Saturday, January 31, 2009

Did you notice?

Did you notice, two days ago, that I was still 9.7 miles away from my running goal for the month of January? Considering that I had never before in my life run more than, say 3.5 miles at a time, it was looking pretty bleak.

Well, look again, friends, because not only did I reach my goal, I went 1.1 miles extra! That's right, I did it. 4.6 miles yesterday, and 6.2 miles tonight. I think I'm going to be awake until 4 AM. Unless I die of a heart attack before then. 10.8 MILES! 10.8 MILES!

PS The first virtual meeting of the new religious cult I'm starting, The International Church of the Holy List, will be held sometime on Monday, whenever I have time to post. Be on the lookout!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Listmakers Anonymous

My name is InkMom and I am a listmaker.

It's been . . . 14 hours since my last list.

My first list was in kindergarten. I got a new box of 64 Crayola crayons -- you know, the box with the sharpener in the front? I scavenged a big piece of poster board from my mom's church stuff, and used all 64 of those crayons to make a list of . . . all 64 crayon colors. I was so proud that I took it to school for show and tell.

I am jealous of the kids whose schools give them agendas to help them keep track of their assignments. They didn't do that stuff *GASP* 20 years ago when I was in junior high. I wish they had. I would have loved it.

I even make lists late at night, in bed, alphabetically, when suffering from insomnia. Like: list a Disney movie starting with every letter of the alphabet. I've done countries, world capitals, bodies of water (that's a tough one), authors, flowers, vegetables (also hard), fruits, names I could actually live with, scriptural figures, painters, great works of art, composers, car models . . . uh, oh. Looks like I've already fallen off the wagon.

Right after MayDay was born, I had a hard time getting a handle on all the housework with the added stress of a third child under 2 years old. (Go figure.) I found myself making the same list every single day: dishes, laundry, vacuum, etc. It's frustrating to make yourself a to-do list and cross off what you've done only to write it all on there again the next morning. So. My solution was to LIST every single household chore that needed to be done around here by frequency. I typed them all up and then posted them on my kitchen cabinet: a daily list, a weekly list, a biweekly list, and a monthly list. Oh, the satisfaction.

The daily list has stayed up as a reminder . . . in case I really need one to tell me to do the dishes. (Total honesty here: it's really there for CPod. Because sometimes he does need a reminder. Or an idea of what to do with his spare time. Ha, ha.) But the other lists fell out of use for a while.

I can live in squalor no more. Somehow, if it's not on the list to clean out the refrigerator every two weeks, I'll go months without doing it . . . and by then, I guarantee I've got something in there that would qualify as an antibiotic, and all my leftover containers are full of what was once spaghetti sauce but is no longer recognizable. I confess, I have thrown out containers full of . . . growth, because I was too grossed out to clean them.

So this week, I reworked the lists a little. I made some permanent assignments to CPod, like wheeling the garbage out to the curb, and toilets, and sweeping out the garage. (He's totally on board with this. Since he's the one in charge of teaching our kids how to aim that thing, he's also totally responsible for the aftermath when their aim is off.) And I printed them again, and taped them to my kitchen cabinet. Scour sink? Check. Clean kitchen floor? Check. Pay bills and reconcile on-line statement? Check. Update menu and grocery list? Check. Check. Check. Check. Check!

And . . . if you really want me to, I will publish the lists. But only if you ask, because they're boring and I don't want to make you read something that's uninteresting. Maybe I have no idea what you think is interesting. If so, just ask.

(Now that I'm rereading this . . . I sound totally uptight and rigid, and I'm beginning to question my own creativity! It's really not that bad -- no one gets in trouble if the list isn't completed. CPod does not suffer if the toilets are not spic and span every week. Seriously, I think this drive for organization is a function of my need for order, which implies a great need for control . . . which is absolutely true. And closely tied to that crazed look in my eyes when I can't take the clutter any more. I think my creativity is stifled by the distraction of a disorderly environment. And my sanity is eroded by an inability to find what I need when I need it. And if it's written on the list, it's something my brain no longer has to keep track of. I may have to change the title of my blog, because I don't think I can even imply the (not) anymore!)

