Monday, May 31, 2010

Good Money Up In Smoke

This weekend my children celebrated the end of school. They stayed up late. They played outside in the dark. They had friends sleep over. They slept in. And, they burned their largely unused workbooks. Yes, that's right. We had a little bonfire of books that we paid for with book fees (free and public education what, now?) and that my children barely used. If I hadn't been sipping an adult beverage I might have shed a tear or two at the thought of that money drifting into the air.
So, yes, we started our Memorial day celebration with a bonfire. Because nothing says "Goodbye school, hello Summer" like flying ash and wafting smoke, right?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

I Don't Think There Is A Class Average For This Class

It's the end of the school year. Ready or not, report cards are coming. So to keep with the spirit of the occasion, I decided to grade myself. My children are always complaining because I don't get a report card. I have explained to them that I spent a lot of years getting report cards and my turn is over. They have declared this patently unfair. Believe me, this is just one in a litany of their complaints regarding the unfairness of their lives.

I decided that since report cards are no longer just a grade next to a subject, but a break down of each subject to its different parts, I would grade myself the same way. Plus, well, it's just way more entertaining that way, right? Right! So, let's begin, shall we?

Literature- A
I've read some good books this year: The Help, The Book Thief, The Big Short

Vocabulary- A
My vocabulary and personal lexicon has increased to include "nerd burn", "moobs" and "God + 1." I can even demonstrate them in a sentence:
Sam totally nerd burned the teacher when he corrected him about the GDP of Ghana
Gross! That dude needs to wear a shirt when he mows the lawn. He's got moobs! (man+boobs=moobs. Get it?)

Oh man. I am tired. I saw myself in the mirror and I look older than God+1!!

Grammar- B
My blog has spellcheck which is a good thing. Having an editor or grammar check would be even better.

Computation- B
I was able to keep track of 18 students.
I almost always got the milk count wrong for those same students.

Spatial Relationships- A
I was able to wedge copious amounts of laundry into my machines.
I could manipulate the plates and dishes and pans in an overfull dishwasher to make room
for that one last thing so that I wouldn't have to hand wash anything.

Reasoning- C
I could not ever figure out how 4 children could make a mess that looked like a plague of
40 rabid ferrets had descended upon our home.

Estimation- B-
I continually overestimated the amount of hours I had in a day. I continually under-
estimated the amount of time any given project or errand would take.

Botany- Incomplete
I planted a small garden. The plants are up, but I am awaiting yield results.

Zoology- Incomplete
I am still trying to figure out the dumb dog.

Psychology- Incomplete
I am working in a home lab setting with 4 subjects. Experiments are conducted daily.
Data is incomplete at this time.

Chemistry- Incomplete
I have made some gains in this area, but am still trying to find a formula that will satisfy
everyone at the dinner table. I have discovered that it is neither feasible nor financially
or nutritionally prudent to serve pizza or cereal for every meal.

Physics- A
I have proven that gravity is indeed a force inside my home, as everything that is dropped
on the floor by my children stays on the floor.

Social Studies
Geography- B
Living area boundaries will soon be changing since the loft to bedroom conversion is nearly
complete. Points were deducted for lateness.

Cultural Connections- A
I learned new traditions from a student while helping to ease him into our culture.

Political Science- A
I helped my 5th grade son study for his constitution test. I impressed him by singing the
preamble without missing a thing. (Thank you very much, Schoolhouse Rock!)

Creativity- A
I made time to create a few projects for my home.

Materials- C
I supervised 18 four year olds three days a week while they used various materials, in-
cluding crayons, ink, paint, glue, scissors, and glitter. Glitter kicked my ass. I was painfully
defeated by glitter.

Creativity- A
I played LOTS of duets on the piano with my eldest daughter and we laughed a lot.

Practice- C
I played no "serious" music on the piano and my fingers are seriously rusty.

Participation- A
I attended three school band concerts, one elementary school music program (Pirates!
Arrrr!), and LOTS of preschool music programs, including my favorite, "The Ladybug

Activity- A
Stair climbing: number climbed due to regular use--approximately 1,379
number climbed due to forgetfulness--approximately 1,723 (points de-

Running: ran 3.1 miles LOTS of times (bonus points for wearing a ridiculous looking head-
band while running.)

