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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Ghosts of workout past

I have started a new workout regime.  This isn't something that I do often....find a new routine, but every half decade or so, I go on a kick.
A brief overview.. I was a very active kid. Played soccer, track, and tennis. I rode my bike around the neighborhood and sometimes I would just run up and down the hill in our front yard (just for fun).
It wasn't until my sophomore year of high school when my grades slipped. Damn boys, and my parents made me take a season off. They even threatened girls school, but that is an entirely different, and torrid tale.. It wasn't until my year book picture was taken that I noticed that I had put on quite a few lbs.  I reflect fondly of those times when sizes were just a number to me. 4,6,8, 10..it didn't matter as long as it fit.  But one Friday afternoon when I received my school picture my world changed forever. One..why did I choose to wear a beige vest? And two,  when did I get that extra chin?  That didn't stop me from my Friday night ritual of eating pizza.  Then on a lazy Sunday morning I got out of bed ( at noon) to have Cap n' Crunch and my mom was watching an infomercial. I was half awake when I heard the words that would be heard for the next 10 years of my life. " FAT, IS WHAT MAKES YOU FAT" Susan Powters screamed. "STOP the INSANITY, STOP the INSANITY"  Yes, hindsight ( and my father)  will tell you that Fat is not the only thing that makes you fat, but it was on TV, it had to be accurate right? It was at that very moment that I stopped eating anything with a fat gram.  My mom and I went to the grocery store and looked at every label. Fat Free?...well then, lets get it! Coffee Cakes, Milk, Frozen Yogurt, White Bread!  Ahh to be that naive again. I had no idea about calories, or servings, just looked at the huge letters on the front of the package that read FAT FREE. This was also before mandatory nutrition labels became a law, so sometimes it was tricky.   I also joined my first gym. Fitness USA where a pushy saleslady circled areas on a picture of a woman ( which even then looked dated) and told ME where I needed to lose weight. Mind you... I was 15 years old and was not by any means, obese, especially by today's standards.  She also said that if I did just 20 minutes on a stairmaster 3 days a week ( funny, the gym was girls only on those days and I couldn't have worked out more even if I had wanted too) I could look like Jennifer Aniston, and not only that, they had a smoothie bar with FAT FREE smoothies to "reward" myself after I worked out.  Trust me, you don't need to remind me on how ridiculous this all sounds.
Its not surprising how, I caught the excersize bug.  Its genetic. My mom was always playing tennis,  doing jazzerzize and on a diet ( at 70 she still is) and my Dad is thin by nature, but jogged or walked. If there is any good in this trait, I at least hold myself 100 % accountable and not blame anyone (media, parents, my cat) for my weight gain. My siblings workout also and my brother gets paid to take his shirt off, well sort of, but that is a long story, that takes a bit to wrap your brain around so we'll hold that  for another post altogether.
Miraculously I lost weight.  I continued the Fat Free craze to my junior year of college, but I varied my workouts. I stopped going to the all girls gym and started at the best health club in town. I did classes, got a trainer and lifted weights properly.  I was on a pretty good path if you consider, constantly worrying about my fat intake and the size of my clothes, a good path.  I was like a diet info bank, if I heard any diet tidbit, I would deposit it into my "nutritional knowledge" bank and only withdraw that knowledge when needed.  One thing that probably saved my life and in a twist of fate allowed me to graduate from college was that I overheard a guy in the gym say that alcohol suppresses your body's ability to burn fat. DING DING DING!  I think I should find this guy and hug him. Without overhearing that, I surely would have been a lush in college.
Once in college I worked out 7 days a week, and a boyfriend of mine introduced me to protien. Get your mind out of the gutter, I mean the benefit of good protein, and as long as I was 100 % sure it was fat free I would eat it. However one time while he was making me dinner I did see him put a tablespoon of olive oil in the water and I didn't speak to him for days..
This however was a slippery slope into Adkin's-ville. This was very popular at the time. But because I still had a fat gram phobia I didn't eat red meat... So basically the next year I only ate egg whites and chicken breast, skim milk and cottage cheese. Gone was any carb. In my mind, carbs were fat grams evil cousin.  I also wouldn't eat past 7 PM and put a heating pad on my stomach because it hurt so bad at night.   There is no middle ground with me, its all or nothing. I did drop weight very quickly, but my skin was horrible, I was an emotional mess and guess what...the number on the scale became my nemesis.
I then moved to Los Angeles. A great place for a young girl pursing acting with a borderline eating disorder to go, don't you think?
Believe it or not, this is where I found nutritional sanity. I started eating...gasp...vegetables and even fruit!  My workouts ranged from machine pilates, yoga and boxing.   When I hit yet another plateau in my mind I hired a trainer..Albert.
*Obvious Observation: I clearly had nothing else to think about, no kids, no career and my day revolved around food and exercise... not a full life if you ask me... and a bit of a miserable one.