Sunday, January 25, 2009


I spent my seventeenth summer playing viola at a world-renowned music festival. Each day was filled with practices and performances, theory lessons and master classes, orchestras, opera pits, string quartets, private practices and sectionals.

I toted my viola and a foldable wire music stand all through the mountains for group rehearsals, and, when it came time to practice on my own, in search of a vacant tin-roofed cabin so I could add my strains of Bloch and Schubert to the symphony of sound carried on the breeze. The hills rang from Reveille to Taps, and the almost daily thunderstorms did little to dampen the song.

That summer I dyed my hair a rich, dark auburn (because I could), I ate only carrots and peanut butter (because they were the only edible things at the dining hall), and I had a crush on Glen Cortese (look him up . . . and don't hold the beard against me).

It's not what you think. It was totally unrequited and I was okay with that -- in fact, I would have been surprised if he had known my full name. You see, Dr. Cortese was my conductor. I arrived at rehearsals early just for the chance to say hello before we began to play. I listened intently to every word he said and gleaned every possible scrap of musical wisdom from his erudite musings about form. I nodded in agreement to every suggestion of dynamic change and nearly applauded his brilliant analysis of the composer's intent. I worked hard to hold onto first chair not only so I could lead my section, but so I could stay near Dr. Cortese.

And this is why I was so absolutely mortified the first time we read through Dvorak's Symphony No. 7 in d Minor. I had always loved Dvorak -- he was sassy, and he wrote fantastic viola parts -- and the first two movements were great fun to play -- but the third movement, the Scherzo, hit me with something I had never before felt.

My musical experiences thus far had been varied, and I certainly had pieces I loved that evoked intense emotional responses. This piece was different. It filled me up from the heart out and before we were 20 measures in, I was openly weeping -- nose running, eyes tearing, chest heaving, desperately trying not to audibly sob during the quiet parts. It was cathartic -- and still is, every time I listen to it. I don't know if Dr. Cortese even noticed -- then, I prayed he hadn't -- but it didn't matter. My crush on my conductor faded, but the song I discovered under his tutelage became the background music of my life.

Fastforward 15 years. A friend asks to borrow my recording of the Dvorak 8, which is on the same CD as the 7th. On the way to a rehearsal where she will also be I slip the disk into the player in the car and listen. It's so familiar, so lovely, so much still my favorite -- and then the Scherzo. Still, tears sting my eyes as the lush melodies wash over me. I feel like someone has unexpectedly dumped out my bucket of soul and I struggle to clean up the spill. My throat tightens, and I wonder -- why this piece? I listen over and over and over, and then I see -- it is me.

The first time you hear it, it's lovely, but something harsh and contrary bubbles under the surface, struggling to be heard over the mainstream melody above. It changes rapidly back and forth between duple and triple time, an internal battle so at odds that at times they are expressed simultaneously and you can't figure out which one is winning. It is a study in contrasts: the Slovak peasant melodies over skillfully composed counters; the serene calm of wind solos and the intense bombast of the brass choir; the gritty low open strings hit so hard you can hear the sticks, then exultant soaring upper registers that are so pure they seem to resonate with the very elements.

The more you listen and discover the depth and complication of the melody and counterpoint, the more unsettling it becomes. Dark but still playful, turbulent, complicated, disarmingly brash, sometimes too harsh for the average listener, thoroughly and engagingly composed, but unsettling -- this is the Scherzo.

This is me.
We are alike: simple folk songs layered over complicated rhythms, struggling within to balance a complex structure. More than we were before being refined at the hands of a skilled creator and master. Straining upwards, ever upwards, to find that perfect resonant place where everything works in perfect harmony. Rough edges waiting -- wanting -- to be polished.

Polish me.


(I wrote this last year as a response to a writing prompt: if you were a piece of music, what would you be? It has been nagging at the edges of my consciousness ever since and I can't usually get rid of the nagging until I finish a piece. After some fine tuning and tweaking, this is the reincarnation. You're all going to think I'm loony after you read it, but so be it. Criticism is not just welcome on this post . . . it's encouraged. After all, I'm here, to a degree, to become better at my craft.)

