an extra 0.1 mile ;-)  Thankfully, it was still where I had remembered it to be.  And even more thankfully, it was not too nasty.  And it had paper!

Unfortunately, my 'needs' were complicated by another factor.  Let's just say that I am really glad I didn't listen to that ShutUpandRun girl and wear my green bikini even though I was having my period.  If any guys have made it this far, I am sorry if you are grossed out or uncomfortable... but this is what we women deal with.  You have no idea how hard it is to not lose your tampon when you are trying to take a dump... especially in a portapotty.  And speaking of tampons... I am so annoyed... my favorite brand has been discontinued!  As I was lamenting this fact this morning, my husband suggested I look for an online forum that might help me deal with this loss.  He thinks he's so funny sometimes.

These are my rockin' splits from my X-Treeemly long run:

10:15  – post-poo... I think everything was readjusting...
10:08  – I hit my Wall at 7.8 miles... I almost stopped... I think it was lack of food more than anything
1:19:13 total time (this factors in the 2:40 potty break... I always subtract those)

Now I get to go grocery shopping with my kids... o, yay.  This is bound to be exciting, and I'll tell you all about it later ;-)  What makes it all extra exciting is that they are off for 10 days.  TEN days... in a row... right now.  You know better than to get me started on their school and days off.

20 February 2011

Technospaz Update...

Three cheers for danny at A Quest for Running Perfection!

Dude hooked me UP!

My little Analytics are all happy and functional now.  I get to see what interesting places my visitors are from again :)  That is my favorite part of the tracking plan.  I don't really care about numbers... lol.  It is all about the where.  Probably because I love to travel and in this economy and with 4 kids, my traveling days have ground to a screeching halt.  So it is a vicarious thing... 

I wish someone from Montana and someone from South Dakota would click in for a visit... those are the only two states NOT lit up on the little map thingy.  So if you know someone....

And danny... you deserves some sort of reward for making me so very, very happy!  

Can I get you a gadget?  

Or perhaps a cheap movie?

19 February 2011

Running Update

I was realizing that I hadn't written anything about running in a week!  Yikes.  All of my running followers might jump ship if I keep writing only sad things or about spurtles or my microwaving adventures.  So for all 24 of you... yes, i counted you up :) ...here is the latest and the greatest about my most recent week in running...

did you get any of that?  lol

No, seriously... I did actually run on Monday... after my husband got back from his weekend away.  Before that was my creepyguy/hooptycar run.  Well, Monday's run was awesome!  It was a 6-miler to be run at 'maintenance' pace, which for me is supposed to be 10:00 per mile... according to that pesky Automated Training Program.  And that is what I did... 6 miles @ 9:58 per mile average.

Now, I am going to admit that somewhere in the middle there I had to pee super badly.  So badly that, in fact, my giving-birth-to-four-babies pelvic floor was taxed to the max... and beyond.  Catch my drift?  That slowed me down a wee bit... get it? wee? ... and I needed to go into the house for a minute and 33 seconds to deal with it.  But I made up for it... the slowing down part... not the minute and 33 seconds... I just subtracted that ol' mess from the final time ;-)

So that was the run.

I was supposed to run two more times, but I had work done on my hip on Wednesday, and it was really feeling loose and good and I wanted to give it a little more time to get used to feeling so good.  I planned to run on Thursday.

Thursday was from hell.  Hell.  My kids have ice skating lessons after school on Thursdays.  This means that for 90 minutes I get to chase a toddler around a rink... up and down scary stairs, through the goal nets, away from the Zamboni... except this time.  She wanted to be held the whole time.  The. Whole. Time.  And I was wearing awesomely supportive...not... rainboots because it was raining outside.  So my hip was freakin' TOAST by the time we left there.  Great.  No run on Thursday.

Last night was pouring pouring pouring rain.  Pouring.  I decided it was the perfect weather to continue letting my hip chill ;-)

Today... well.... whatever....

Now, tomorrow... I will be ready for my long run. Rested.  My hip feels good.  Hubby will be home to handle the kidlets.  8 miles of lovely alone time!

But that means I'll have to go grocery shopping on Monday with all the kids in tow... those other shoppers might want to stay home cuz my kids are ker ay zeeeee!

18 February 2011

Vecchio Venerdì... My daddy

Eighteen years ago today was the last time I saw my daddy.

I said "good-bye" and that I loved him.  And I told him I didn't want to leave, but it was time to go.

He nodded, wide-eyed.  He was able to hug me back. But he couldn't say anything.  Seven weeks earlier he had suffered a massive stroke that affected his ability to speak and see and write and walk.  He could lift one hand.  He could hear.  He was completely coherent and fully aware of his surroundings.  But he couldn't tell us what he wanted, what he needed, what he knew.  He was unable to write us a note to those ends either.  He could nod and shake his head... that was pretty much it.