Extra Credit: throwing a slobbery ball to a hyper dog even when I am worn out.

Spirit- A
Attended numerous volleyball, football, and baseball games. Toted various equipment and
contended with a bored 5 year old during all.

Personal Growth
I came close to letting my home fall into utter ruin only two times during the school year. B

I have increased my tolerance for my oldest child's popular music selections. However, I still
cannot abide Ms. Spears, The Gaga, or ruining a perfectly good song by either a) mixing/
sampling b) throwing ridiculous rap lyrics into the middle of it. B

I have stalked Goodwill a little less. B

I maintained my sense of humor in the face of rampant nose picking, adolescent eye rolling,
elementary style fit-pitching, preschool picky palates, and the occasional instances of
accidental burial under mountains of laundry.

Overall, I think my grade is about a B+. But you know, I'm the teacher and the student and I set the curve, so maybe it's a little higher. Still, I'm sure whatever grade I get, my children will complain that it's not fair.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Little Crafty: Teacher Gifts

Today is the last day of school for Mary and it's my last day with students. I am, both breathing a sigh of relief and feeling a little sad. It's been a good year. And to mark the year's ending, I'm giving a little something to Mary's teachers and the teacher I've worked with. All of them are fabulous and deserving of so much more than my two hands can conjure. But, after looking around the fabulous Internet for ideas that would be both cute and frugal, this is what I came up with:
The teacher's initial done in crayons. Fortunately for me, all three teachers last names start with a D. By the third one, I had it down to a science.

I also wanted to give the teacher I work with something to remember our year. I've made lots of these little scrapbooks in the past couple of years. They're pretty awesome, as their construction makes it almost like a little pop-up book and it's always a surprise when the recipient first opens it. They are perfect for an end of the year gift. But I've given them as birthday gifts, thank you gifts (like after a party with pictures of the party inside), and remembrances of trips or get-togethers. They look difficult, but they are deceptively simple to make and you can be as creative as you want with the papers. If anyone is interested in a tutorial on how to make the scrapbook, leave me a comment or shoot me an email.

I hope that they'll enjoy them. These ladies have colored my and my daughter's world in an amazing way this year. I pray they will be richly blessed for the work they are doing.

As for me, this is what I have to say (insert your best Alice Cooper voice here):
(But not really. Only for 10 weeks. Look out summer, I'm gonna live it up!)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

My New Name Is Sucker

My eldest child asked me last week if she could invite a couple of girls over to tye dye some shirts. Never one to deny my children the opportunity to be creative (shut up) I approved the plan, but with the understanding that they would do their work in the grass and clean up their mess afterwards. Maggie immediately agreed and much texting followed with the girls planning to ride the bus home with Maggie after school last Friday.

Remembering my own attempts to tye dye in college, I had visions of buckets of dye sitting in my yard and a long drawn out process. Can I just say that tye dye technology has grown by leaps and bounds since 19ahemahem? There were no buckets, only squeeze bottles and little packets of premeasured dye that only needed water added to it.

Which really, was good, given my daughter's inability to read directions enthusiasm for the project. Those girls were all Directions? Are there directions in the box? Oh!! You mean that piece of paper with all that writing and pretty pictures on it? Why in the world would we need to look at those?

I left them to it and when I came back a little later, I found small drops of dye on their finished shirts and rivulets of dye dripping off of the girls. Apparently it's not a party until you are dyed rainbow colors for a week and look as if you were involved in a horrible chemistry experiment that went terribly awry.

When the girls put their hands together they made ROY G BIV. They each had a section of the rainbow.
Guess she'll be wearing pants for awhile. Did I mention that the temperatures have been in the upper 80's with high humidity?
Maggie looks as if a vampire has taken a bite.
I don't know what got her. Zombie maybe?
True to their word the girls cleaned up their mess and hosed off the driveway. But I have to say that I was giving my wine bottle quite an ogling during the whole episode.

I enjoy having my home open to my kids' friends. I like to get to know them. Having them here means I know that they are being supervised. But really? I am sure the other parents were thinking that they dodged a bullet and wondered exactly what kind a sucker I am to have teenagers running loose with dye-filled squirt bottles. I'm thinking someone else gets to host the next shirt making party.