And I'll put the same question to you, dear readers: if you were a piece of music, what would you be?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Baby Geniuses

Or at least super-smart cookies. Here's the set-up. As we were eating dinner tonight, G-Dog informed us all that he had invented something.

And then, this:

Yes, yes, I know -- we've been compromised. Now you know my kids' first names. Bonus points if you caught all three of them.

In other news, this is what I woke up to on our snow day:

And this is how ConMan (old habits die hard -- I'll still be using the aliases) looked the entire 15 minutes he spent outside in the "snow":

And I love my boys. And I love their Daddy. You can't really see it in this picture, so let me explain: little boys are following the big one around the yard. He's just moved the Christmas tree into the burn pile, and they are connected to him as if tied to an invisible tether. I love it.

And this is from a quiet moment we had a few nights ago when the big boys fell asleep on the way home, but since MayDay had had a 3 hour nap earlier in the day, he did not. So he got to be the only kid for about 45 minutes and he chose to snuggle with Daddy for all of it.

A picture is worth a thousand words, right? HA! Try five: The Bane of My Existence! This is what I've been doing instead of blogging for the past four days:

The other day, ConMan said a blessing on our lunch. In it, he made sure to be thankful for flying carpets.

My couch smells like peanut butter. I'm a little concerned.

Thats all.

PS It has been a thoroughly unpleasant experience waiting for that second stupid video to upload to Blogger. MommyJ told me to use PhotoBucket because Blogger would take so long . . . I thought she meant, like, 45 minutes. But no. Try FOUR HOURS! On the bright side, I've folded almost all of the laundry. And did you know The Golden Girls comes on at 1AM? Who watches The Golden Girls at 1AM? I mean, most old people have been in bed for 6 hours or so, and won't wake up for another 3, and what other audience is there? Besides myself, of course. Those ladies were SASSY!

Man, I hope someone thinks that video is funny other than those people required to by a blood relationship. At least now I've figured out how to do it the fast(er) and easy way.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

My (Al)most Embarrassing Moment

Two-thirds of my children have been sick this week, which means I've been housebound since Tuesday. Yesterday, body temperatures were manageable, if not normal, and we were all headed for stir-craziness if we didn't get out of the house. So CPod and I bundled up our younguns, piled them in the car and went to run some errands.

We stopped at a few places, meandering up to a certain purveyor of rotisserie chickens and yummy side dishes. We ordered our food, got the kids corralled into a booth and sat down to eat.

It was at this point that I realized I had an urgent need to use the facilities. I scooted on over to the bathroom, did what I had to, and then washed my hands. As I turned to leave, another person came in . . . a little boy, about 10 years old or so. Who looked at me kind of strangely. I smiled and reached for the door handle, and then, glancing to my right, noticed . . . a urinal. Which they don't usually install in women's bathrooms, right? Right.

Come to think of it, I had wondered why the restroom only had one stall.

I wasn't really embarrassed, just a little alarmed that I hadn't noticed something so basic. CPod sure had a good chuckle, though.

But can you imagine how it could have gone? It could have been OH so much worse.

Imagine if I'd been in the stall and seen some manly shoes under the door waiting their turn. I'm sure I would have thought he was the one who had made the mistake -- especially since I didn't see the urinal until I was on my way out. And I would have said something . . . like, "Hey, um, I think you're in the ladies room." And he would have glanced significantly at the urinal and I would have averted my eyes lest he do something, you know, totally expected in a men's washroom, and slunk back to my table.

I shudder to think what wold have happened had I walked in on someone in midstream.

And worst of all, I'm having nightmares now about being accidentally stranded in the men's room stall, trapped by an endless stream (couldn't resist) of urinal users with no opportunity to escape from under cover without being noticed. Oh, the horror.

Next time, I'll pay closer attention. I'm the bald one in the ugly A-line dress, with cankles and absolutely no boobs, right?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

A Shout Out to the Lurkers

A couple of weeks ago I received a message on Facebook from a friend of mine, one I went to school with from kindergarten all the way through to high school graduation. During that time, we went through varying degrees of closeness, but we were always amicable and friendly. One of the reasons I have enjoyed Facebook (at least some aspects of it) is because it has given me the opportunity to reconnect with people like her.