He had been diagnosed with a brain tumor about a week before he had the stroke, right after Christmas.  At first, it was deemed inoperable, then they found someone interested in trying.  A glioblastoma roughly the size of a golfball positioned behind his left eye, it was blown to smithereens when he had the stroke.  This happened the very day I had flown across the country to be with him.  He picked me up at the airport; we went to lunch; we went to the house; he had a headache and went to lie down.  I held him while he convulsed and vomited, and we waited for the paramedics to arrive.  

While the resulting emergency surgery did remove much of the cancer, this type is so aggressive and the bits were so invasive that his prognosis remained very, very poor.  I stayed in town with my stepmother and her family (she and my dad had been vacationing to visit the in-laws when this all happened) for 10 days while he recovered from the stroke and was determined to be in stable condition.  At that point I went back to grad school nearly 3,000 miles away, with the plan of returning for a week or so of my Spring Break in March and then spending the summer vacation with him.  

In February I got a call.  "Can you come now?  I really need you to come now."  It was my stepmom.  The next morning I was on a plane.  We had set my return for two weeks later; that was about all the school I was comfortable missing.  Why did that seem so important?

A lot happened in those two weeks.  He should have died before that time was up.  That sounds horrible, but it's true.  He had made his peace three days after I had arrived and had opted for no more food or water.  I was there holding his hand when he let the doctor know that was his choice.  She said he had 10 days ... at the most. He held on for 14.  

I wasn't there at the end.  I left three days before he passed.  I felt very comfortable with that at the time.  But I have grown to regret it ... not entirely sure why.  I did have closure.  I did get to leave with a living memory of him before things got really bad.  He was still able to sit up, and his eyes were still bright, and he still looked more or less like himself...  There is a bit of feeling like I wimped out.  I couldn't take it anymore.  I was glad that my ticket was when it was.  I didn't want to see my daddy actually die.  Or dead.  I know he is... but I didn't want to see it.  

He was 51.  

Love you, daddy.  Always and forever.  

17 February 2011

help! i'm a technospaz…

i know you all think i am technosharp, what with all my videos and links and the like, but the reality is i don't even know how to turn on our home computer.

so here's my problem... my google analytics has totally stopped all tracking... or no one is reading my blog... which is possible!

anyone know anything helpful about codes and tracking and view source kinds of things and willing to help me out?

i promise i'll provide something awesome as your reward for being such a kind samaritan ;-)


16 February 2011

Musique pour Mercredi

Finally, I give you an educational selection... hahahahhahaha!

Well, educational in a way...

Wishing everyone a joyous day!

14 February 2011

Granny's Gadgets #7

Happy Valentine's Day, everybody!!!

Hope everyone felt loved and shared love all day long.  It isn't about the 'stuff'... no, not candy, flowers, fancy dinners, expensive jewelry... it isn't about that.  It's a memory-jogger to allow love into your life... to appreciate the love around you... to freely give the love within you...
in case you've forgotten all that in the midst of going through the motions of daily life, which is easy to do ;-)

This sculpture is in Philadelphia... I used to live in Philly (for 8 years!) and never even knew it was there!  I loved Google's use of this art today on their homepage.


now on to why we are all here tonight...

I really wanted to find something that would seem fitting for Valentine's Day...

this is what I came up with...

And here it is in action!  cuz we're all about action, right?

Yes, both gadgets shown were in my mother-in-law's kitchen gadget box.

What would you use a spurtle for if you had one?  As you can see, it is a most excellent ice smasher!
–I will use this spurtle now that I see how useful it is.  I have been looking for something to effectively smash ice with a minimum of effort.  I would also use it to break open lobster claws... if I were having lobster for dinner ;-)

13 February 2011

Does this count as 'cooking'?

–I learned something new today!  And I am so excited to now know this!

Did you know that you can microwave spinach?

I was so hungry at lunchtime... and so lazy but wanted to minimize prep and clean up.  I wanted some brown rice, roasted chicken and some sort of vegetable.  The rice and chicken were leftovers... so nuking was sort of a given.  But the veggie...

I was feeling way too lazy busy to boil water and steam anything and then have to clean up the pot and the steamer.  Is that pathetic?

Hmmmmmm.... I thought.  What will happen if I throw a few handfuls of spinach into the pyrex bowl containing the rice and chicken?  Sprinkle a little extra water to give it that 'steaming' effect and cover it with plastic wrap...  The worst that could happen is it could explode and start a fire, right?  I happen to have a fire extinguisher handy in the kitchen (like everyone does, right?) so that could be handled.  It might ruin everything in the bowl and I'd have to rethink my lunch.  Cereal could work if that happened.  Okay... so I gave it a shot.