Unless it involves iron-ons. I could totally get behind that.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Fearing For Their Future

I have come up for air and sustenance after folding 743 loads of laundry and my distraction box (also known as the computer) was luring me. So here I am typing while trying to consume delicious, delicious pizza. Forgive me if there are typos--the grease, you know.

Things have been busy here at Chez Ganey--many baseball games and practices, end of the year programs and concerts, lots of end of year madness at work, and all the same old stuff that I'm never able to keep up with here at home: laundry, cleaning, groceries. I feel like I keep doing stuff but never get anything accomplished. In other words, same ol' same ol', right?

I just felt the need to share two things:

1. While folding laundry I had help from my oldest daughter. (Okay--pick yourself up from the floor. I know I had to. And she did it without complaining. Alrighty, pick yourself up again. I don't know what the variable was in the equation, but I hope to find it soon so that I may replicate it and get the same results.) As she was folding underwear "Ewwww!" she held up a pair of her dad's unmentionables and said, "What is this? It looks like a man diaper!" Nice. I also might have laughed. Alot. Don't tell.

2. A few weeks ago, Mary's school had their annual "Spring Fling" carnival--you know the kind where there are various games like duckpond and ring toss set up around the school? One of the games used a corn hole game and the kids had to toss the beanbags in the hole. Mary sank every bag. She was quite proud of herself. In fact, she told me that she really, really wants a corn hole game for her birthday. It'll go great with the beer cozy I'll be getting for her.

I fear for my children's future. I really do.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Forty Two: The +, The -, And The WTH?

I am forty two years old. I have no problem telling people my age. I don't even stutter when I say it. I wasn't really fazed when I turned forty. Of course, I was feted to the extreme by my wonderful girlfriends, which sort of took out any sting that might have been involved.

Now for some reason I had a tremendously difficult time when I turned 37. I don't know why. There was just something about the way that it sounded when it tripped off my tongue that left a bitter taste in my mouth. So maybe after all of my icky feelings about 37, forty didn't seem so bad.

I'm not saying everything about being in my forties is wonderful, because it's not. But--even though I am just a couple of years into this decade--I have already decided that overall my forties are going well--better in fact than any decade since my first one!

When I was thinking about this the other day I was able to immediately tick off several positive things about being forty. But, as is the case with most things, for every positive there is a negative. And I have found that for every positive and every negative, sometimes there is a what the hell? Let me enlighten you:

I am not nearly as concerned about what people think about me as I used to be back in my twenties or even thirties.

Sometimes, as the mother of four children, it is presumed that my whole identity revolves around my children, because, hey, what else could I possibly have to contribute?

What the hell?:
I think that sometimes when you hit a certain age, you become invisible to lots of people (both individual and corporate). Hello, young sales clerks, advertisers (except for bone loss drugs and adult diapers), and Hollywood! I am talking to you!

I have these great little lines around my eyes that crinkle when I laugh but have not yet turned into trenches.

When did my pores get bigger?

What the hell?:
What in the world is going on with the wild chin whiskers that pop out of nowhere? And why, oh whywhywhywhy am I still getting zits???

I no longer have to go out to bars and parties with my friends to think I am having a good time.

I think that going to the grocery store by myself is a good time.

What the hell?:
Why did no one tell me that getting into my pajamas at 7:30 p.m. would feel so stinkin' awesome! (Seriously. Just hand over the Geritol. But do it before 7:15, because when jammie time comes around, I don't answer the door.)

I am more sure of myself as far as fashion is concerned. I wouldn't say I'm trendy and I wouldn't say I care! I'm more of a classic dresser and this works better when you are 40 than it does when you are twenty.

There apparently is no happy medium between low-waisted-show-you-all-of-my-muffin-top jeans and high waisted "mom" jeans.

What the hell?:
See "muffin top." After all those years of bearing children and finally getting to call my waist my own, I find out that I have an extra roll around the middle. I call her Ethel. I figure she's not going anywhere, so we might as well be on a first name basis.

I can still exercise vigorously.

It takes me longer to recover from vigorous exercise.

What the hell?:
Why in the world do my arms hurt after running? I wasn't running on my hands for crying out loud!