 Back to Albert..I have only fond memories of Albert. He was (is) the best trainer I have ever had. How did I afford this you may ask? Waitressing and the bank of Dad.
Albert and I trained 4 days a week. He discovered my ridiculous strength and taught me to be proud of it.   We lifted weights, did plyometrics and became good friends.  I have since had 4 or 5 trainers and each of them knew, they would never live up to Albert, who btw is a forensic psychologist living in the Bay area.  He is responsible for me looking so buff in my wedding photos..and after close examination, a little TOO buff.
Ut oh.  Now on the the next phase. Cardio- city.  I moved to Indiana and 2 years after that the spinning craze finally made it here.  Two classes a day. 30 min on the elliptical and then the inevitable happened. I, got. pregnant.  If you  heard a world coming to a screaching halt, that was mine.
But it was divine intervention. For me to be thinking of someone other than myself (and husband on occasion) was the best thing to ever happen to me. I cared more about the health of this developing little pumpkin than my..well,  ass. I didn't want a child made of only one thing, like..,crap, so I ate a variety of food, I only exercised for sadly to say....health.
The lifetime of exercise took care of me after my 9 pound baby was born.   Once you have a baby you don't have 4 hours to devote to working out. You don't. No matter what Tracy Anderson says.
Fast forward.  I'm 5 months out of having my 4th son. And have been bitten by yet another fitness bug.  This time its name is P90x. ( so much for easing into it right?)
I'm on day 2. I even took before pictures yesterday, which I strongly DO NOT recommend.  I have already lost all the pregnancy weight, about 2 months ago. Now I'm going for the impossible...abs.
Maybe I am standing at the intersection of Jillian Michaels and Tony Little, but I plan on taking the mommy road less traveled, I will not return to high school me or college me because its impossible. I now drink.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

My favorite facebook annoyances

I have a few pet peeves that I would like to get off of my chest. I have to warn you, I'm approaching that "time" of the months so this may come across crabby-er then usual.
Fine Print Disclaimer: I have done some, if not all of the following  peeves, but I have since realized how annoying they are, and have ceased all doing of such things.
For your viewing pleasure I have also organized them into categories, in case you would like to use them as a reference sometime later in your life. The truth is, if these are not habitual offenses it doesn't really bother me. Its the daily updates that seem to repeat themselves that can really ruffle my feathers.

Facebook Peeves: I have been told that I'm the "queen" of Facebook, hardly. 

The following are the friends that are just one click away from unfriendville.

The Ghost Whisperer- " It was 10 years ago I lost you mom, I miss you everyday, and love you"  First of all, why have a fictitious conversation with  a dead person. Do you think they have facebook in heaven?
The Ashton Kutcher- the person who finds the need to have 5001 friends which in my opinion is impossible.
The Debby Downer- "Wish the cats would do me a solid and let me sleep, but the antics have already begun..."
The Jillian Micheals- " Wow I just did 90 min. of cardio, plus yoga, plus an hour of weights and I can't wait to do it all over again "
The Socrates - " I don't know how much of this I can take" 
The Michael Scott-" I just got a frozen pizza and I'm going to watch the game will anyone join me" no comments or even likes. sad.
The Dr. Phil- " My husband is an ass hole and I want to leave him" 
The wallflower- " there are big tomatoes in my garden"
The Gang member/ 2pac friend- " Don't mess with me, I will cut a bitch" 
* yes, I have some of these..I should delete them but I'm afraid.
The Kate Gosslin friend "Genevieve took a big long poop today"
* ok, I may be guilty of this one. :)
The Billy Mays" host a _______  party, buy my stuff"
* this is just a modern day Avon lady.
The Historian- " It was 5 years ago today that my husband thought about asking me to marry him" or " It was 9 years ago today that my son lost their first tooth." If you are friends with these people for longer than a year, then they will repeat the same thing the following year.