It worked!

I am guessing that most of you already know this trick.  Well, now I know, too.  So there.  It ain't a secret from me anymore ;-)

Do you microwave?
–I used to be totally anti-microwave.  Totally.  Now I sing a different tune.  I use it at least a few times a day.

Have you ever had a microwave disaster?
–Yes!  The worst one that involved proper microwave use (i.e. not putting metal in there) was when I tried heating up a microwaveable hot pack.  I followed the directions... heat for 'x' amount of time, knead it to redistribute the heat, heat again in 30 second increments... but I may have gotten a little impatient.  I smelled something smoldering.  When I pulled it out it was SUPER hot... and smoking.  Yikes.  I threw it out onto the back porch railing and went back inside, closing the door.  A few minutes later I went to get it to try again... it was IN FLAMES!!!!!!!!  Charred the railing.  I dumped a bucket of water on it.  Whew.

Creepy guy at 9 o'clock

I know, you're thinking, "Dang!  That woman has a night life!  She went out bar-hopping, got to hang out with her best buds, see and be seen..."  No.  This is not referencing some code to a girlfriend regarding a skeevy scammer at a bar or party...

It was 9 o'clock at night.

I had been running for about 23 minutes... not loving it.

I had set out in a conflicted headspace.  My husband is out of town and I really wanted to go for a run.  I talked with my older kids about this (the oldest is 11 and a half).  Would they be comfortable with me going out for a run after the youngest two were asleep?

"You're nuts!" you say.  "That's illegal!" you reprimand. No, it's not in California.   "That's just plain stupid," you think.

Hold the phone... don't go callin' CPS on me just yet...

Remember where I run.  It is inside The Gate.  The entire loop is 0.6 miles, so with the cross-streets, I am never more than a quarter mile from home.  The only people out EVER are the olderwalkingcouple and the occasional dog-walker ... oh, and once there was a group of kids skateboarding on a pole contraption ...but none of us ever speak... except me who always shouts out "hi" and waves to everyone.

So I feel like it is super safe.  And my older kids wanted to watch a movie anyway.  And I was taking my phone and set a timer for them to call me 3 times... at 25 minutes, 45 minutes and 50 minutes (at which point I would be walking in the door).  If I got no call, I would go home and find out why... and I could be there in a maximum of 2 minutes.

So it was 9 o'clock.  I had been running for about 23 minutes (I knew this because my kids had not yet called but did shortly).

As I finished up the backstretch and headed into the last turn of the lap... right near my house... there was a car.  It did not fit with the profile of cars in the enclave.  I am not being snooty just real.  It was way hoopty.  And the guy in it was a wreck.  And it was parked on this weird angle on the corner... totally not in keeping with the HOA regulations ;-)  I know this because we have been ticketed and towed for our hoopty truck not parking within said rules.  

I looked ahead, trying to not look like I was noticing but like I was some superstar badass fast runner who could kick the crap out of any dingdong who tried to mess with me and then out-run their car as they tried to mow me down in retaliation.  This was not funny... like the Drunken Bum episode was comical.  That was in the daylight... this was night.

So I looked ahead and realized there was a second guy.  I passed him and he broke into a trot.  He was big and unkempt.  Okay, so yeah... ummmm... I was freakin'.  Fuh-reekin.

Just then I saw the olderwalkingcouple.  Not like they could fend this big dude off should he decide to take all three of us out... but they could be witnesses.  Or something.

I kept running.  The kids called.  I told them to go lock the door.  They did.  When I finished that lap, the hoopty car was gone and so were the guys... and I saw the olderwalkingcouple... still walking... still alive.  So I continued.  Still a little nervous and very wary.

When I was done running, the olderwalkingcouple was coincidentally right in front of my house, finishing up their walk.  They actually talked to me!  (no, you have no idea... no one ever talks to anyone in this enclave... seriously... you cannot strike up a conversation with a neighbor... canNOT)  They said how impressed they were with my running as they see me all the time.  And how they noticed I was nervous about those guys.  Apparently, the hooptycarguys are tenants of the olderwalkingcouple.  They needed to meet up for some rental-related biz.  "They are very nice people... just they have had very hard lives."  So the creepy guy only looked creepy.  Whew.  Glad I was so lucky.

And I made friends with neighbors.  Who'd've thunk?

Do you ever run at night?  Outside, I mean.

Are you friendly with your neighbors?

11 February 2011

Fashion Statements

My daughter...

the budding fashionista...

red and white polka dot sundress with grey, black and pink argyle tights...

what you don't see is the burgundy and pink striped long-sleeved t-shirt under the sundress...

the black velveteen jacket and the patent leather Mary Janes add a decided element of class to the ensemble...

 and, of course, what outfit would be complete without accessories?