I am wiser than I was twenty years ago.

My children didn't know me twenty years ago, thus they have no idea how wise I am.

What the hell?:
At the rate that I am forgetting things, I will be stupid again in twenty years when my children are old enough to think that I am wise.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Photo Friday: Cross It Off

Number 49: Find a four leaf clover. Done!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Other Mother's Day Gifts

I have to say, that while shiny bikes with bells are all well and good, (and lo, they are very, very good!) I really do love the gifts that my kids make for me for Mother's Day. I find them charming in their simplicity and they are awesome things to keep and pull out and chuckle over as the kids get older.

This year, Sean made a pin in art. It is a pin only a mother could love and only a mother would wear. And wear it, I did. It is a blackish red heart with a star in the middle and a cat sticker stuck sort of lopsided on one side of the heart. But he made it with me in mind (apparently when he thinks of me he thinks of black hearts and lopsided felines?) and presented it so proudly that of course I was happy to wear it out in public.

Moms know when other moms are wearing kid-made gifts. We have a sixth sense for these types of things and we make sure to ooh and ahh over the gifts in front of the children who made them. Plus, you know, I haven't met the woman yet who would buy herself a black heart pin with a lopsided cat on it, or a tempera painted macaroni necklace with the letters M-O-M scrawled on the noodles. I'm not saying that woman isn't out there, just that I have yet to meet her. And when I do, I have a bridge I'd like to sell her... But mothers with children of a certain age are sure to get such gifts and then wear them with pride. Because we know that soon that age passes and then we won't be given such gifts.

Instead we'll be given the "verbal card." Which, incidentally, was my Mother's Day gift from Maggie. Oh that, and she 'let me' take her swimsuit shopping. Do I know how to celebrate Mother's Day, or what? After the gift of taking my 13 year old swimsuit shopping, I decided that what she really needed to swim in was a burqa and what I really needed was a stiff drink. Her suits (Yes, plural. We got two. Because when you are a teenager you like "rilly rilly need" two suits. Or something.) are really very modest and cute. It's a shame she'll only get to wear them in the house.

From Mary, there was a pretty purple petunia in a fabulously painted clay pot with "Happy Mother's Day" written on front. There was also a card that had a drawing of the two of us dancing under a rainbow and the phrase "I LOVE YOU MOM" painstakingly printed across the top. And there were also numerous reminders about what the petunia needs to grow--sunshine, air, and rain, just in case you were wondering--and there were also several tips about exactly where I could put the plant to best showcase its beauty. It has not stayed in the same place for longer than three hours since she brought it home from school on Friday. Apparently there are lots of places in this house that need the beautification that only a pretty purple petunia in a fabulously painted pot can provide.

From James there was a paper listing the fruits of the Spirit that he did in Sunday school. On the paper, in James' very horrible chicken-scratchy handwriting (I am certain that his handwriting proves he is a genius and that someday he will either be a doctor, an engineer, or another Unibomber.) he has listed the ways that I, as a mother, have demonstrated the fruits of the Spirit. My favorites are:
Peace--she keeps peace between me and Maggie
Faithfulness--she comes to church even with migraines
Gentleness--she doesn't whack anything at all
This sheet also had a little bag of dried fruit snacks with it that my children all immediately called "dibs" on and argued over.

Good times. Because it isn't Mother's Day until the children squabble and argue over a .9 ounce bag of dehydrated fruit. Somebody (or 4) has to keep me from getting a big head. Right?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Meet The New Addition

Our family has grown. Just in time for Mother's Day. Would you like to meet the new addition? She's very pretty and her name is Alice.
This was my mother's day gift this year and I have to say that even though I was all, "I don't need a new bike. My 19 year old Huffy is just fine! Most of the gears still work and, yes, the brakes might be a little squeaky, and sure, the old bike is really heavy, but a bike's a bike! I really don't need a new bike. Spend the money somewhere else."
And, to his everlasting credit, my generous husband did not listen to my protests. I have to say, I LOVE her! She is so light and quiet. She is very fleet and extremely shiny. And look! She even has saddle bags so I can take her to the grocery for a light trip--or, when I've worked up a little endurance, the farmers' market. Also? She has a bell. You have no idea the glee I feel when I ding that little bell. I would like to make some sort of snarky remark about the lack of thrills my life must have if I am getting this giddy over a bell, but I just can't do it. There is something positively joyful about the feeling you get when you ride a bike and give the bell an occasional ring just because you can.

