Month: September 2014

Avoiding the Face Plant

The countdown is on.  T minus 5 days until the big event:  my first 5k run.  Eeek!

I’ve been at the mercy of my ankle these past two weeks, willing away the persistent pain that has been a result of this running thing.  Every night I talk to my pesky ankle, begging aloud, “Please, please be good to me.  Just let me finish this challenge and I promise – cross my heart – I will provide you with a lifetime of pampering and underuse.   My kids think that I have officially lost my mind.  I might have argued their point before my last long run this past weekend but, while heaving through those 3 miles, even I thought I might be losing my mind.

My run started out sketchy, the pain in my ankle forcing me to favor one leg over the other.  I kept at it though, knowing that at some point the pain would subside – ya know, once I started panting like a dehydrated dog.  But, before the heavy breathing took over, I found myself screaming obscenities – in my head, of course.  Ouch. Step.  S!*%.  Ouch. Step. F*&%.  Ouch.  Step.  You m*!&%…..  I’m sure you get the idea.

As the numbing sensation took over, I came up on my first hill.  It was a downward sloping hill so it should have been easy – right?  Not so much.  I’m still trying to perfect the art of taking advantage of downward slopes while avoiding the embarrassment of a full on face plant.  My feet want to take off, but I’m terrified of the graceless tumble I’ll undoubtedly take while trying hard to look like that bitch other runner that passes me by on occasion.

For tonight, I am quite happy with my latest 42 minute 5k and my skilled and dextrous approach to avoiding the face plant.

 

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Calling In Crabby

This has been a long, crazy, eventful – yet completely uneventful – day.  Does that make sense?

A strange twist at work, an awesome group of elementary school kids, an easy ride home, a spectacular sunset complete with a rainbow thrown in for good measure, warm apple crisp and soft serve vanilla ice cream…..all of these things made me so very happy today.  So why am I so crabby?

I can’t explain it and I have no interest in overthinking it, so I am simply going to throw in the towel tonight.  This is me officially calling in ‘crabby.’  Goodnight and wish me happier thoughts tomorrow.

I Love This Day

20140928-220251-79371593.jpgOh, I love Halloween!

When I was a kid, my parents created this elaborate haunted house in our basement.  The whole neighborhood was invited over to walk through it.  I knew that the mummy was my dad and the ghost flying out from behind the creaky door (a.k.a. the laundry room) was fake and tied to our rolling garment rack, yet I was still terrified.  Mind you, this was all well before the advent of Pinterest – we didn’t even have access to the internet back then.  Gasp!

As luck would have it, my birthday also falls in October.  My Sweet 16 celebration was a masquerade party.  I went dressed as a flapper, complete with fabulous dress (courtesy of my elderly next door neighbor – it was her wedding dress), headband and roaring ’20’s cigarette holder.  I was delighted.

These days, I live vicariously through my own kids.  We begin talking about their costumes months in advance and we have to consciously refrain from picking pumpkins too soon.  They need to be perfectly ripe on Halloween eve.  But today – today – was the day…we got to go pumpkin picking!

I love this day….

The Fault In Our Thinking

I seem to be having the same, recurring conversation with old friends, new friends and even acquaintances lately.  Actually, if I think about it, it’s a conversation that has been repeated ad nauseam since this past June – coinciding perfectly with the release of the movie The Fault In Our Stars. 

Being Mom to a tweenage girl is the one similarity binding all those that I’ve had this conversation with and, after my most recent conversation, I started thinking about how warped our sense of appropriate – or inappropriate – might be.

Hear me out.

I couldn’t add much to the very first conversation that I had on this subject.  I hadn’t read the book and certainly hadn’t seen the movie.  I wasn’t even sure I knew the basic storyline.  But, after listening to several moms debate the suitability of the book for their own daughters, I decided I needed to check it out.  I started reading the book the very next day.  I finished reading it the day after that.  John Green can have that effect on you.

