Monday, December 22, 2008

ALWAYS Back Up Your Pictures - PLEASE!

Ok, Public Service Reminder - BACK UP YOUR DIGITAL PICTURES! And videos, if you have them.

Sure, music and movies and games suck to lose. But let me tell you - this hurts so very very bad.

We just lost nearly 5 years of photos. My second son's first smile. His first tooth. My first son's first day of school. First Christmases, new home, Easters, graduations from karate, Kindergarten, you name it - gone in an instant. It's as if we've had a fire, and all of our photos are gone. This is just so horrifically painful. And there's a few people we can blame.

First and foremost, I blame myself. I am always admonishing people to back up files. And I normally do burn pictures to CDs. Except that for the past 2 years, we've backed up photos onto 2 other computers, instead of CDs. Well, we thought we had. But, oops, no - the files we thought were there - AREN'T! And the CDs I had to meticulously burned prior to that, labeled and filed - missing. Can't find a singled one. We don't know if they got thrown out, or they're just lost. I had them last year, I used them, in fact. But they're not there now. Not when I need them to ease some of the pain.

I also blame my husband. He is a computer whiz. He builds them, fixes them, heals them. He's even found lost, thought long gone, files for OTHER families! Other moms who thought those precious firsts were never to be found again - crying - have thanked him profusely. But he can't do that for me, somehow. And he built the new server for us, a supposedly fail-safe place to store all our files. It was supposed to back itself up. It was supposed to never, ever fail. But it did. Brand new, supposedly fully functional, and suddenly, the new drives are no longer working. We finally got them to talk to the motherboard again, and yet, they won't allow the files to be retrieved. It's heartbreaking, knowing the files are there, and yet, beyond reach.

And finally, I blame Seagate. They made these drives. They made this supposed fail-safe system. This self-back-up system. They claimed to have a warranty. And then they have the complete audacity to want to charge $10,000 to get these files off these drives. That is the price of a CAR. They're insane. It is THEIR fault. We followed their instructions, their rules of installation and operation, and THEIR drives were faulty. And their backup system FAILED. This was 100% the fault of their drives. And yet, we're to pay this insane amount to get all these precious memories back? Insanity.

We're hoping to run photo recovery programs and system scans to recover files off my laptop, as well as the hard drives on which we used to have the photos stored. I'm sure we won't find everything. There is no way to even know, as I'm sure my memory of every picture we've taken since buying our first digital camera in March of 2004 is faulty. I'll be thankful for every single one we find, that's for sure. And I'm thankful for the family web site I have, where I haven't deleted any of the uploaded photos. I'll also be tearing apart the house to find those lost CDs, to at least have the pictures up to 2006.

I will also be investing in an external drive for backing up pictures in the future, because I am not trusting any company's claims ever again. There is no such thing as fail safe. So I'll say to everyone - back up your pictures NOW, because losing everything is horrible. You can replace the movies, you can replace the music. But the pictures - they can never be replaced. Sure, I can get pictures of my kids at every age, even every holiday, from my mother. But they won't be the same as those precious favorites I've taken. They won't be the silly family shots we all have of the sweet time we all spend alone. It will not be the same. And for that, I am so very, very angry and hurt. Please don't let it happen to you!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Wish I Didn't Know Tasted Like Heaven....

Yup, I have another food item to add to the list of "Things I Wish I'd Never Tasted." We all have that list. The one where people tell you, Oh, you MUST try such-and-such. And you just know it would be dangerous to try it, because if it's as good as they say, you know you're going to want one every week. Or day. Or hour. Or, heck, you're going to find yourself face down in a pile of said food, stuffed to the gills, thoroughly embarrassed but still in hog heaven.

I have quite of few items on my list. Chocolate covered potato chips. Rolo pretzel goodies another (a treat I only make at Christmas). I added yet another one this week. Starbucks' Salted Caramel Signature Hot Chocolate. Oh. My. GAWD. Yeah, it's that good. The guy who told my husband about it said in the email subject line, simply, "Oh mama!" Yeah, he's right.

Seriously, I'm not a huge Starbucks coffee fan, but I like their specialty drinks. Blend it, put whipped cream on it, sure, I'll drink it. But nothing, and I mean nothing touches THIS drink.

When I first heard of it, I though, eh, salted? I mean, really? Aren't we taking the sweet-and-salty thing a tad too far? NO, sweet holy chocolate gods, we are NOT. Imagine creamy chocolate and silky caramel on the bestest whipped cream ever. And then top it with salty peanuts. Yeah - there. YUMMY. It was like drinking an ice cream sundae. Or drinking a really, really good Turtle candy.

So yeah - I suggest that if you're trying to lose weight, you steer clear. But if you're working on adding a few pounds, hey - have at it. Or if you like to live on the dangerous side. But whatever you do, do NOT, I repeat - DO NOT, look up the caloric content. You might faint.

I might try to duplicate this one at home....mmmm.....drooooool.....

Monday, December 8, 2008

We Aren't the Only Sentimental Ones

Over the weekend, I learned that I'm not the only sentimental one in the house. I'm the only female in the house. I'm the only one who wears pink, I'm the only one who likes Barbies, and I'm the only one who likes pedicures, but I'm not the only one who gets emotional over holiday memories!

Friday night was hubby's office holiday party, at the Double Tree Hotel Oak Brook, so we were spending the night at the hotel. The boys were getting a nice treat - sleepover at Grandma's house! All was ready, bags packed, dress in the car, etc, and I was dropping off my second grade son at school when it happened. He stopped dead and looked up at me.


Uh oh, now what??? He all of the sudden realized that he wasn't going to be home tonight. Which was bad for two reasons. First, and most important, was the advent calendar I put together. I found an amazing little wreath of round boxes that I filled with good candy (instead of the pre-filled ones that have the crap-tastic chocolate - why waste the calories, am I right?) and we open it for dessert every night. I told him either we would just get to have double the chocolate on Saturday, or maybe Grandma would take him by the house on the way home from school to get it, and yes he and his brother could double up and have all 4 pieces. The other problem was the Elf on the Shelf. How would he know to leave and come back if no one is home? Again, easily explained - magic.