In her message, she mentioned how much she loves my blog, and that she and her sister read regularly. She said they talk about my family like they're her own. I was immensely flattered by this. I mean, my little family is interesting enough for people to want to read about it? I am still amazed every time I log onto Sitemeter and watch the dots appear on my little world map. I am excited every time I receive comments from friends old and new, and even from strangers (who still feel like friends.)

I read (too) many blogs myself and feel strangely close to these people whom I have never met. I feel reconnected to those with whom I was once close. And I feel enriched and uplifted by the experiences of others, and by the kinship of shared experience. We are all in this together, after all, and if we will buoy one another up, we have a better chance of getting through it in one piece.

Do I comment on those blogs? Usually, I do . . . but not always. Sometimes, I am a lurker. Sometimes, I reeeeallly want to comment, but I can't think of anything worthwhile to say. (You will never catch me writing something just to fill space . . . or just to get on the comment roll.) Sometimes, I am unmoved by what someone has written, and I don't feel like commenting. Sometimes, I'm just catching a quick read while I wait for the pasta to boil and I don't have time to leave a comment.

What I'm saying is: I know you read. And many of you don't comment. And it's totally okay. If I wanted to know about absolutely every person out there who passed through the I'm (not) Crazy Mommy portals, this blog would be closed, and I would have to invite you in. But I don't really care (in a good way) who visits.

Do I like comments? Sure! Who doesn't? Do I need comments to spur me on in my writing pursuits? Absolutely not. My fingers will continue to itch whether you read me or not, whether you like me or hate me or, even worse, are ambivalent. I will still have words swimming around in my head dying to be committed to the (virtual) page long after my last reader has clicked on the close button.

So, comment, or don't comment. Lurk or don't lurk. But I will not be trying to guilt you into leaving your mark on my blog.

So there.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Here's how it really happened . . .

MommyJ and I are posting our own versions of this story concurrently. If you haven't already read her side, click here. And since this is about our childhood, MommyJ will henceforth be referred to as ChickyJ, and myself as InkChick.

When I was in the eleventh grade and ChickyJ in seventh, we got our first home computer that had a color screen and a non-dot matrix printer. It was great . . . way better than the green-on-black dinosaur we were used to using at home. I remember being so thrilled with myself because I used the computer to type up Advanced Biology assignments in various fonts. (Don't say it . . . I know what you're thinking. Did this girl actually have any friends?!? Yes, and some of them were even boys.)

We didn't have any fancy games, but we still managed to become obsessed with beating each other's high scores on the ones that came with the computer: Pinball, Solitaire, Minesweeper, and, best of all, Pyramid.

Do you know the game I'm talking about? All the cards are laid out in a pyramid shape, and you have to match up pairs that add up to thirteen until you clear the board. Not all of these games are solvable, but ChickyJ and I played it enough that we began to learn which ones were the easiest to complete and then race against each other's best times.

We would spend HOURS doing this -- hours of, I would argue, quality time because up to this point, ChickyJ and I had not exactly gotten along very well. I guess Mom didn't limit our play because at least we were doing something together, which was uncommon.

We whittled our times down second by second, one besting the other until, finally, I achieved what I believed to be the fastest time possible: 9 seconds. I was looking forward to serious bragging rights because, of course, you could record your name in the high scores, indelibly stored (not really . . . you could reset them) on the hard drive for all posterity to see. But rather than simply inputting my name, I decided instead to humiliate my sister, and I typed, "I love you, ChickyJ!" Or at least, I though that's what I keyed. What I actually typed was, "I loce you, ChickyJ!" I didn't notice the typo before ChickyJ who, quick as ever, hit "Enter", indelibly storing evidence of my imperfection instead of a record of my superiority.

Now that I remember all this, I wonder why I've kept saying "I loce you" all these years. It wasn't exactly my best moment, but it just sort of stuck.