And last but not least the ex boyfriend who broke my heart, not once, but twice, cheated on me, which took me years to recover, yet now he is my facebook friend and I get to see what he is up to! Let me point out, that this guy will never get married because he is, as Britany sang so brilliantly, Womanizer Womanizer.... Why don't I delete him?. I don't KNOW? I guess a part of me wants him to see that I came out even better and I have a hot husband and cute babies and just look what he missed out on. The truth is, he probably doesn't even look at my page and I should just click and delete him.

The stalker, the person who never updates status' or comments on anything, but you run into them in the store and they comment on things you posted and seem to know an alarming amount of things that have been going on in your life. 

I dislike the word pet peeves. But I use it anyway.

When people that you have been playing phone tag with, leave a voice mail and say "Tag! Your It!" Why say anything? Its 2010, I can see that you called.
Passing someone in the hallway and they say...."shall we dance?"
When someone says " knock on wood" and searches 2 minutes to find wood, only to knock on particle board.
I was in a meeting recently and someone said, " ok, lets put on our manager hat" and then we would have to take off our "manager hat" and put on our "everyday hat" and after awhile I was so damn confused I just wanted to throw my "hats" on the ground and step on them.
The word Gobbildey Gook.
When you call someone and they are so important that they just say their name.." JASON"  when they answer,  oh thanks for reminding me of whom I was calling, I think I knew your name when I found you in my address book and hit "call"

I have talked to several people that in conversation they will close their eyes. Its as if they don't want to see me looking at them or maybe they don't want to look at.... ME? Thats kind of depressing.

Wives who go to parties and corner you with 5 other angry wives and complain about their husbands. Who btw look like they are having a much better time on the other side of the room and when I decide to go over to the husbands "dark side" I'm now a hussy.

People who mimic typing when describing what they emailed.

Now that I have cleared the air, I need to put on my "working cap" and get down to business.

Monday, September 20, 2010

I'm bringing Classy back

Katy Perry's song, California girls is a salute to the attire of gals on the west coast  but somehow it lost something by the time it reached the Midwest. But since I overheard my sassy gay friend singing a slightly modified version of the lyrics all I can now hear is
(Midwest girls they are forgettable, pajama bottoms and hoodies on top.)
We seem to have an epidemic in this country, or at least in my region, of complete lack of attention to ones personal appearance in public.  I have to admit, this has been on my mind for sometime, but my in laws were in town this past weekend and not much reminds me of my own personal deficiencies than the parents of the man I married.
They drove to our home for our son's baptism this weekend. They drove 14 hours. This morning as I was getting ready for work and they were getting ready to drive home, I noticed something.  My father in law was wearing a pressed button down oxford neatly tucked into his khaki's and sporting a brown belt.  His shoes were shined.  My mother in law came down with pearls and a "smart" sweater set. It begged the question...
" where are you going" ?
"home", they said trying not to appear very disappointed in the obvious-ness of that question.
" I mean, your not stopping anywhere first"?
" no".
Even I am a little stumped by their attire. I understand flying and wanting to look good for whomever you pass in the airport, but when you go on a road trip the only people you will come into any sort of contact with are in truck stops, and last time I checked, Tim Gunn doesn't frequent such places.
My road trip wardrobe consists of yoga pants and a tank, possibly a cardigan, but pearls?
I mentioned that they looked nice and somehow that began a conversation at 8:15 a.m. about the state of the countries slapdash dressing. Mind you, I was suppose to be out the door 10 minutes ago, but I will listen, like a good daughter in law does.
As I watch the clock tick away and half- listen something catches my ears fancy.  My mother in law tells me that when they were kids people even dressed up for football games.  They wouldn't be caught dead in dungarees ( which in case you were wondering, are jeans).
I glance down at my work outfit with a bit of shame, its mainly made out of rayon and spandex and its color pallet is black with accent hint of black.
After I left, 20 min. later, I started to think and dare I say, AGREE, with what she was preaching about.  How in the world did it become acceptable to wear NFL fleece pajama bottoms with knock off uggs and a t-shirt to get groceries?  When did it become the norm to where jeans to church..yes I know " God doesn't care what you are wearing" but good Lord, I DO!
This got me thinking even more about the recent decline in style. I remember that my sister worked at Taco Bell when she was in high school and also remember that my mom would press her vintage brown and orange uniform before she left.  She also wore a cute little taco bell bandanna thing on her head. Today, taco bell workers were generic polo shirts with stains on them...no hat. At least I think they do, but honestly the only time I visit Taco Bell these days are after a night of heavy "socializing" and my mind is on one thing only and that is a chalupa.
But what about the medical field?  I specifically remember the nurse at my family practitioner office wearing a white dress, white shoes with white hoes, at least I had the satisfaction of knowing that they were clean. Now I  have no clue what is stained behind those daffy duck or neon floral scrubs.  And screw the white shoes, lets just wear orange crocs.