But these weren't even the kickers for the weekend. We were at breakfast the next morning, feeling better after our night of, ahem, indulgence - with a little help from some strong coffee, and of course, bacon, when hubby's cell rings. It's Mom - um, did we remember today is St. Nicholas Day?


TRIPLE DOH!! mother always put something in our stockings on December 6th in honor of St. Nicholas Day. So I continued the tradition. And with no help from ANYONE, our 7 and a half year old remembered out of the blue all about it, and asked if Grandma could take him home to see if there was something in his stocking!!!!!!


Thankfully, Mom is nothing if not a good liar....she proceeded to tell him that St. Nicholas didn't know that the kids were with her, and had thought they were with us at the hotel so he left the gifts with us - so WE had the presents....good cover, Ma!!!

So scramble though we had to, we went and got those little gifts, because it was just so dang adorable that he remembered it. He remembered that this was something we did each year.

At least someone in our family does!

It warms my heart that the little things I do each day during the holiday season make such a difference to my boys. They're such little loves, but sometimes they're such guys. It's nice to be reminded that they do remember and care about the things we do as a family, and that the traditions we do year to year are treasured by them, and might become traditions they do with their own kids.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Tell it From the Mountain

My scale weight has see-sawed a bit - back and forth, back and forth. But I shocked myself today. I grabbed a belt because I had determined that my jeans had stretched out. See, we women are, of course, completely insane. We convince ourselves that just because the scale either hasn't moved, or hasn't moved enough - we haven't lost a single ounce of fat. Nah, all that time on the Spin bike - not doing a thing. Wii Fit? No tone, nada. My jeans falling off as I walk? Yeah - that's because they're stretched out. I bought them September 24 (for my anniversary, which is why I know the exact date, ha!). So just under 2 months....and from washing them, they're somehow stretched out. My mind amazes me sometimes.

Well, yeah - so my "stretched out" jeans needed the aid of a belt this morning - one I haven't worn since about February. As I buckled this puppy, I realized that the mark from where I USED to wear it was not where I was fastening it today. I was fastening it 4 INCHES smaller!!! I've lost 4 inches in my WAIST??? DANG! I couldn't figure it out. I honestly stood there, slack jawed and completely flabergasted. I am sometimes an intelligent person, but somehow when it comes to my body and fitness and weight, I'm a complete idiot. I shouldn't be surprised, since I am 20+ pounds lighter than I was in February. So uh, DUH! You'd think that I'd remember that. I'd forgotten where I was a year ago in my despair at where I thought I was. And all at once, with the help of one small strip of leather, I'm on top of the world. I'm amazingly bubbly and optimistic and thrilled with where I am. I'm accomplished, and I'm in good shape, and I've lost weight - not failed to lose weight.

It's a beautiful thing, this perspective thing. We all should practice it.

I do believe that MAYBE, just maybe - my jeans might.....MIGHT, I say....not have stretched out, and may be too big because I am too small for them.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

What happened to Fall???

I heard the craziest thing on the radio today. There is a station in St. Louis that is ALREADY playing Christmas music 'round the clock. As in, right now. In October. Before Halloween.

Are they out of their minds? I mean, come on! It's not even Halloween! What happened to FALL?? At the stores, we go from Back to School to Christmas! All the mass merchandisers already have trees, ornaments, cards, lights, you name it!

Do we really need 3 straight months of Christmas? I adore Christmas - but AFTER Thanksgiving. I refuse to buy a single thing prior to Thanksgiving.

They've all lost their minds. As if having it for too long will make more money. More likely it will make people so sick of the holiday that they won't buy anything!

I may be a bit biased, because I love Halloween, and by putting all the Christmas stuff up now, it detracts. At KMart, they have 1 aisle of Halloween, but the whole Garden Shop is already all Christmas! I just can't figure it out.

Am I the only one???

Friday, September 26, 2008

Hair Debacle 2008

I've not had a great week. But at least THIS part of the week is hysterically funny, in a painful, I looked-like-crud sort of way.

I tend to do drastic things to my hair. I'll grow it out for 2 years, only to chop it all off. I'll go dark, or light, or red. Highlights, lowlights, all-over color - I'm not scared, I'll try it. After all, it's just hair. It'll grow back or out.

There are now TWO times that were (are) complete and utter disasters. One time, about 7 years ago, I had a 3 month old, was heavy - and had been called ma'am and not carded. I was depressed, and wanted to "look younger." So I decided to go lighter. But uh, I chose a really bad color. It turned out yellow. As in, crayon yellow. I can't find a picture at the moment - suffice it to say, it was awful. And my poor friend's wedding was 2 weeks after. Her pictures eternally recorded that one. Lovely.

This week would be number two. I've always wanted to go a bit darker. A nice light brown, maybe a medium brown. My natural color is a light brown with all sorts of weird highlights and lowlights. And I had some serious roots. About 5 inches of roots, to be exact, and the bottom was both chemically and sun lightened.

Nice look, eh?

So I wanted an all over brown.

I bought (yes, on clearance - shoot me!) two boxes of what was SUPPOSED to be medium golden brown. It had a color results picture on the box for "dark blond/light brown" hair - and looked exactly the shade I wanted. Perfect! And both boxes for $4! Yippeee!

So I went through all the instructions. I left it on the exact amount of time. And this is what I got:


Notice the absolute horror on my face! I got out of the shower, and it looked a bit dark, but then my hair is always darker wet. So I proceeded to blow dry it. And as I stood up from drying upside down, I nearly fell over when I saw that! OH. MAH. GAWD. This is what the words shock and awe were meant to describe.