That year of computer novelty appreciation was the beginning of the turning point in the relationship between InkChick and ChickyJ. She moved into my room, and we started having conversations that didn't start with, "I didn't say you could borrow that!" We began the VERY long journey of sisterly appreciation -- one that didn't fully come to fruition until years later when ChickyJ got married and we began to have something besides genetics in common.

That year, we started other strange traditions, like every time I would come home from a date or a rehearsal (oh, yes, the rehearsals) or whatever, I would lurk at the door to our room and, breathing through my teeth in my deepest James Earl Jones-esque voice, say, "Luuuuke . . . I am yohr fah-thuh"; and dramatic scripture reading that would have entertained all of you, I guarantee. We were only an orchestra short of a full on oratorio.

Now, ChickyJ is MommyJ and she is my very best friend. (Don't read this, CPod. Or InkySnark, who is our mother. No offense intended, but nothing beats a sister!) I cannot imagine my life without her friendship. On vacation last week, I didn't even talk to her once and I thought I might go through withdrawal.

So, here's to MommyJ, who I will, forever and ever, LOCE!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Ten Things I Learned at Walt Disney World

Long post alert. We've got lots of ground to cover here, people!

You can't beat flowers like this in January.

Me and cutie ConMan after day two at the Magic Kingdom.

The Mickey Family Portrait.

1. Next time, I'll prepare for the trip by learning how to say "excuse me" in 17 languages.
I'm serious. I would bet that English-speaking Americans were in the extreme minority while we were there. If I learn how to say "excuse me" in 17 languages, I won't feel so bad about running over people's toes with my large, conspicuous, where-did-you-think-I-was going-with-this-thing double stroller.

2. You don't have to be American to look like a redneck. Just when I thought I had someone pegged as a good old boy, out they'd come with a "Cheerio, old chap" and I would scratch my head. That's what I get for stereotyping.

3. You should only wear clothing printed with phrases in languages you know. You wouldn't believe the number of t-shirts I saw printed with nonsensical English. For example, "It Maximum Authoritized". I thought about this for a long time trying to make sense of it. But it doesn't make sense. And the cool looping script over a really awesome graphic will never make it make sense. I don't even think "authoritized" is a word. So . . . all of you out there with the Chinese character for "harmony" tattooed on your (fill in the blank with some embarassing body part) . . . exactly how sure are you that it doesn't mean "dog-faced" or "idiot"?

4. If vanity is a reason to not live somewhere, Florida has just been stricken from my list. Because if we lived in Florida, I would be faced with the prospect of never ever again having a good hair day, and I'm just not sure I could live with that.

5. Something nefarious has happened to Daisy Duck. She is absolutely absent from the Magic Kingdom. She is not in either parade, she is not on the merchandise, and she is not mentioned elsewhere in the park. For a sassy, speak-your-mind kind of girl like me, this absence is disturbingly conspicuous! Are they trying to put down the one who says it like it is? The one who tells her boyfriend what to do? Was there some Disney patron focus group that reflected unfavorably on the notorious duckette? I will get to the bottom of this!

6. The Haunted Mansion ride is not appropriate for toddlers. The last time I rode The Haunted Mansion, I was 9. And it was great fun -- harmless ghosts, gimmicky special effects that were easy to see through, and a lot of laughs. I expected it to be exactly the same. Turns out, Disney actually updates their rides every once in a while, and The Haunted Mansion is waaaaaaaay scarier than it was (ahem) 23 years ago. Don't worry, though -- CPod told the boys we were in a Scooby Doo movie and they were cool with it.

7. I could live on French toast loaf (from the Main Street Bakery) and Dole pineapple whip (from the little ice cream stand in AdventureLand). Except that only covers two of my four major food groups (fruit, bread, cheese, chocolate). Guess I'll have to supplement with turtle cheesecake.

8. DisneyWorld is like the Vatican. They own every part of their compound. They maintain their own roads, they have their own police (I actually saw a car with lights on top and a siren blaring down the road), and Mickey is the pope. Disney OWNS the southwest part of Orlando. You can't fly a plane over it, you have to show ID all over the place, they recruit employees from all over the world, and they have more money than . . . well, probably the Vatican. I rest my case.