And without sounding like a cranky old prude, what is with the length of shorts and skirts on girls these days!?  Is that a Huggies jean diaper you are wearing or shorts?

It just feels better to be put together. I swear that if I have a classy outfit on, ( ok I sound little too much like my mom) who btw taught "visual poise" to every 8th grade girl who graduated from my private school from the years of 1981- 2000, even if nobody sees me, I at least know that if I were to run into someone I cared about I would walk away happy that my hair wasn't in a chignon knot on top of my head.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Australia Adventure phase 1

I have begun the paper work process of my Australian adventure.  As I previously mentioned, I did not have a passport, I was wrong. My mom, who keeps everything, called to tell me that I did indeed have one. We had gotten it when I was 20 years old and she "found" it, but we all know she is more organized then Peter Walsh.  When looking at this photo I thought to myself, you know, youth really IS wasted on the young. I swear I looked 15 in that photo!  And btw, I have never been out of the country, why do I have a passport?
She brought me the old passport and we went to the post office. Prior to this I had gone and gotten my picture taken for the passport and I won't even begin to tell you how lovely it is.
As I was filling out the paper work for a renewal, my mom is standing behind me like a mom of a kindergartner sending their kid on the bus on the first day of school..
 "honey, are you going to share where you are going?" 
" Yes, I'm going to Australia" 
" But are you going to tell them with whoooo?"
I can tell she is about to burst with maternal pride.
I said, " I won the trip to go to Australia with Oprah"
at this moment you would have thought I was Madonna. The woman appeared to be star struck. Maybe Oprah does have some sort of Midas touch?
So with this she took extra care to make sure everything would be expedited properly.  She did find a snafu.  My last name has changed.  This meant I needed to go to the court house and get my marriage license. On a side note, this is one perk of returning to the place that you were born and raised. Birth certificates, etc are only 3 blocks away from any point in the entire city.
 But before she gave me detailed instructions on how to get there ( like I said, I have only lived here the majority of my life after all) she wanted to introduce me to the "girls" I was then escorted into the main post office area where she announced that I had one a trip with Oprah. The "girls" broke into laughter and glee and it was almost as though they had won themselves! They wanted to know all about it.
Mind you, there are people in line, but they didn't seem to be bothered by this, in any way shape or form, they too wanted to hear all about it. So I told the story, a much abridged version.  I paid $160 for a money order and off to the courthouse.  As I was leaving though, a little old Polish women grabbed my arm and said, "be safe and have a blessed trip with Oprah, I'll be praying for the both of you"
I'm then off to the court house.  As I walked in, I asked the uber friendly security guard where I could go to get a copy of my marriage license. She directed me to the basement with a hand wave.  I thought this was kind of ironic really. They send the criminals upstairs and the ones who want to get married, give birth, buy property etc. downstairs...
As I approached the office I felt like I had gone back in time to a bad 1950s movie and everything was black and white or grey.  I walked into the office and when I asked about my marriage license  I seemed to have startled them with a human voice. As I was speaking to Martha ( I read the name plate on her grey desk) , she asked the month and year I was married. She then went in the back and brought out a book the size of herself.  She took all of her strength to open it and it was a hand written ledger to search for my husbands name...
 *scratching needle on the record moment*
It was too shocking not to ask...
" so, you don't have this in a computer file anywhere?"
Ok then.  The air was so heavy and thick and musty in there and maybe I'm overly sensitive, but it felt like a morgue.  I needed to lift the energy in that room quickly before I too became a black and white drone.
I said, " is this going to assist in getting my passport expedited quickly"?
"mmm hmm", she hummed.
" because I was selected to go to Australia with Oprah"
Do you remember in the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy goes to Oz and everything is suddenly
techno- color. I swear this is what happened to Martha. She looked up at me with her fog filled glasses and her face looked as though  rouge had been carefully placed on her cheeks.  She beamed. " Oh my goodness, I just saw that show on Monday, you were there! you are going? What is she like?  Did you meet John Travolta, I just love him, you know he is a good pilot...."   I hate to say this, but I believe I made her day, if not her week.
That is the power of Oprah folks and somehow I have harnessed it.
I got back into my mom's car, who btw is still smiling.  She asked if she could take me to lunch. After decided on a place that I could run in and grab something, she pulled me up to the door.
"isn't it nice to have a designated driver" she asked
"Well yes mom, it would be if I were..um drunk"  I understood what she was saying and just let that one go.