So I thought, hmm, maybe if I get used to it? Except that my son, when I went to pick him up from school, didn't recognize me. He walked right past me. People were doing double takes. One woman said, "It's not that bad. And you know, Halloween is coming!" Oh good gravy, I look like Morticia????

I ran straight to my laptop and posted pictures on the bulletin boards I frequent. I figured, if they don't have advice, at least they'll have a laugh!

Thankfully, this is NOT the end of the saga. A darling friend of mine suggested I use a prodcut called Color Oops. They should call it miracle in a bottle, or God's gift to daring but idiotic women....


Bought it, used it this morning. Best $13 EVER. This stuff could gag a maggot, it stinks so bad, but it works. Amazingly! I'm sure if I followed their "use again if full effect desired is not reached" but at the moment, I think I'll stick with what I got THIS time:


Ahhh, much better! Ironically, this is the exact shade of red I have wanted in the past, and never been able to achieve with dyes. We shall see how long the red lasts. Maybe I'll always have to buy that dark color and the oops?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

On Voting....

I'm not normally a person who tries to wax philosophical about politics, not one to tell people who, where, when to believe something. But coming across this clip of Craig Ferguson, of a new citizen to our country, talking about our right to vote - it's inspiring. And I love that he makes fun of the media, as well...

I'm not taking a public stand on which person to vote for - but I love his point about it being a duty as an American to make yourself heard.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

But You Can Call Me....

I was thinking about nicknames, and the sorts of things people like to be called, or call each other. I was at a party last night, and one of our friends just had a baby girl. We all got to talking about what they call her. Her first name is Alexandria. And they call her Alex, Allie, and Al. And I laughed, because my younger son is Alexander, and we call him Alex, Allie, and Al.

But we also have a whole host of other things we call him. Like Lections - this is an older one, it's from when he was about 6 mos old. He was born in 2004, so we were calling him Alex-tions, like elections. And it became Lections for short. Then there's Loo. I call him Loo a LOT. And that was born from "Little Allie Loo Loo" and a song I made up that goes, "Loo loo loo I want some apples, loo loo loo Al wants some too, loo loo loo he is my Alex, Allie lee lee loooooo!"

Yes, I'm crazy. I know this.

He's also called Leggador. He had the CHUBBIEST legs as a baby - you could just squeeze them! He's also Eagle, but then, that's from his spirit totem.

Then there's our older son, Joseph. It's no wonder this kid tells everyone at school, "My name is Joseph, but you can call me Joseph." He's a riot. But I'm sure his desire to be called his REAL name stems from the multitude of weird things he's got as nicknames.

Obviously, there's the usual - Joe, Joey. But we called him JoJoe for a long time - still do. It fit him when he was tiny. We'd also say JoJoe with a strange accent, almost French - like, dragging out and roughening the J sound. Did I mention we're crazy?? He's also been called LoLoe, PoPoe, DoDoe - the list could go on for a while with that.

The strangest one he has is Tumper. This was my husband's work. He was calling him JoJoe Jumper boy....and somehow this melded and became Tumper. Tumper was also sometimes morphed into Tump-a-Toley. He's Bear, as well, for his spirit totem.

And I'm sure we have many, many more names that we call the kids that we're not even aware of calling them. And I'm sure that there will be many more in their future.

So what are some of the weirder ones your kids have?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Like Manna From Heaven

They're delicious. They aren't messy. And they'll give you the kind of energy needed to do an hour of Spin and still be hyper!!!


Caramel Apple Sugar Babies. I found them at the grocery, bought a few boxes, and shared with the instructor, who promptly fed them to a few of us in class.

I felt like a toddler who'd had 5 espressos. I am sure I drove most of the class insane, and most likely the teacher as well. Doh! But wow. They work better than Amp, or Red Bull, or any of those hideous-tasting things.

My recommendation? Have a few at home, at work, in the car - for those moments you just need to add a little pep. Though, forewarned - it'll be a little more than a little pep.

Oh, and uh - beware the appley burps. Reminded me of Apple Pucker shots...

So yeah - try these, they're very very yummy.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Awesome Giveaway!

Bargain Bri, a really good friend of mine who blogs about bargain shopping and getting the best deals possible, is having a giveaway! She's giving away Jessica Seinfeld's book, Deceptively Delicious! YAY BRI!!! So click here to check out her blog - and her contest!!!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

If You Think He's Sexy, Come On Sugar Let Me Know!

Last night at Spin, people were discussing Rod Stewart. And they were talking about how hot he still is. And I got just plain old squicked out. I told them all that I needed a shower just listening.

So then the instructor brought up Wolf from American Gladiators.

I'd never seen him, so I decided to search him out online. Uh, yeah - squickable as well.

I can't figure out women. How in the world are these men considered sexy? Let's discuss - lay it on me. Is it just me who is wondering why why why??? And - which one is less (more?) sexy??

Photobucket Photobucket

Side by side, for your pleasure....

Thursday, July 31, 2008


Look at me, two in one day! LOL!

BUT - I wanted to link everyone to my favorite Bargain Hunter's blog - Briana and I have been friends for a long time, and her Bragain Briana Blog is fabulous for those hoping to find the tricks to saving tons of money on groceries and shopping!

I am her guest blogger for the day, since she needed something about Aldi. Click Here to check me out in all my guest glory! :D Also check out her wonderful advice on when and where to shop, and how to use the CVS card to your advantage, as well as coupon do's and don't's!!!

Feelin' Crunchy

I had several ideas for a post today - and they have one thing in common. They make me sound crunchy-granola. Which is funny. I'm not a very crunchy person. I mean, I try to do my part - but I also like my conveniences!!!