I will admit that after the first 50 pages or so I thought the book was a bit inappropriate for my soon-to-be 11 year old.  It was one, single, solitary page in that group of 50 that had me thinking that way.  A scene between two hormonal teens who were ‘in love’ – leaning up against a building, the two were making out and he touched her boob.  Friends of the two love birds awkwardly kept their distance while discussing the ridiculous behavior playing out between their horny friends.  From there, the story moved on.

Did I mention that the building those two love birds were leaning against happened to be the building where they met regularly for their cancer support group?

Shortly after reading the book, I found myself driving with my own daughter and her BFF in the backseat.  Interestingly, they were having the same conversation that had been playing out among the adults.  They talked about who among their friends had been allowed to read the book – whose mom thought it was inappropriate and whose mom thought it was just fine.  My daughter began insisting that she wanted to read it and, of course, her BFF felt the same way.  “I don’t know,” was all I needed to say to get those girls riled up.

“It’s not inappropriate,” my daughter began insisting.  The two girls rattled off a list of friends who had read it or were going to read it before I stopped them.

“I don’t know if you want to read it,” I finally managed to say to them.  This got their attention.  I went on to explain that, although there were parts of the book that might be considered inappropriate for them, I wasn’t certain that they wanted to read such a heart-wrenching story of teenagers living and dying with cancer.  This struck a cord with my overly sensitive daughter and her friend.  After talking a bit more about the storyline, both girls decided that they definitely were not ready to read that book.

Here’s the thing.  If I were to read The Fault In Our Stars alongside my daughter, I would find exactly two short scenes that might cause an awkward moment between us.  By comparison, I can find at least half a dozen awkward moments while walking through our local mall with her.  Ever walk past a Victoria’s Secret window with your tween daughter?  How about an Abercrombie & Fitch store with their nearly naked male models plastered on the walls?  The female models in nearly every single young adult store are scantily clad – at best, and I am 100% certain that the conversations she listens to on her bus ride to and from school would make my toes curl!  Yet, here we are debating the appropriateness of a beautifully written book about teenagers – babies – attempting to live their lives in-between surgical procedures and experimental cancer treatments.  Hmmmm.

I am delighted that these conversations prompted me to read such an incredibly thought-provoking and beautifully written story.  I’m happy, too, that my daughter recognized how emotionally difficult she would find the storyline.  Happier still that I didn’t stop her from reading it because I was afraid she would notice two young people who genuinely respected each other and the intimacy between them.

But that’s just my opinion.

The Disappearing Act

The phone rang late in the afternoon.  It was my husband.

“I just called to apologize,” he said sheepishly.

“I can’t believe you ate the whole apple crisp!” I yelled.  “I only got one little spoonful of it.”  I wanted him to sweat.

” I’m sorry,” he said again.  “I really didn’t mean to eat it all,” he was laughing, his apology going bad fast.  “I started eating it and it was so good.  I got through half of it and told myself that I better stop.”

“Yes, so why didn’t you stop?”  This was a poor excuse for an apology and I wasn’t going to let him off that easy.

” I did!”  He sounded so convincing.  If I hadn’t found the dirty, empty baking dish in my sink this morning, I might have believed him.  “Or at least I thought I did,” he continued.  He was stammering and laughing simultaneously.  “I stopped eating it and walked into the other room and, when I came back, it was gone!”

Complete and utter disbelief forced me into total silence for about 5 seconds.

“Seriously?” I was flabbergasted yet struggling to hold back the laughter.  “That’s the best you can come up with?”

On the other end of the phone the laughter was almost uncontrollable.  He continued to try to convince me that the remaining apple crisp had somehow disappeared right from under his nose.  I continued torturing him, suggesting we seek some help for his apparent delusions.

Needless to say, I’ll be waking up to the sweet smell of freshly baked apple crisp this weekend….and I won’t be sharing it with anyone.

 

The Day From Hell

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

We had grand plans for our day off today but, alas, it was not meant to be.

My youngest daughter woke up complaining about stomach pain.  At first I simply dismissed her complaints, assuming it was early morning blues that would dissipate as the day wore on.  That was not the case.  Her complaints and obvious discomfort persisted through the morning – twice she had me convinced that she was going to throw up and twice we were both delighted that it was a false alarm.  By mid-morning she had fallen asleep on the couch.  A welcome reprieve for both of us.