I contacted the Oprah reps and told them about my passport, they have been in constant contact via phone with us to ensure they properly orchestrate 300 people across the world.  I must say, when she does something she goes all out.

And now hopefully my night terrors will stop. The ones that have me at the door of the plane and Oprah saying that she was sorry but my passport was never received..and bah bye. bah bye.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

You and you and me and Oprah are going to AUSTRALIA!!!

Oh my life.  It has been no secret that I have been an Oprah fan since birth...well, ok not birth but since I can remember. Her first show aired nationally on Sept. 13, 1986 but because I grew up close to Chicago my mom was watching her when she aired just in Chicago.  So I honestly cannot recall not having her on my television.  History is repeating because each one of my boys ( that can speak) could tell you who Oprah was. They not only see her face on the television, but they also see me reading O magazine.
 I'm  "O"bsessed you could say.  I have never been secretive about it either.  Anyone knows that if you are friends with me you also take along my Oprah baggage.
Well I was pretty sad to see that this was her last season.  Yes, its been 25 years, and yes, she is 56 years old, but Betty White is close to 90 and I don't see her quitting her day job. But  I was just grieving in my OWN (get it Oprah Winfrey Network) way ahh Oprah humor never gets old.

So I was cruising her website just like any other day and noticed a icon asking-
Are you Oprah's Ultimate Fan?  Well, yes, yes I am. so I filled out the form which asked 3 or 4 questions defending my fanhood.   I didn't put a lot of thought into it, I was just honest.

You can say whatever you want about her, but in my opinion she is a world changer, humorous and an all around good egg.
Not shortly after I filled out the form I was called by an Oprah staff member who asked me to elaborate on my answers...nooooo problem. After  I expatiated on Oprah for around 45 minutes, she said they would be in touch, but she did ask me to send her my photo....which I thought was interesting.
I didn't hear anything for a few days and then I received an email asking if I would want to be an audience member. I was at work, busy, and just overlooked it.  I had been to an Oprah show before and it was great, but I was just caught up in life and thought, how can I take a day off,  arrange pickups and drop offs of the boys etc.?  That evening I received a call around 9 pm from another Oprah rep. This time she asked me why I didn't respond and she would really like me to go to the Sept. 9 taping.
Hold up.  Oprah, wants ME to be at the taping? Well ok then!  I then called my best friend who is also supports my Oprah fetish and she said that " I made her life".
So off to Chicago we went.  It only took me about 2 hours to get there and it was such a pleasant drive, actually listening to my music...not kids bop, or backyardigans.
I arrived and pulled up to the studio, there was some guy on the corner that said
 "you goin to the Oprah, show?"
"Why, yes, yes I am."
" I'll park your car for $12"
"  You're so nice, Ok" I then threw my stelletos on the pavement, put them on, grabbed my purse and made a bee line to Oprah-ville."

*Looking back, this was probably not one of my smartest moments, thankfully the guy was legit and my car was retrieved. Only after he told me I looked like Sandra Bullock in the Blind Side....

I did notice however, that this was different. I felt an excitement that wasn't there before. After going through a metal detector and having our purses searched they allowed us access to the holding room. I did find it interesting, that they confiscated my September issue of O magazine...but I could live without it for a few hours.  I told my bff that my only goal was to have eye contact with her.
When we got into the studio they explained when they posted the question on the website that received over 20,000 emails in the first day! They narrowed it down to 100 or so and let Oprah read them. She had the ultimate say on who would attend her season premier.
She likes me, she REALLY likes me! I had NO idea that the show I was attending was going to be THE show.
The excitement in the studio that day was thick. While waiting to enter the studio several people broke into a chant.." We love Oprah, We love Oprah" Ok.  as do I, but I also have a quiet dignity...
Once in the studio we were chosen to sit in the front row with the knowledge that in the second half we would need to move. OK by me.  Oprah is exactly the same on television as she is in person, she is authentic. My friend can also be seen mouthing..."she's gorgeous" in the first 2 min. of the show.