Crunchy past-time number one: Hanging the laundry outside to dry.
I've been doing this for 3 weeks now. I actually enjoy it. I'm lifting weight going up the stairs with a basket of wet clothes. I'm out in the sun, smelling the freshly laundered sheets and clothes. It's wonderful. But unfortunately, it wasn't my idea to do it. I didn't decide to try to make the world a better place by using less energy. In short, my dryer broke. And I'm too cheap and annoyed to call a repair man, when I KNOW my husband can fix it. He just was out of town for a week and then we were busy last weekend. And will be busy this weekend as well. It will get fixed eventually. In the mean time, I'll continue my little good deed and keep hanging the clothes out to dry. I love the smell of sun-and-wind dried fabric. It's fantastic. And ironically, on the days we've been having here (90+ degrees) the stuff is drying faster than in the dryer! Funny stuff.

Crunchy past-time number two: Using less gasoline in the car.
Except this one is sort of sad - I just haven't been going anywhere! No hybrid, no hydrogen car. I'm just being lazy and staying home a lot more! Hehehe...

Crunchy past-time number three: Acupuncture.
I tried this for the first time yesterday. I hadn't planned on it. Once again, I fell into doing something different! I go to the chiropractor for my neck and knee issues (my chiro is AWESOME, he's into rehab and helping me avoid surgery and making my life as pain-free as possible without any medications! Love it) and also for my migraines. I told him yesterday that I've had an increase in frequency and duration and intensity/symptoms in the past month. He was actually a little miffed at me that I hadn't said anything sooner. Well, you know how it is - I figured it would stop being more frequent on its own. Anyway - he basically did a bunch of work on adjusting my neck and some pinched muscles in my shoulders to help fix the problem. Then he took me for my muscle stim, and said to his assistant, bring me the acupuncture needles.

SAY WHAT??? UH, I hate needles. Of any kind. I torment myself twice a day with the epi-pen that delivers the medication I'm on for my weight. So yeah - the thought of needles all over? GAH!!!!

I tried to remain calm, and not tense back up all the lovely work he did for the past 30 min. I closed my eyes, and figured what I couldn't see, I wouldn't feel.

Acupuncture is SO different. So weird. But awesome, too. It didn't feel like a needle stick. It felt more like he'd hit my funny bone, only in small spots on my hands, eyebrows, scalp, and ears. It's WILD, is what it is. And it helped tremendously. I was able to make it to Spin for the first time in 3 weeks. BONUS!

I'm going back for another round tomorrow. I'll let ya know how that goes....heheh!

Go me and my new crunchy habits! Hehehe!!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Be The Change....

One of my favorite quotes of all times is, "Be the change you want to see in the world." Mahatma Gandhi said that, and I do believe he has a wonderful point.

I just found a fantastic web site that tracks all the small, seemingly insignificant things people do every day to make a difference. You know the ones - where you feel silly, because you feel like you're using a tear drop to put out a forest fire? Except that, when you combine the people all over the globe who are doing that very same thing each day - you find a deluge instead of a tear drop.

We Are What We Do is a wonderful site, and you can track the "little things" you do each day. You can also find ideas for new "little things" to try out, as well. Well worth the click, if you ask me!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Need A Vest

Right, so across the street, Lt. Dan Band and the opening acts are warming up. People are starting to get to the concert. I'm considering standing out on my driveway and charging $20 per car to valet park cars on my driveway. I'd make like $160 or so.....hmmm....

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Logic - What a Concept

Reading snippets of news on Yahoo is part of my morning routine. Some of my favorites are the weight loss and healthy eating articles. Most of the time, it's just not news. It's logical. Our society has so completely confused the average person with regards to what to eat or not eat, what to do for exercise, what's good, bad, and in between, that if you asked 100 people how to lose weight - you would get such varying responses it would make your head spin.

I happened first upon this article, discussing the amounts of sugar in popular foods. And although I'm not shocked by the fact that processed foods and restaurant foods are filled with sugar and calories, I AM shocked at just how much more than in a home-made baked good. I can bake cookies and muffins at home, and they're delicious. And they don't contain even half the fat, calories, and sugar that those purchased at a chain bakery would be. How is that possible? I don't skimp, I use butter and sugar. But my recipe has a shelf life, first off. And secondly, I don't use the cheapest of the cheap ingredients. Sure, white sugar isn't the healthiest thing you can ingest - but it's a lot, a LOT, A LOT better than high fructose corn syrup. Label reading is becoming a huge past time of mine, and I've decided that the only treats and desserts we'll have in our home are the ones I make myself, period. I can make it better, tastier, and healthier at home, and since it takes time to bake a cookie - I guess we'll have to REALLY want it to be able to eat it. No convenience packaged cookies, easy to swipe and stuff. And I guess the thing is - isn't it logical that those additives are what's causing our health and weight problems in this country?

The second article I read was this one, which talks about fat calories versus carb calories. What they're basically saying here, in regards to weight loss, is a calorie is a calorie is a calorie. Period. You cut back the number of calories you eat - you lose weight. Doesn't matter how you're choosing to cut back, you will lose. BUT - the real question is whether you're going to keep the weight off. And the answer, resoundingly and logically, is NO. If you "diet" by the current sense of the word (in other words, you follow a plan that cuts back on one thing, or you follow some wacked out eating plan that makes no nutritional sense, or use pills, or crash cut your calorie intake) you will lose, at first. But then you will find that you gain back. Because you cannot expect to lose eating one way, and keep it off eating normally. So low-fat, and low-carb, and the grapefruit diet, and any of those weird and strange food-combination or ultra-low-cal diets have one thing in common. It is this - rare is the person who can eat like that the rest of their life. And once a person stops eating the way the diet says to eat, the pounds will come back. And often, the pounds you lost will bring friends with them.