As my children can attest, I can and do ring that bell. I am a darn good bell ringer, y'all.

So now I am left trying to figure out what to get my husband for Father's Day. Because I know that he'll tell me not to spend any money on him. Also, I know what he'd really like to have. And therein lies the conundrum: how exactly do you buy a Canondale Synapse for nothing?

Guess I'll just have to go take Alice for a spin to clear my head and see if I can figure that one out.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Overheard At The Dinner Table

Sean had a substitute teacher the other day. He said, "We had a sub. She was really strict and really mean. I think she thought she was teaching kindergarten, because she wouldn't let us do anything. Plus she was really, really old. She was like, older than dirt + 1."

I will now be using that phrase because it is genius. Genius, I say!

Somehow Maggie started talking about childbirth. Thankfully, her siblings had gone outside to play already. She mentioned that she would probably just adopt because "having a baby hurts", and "eeeewww, it's just so gross." Plus after you have a baby, you nurse it which is also "weird and gross."

When I mentioned that there were good drugs to be had during childbirth and that at the end any pain you suffered was totally worth it because at the end you have a baby, she looked at me dubiously and said, "Ummmmm, no."

She went on to say that she would never be having sex because that was disgusting as well and totally weird. What I said out loud was: "Well, someday, when you are married, you will want to have sex because it won't feel gross to you then. It should be gross to you right now. And yes, it does seem weird. It does seem like an odd way of expressing love and having kids, but trust me, when you are MUCH older, it won't seem so strange."

What I was thinking in my head was: "OH PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEEEEEASE KEEP THINKING THAT UNTIL YOU ARE 35!!!"

Then as I started to clear my plate she said, "I'm never having sex. I'm never having a baby or nursing. I'll adopt. Adoption is a good thing, right?"

"Absolutely," I replied. "Adoption is a wonderful thing."

Then she sat quietly for a moment and said, "Oh. Also. I'm never having a colonoscopy. Because that's weird and disgusting and they put a camera up your butt!"

Okay, then.

Don't you wish you could have dinner at our house?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Move Over Wordsworth

Sean brought home his Young Author book from school yesterday. The front cover illustration is a big plume of smoke. The back cover illustration is a fire. His book is entitled "Sean's Super Smokin' Poems." Now, I don't read lots of poetry, although I find myself more drawn to it now than I ever have been in the past. Consequently, in my collection of books, I only have about three that are volumes of poetry. But I have to say, if I ran across a book of poetry with a title like "Sean's Super Smokin' Poems," I believe I'd pony up some caysh for that. Lucky for me, this one is free.

And I just don't believe that I can keep some of these poems to myself. I have to share the genius, starting with his Name Poem:

Sunburns easily
Everyday I am mad
Always sarcastic
Name caller to my brother

My boy is only 8, but from what I read in that poem, the little dude is more in touch with who he is than many adults I know.

And then there's his cinquain, which is all about his big brother:

awesome funny
playing caring running
He's really really awesome

Hmph. The only poems I get written about me start with "Roses are red, violets are blue." And they are usually authored by my husband.

He also wrote a sense poem, in which he had to describe something using his five senses:

I see roller coasters
I smell sweaty kids
I hear screaming
I feel still not happy
I taste a sandwich
I think it is awesome
Disney World

I think he summed up our Disney trip perfectly--right down to the smell of sweaty kids. I also think that it's awesome that of the 7 poems, he used the word "awesome" in three of them. In fact, in the cinquain he used it twice. He also threw in a couple of "really, really"s. But the part of the book that I think is really, really awesome? His About the Author page:

Sean G.
He's really really cool.
He lives in _______, Indiana.
He often suffers from writer's block.

Well. That apple didn't fall far from the tree, now, did it? Because dude, I am, like, totally really, really cool. I, too, live in _________, Indiana. And like the boy, I also suffer often from writer's block. But I don't do really, really awesome illustrations like Sean does. He's got me beat.