Fast forward to the exclamation YOU. Are going with ME (Oprah) to AUSTRALIA!!!! You, and you and you and you.
At this point I went into to a Hypovolaemic Oprah-shock. Screaming. Jumping. Hugging.  I then was overwhelmed with a few thoughts.
1. when? Now?
2. Oh crap. Now my husband is going to be a little peeved that I didn't take him.
3. I don't have a passport.
4. 10 days total? Should I leave the boys that long?
5. Snap out of it, your going to be with Oprah, and Travolta on the other side of the world!
6. How am I going to keep this a secret for 5 days?
7. Will Hugh Jackman be there?

Next thing I know, four of us are being escorted to the stage to have a photo with Oprah wearing Australian hats.  Then taken to the other side of stage where Oprah is standing to take another photo!
I'm literally eye level * goal reached * with her.  I said " Thank you so much, but honestly, you could have taken me to downtown Chicago and as long as I was with you, I would have been happy" 
She then grabbed my hand and laughed. I said," I have never even been out of the country" She said, Really? I'm so happy we are going to Australia then!
At that moment. My life value, in my humble opinion increased tenfold. It was the 5th happiest day of my life
1. Marrying Don.
2. Birth of son #1.
2. Birth of son #2
3. Birth of son #3
4. Birth of son #4
5. Talking to Oprah.

Oprah brings out the best in humanity. She is a self-made icon and she did it by being generous to others.  I have shared this with my friends, family and facebook friends and have felt nothing but overwhelming support and excitement.
As we left the studio after filling out tons of paperwork, there was a new friendship among us. We quietly told each other...see you in December as we crossed the street. I look forward to documenting my  amazing journey in December.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Do you have any "real" sugar around here?

This past weekend we had a house guest.  A house guest with our same last name, but not a relative. 
An eighty five year old man. How can I be friends with someone 50 years my senior? Well, funny you should ask. My husband has recently become slightly obsessed with our Scottish Clan heritage.  Interestingly, as his father aged he too became a genealogy buff, which is another item I can add to the ever growing list of my husband turning into his dad...but I digress, that is an entirely different post all together.
Recently, the commissioner of our clan decided to hang up his sporran and hand down the commissioner-ship to another eager young man...that would be Don.
He nominated himself and was unanimously elected.
This means he goes around to area highland games and puts up a tent with anything and everything you would ever want to know about our Clan and how you fit into the grand scheme of things. His dad has traced both of our families back to Scotland in the 1600's. Yes, I'm Scottish American too. In fact our mothers are both Irish and our Father's Scottish (12th generation) and I have a feeling that is why Don wanted me to bare his children...but once again I digress...
So because this highland games were local he invited this man to stay at our home to avoid the four hour drive from his home town.  I don't need to remind anyone that we have 4 kids. Our house is at maximum occupancy and this means that our older son gets booted out of his room and it turns into a guest room with a bathroom...perfect for seniors.  But the only thing I know about this man, whom I have met twice is that he is old, and we share the same last name. That's it. And he will be in our house, upstairs with our kids alone, maybe I'm a bit cautious, but I have seen my share of To Catch a Predator and I'm not going to take a chance. So the 3 older kids are shipped to Grandma and Grandpa's house for a sleep over. This would usually mean a kid free night with wine, movies, sleep, even if the baby stayed home. But one senior citizen in my calculations is equal to or greater than 3 boys when it comes to attention given. And so I would learn.
I prepared for his visit by going shopping for soft food. The last time he was here, Don took him to lunch and he only ate soup, so I assumed it was a denture issue.  I bought bananas, soup, lemon meringue pie. Pasta?
I came home and he had arrived.  It was 4:30...dinner time!  He suggested we go out which I was more than happy to oblige. We went to the Olive Garden. I think the last time I dined at the Olive Garden was about 5 years ago and it was our only option on a long road trip. Not much has changed. Breadsticks...Salad....label-less table wine.
On a side note: our watress asked if Oscar needed a kids menu, or if he would like to color...( he is 4 months old) so naturally the answer was
I learned a couple things about our senior friend at dinner,  one is when the hostess says "watch your step" chances are she is speaking to him and don't bring up politics to a 3 time war veteran unless you REALLY want to know AND if there isn't anyone of Mexican heritage in ear shot.
I discovered that he is pretty hip for an 85 yr. old. He has a computer, and even orders his underwear online from Hanes.com. He prefers the elastic waist band on Hanes because it doesn't dig into his scar... the scar he has from his hip replacement, which he just happened to have a photo of in his wallet. You know, just typical dinner conversation.
I also was humbled to discover that our house is not as senior-equipt as I thought.  Some of our rugs slip, we have child locks on well...everything.  We don't have real sugar.  We don't have whole milk, and we don't have butter. What we do have is night lights, which I learned are a must for frequent late night bathroom visits.
Because my typical night time routine consists of bathing 4 boys, bed time stories and kisses, my time was a bit freed up. I only had to bathe one, who can't talk, so that took about 10 min. Then I would usually have a glass of wine or two, sit on the couch and vegetate in front of the reality show du jour. But tonight was different.  We sat at the kitchen island and we visited. We talked for 3 hours.
I discovered how he felt when he was actually in the the Normandy invasion, what it smelled like, what it looked like.  My only reference to that is in Saving Private Ryan, which when asked, said it only captured a fraction of the horror.
I also learned that he married his wife when he was 21 and that he misses her every day, she died 10 years ago. He shared that because he was in the Navy, his wife wanted only 2 children, they had 2 sons, and practiced "safe sex" but he couldn't resist her touch when he came home from Vietnam and they conceived his daughter. A little TMI but I just listened.
He shared what it was like to work hard and only buy what they could afford.  He built their house in 1966. He also shared that he has lost 4 of his 5 siblings. That 2 of his nephews fell through the ice one winter and drowned.  He shared his strong faith.
 He also shared that he likes to bowl and has quite a busy schedule.  I learned that "go suck an egg" in old speak is pretty much the equivalent to "go fuck yourself "
I realized in my cyber static world I haven't taken the time to tap into the most rich resource our human kind has, walking history.  My grandparents all passed away between 1997-2000. All four of them.  I regret not listening to them when I had a chance.
Overall it was a big kick in the kilt.  All my moaning and groaning was albeit, justified at the time, but this visit was a bit of an eye opener, maybe real sugar isn't evil, maybe...
I have already started planning our next visit with our adoptive grandparent with the same last name but no relation.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Britney was on to something...