The bottom line? LOGIC. Except somehow, we have to retrain ourselves to think about food rationally and logically. Basically, eat food. Don't eat too much. If you have pizza, have pizza - but 2 slices, instead of 4. Incorporate fresh, unprocessed foods as much as possible, both for the benefit of filling you up with less calories, but also for the healthful side effects. Eat to be healthy, not to lose weight. Eat to be balanced and have energy. Food is fuel. You deserve premium.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Just Like the Seasons

Amazing how much life changes. When I was in high school, I didn't really think about how very liquid your friendships can be. We all thought we were best friends, to the end, never thought we'd lose touch. And yet, some friends can move through your life like a swift river. They come, they leave their mark for better or worse, and they go. They carve out a piece of you, leaving you changed. I think the changes, no matter if done with love, hate, or indifference, always bring about beauty. I think that no matter how badly things might be when you part ways, there's still a lasting beauty left behind. There's the beauty of the good times, of course. But there's also the beauty of the strength and change that happens within you from anything that goes badly. We all grow and change as a result of the people who leave us.

I have always tried to live my life while keeping in mind that I would rather have that bad parting or that fight or that ugly blow up, if it means I had the beautiful part of the relationship. I would never give up my wonderful memories to avoid the painful ones. Never. And that, I think, is how a person keeps from becoming bitter and nasty to people, old and new.

Yes, I have a few people from my past for whom I still have some anger and yes, one even has (deservedly so) my antipathy. But for the most part, I try to let that go. I try to see the results of the worst of it. I try to see how much more love I have for the people who truly care about me. I try to see the strength of my friendships that I retain, how much deeper and more amazing because they weathered a storm or two. And I try to see how my judgment and personality have been formed by those who are no longer within my sphere.

So it is the wounds that highlight the best in our lives. I truly do feel that I would not appreciate what I have today if yesterday had not happened. I would not appreciate comfort if I had not felt pain. I would not appreciate life if I had not faced death. And I would not appreciate the friends I have if I had never lost the ones who are gone.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Not As Bad As I Thought...

I'm in a medical weight loss program. Which sounds like a lot more than it really is. My husband started seeing an endocrinologist at the Bariatric Center at our local hospital. He wanted to find out options that weren't surgical, and try those. He was quite heavy. And his mother died from complications due to bariatric bypass surgery. So we want to exhaust all non-surgical methods first, as one could guess.

Anyway, to show solidarity, I started going too. They have us trying an insulin-controlling medication, and we're having pretty good results. We're both happy with it.

The one thing about these centers, though, is that it's a whole being approach. In other words, you don't only go see the endocrinologist. You also have to see a nutritionist, an exercise expert, and a few others I have yet to need to see. I saw the nutritionist at my first visit, and duh - it was all information I knew. I KNOW it. I just don't always DO it. Like, for example, at 11pm in the kitchen when I have a mad case of munchies and only peanuts or something equally salty and fatty will do. THAT is the moment I need the nutritionist to step in. But obviously, they do not pay house calls.

So today was my appointment with the exercise expert. It was a fairly comical meeting, to say the least. I actually looked forward to her reaction to me. You see, I'm tall - 6 feet, to be exact. I'm also built in the "sturdy" or "bigger" method of know, big bones, decent musculature even when I don't lift weights - that sort of thing....

I weigh - uh, let's just say, a lot. But I'm also fairly fit. I told her first about my knees and neck, though. And then she asked me what I do each week for fitness. This is where it got comical. Because, honestly, I do a lot for someone who is my weight. I told her about the 2 hours of spin I normally do a week, and the 3 hours of karate I do at MINIMUM. Add to that the half hour of rehab weight lifting each Wednesday with my doc, and she kinda just stared at me. The look on her face was priceless - a somewhat amazed, bemused look, that said, "Why the heck are you overweight then??"

Ahhh, priceless....

So we discussed some things I can do to modify weight lifting in order to increase my muscle mass - it's the one place I've been floundering because of my knees and neck.

AND then .....

cue dramatic music....

It was time to test my body fat percentage. OY. VEY.

I was terrified, I will not lie. First off, the electronic body fat testers often run wacky on someone with higher muscle mass. The scales that test body fat will tell me I'm something like 65% body fat (uh, sure, yeah - I'll go lose 130 pounds, k? Not....accurate, eh?? I mean, I have bones, no? And organs?? Those have to weigh more than 100 pounds...) Secondly, I just did NOT feel like being depressed today...

This tester was awesome. It measures at the bicep. I carry my fat in my midsection, and have skinny arms and legs (for a chubby gal). WOOHOO! It also asks 7 questions which it takes into account for results. Things like, what frame are you? How often do you work out? For how long? Double woohoo!

I am in love with this told me I'm ok! woot! I am 28.7% body fat. Which is UNDER the obese category - happy day! I was expecting like 40% with it being the electronic ones...but WOW, it was fairly accurate! She said I should be about 22%, so I've got 6% to work on. This is far less daunting than the ones that told me I had to lose about 45%....

So I guess it was a good visit. I think she was impressed with my fitness knowledge (former instructor, I should hope I know how to do stuff! LOL! ) And my I see her in October again - she said she'd test my body fat again....can't wait, actually!!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Little Pitchers Have Big Ears - AND Mouths!

As any parent will tell you, kids will listen and retain what they hear around them, even if they are seemingly completely in another world. They will parrot what they hear back at the most inopportune moments, as well. And in the case of our 7 year old, they will stick to their story, no matter how wrong they have it. And no matter how many adults refute them. Or maybe it's just him.

He decided to tell his grandmother, who is a McCain supporter, that McCain is a bad man because he will force everyone in the US to go to church.

I heard him start to say this, and I thought, OH MY GAWD. No, please no - tell me he isn't saying THAT.

Yes, he was saying that.

And then he went and blamed it on his FATHER. Little booger even had a scape goat! Thankfully, my mother #1, knows her son-in-law and the level of his intelligence, and #2, knows how 7 year old boys are, and THEIR level of intelligence.

So she said, there is no way your father said that.

And here's where it got interesting!