I believe that this is one book of poetry that will find a place on my bookshelf. In fact, it might just become the most read volume of poetry in our home. Smokin'!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Run, Sayra! Run! II

Okay. So yesterday I was all, oh I am ever so healthy! Look at me and my new lifestyle. I am a runner!

Blah. Blah. Blah.

Oh, I'm still running. I just cannot vouch for the healthy part. At least in my brain.

I am a rigid girl, apparently. I have a schedule and I must. stick. to it! (Sick, sick, sick! Control freak, control freak, control freak!)

You see, I was scheduled to run yesterday. I had a certain number of minutes that I needed to clock or I would be struck with lightning or gain 25 pounds overnight or some such self-talk mumbo jumbo.

There I was, happily getting dinner ready for my family--sticking things in the oven and rejoicing over the fact that my husband wasn't on the road and there was no baseball, so we would have a family meal. Then my beloved mentioned that it looked like rain to the west.

I admit it. I panicked.

I came home after running errands after work and was t-i-r-e-d. I hadn't slept very well and it was a busy day at school. So I sat on my behind and read and took a little nap thinking that I would run after supper. Then came the comment about the rain.

I immediately declared that I had eaten some Triscuits and cheese after school (probably waaaay more than a serving. Curse you, Rosemary and Olive Oil Triscuits!) and wasn't really all that hungry. But I needed to run. Because of, you know, the lightning and the 25 overnight pounds and the Schedule That Cannot Be Broken.

I put the dinner on the table, threw on my running clothes and my fabulous headband (I cannot tell you how much my husband hates the headband.) that leaves my hair sticking up 12 ways from Sundays, glanced at the weather on the television and said I'd be back in 30 minutes.

Did I mention that the perky weather girl was on the television chirping about the severe thunderstorms headed in our direction? You know, the kind of storms that they interrupt programming for? No? Well she was. Chirping. And I was out the door.

I cranked up the ipod, checked my watch, looked at the sky, and commenced to book my butt down the street.

The sky was black, the wind was whooshing, and the clouds were swirling but still I ran. I was okay, I justified, because there were still other nutbars people out riding bikes and mowing their lawns. In fact, I saw one lady jogmowing. Yes, she was running behind her pushmower. And you know what I thought? Not, "Hey Loony McLoonypants, you know that the grass will still be there when the storm passes and you can continue mowing later." Nope. Not me. I thought, "Well, now that looks like a good workout." Loony Bin!!

Still I ran.

I can beat this, I thought. In fact, it might just blow over. I continued on my route.

A man pulled his car out of his driveway in front of me. He was driving slowly beside me. I assumed he was trying to drive where I was running, but he just kept driving slowly. I glanced at him and he rolled his window down. I pulled out my ear bud. "You're not far from home are you?" he said with concern in his voice. I glanced at the toddler in the backseat who was smiling in an amused way at the crazy lady with the crazy headband hair. "Nope," I lied. "Thanks."

"No problem," he said and then he sped up and pulled away.

"I am a runner," I thought. "I'm not quitting for a little rain."

I kept running.

"Besides," I thought, "My son's 3rd grade teacher lives just down the road here. If I find myself in a bad spot, I know she will take pity on me and let me drip in her garage while I call my husband to come pick me up. But only as a last resort."

I have no idea what my other resorts might have been.

I continued on.

I got nearly to my turnaround point. Then there was a mighty roll of thunder and a crack of lightning.

Aaaaaannnd, I quickly decided that I could cut my run a few minutes short.

I turned around and headed towards home. I figured that while being turned to ash might indeed be a quick way to shed weight, it wasn't really conducive to a good family life. Or, well, life of any kind.

It started spitting rain as I was running and I ran through my recovery walking minutes. I ran all the way home. I made it just before the downpour and even had time to put Mary's bike away before the sky burst open.

You know what the kicker is? I noticed on my way back that my son's third grade teacher was one of those crazy people out mowing her yard in the same weather I was running in. (Love you, Jody!) You know what else? She's a runner. I'm thinking that running and crazy just might be related. Just sayin'.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Run, Sayra! Run!

