Friday, June 3, 2011

So a girl walks into a lunch place . . .

. . . and sits down to enjoy her first solitary meal in a year.

Yep, that's me. I'll be in Salt Lake in a couple of weeks, sans children, and I'm looking for some recommendations.

1. My bra store closed. I am in need. Is there a good one there? (And by a good one, I do not mean Victoria's Secret. Nor do I mean anything "adult". I need useful, practical bras for the . . . shall we say, buxom consumer.)

2. Where should we eat? (Warning: admitted food snob. Not even trying to recover.)

3. Should you happen to be in the area of where I will be enjoying my solitary meal on Friday in a few weeks, I would not mind sharing my table with you. (Purposefully cryptic. You understand. Wouldn't want my thousands of Utahn stalkers to go on high alert.) E-mail me if you're interested.

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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The blahs

1. I received an e-mail the other day with this ubiquitous stamp at the bottom: "Sent from my iPhone 4"

It isn't enough that you have an iPhone and I don't -- you have to throw in the "4" just to rub it in. I got an iPad for Mother's Day, and I hate to use it for e-mail because I haven't figured out yet how to turn off that little statement, with all of it's implications: I didn't want to say anything, but you should know that now I am more super awesome than you are. And also I probably have more money. Or at least I did before I dropped a bundle on this gadget. Neener, neener!

2. If I received a terminal diagnosis tomorrow, here is where I would go for my drop dead trip:

Redwoods in the Mist
Redwoods in the Mist. Photo found here.

The giant trees are calling to me, people. I don't know what it is about these trees, but I could conjure up a good cry just looking at pictures. Every time I sit down at the computer to work on something, somehow I end up scrolling through images of Redwood National Park. I know, this gives me more in common with Kate Gosselin than I would ordinarily admit to, but the draw is undeniable.

There's an old growth forest further west, way up in the mountains here, called Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest -- one of the largest tracts of untouched hardwoods east of the Mississippi. I've been, and it's awe-inspiring: some of the oldest trees are over 400 years old. I was no less tearful there, but I still want to see the giants.

3. Here is what happened in at our house yesterday: Craig had an MRI (not, actually, in our house) on his right knee (most likely a torn meniscus, surgery pending), which he injured a mere fraction of a second after breaking his left foot in a thoroughly un-macho way; Mason was diagnosed with Mononucleosis pending the virus titer results we'll have in another day or so (HOW does a 4-year-old get mono?!?); I decided since he really is sick I'll stop being so hard on him about the whining, but heaven help me if he's going to whine like this for the next month; Laney puked all over the neighbor's swingset and then had diarrhea in her vomit bathwater; Garrett was stung by a hornet, giving me a great opportunity to whip out my package of chewing tobacco; my eyes glazed over and Craig had to hit the reset button when he got home from work; and the hero also brought dinner. (This is why my sister stopped wallowing: my day was WAAAAAY worse than hers.)

4. I won a dress from Shabby Apple. All I did to enter was give some money to Rising Star Outreach on behalf of Karl Marx, the little boy sponsored by MommySnark. My sister, Jenny (who is also Mommy Snark) sponsored the giveaway, and she told me that once the winner was determined, and it was me, just for kicks, she tried the random number generator again. It was still me. Eight times in a row. So it's karma. Yay for a new dress!

5. But booh to the blahs. And writer's block, from which I am suffering something fierce. I think it's because my brain is being slowly liquefied from overexposure to bodily secretions not my own. That's right, childless people! How's that for birth control?

6. I just read this to my husband, and he said, "It's great. It doesn't have to be a work of art every time you post." (What? This amazingly fantastical post is not a work of art?!? How dare he?!?) Except it does, or so I've led myself to believe. And apparently, I'm incapable lately. (Kim, please ignore all the sentence fragments, and the egregious run-on.) Oh, well. Aaaaaannnd . . . Publish!

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I came, I saw . . . I finished.

So it turns out I don't have ESP. Funny, considering those are my initials. But really. I believe I am anti-clairvoyant, and here's why:

In twelve weeks of running, I have failed to predict the next song to come up on my iPod 100% of the time. That's right, folks. My record stands perfect at zero hits, a bazillion misses.

Futile attempts to develop some degree of musical prescience only made up a fraction of the time I spent on the treadmill, trail, or road over the last three months. I also counted the bricks in my basement fireplace, and may have even, one groggy early morning, confused the complete lack of pattern in their placement for an image of Hugh Jackman. I made grocery lists in my head, air-viola-ed (left hand only, of course), and played the games I use to get myself to sleep at night (ready . . . name a world river starting with each letter of the alphabet . . . Go! Okay, now shoe manufacturers! Good! How about vegetables? Colors? Authors? Car models? Famous actors who can actually act? I could go on . . .) Best of all, I calculated what percentage of my run was complete, and extrapolated calories to have been burned by the finish line.

Anything to pass the time, right? I love to run, I really do, but sometimes I need something mind-numbing to push my body past the point I was sure I could never reach.

This past January, we spent some time at DisneyWorld, and as we headed in to the Magic Kingdom for the day, we caught the tail end of racers competing in the Disney Half Marathon. I surprised myself by tearing up a little -- these people came in all shapes and sizes, ages, and degrees of mobility, and I was utterly inspired. I surprised myself even more when I heard these words come out of my mouth: "I can do that."

My race was this past Saturday. On the registration website, there's a sweet little exit clause for the half-marathoners: no charge to do a last-minute switch to the 10K race, run concurrently on the same course. So when I checked the weather for race day, and saw 100% chance of rain and strong thunderstorms, I was grateful for a back-up plan.