Did you dress like a freak when you were a kid?  

–yes!  my favorite outfit for awhile was a pale blue and maroon skinny-striped polyester double-knit mock turtleneck top with golden brown and jewel-toned paisley corduroy pants... pretty sure they were bell-bottoms... I was only 5.  In sixth grade, I had this hideous acrylic sweater that was navy, neon red and neon green argyle.  I wore it as much as possible.  I even wore it in my school picture for that year :P  I still wear questionable fashion choices, though...

Vecchio Venerdì

This is a picture from a mere 2 years ago.  Almost exactly if not exactly.

How does the human body do this?

Every one of the four times I have been through pregnancy, I have been utterly astonished.  Utterly.

Pretty awesome to be able to grow a whole person right inside your own body ;-)

I find myself often amazed at what the human body does, can endure, can be put through... be it sports or illness or injury or pregnancy or growing or weight gain or weight loss... you name it.

Are you amazed by what your body can do?  What has amazed you the most?

–other than go through the making of another human... I am pretty amazed by the fact that I used to be able to do a whole lot of real pull-ups... it really astounds me because now I cannot do ONE.  lol

What is one of the most amazing things you have seen a human body do? 

–I think contortionists are pretty amazing... bending all up like a pretzel and fitting an adult body into a standard-sized mailbox.  Also those people who survive for weeks with no food and only water that they wring from their soaked clothing.  Stuff like that blows my mind for sure.

10 February 2011

Love Beats Hate: How to get a happy ending

I am sharing this post with Alison and Ado in celebration of their Blogoversary Bash. This was the most cathartic, difficult post I have written to date. Any sort of speaking out on this topic is necessary. People need to know they are not alone and that healing can take place...

Blog Bash
Originally, this posting was my contribution to the "Love Beats Hate" event which I heard about through One Wee Voice and Love Beats Hate.  Click the links to connect with a whole slew of writers blogging about the power of love.

Once upon a time there was a woman, a teenager, and a preschooler.

They were part of a fun family.  There always seemed to be lots of love shared and lots of good times.  

One day the preschooler let the woman know that the teenager was doing bad things.  If you make a list of the three worst things your child could tell you, what the teenager was doing is probably on that list.  The family was ripped apart.  The teenager went away for several years.  The preschooler struggled with feeling safe, and the woman wrestled with many internal demons.  

For a while she was consumed with rage.  Then she was devoured by guilt.  She then grieved at the loss of her baby's innocence.  And much of this was laced with feelings of hatred.  Sometimes she found herself awash in all of these emotions and more... mostly very negative emotions.  The struggle to forgive, the fight to love was losing ground.  The inherent wrongness of the situation was overshadowing what really needed to be done.  

It was easy to get lost.  Broken trust.  Immense betrayal.  The realization that all she had been seeing was a sham.  The teenager was someone she had seen grow up... since younger than her now-preschooler.  Someone she had always loved... until now?  

As time went by and she often felt consumed by hatred of what had happened, anger at the teenager, sadness at the horrific turn her life had taken, paranoia that something similar would again happen within the family, her life lost its joy.  Then someone told her something that completely opened her eyes and turned her around:

Hatred is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.

You can substitute other things in for “hatred”... ‘failure to forgive’ and ‘resentment' immediately come to mind.  Once you wrap your brain around these words, it all makes perfect sense that the way is love.

After the teenager had been in a program for a few years, it was time for the woman to visit and participate in the treatment.   It had been years since they had seen each other.  The teenager, who was now a young adult, read aloud a letter.  In it egregious actions were acknowledged, heart-felt apologies were tendered and a summation of the few years’ hard work was given.  Forgiveness was mentioned.

“I don’t know if you will ever be able to find it in your heart, nor am I in a position to ask it of you, for I am the very definition of ‘monster.’”

“No,” the woman said gently.  “What you did was monstrous... but YOU are not a monster.  I do forgive you... though I’ll never be able to forget.  I love you.  I want you to succeed.”

His welling tears, which had been held back by the thick fringe of lower lashes, burst their constraints, spilling down the cheeks below and dripping off of the jaw.  The woman began to cry, too.  She asked if she might be allowed to hug the teenager and was told “yes.”  The two embraced for many minutes... years of love exchanging between the two of them, years of wounds being healed.  It was hard for them to let go.  It was as if they were clinging to each other for their very lives.

It was a pivotal moment in the teenager’s treatment and healing.  Being offered and receiving the woman’s love would be the tipping point.  Without it, progress would slam to a halt and the healing work for all parties could only grind along at a maintenance level.

If she hadn't shown love to the teenager... if she hadn't dug down deep and found the power of love and forgiveness... there would have been no further healing.  There would have been no hope... for any of them.


Sometimes it's easier to process these things in the third person.


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