When we are in a hurry, my children and I often call out to each other in deep Southern drawls, "Run, Forrest! Run!" We say it when we are playing a game in the yard. We say it when someone forgets something and must run back into the house while the rest of us wait patiently (ahem) in the car. We say it to mock each other in good fun. I know it is not original, but we enjoy ourselves.

Well, lately I have been saying it to myself. You see, after a winter where I wasn't all that careful about the amount or type of food that went into my mouth, I found that my booty was inexplicably expanding. Seriously. Inexplicably. Wait. What do you mean that there's a link between what I eat and how much I eat and how big my butt gets?!?!?

I knew that there was a problem when clothes that I had no trouble slipping into last fall when it was warm had somehow shrunk over the winter. I scratched my head and suggested to my husband that we had some kind of Magic Closet that was replacing my clothes with clothing a size or two too small. Or perhaps, I suggested, there was some sort of evil gremlin or elf that took apart my clothes in the night and altered them so that they no longer fit me. For some reason, my beloved looked dubious at my ideas. I cannot fathom why.

Not having a bank account that allows me to get rid of perfectly good clothing that no longer fits well due to my weakness for chocolaty, pizza-y, potato chippy, junk foodie food, I decided that Something needed to be done.

When I was all done praying for the weight to be miraculously lifted from me, and when I finished searching for a miracle pill that would cause my fat to evaporate and still allow me to eat whatever I wanted, and when I couldn't find an exercise that would work my body out in a sweatless manner while I slept, I decided that perhaps I should stop stuffing my face with junk foodie food and watching info-mercials about fat people who got skinny doing one of the above and get off of my own fat arse and do Something.

Years ago, after I had James (who is now 11) I hit my all time heaviest weight. I was sick of myself. I made a decision and went to Weight Watchers. It worked for me. I lost somewhere between 35 and 40 pounds before I discovered that I was pregnant with Joseph. Then, when Joseph died and my world crumbled around me, I tried going back and just didn't have the heart. So for a lot of years, I yo-yo-ed back and forth with my weight. I never got as heavy as my heaviest, but I never got back to the weight I was before Joseph. And I was sort of okay with it. I was busy making and tending to babies and toddlers and then elementary schoolers. I didn't have time to exercise. My husband travels frequently for work. I don't have family nearby to help watch the kids. It was too much work for me to think about it. I didn't care.

And then we moved into our new house. And I don't know why, but something changed. I just stopped eating as much and I lost some weight. I liked it. I liked being able to buy some new clothes. I liked that I felt better. I liked that I wasn't getting as many migraines. My doctor commented on it at my annual physical and I was pleased.

Aaaaannnd then there was last winter. For some reason, I just couldn't deny myself much of anything. I'm a stress eater. Fo' sho'. You give me a stressful situation and I will face plant in the nearest crappy food. And I was certainly more stressed with going back to work. Don't get me wrong, I love my job, but it was a big change. So I packed on a few pounds.

And then I had the ideas about the Magic Closet and gremlins and such. Yeah. Nice denial.

Anyway, my mom (who was not very heavy before but is absolutely tiny now and on the verge of disappearing) decided that she really needed to lose a few pounds and she and a friend decided to join Weight Watchers. I cheered her on. I cheered her on and fed my face.

But then, she mentioned a walking program that WW has that starts you out walking 10 minutes and moves you up a couple of minutes a day over six weeks and by the end of the six weeks, you are walking 45 minutes and should be able to walk a 5K. This intrigued me.

Now, I am certainly capable of walking a 5K. This was not the issue. I knew that I could walk it at a pretty good clip and be okay. But, I thought, I know that I cannot run it. And that was the challenge I needed. So I modified the walking program to a running program by doing pyramid running. My older kids do pyramid running in their gym classes and it sounded like something I could implement.

I am amazed at how far I've come in three weeks. I know that I've dropped weight and my booty is smaller. (Yea!) I feel better. (Yippee!) And I don't really mind the run. (What the what?!?!) I kind of like getting sweaty. (What the what what?!?) I get time to myself.(Reason enough to continue, right?!) The schedule calls for a day of rest every third or fourth day. (A good thing, because I tend to be a wee bit competitive and would probably have overdone it by the second day if I didn't have the schedule.) The time increase is in increments that don't seem like a big leap to me, and paying attention to my timed intervals keeps my mind on keeping track of the time rather than the fact that I am chuffing my way around the neighborhood making a spectacle of myself.