So Joe decides to argue the point with her, and tries to back up his argument with "information" as well. But he mixed up names of people, and even blamed some sort of church-going foul-play on Hillary Clinton, as well. And despite both my mother's and my telling him he had heard wrong, and that he was mixing things up, as well as saying something patently false and unfair and somewhat insulting - he argued on. My mother and I looked at each other, and just amazingly, we had to be thinking the same thing. That he takes after every SINGLE male in our family. OY.

I finally got him to listen to us, and to hear us. We also told him that being wrong is not such a horrid thing, and that he isn't stupid if he's wrong. We also told him that, in fact, he looks stupid only when he clings to an idea and refuses to back down.

I'm hoping he learned at least to just keep his mouth shut a bit more and listen to adults. We're working on that one, because, apparently, we adults are pretty uneducated, dull, and slow in his eyes.

And hopefully, he figured out too that saying political things just gets him in trouble.

I would so love to hear the actual stuff we were saying that he heard and scrambled in that granite block of his....

Monday, June 16, 2008

Summer is for Losers

Losing pounds, that is...

Summer is a wonderful time for doing things outdoors, and for finding new ways to get a little exercise in. As we begin the summer vacation, and hotter weather, I keep trying to find creative ways to get just a little extra in each day. I call them random acts of fitness. It is an interesting challenge to find a way to get in a few squats on the playground without looking like I have lost my mind, though. I am sure that I am an amusing sight to the other moms and dads. Or else they think I am the town nutcase. All of that aside, I still try to do it. The hotter weather reminds me of how much I hate shorts that don’t fit quite right, and how much my thighs chafe when I am at this weight.

It is amazing the tiny differences and changes that you barely notice when you are either gaining or losing weight. I notice that as I lose, I can walk in shorts easier. I do not have to keep pulling the legs of the shorts out of a bunch between my legs. I do not walk bowlegged from time to time to get the fabric to fall straight. If anyone else has ever had to do this, you will understand completely what I mean when I say I am ecstatic to realize halfway through doing these things that it is not necessary to perform this ritual. Every time I tic off another size or pound gone, I try to remind myself how far I have come. It is much easier to despair of how far I have left to go, since that is such a distant future. Where I was is not nearly as enjoyable as where I am now, and I know where I am going will be a grand, wonderful place, filled once again with buying off the clearance rack, and not having to ask for a bigger size. I am starting to drool just thinking about that place.

So I keep trying to find ways to trick myself into working out without realizing it. It is a big contest to see if I can work out for a half hour without noticing the time. So far, I have found that I can do an hour if I am in a challenging class or have good tunes. And all those little random acts of fitness I do in a day start to add up. Which is good, considering how fast 2 hours of the day care at the gym fly by! I don't get in a lot of weight training yet. But then, the aerobic is more important right now.

Add in the gardening I'm doing to "save money" and heck, I should shock the other moms at school next fall!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Insanity of Momma

Oh. My. GAWD.

This is basically all we hear at our house right now. This song is burned into the walls, we hear it so much. Why is it that a four year old can get a hold of an idea or character, and wear it into the ground with overuse?

With our guy, first it was 2+ years straight of Jack Sparrow - wigs, swords, and Swashbuckling Sea Songs all day and night.

And now it's Indiana Jones, all day, every day. I don't know why, but I put the music from the movies onto my iPod. WHAT was I thinking?? Oyyyyy....

Monday, June 2, 2008

T minus 4 days and COUNTING!

EEEEK! It snuck up on me! It came from way out of left field! It's the last week of school.

Oh, holy hell - what in the world am I supposed to do with two of them all day, every day? And gas prices aren't exactly encouraging me to fork over the money to enroll them in "summer camp" that I'll have to drive to and from. My only respite appears to be my gym membership. Apparently, I'm going to be in good shape on the other side of summer vacation.

Either that, or the snack counter girl and the hot tub will be well acquainted with me!! Don't get me wrong - as I've said before, I love to Spin. But there are days I do prefer to sit. And do nothing, obviously.

I would say, however, that my sanity will take less of a hit if I take the kids to the gym activity center (fancy word for baby kennel) every day or so.

It's just that I've gotten used to my 7 year old being away all day long. And the 4 year old and I have gotten into a rhythm with our days. So throwing in an overbearing older brother COMPLETELY obsessed with Pokemon (and can we just beat up the person who thought THIS up??) into the mix will be, to say the least, "difficult."

My boys get along most of the time. But lately, they're just on each other's nerves. A LOT. My mother bought me a subscription to Family Fun magazine. I like it, because it's not chock full of preachy, never-real-world-possible advice. But let's be realistic - how long will newspaper hat folding occupy them? And baking is a dangerous undertaking with my two.

I never quite pictured that motherhood would involve so much screaming. I knew they would yell, I would yell, their father would yell. I'm damned if I knew they would scream, and whine, and shout so often, so loud, and so annoyingly! I adore my kids, and I adore that I can stay home. But just once, I'd love to know how to keep them happily playing, so that none of us is required to raise our voice.

How does that Duggar woman do it? I still haven't figured it out. I'd be stark raving mad - hell, I'd have gone stark raving mad at number 4 or 5, let alone number 18 or 19!! More power to them - if they can handle it, and afford it, have at it. So not for me.

People ask me all the time when I'm going to "try" for "your girl." As if you're supposed to have at least one of each sex among your children. As if two weren't enough to sap my brain. I have enough patience (barely) for the two I have. I just think the people who ask this are trying to amuse themselves, at my expense. Oooh, fun, look at Deanna trying to navigate Target with 4 kids screaming and running around! Isn't that a hoot?

So yeah, not happening. Now, if we can just get past the Class Picnic (why did I volunteer to be Room Mom again??) and the insanely elaborate show and tell guessing game project we're supposed to make and bring on Friday - then it's summer. And hopefully before school starts again, I will have figured out how to entertain these guys!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Is it June yet?