I will not lie: as all of the short-distance runners began peeling away from the pack at 3.5 miles to finish off their race and I realized I had ten more to go, I wanted, as badly as I wanted a baby to FINALLY EXIT MY LOINS ALREADY, to be done. I wanted to pretend I took a wrong turn and ended up at the finish line an hour and a half early. My sweat-and-rain-water-soaked gear (which may never be the same again) would have been no less soaked from the shorter distance.

And I still can't tell you why I didn't. Extreme amounts of will power? Probably not. Mind numbed by a horrid combination of persistent rain, runner's trots (TMI, but thank my lucky stars for gas station bathrooms), and a total lack of pop/rock/hip hop ESP? Perhaps. The prospect of lunch (ahem -- dessert) at the Cheesecake Factory to replenish 1700 calories burned instead of a mere 750? A definite possibility. But after 200 miles run, twelve pounds lost, a (self-diagnosed) bruised metatarsal, a sprained ankle, and a broken (I'm pretty darn sure because otherwise it wouldn't have hurt so darn much) pinky toe, I don't know how I kept going -- I can only quote my effervescent and inimitable LaneyKate, who's first uttered phrase was this: "I did it."

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Thursday, January 27, 2011


This past weekend, Craig and I attended the funeral of his much-loved grandmother. We reconnected with members of his family we haven't seen in ages, and spent a particularly touching evening with all of the extended family, reminiscing about Grandma: her many idiosyncrasies, her intelligence and ingenuity, but most off all, her powerful influence -- an influence that, no doubt, will send ripples through the generations in both directions.

She raised five sons. Those five boys are all, I'm happy to report, extremely civilized and happy in their adulthood. This surprises me not because I know them now, but because I have inherited Grandma's life's work: raising sons.

I don't always love this job. In fact, there are times that I downright detest it. Don't get me started about dirty bathrooms and the tendency to turn everything into a weapon. They've even taught their little sister so much about defending herself that they call her our "Tackle Baby" -- a weapon, indeed. I could go on and on about potty mouth, fascination with gross noises, and the hearing aids I'm pretty sure I already need as a result of the perpetual escalation of indiscriminate noise-making.

Over Christmas break, I was talking to my sister on the phone one day while doing the dishes. my childrens' noise level became so unbearably loud that I could no longer hear what she was saying. It sounded like howler monkeys had invaded my living room, and were entertaining themselves by swinging back and forth between the Christmas tree and the ceiling fan.

"Jenny!" I moaned. "I think I live in Lord of the Flies! And I'm a little afraid that I am Piggy!"

And then, of course, I immediately got off the phone and turned my attention to the thing that should have, actually, had my attention in the first place: my unruly clutch of male-children, waiting, desperately, to be civilized by the touch of a woman.

I noticed something interesting about my children very early on: they have always been calmed by the presence of an older female. Their cousin, Lucy, has an especially settling effect on them. She's a born boss (it's one of the many reasons I love her!) and even though she's but 15 months older than my twins, when she starts barking out orders, they listen.

Last summer, I would go spend the day at Jenny's house and let the kids (all boys, except for Lucy) play: sandbox, Wii, swimming at the community pool, usually followed by a couple of Little Caesar's pizzas thrown onto the back deck with a box of Capri Suns and instructions to stay outside until their swimsuits were dry. Lucy would make sure everyone was done eating, then line them up in Mother-May-I fashion for the orderly distribution of popsicles while Jenny and I sipped our Cokes and watched from the kitchen table on the other side of the french doors. I was fascinated -- awed, even -- by how different boys behave when there's a little estrogen in the room.

As I've struggled through the past six weeks of schoollessness (yes, it's a word -- I just coined it) brought on by three weeks of Christmas break, a week of DisneyWorld, and a bunch of snow days, I have often lamented to those who are required to listen (husband, sister, mother, friend) that my house right now is not at all the way my house was when I was growing up. I am the oldest of four, and my two brothers are seven years apart. They did not rough-house. They did not horse around. They did not wrestle, tackle, bite, kick, fight, body-slam, or fart on each other. Our house was loud and happy, but it was not a testosterone-laden den of boy smells and car noises.

I said this to Craig the other day, and he sort of snorted. "Oh, this is exactly what it was like at my house."

God bless his mother. She had exactly what I have now, in reverse order: girl, boy (Craig), then three years later, identical twins. She had the intelligence to quit after the twins, as many more-sane people do, and you should hear the laundry list of antics those three got up to. Someone once gave them boxing gloves for Christmas. I kid you not. And I think it actually worked. Nothing stops fighting like good, old-fashioned permission.

While listening to all of those stories about Craig's grandmother, I realized exactly what we're here for: to civilize. She raised five sons who have all made lasting contributions to the world they live in. They have raised families of their own, started businesses, served others, and lived the Gospel. And the reason they had the skills to do what they have is because their mother recognized the potential underneath the wild-man exterior that, I'm convinced, every boy exhibits to some degree. She molded them, shaped them, prepared them to be husbands, fathers, and leaders, helped them become so much better than they could have ever been without the calming influence of the great civilizer of society: the mother.

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Friday, January 21, 2011

Is this thing on?

Tap, tap, tap . . . is this thing on? Is anybody still out there? Can you hear me? This must be what it feels like to play a one-woman show to an empty theater. Of course, in my case the theater is empty because I've failed to show up for curtain call. For a month. Again.

So here's what I want you to do: immerse me. I've hit "Mark all as read" so many times in my Google reader it's not even funny, and I know I've missed some stuff. Probably, some pretty good stuff. So link up. Send me to the things I didn't comment on, but should have -- whether you wrote them or not. I've never visited your blog? Now is the time to tell me about it. I want to be here, in this virtual world, and it's time to catch up.

Crickets . . . (Oh, how I wish I could write the sound that they make instead of just saying "crickets". That's lame. But you can still hear them, right?)

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