9. My kids will eat anything shaped like Mickey Mouse, or remotely related to any Disney character. They'll eat food from a Mickey-shaped plate, drink water from a Mickey-emblazoned cup, and eat carrots from a Mickey Mouse bowl. They will eat Mickey-shaped chicken nuggets and mouse head noodles in mac & cheese. I tell you, they're geniuses of catering to children down there. I should have taken notes.

10. Any place where even the bad guys are willing to dress up and walk in the parade at the end of the day has to be the happiest place on earth. And that attitude seems to be pervasive while you're in the Magic Kingdom. People are happy to be there. Kids are wide-eyed and enthralled by all they experience. And in general, people are helpful and pleasant.G-Dog actually said, "Mommy, I want to stay here forever." And no one steals your stuff. We hucked our stroller all over that park, and it was always exactly where we left it, with all of our gear still inside, after every ride. Where else does that happen?!?

And also, FastPasses rock. ROCK!

We lost ConMan for about 5 minutes. CPod took the boys one direction while I went the other to pick up our stroller. ConMan saw someone he thought was me and ran after her, and before CPod realized what was happening, he was gone. I found him standing in front of Mickey's house, holding hands with the Disney employee in charge there. He was not crying, but I could tell he had been . . . and some strange lady who looked like me had consoled him and taken him to a safe place. We are lucky, I know . . .what a relief! The happiest place on earth, indeed.

You can stop reading now if you don't want to see more pictures.

Yes, I know, my child is the same color as the cement. CPod prefers to describe his and our kids' paleness as "fair and delightsome". I think maybe MayDay is the color of fine marble, and Michelangelo would have coveted such lovely skin. MommyJ's Sam calls MayDay "Mayonnaise". Yeah. Nice.

(I must interject a side note here, because this is the only pool picture in the bunch. Since we stayed in a house with a pool, and I didn't want to shave my bikini line every day, I waxed right before we left on the trip. Next time, I'll get an epidural first. I mean, my Brazilian sister-in-law said it wouldn't hurt a bit! Maybe she'll be able to deliver her babies naturally should she have the opportunity to in the future, but I'm a pain wus. Who loves epidurals.)

There are lots of free or cheap things to do at the Disney resorts. The boys rode ponies at Fort Wilderness. (G-Dog is with CPod's dad.)

G-Dog spent a lot of time entertaining his cousin, SpecialK. We were worried he would love her a little too hard, but it turns out, he's one of her favorite people.

Dinner at Chef Mickey's. I thought it was way overpriced, but the kids LOVED it.

G-Dog unofficially adopted UncleC, who was such a good sport that this is how he saw the Magic Kingdom: with a parasitic organism attached to his shoulders.

ConMan volunteered to drive the boat on the Jungle Cruise. Our cute little guide let him drive for most of the trip, and then gave him a little Mickey Boat Pilot's license after we finished. I think I'm going to have to get it laminated.

3-D glasses for Mickey's Philharmagic. Too cute. My kids love glasses of all kinds, and wear sunglasses regularly. Wonder where they got that?!?

Where they really belong.

At the end of the day, everyone fell asleep, even in all the noise of the great exodus that occurs after the fireworks. Can you tell CPod and I both wish we were the ones sleeping?

Monday, January 12, 2009

And so it begins

Okay, I wrote about my booty nightmare in this post. And now I'm doing something about it.

We arrived home from Florida on Saturday and though we're not fully recovered (or even at all) it's time to get going on those resolutions.

I have a new sidebar. In it, I plan to keep track of miles run, calories burned and weight lost. I have to be accountable somehow and apparently answering to myself is just not enough of an incentive.

So, here I go. Watch the sidebar to see if it really works!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Mickey Talk

For your reading pleasure, here are just a few of the random conversations we've had with our kids this week.

I. Where are you from again, son?

Mickey's Philharmagic is a 3D show in FantasyLand. My kids loved it, especially ConMan. He has this strange accent that sometimes sounds like he's from Long Island and at others, like he's waaaaay more southern that either of his parents. We'll just call him the dialectic chameleon.