Let's just recap my May, shall we? on May 13, my older son got in trouble at school. He and 3 other boys were drawing on an outside metal door with wood chips. My son, like an idiot, wrote, "I love poop." Gotta love admitting something like that publicly. He was "sentenced" to cleaning it off with scrub brushes with the other 3 goobers. Thankfully, it all came off - I threatened him with having to sell off his own stuff to pay for the door if it needed to be replaced.

Later that same day, I went to pick up my younger son at my mom's house. She met me at the door in tears. TEARS. My mother doesn't cry - WHAT HAPPENED?? Yeah, so apparently, it was Vandalism Day for my family - the little one took a key and carved up her bench in her kitchen. Her custom, handmade, one of a kind, expensive cherry wood kinda bench. OH. My. GAWD.

Small sample of his handiwork...

Thankfully, she has a really good friend who is a master carpenter, and he promises to fix it. Phew!

So an hour later - YES, the same day - my mom, my boys, and I are all in her Yukon and headed to dinner together. She backed into my car.


See that puddle under my car? Those are tears - she made my car cry! My little Equinox isn't even a year old, and already in the shop as I type. UGH. She was so so close to losing it - I made her laugh instead.

Thankfully, that is all for that day.

On May 15, I fell down the stairs, landing on my bad knees and wrenching my bad shoulder. Nice.

On May 16, my mom found out she had a thickening in the wall of her heart, and the ultrasound tech scared the heck out of her (we days later find out it isn't as bad as he lead on, but that there's more testing to see what all is going on, thankfully!)

On May 21, my older son brought THE illness into the house. It was a lovely day of cleaning up after him.

And for the past week, my husband and I have been racing each other to the "comfy" bathroom.
I'd just dearly love for June to be here now.....I keep thinking, what else can happen? And then it does.

So yeah - my silence has reasons.....I know I need to get back to work here if I ever want to discipline my writing. HOPEFULLY.......

Monday, May 12, 2008

Should have been a boat race....

So, Mother's Day. Ahhh, yes - day of waking up late to partially-burnt pancakes made by sweet little boys helped by Daddy, yes?

Mmm, no....sounds nice, but uh.....nope....

Not for us, anyway!!! Last year, my mother and I decided to do the Y-Me Mother's Day Race. So we signed up again this year. Except, I wound up co-captain of our karate school's team. Which, then, meant I had to be in Grant Park at 6 am. Any Chicagoan in the crowd will know what kind of insanity THAT means.

Instead of waking up about, oh, say - 3 am, trying to get the little boys dressed, in the car, while pouring coffee into the BIG boy and getting HIM out of the house, then drive downtown (approximately an hour trip, EVEN that early - it's just nutty around here), find parking, THEN find the team tent??? All while the guys don't even need to be there till 7:30 am anyway?

No thanks, I'll pass.

Instead, we got a room at the Silversmith Hotel. We were about 4 blocks from where the race was being held, so PERFECT!!! We hit Chinatown for AWESOME Chinese food Saturday night, checked in, and hung out a little in our gorgeous suite (which incidentally was a KILLER steal of a deal due to Wabash being closed for construction right now - so all Chicago folks, hit and book yourself a suite there, and enjoy yourself!!!). This hotel is in our favorite style - Stickley, aka Mission style. So we adored the wood floors, the beautiful furniture, the little emblems on every room door. Just wonderful, and I hope to go back when not preparing for a race!!!

My plan was to wake up at 5:15 am (yes, the extra 15 minutes helps!), get dressed in my crazy Breast Cancer race wear, walk to the team tent to meet the other co-captain, have a nice toasty cup of coffee, and have fun greeting the rest of our 52 team members!

First hitch - I decided NOT to take my "pillow." I have a neck issue, and have one of those wacky wave-shaped pillows and it truly helps. Well, I figured, one night, right? How bad can it be? Well, try waking up pain.....and stiff.....lovely. Ok, I could deal - I do carry pain meds with me.

Second hitch - I brought the wrong jog bra. All the ladies out there will know what I mean - I brought the "comfier" yet "less supportive" one. Ooops! Well, ok, again - got pain meds, I can tough it out.

Third hitch - it's really, REALLY cold. And windy. And I didn't bring any kind of warm sweatshirt or fleece, just my water-proof windbreaker (more on this so-called "water-proof-ness" in a bit...). Let's just say I hoofed it fast along Michigan Avenue, which I've decided is the windiest street on Earth. Period.

But, voila, I do manage to find the race setup! Hooray! White tents and blue port-a-johns, the hallmark of a good race! Except the tents I found first weren't the team tents, and NO ONE there knew what in the world I was talking about. all work for Y-Me, yes??? I swear, if only they would just give these people MAPS.

So I walk on....and on.....and find the volunteer tent. They do, in fact, have a map. Bad news, however. Team tents are even further along. Who thought THIS one up?? I'm a participant, and I'm planning on running and/or walking a they assume I need a warm-up 2 hours prior to start? Do they think I need just a wee bit more training?? Hello, people! When someone is about to participate in a race, the LAST thing they want to do is walk any more than they have to. And then to top that off, the team name started with "Sup" and the tents are alphabetical. Lovely.

I get to our tent eventually (and about 10 minutes early, actually - yay me!), but there's no coffee. Not even people bringing said coffee to the tents, as they claimed they would be doing at precisely 6 am. I sit alone, in the gloomy pre-dawn of Grant Park, wind whipping through the sad little tent, and contemplate the warm bed I've left behind. I also wish for a warmer coat. And then it happens.

The sky opened. This wasn't just rain. This was torrential downpour. One minute, just windy and cold. The next, there are rivers in between the tents. And I think about how my co-captain, who is very punctual, is still not IN the tent. The poor thing came in soaked to the bone.