By this point in the day, our grand plans had already been cancelled and we resigned ourselves to a quiet day at home.  At about this same time, we heard a loud thud coming from outside.  My oldest daughter looked at me, “Oh no,” she said, “I hope that wasn’t another bird flying into our door.”  A recurring problem at our house, I was immediately convinced that her thinking was on target.  I went to the back door and checked the usual places for fallen birds.  There were none.  We breathed a sigh of relief.

We managed to make it to lunchtime without anymore real or imagined disasters and, as we sat down to eat, the dog began that awful heaving that dogs do just before they vomit.  Good lord!  I should have gone to work.  The dog vomit was immediately followed by another unpleasant surprise.  Remember that thud sound that I mentioned?  Well, it wasn’t a bird crashing into my back door.  Instead, it was a bird crashing into my front door and now, there she lay, dead on my front steps.  Please make it stop!

Convinced that I was somehow sending some horrible vibes out into the universe, I decided it was time to take control and turn the tides in my favor.  Thank goodness for our apple picking trip this past weekend.  We pulled out the sack of baking apples and set out peeling and preparing them for one of our fall favorites:  apple crisp.  Yum.  Within the hour, the house smelled divine and my mood began lifting.  A quick trip to the mailbox revealed a $350 ‘bonus’ from the New York State Division of Tax and Finance.  Of course, I realize that this was an incredibly blatant attempt to buy my vote.  The moral high ground part of me considered sending it back stamped ‘return to sender,’ but the middle class shlep in me decided to cash it immediately.  My mood was lifting.  And then, by some miracle, my little one was up and around, foraging for food and looking perfectly happy and healthy.  Interesting.  The day from hell was slowly turning around.

Late in the day, I sent my youngest off to gymnastics class, cooked a delicious dinner that everyone gobbled down and poured myself a much-deserved glass of wine.  The day wasn’t a complete loss and, as it turns out, we cancelled our grand plans over a bad case of gas.

Yep, she’s going to hate me for this post some day.

When I Rule the World

work outdoorsI was sitting at my computer this morning, staring out at this beautiful day.  The sun was shining, the trees were waving gently in an ever-so-slight breeze and the temperature seemed absolutely perfect.  I was trying my best to concentrate on a project for work, but my mind kept wandering, the lyrics to U2’s Beautiful Day echoing through my brain.

You all know who U2 is – right?  Please tell me you know who U2 is.  I don’t know how to have a conversation with the generation of people who seemingly do not know who U2 is.  Please, lie to me if you must but please, tell me you know who U2 is.

Back to my story…..

My morning was filled with stops and starts; desperate attempts to accomplish something….anything!  The devilish side of my brain was whining, “I don’t want to be stuck in here.  Let’s go outside,” while the angelic side kept insisting that we stay inside, do our due diligence and work hard.  There was an epic battle of good versus evil brewing in my head – a battle that happens a bit more frequently than I’d like to admit.  I needed to put an end to the battle before it morphed into an all-out war.  And then it hit me:  I work from home.  Duh!

I packed up my laptop, grabbed my cell phone, tucked a few papers under my arm and moved my party out onto the deck and into the glorious sunshine.   Ahhhhh.  My brain immediately revved up, firing off emails, scheduling meetings, catching up on my to-do list and essentially  functioning on a high.  It was liberating and it made me think….

What if we all had the option to work outside?  What if we all had the chance to soak up some much-needed vitamin D during a hectic workday?  What if we all had warm sunshine and beautiful views to inspire our work?  What if….?

When I rule the world, there will be outdoor work spaces, complete with wifi access and comfortable, padded seating.  I’ll have a workforce built of moms (dads too – no discrimination here) who want to balance their hectic lives.  We’ll have flexible scheduling, built-in babysitting for those unexpected, after-hours meetings, carpooling to and from those after school activities and, of course, homework helpers to help avert that late night math meltdown.  Productivity will sky rocket and quality of life will soar.

Yep, when I rule the world outdoor work spaces will be just the beginning.