Do you remember not too long ago when a photo of Britney Spears emerged of her in a barber shop, with a slightly certifiable look in her eye, shaving her own head?  People were outraged, thought she was insane, laughed at her, mocked her on various talk shows, but what people didn't realize is that she was on to something.
I would find it quite liberating to buzz my hair off. I thought of this today as I was getting ready.  From 5:30 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. every second of each minute seems to have an albeit trivial, purpose in my morning. As soon as my feet reluctantly hit the floor I'm doing something for someone else, pulling underwear down, pulling underwear up, filling a sippy cup with ovaltine, no apple juice, no grape juice, placing vitamins next to breakfast bowls,  pouring cereal, dumping uneaten cereal in the sink, burning my hand on a pop tart, spitting on my hand to smooth hair, putting toothpaste on toothbrushes, feeding the dog, giving the dog a vitamin, making coffee, changing the channel to Maggie and the Ferocious Beast, changing a diaper,  making 3 lunches, burning my lip on coffee, tucking shirts in, ignoring stains on uniform shorts, finding my husbands wallet, finding my husbands cell phone, stepping on a lego and then I get a chance to step into the bathroom with my chocolate lab underfoot.  He insists on being in the bathroom with me, it is his feeble  attempt to escape the chaos outside the door, as well.  He looks at me as if to say..." this is not what I signed up for 10 years ago when I joined this family" we have an understanding...As I stand in front of the mirror I don't know if I'm going to have a solid 5 or 10 minutes to get myself ready. I look myself in the eye for about 2 seconds and try and decide if I can get away with not washing my hair today, which would save me  a good four minutes.
Britney Spears was a genius.  Of all the things I could or should be thinking of, this is what runs through my head.
I pull my hair back tight and actually consider for a moment what I would look like with a buzz cut.  I certainly don't have the bone structure, but maybe.. I... could pull it off.   As I place my blonde nest of frizz in a knot on top of my head and step in the shower, I seriously eye ball the razor and think.....
I'm then jolted out of my morning fantasy by Jack who announces that he prefers Yo Gabba Gabba to Maggie and the Ferocious beast and that his brother, Oscar is demanding that I change the channel...even though Oscar is 4 months old.
My shower time is over.  I didn't wash my hair today and it looks anything but professional in a pony tail, but for a moment Briney Spears and I saw eye to eye.