How far have I come? Well, let's see. I started at a total walk/run time of 10 minutes, only being able to run a two minute interval and then wanting to curl up and die, to, as of today, running 26 minutes and hitting four minute intervals and feeling really good. Now I'm more than halfway to my goal. I'm not going to break any records, and I definitely make a spectacle of myself (my hair is particularly pretty when I finish) but I'm moving. And with the movement, I find that I crave more movement. And my appetite has diminished and changed.

In short, I'm healthier* than I was three weeks ago. Plus, now I can make fabulous mohawks with my beautiful, sweaty hair when I'm done. Couldn't have done that three weeks ago!

*Stay tuned tomorrow to find out how while running has improved my physical health, it really hasn't changed my insanity mental health.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Publish Or Perish

There is a button on the page where I type my blog entry that says "publish post." It feels like it has been forever since I've hit that button. It has nearly killed me not being able to write. Hence the title for this post. Because really, I'm not published anywhere else. And frankly, I cannot imagine who would want to publish this stuff. So I'd just like to say "Huzzah! Hip-hip-hooray! Yea! Yippee! Awopbopaloobopabopbamboom!" my computer is fixed! And now I get to subject you all to my ramblings again. Um, is that crickets that I'm hearing???

Oh. I should also say thanks ever so much computer dudes for making my machine work again. One shiny new motherboard and sizable check from our bank account later and I am finally able to again check my mail on something other than my phone. Finally I am able to check out all those other blogs that I read that I have missed out on for the last few weeks. Finally I am able to sit down with my glass of wine and write about the many, many adventures that I've had while I've been computer free!

Let's see...there was the Catch Up On My Laundry, But Not Really Because It Never Really Gets Caught Up Adventure. There was the Operation Reduce My Booty Size By Killing Myself Through Running Adventure. Oh, and also the Get A Temporary Crown And Then Be Unable To Chew On The Right Side Of My Mouth Adventure. Not to mention the Hey, I've Got All This Time To Finish Stuff I've Been Procrastinating About Because I No Longer Have A Computer But Instead I'll Just Read A Very Good Book (Or Four) Adventure. And let's not forget about the Baseball Four Nights A Week Adventure.

So you know. You've missed some riveting posts. Ahem.

I can tell you a few things that I've learned and experienced and discovered over the last few weeks. These are just random things and really don't provide enough meat for a real post. Well, they might for a more talented writer, but for me, they'll just be some random things. Ready? Here we go!

*It is very surreal and a little unsettling to find yourself sitting in a dentist's chair with your mouth wide open, listening to "At Last" by Etta James on your ipod while simultaneously hearing the drill in your head and smelling and tasting the burn and grit of your own tooth being ground down to be fit for a temporary crown.

*Attending a funeral for an 8 year old is hard. Watching the 8 year old's family bear such grief with grace and love and faith is an experience that has touched me deeply.

*Attending a celebration of life for that same 8 year old was life-affirming. Seeing the children in our school celebrate this child's life and really and truly rejoice with her family that she was indeed in the arms of Jesus--and really and truly and deeply believe what they were celebrating--well that was a holy experience.

*Watching my own 8 year old wear a suit and celebrate a meaningful event made me both deeply proud and sad at the same time. I have to say, though, that he was the best looking kid in the bunch. Watch out girls, he's gonna break your hearts one day.

*Digging in the dirt is therapeutic. Digging in the dirt with a five year old "helper" is folly.

*Running is hard. Running and knowing that I have to do it again is harder.

*Looking back at how much progress I've made since I started running and the distance and time that I've been able to increase over the last few weeks has made all that running worth it.

*My butt is smaller. Booya!!

There, now. Aren't you glad I'm back? (Really, you don't need to answer that. Unless, of course, you really are glad I'm back. Then you may feel free to comment all you wish.)

I promise to come back tomorrow and tell you more about nothing. Lucky! But for now, I'm going to finish my wine and take a walk with my husband. Not a bad way to end the weekend: Blogging, Booze, and a Babe-a-licious Dude.