So, we're sitting in the theater watching this little 3D movie, which is chock-a-block with Disney characters from Disney movies of every Disney decade. Suddenly, Peter Pan appears on screen and my little linguistic wonder says, "Look, Mommy! It's Pee-tuh!" in perfect mimicry of the uber-British dialect prevalent in the original film. So funny.

II. Hey Mickey

We resort-hopped today, utilizing everything free we could find, and one of the best free things at Disney is the African savanna that extends from the guest rooms at the Animal Kingdom Resort. To get in, you have to show a photo ID to a guard who wears a Disney uniform.

G-Dog: Mommy, is that guy a Mickey policeman?

Me: Yep. He's a Mickey policeman.

G-Dog: Does he take Mickey bad guys to Mickey jail?

Oh, yes, son. In a world where everything from ice cream sandwiches to road signs are shaped like that ubiquitous mouse head, it only makes sense that the jail has mouse ears, too.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

I just can't stay away from the bathroom

When CPod and I were dating, he complained to me about the toilet paper stocked in the bathrooms at my parents' house. He called it John Wayne toilet paper -- it's rough, it's tough and it don't take crap from nobody.

Of course, because it was so hilarious, I immediately told my mom, who then used this little tidbit to maximum embarrassment capacity for my fair and delightsome (and thus prone to blushing) husband. She still gives him a hard time about it and we've been married nearly 12 years.

She has not, however, changed her toilet paper.

And neither have I. I would rather use plain old toilet paper that doesn't leave a little something behind, if you know what I mean, and since I'm the one buying it, CPod's stuck with John Wayne. Besides, when my kids decide to unwind the entire roll, they're only a quarter of the way through before I notice that things are too quiet and arrest them mid-crime. You can't say that about the soft stuff.

This week, we are in Florida with CPod's entire extended family. There are 15 of us all together, including 6 children aged 4 and under. Baby wipes have fallen into the "community property" category and I have discovered that they are not all created equal.

Give me rough and tough baby wipes that get the job done over those slimy, sensitive-skin wimpy ones that rip in half when faced with a really heinous crime against the schnoz.

Maybe John Wayne ain't so bad after all.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Another nightmare, even worse than the last one

I have a recurring nightmare.

Have you ever really paid attention to the stock footage used in news stories? Take note next time you're watching some 20/20 expose on the rampant obesity present in our country right now, or on the prevalence on high cholesterol in ever-younger patients, or any number of other topics. Invariably, at some point in the montage, you will see a booty zoom.

Do you know what I'm talking about? I would hate to be the poor camera man whose job it is to go to a crowded place and zoom in on the butts (not the faces, mind you) of the fattest people around.

Some of this footage is dated by the booty-licious fashion statements. Some is more broad in its applicability. But all of it is horrifying.

I generally have a good attitude about my body image and how I look in general: I just don't care that much what other people think about me. I like to look cute, but mostly because I don't want to worry about turning to stone every time I look in the mirror.

For some reason, though, I live in mortal fear that one day, I will watch that expose on 20/20. I will see the booty zoom. And I will recognize the butt.

Can you imagine that moment of clarity? Wow, good thing I'm not as fat as those people . . . oh, that looks like someplace I've been before . . . and I have a shirt just like that . . . OMIGOSH! I AM those people! That's my butt on tv!

That's why my number one resolution for 2009 is to get running -- faster, longer, farther, better. Is a marathon in my future? I think not. Half-marathon may even be a stretch. But 10k? A definite possibility.

Now I'm accountable, and do not be mistaken -- I will report. I will work harder because I know someone (hopefully?) is watching.

I will start as soon as I finish my brownie sundae.

And after we get home from DisneyWorld, of course, because I just can't give up that french toast loaf.

(Did I mention we're at Disney this week? Robbers, don't steal anything! And believe me, there will be one mother of a post as soon as I've recovered. I have made some life-altering observations about The Happiest Place on Earth. Well, maybe not life-altering, but it sure sounded good.)