Now, we'd both been told to be there at 6, as the coffee was coming, and they refused to leave it without someone present. Fine, we'll do it for the coffee.

Except they LIED. The people bringing the coffee didn't show their darned faces till 6:45 am!!! Do they not REALIZE how badly a person NEEDS coffee at this time of the morning?

It was rough going, I'll tell you that much.

I did call my darling hubby and tell him to keep the kids indoors if the rain doesn't let up. Advice which he promptly ignored, sadly. But he got the kids about 10 steps outside the cab they took to the race site, and promptly called me to say, we're headed back. Um, I do believe I told you not to HEAD, let alone need to head back, yes? Oh well - he was the one who had to deal with the whiny little boys, not me. No, I was in bliss at that moment, happily drinking my coffee.

The rain did not let up for one second of the morning. It was fairly miserable outside, and yet I was completely amazed and horrified to see how many people still took their small, SMALL children outside in that weather! I'm not one to say someone shouldn't do something as a parent, but this was borderline. There was even a woman pushing an INFANT in a stroller - without any sort of rain cover. The baby was wailing....and still this woman walked. Sorry, that's just wrong, plain and simple. She'd be upset if her child got sick, yes? Well, do what you can to keep the baby out of harms way, darn it! There were altogether too many people with tiny tots out in that horrid weather, and it made me more than a little mad.

The other thing that was driving us crazy was umbrellas. Now, as a rule, I don't mind an umbrella. But when you are cramming thousands of people into a chute for the start of a race - shouldn't SOME person tell people to CLOSE THEIR UMBRELLAS??? HELLO!!! I got poked in the eye 4 times, and in the back of the head 5. People in large groups are essentially cattle, and need to be told how to behave, in my opinion. They should have made a rule about this. One woman had a rain poncho on that said "No Umbrellas!" I wanted to kiss her. And in all honesty, none of these umbrella toting people were even remotely dry. Their heads were nearly as wet as mine. What is the point? Unless they enjoy skewering the eyeballs of innocent fellow racegoers?? And the wind. Oh, good gravy! People kept getting shocked when their umbrella was turned inside out. Welcome to Chicago, oh bright one. So to make a long story short - if you're running/walking in an event with large numbers of people, and it's raining - leave the umbrella behind. Otherwise, people might take it from you and hit you with it.

My parents were the smartest of anyone there. They wore their horseback riding rain gear. Sure, they looked out of place. But they were warm and snug. There is a picture, but I'll have to steal it from my parents' house tomorrow. I promise, it will be worth the wait. There's also a picture of bedraggled us - ever so amusing, as well.

We made it MOST of the 3 miles - but when we got to the point where my hotel was closer than the porta-potties, I decided my knee (and my dad's) needed a shorter walk back.

All in all, quite the adventure. It was funny as all heck, though, and I got to go to Dim Sum after I took a hot shower. Then headed home and basically vegged out and slept all day, recuperating from the turmoil (and the feasting).

The best part of the day was seeing the buildings in Chicago either lit up pink the night before, or the ones who made designs in their windows - CNA had a big ribbon on all 4 sides, the diamond-shaped one (from Adventures in Babysitting, if you remember that one) had "Y-Me Race" and another had "Y-Me" spelled out. I was touched, and loved it!!! Nice to see the recognition!

That, and the fact that our team alone raised over $8,000 for the cause!!!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Kickin' For The Cure

Our karate school has a team headed to the Y-Me Mother's Day Race to Empower. We have 47 members - and have raised $5990!!!! We rock!!! Here is the team page!

On Saturday, we had a Kickin' for the Cure event - basically, a kick-a-thon, if you will. My husband participated, since I had already done a bunch of fundraising for my 5K, and he hadn't done any yet. For an hour, the 15 participants kicked, and then kicked, and then kicked some more. It was a ton of fun to watch and help out!!! My hubby came in at 805 kicks - not too shabby, considering he's the biggest guy there!!! YAY hubby!!!

The kid who won had something like 1200 kicks. EEEK! Yeah, I think my legs would have fallen off. Or else I would have been laying in the fetal position, begging for Godiva or a nice snort of vodka....

So onward we go, we team of pink!!! We have t-shirts that say "Real martial artists wear pink" and everything. Gotta love men wearing pink in support of boobs!!! And the owner of the dojo gave me a pink karate belt to wear when I run. Yes, I promise pictures!!!

Here's a pic of me when I walked the 3 Day 3 years ago:

A close-up of the "Co-Ed Naked Breast Exam" shirt I made:

And a close up of the skirt I made for the walk:

And our team last year for the karate school for the same Y-Me annual race:

My mom and I walked it last year alone. It was a wonderful mother's day sort of thing to do with Mom, she's way into fitness, and it was a gorgeous morning. This year, my dad and hubby and sons are tagging along, so it should be tons of fun - a lot less quiet, but still fun! And I'm the co-captain of the team, so I get to be there at 6 am to receive the coffee delivery - hmm, methinks there may not be enough coffee left after I am there.....

Here's to a wonderful Mother's Day!!!

(and link to my Y-Me race page)

Monday, April 28, 2008

And Then It Hits You

People always talk about the moment they realized that their life isn't half so bad. After months, years, whatever, of complaining and feeling dumped on by fate - they have this crystallizing moment where they realize that it could be worse. Or that there is so much more they could do to enjoy what they do have.

I had that moment Friday night. For the last 2 months, I've been bemoaning the fact that my neck is permanently screwed up, that I have osteo-arthritis at my tender age, etc. Sure, my remaining kidney is perfectly healthy, unlike it's naughty dead twin who left us 2 years ago. My heart is good. My health is fairly decent, and despite 7 surgeries, I enjoy relative good health. So what if I have joint issues? At least I can head to the chiropractor.

Because I found out that a beloved instructor at my karate school is ill. He's only 24 years old, and he has Crohn's. His lifelong dream was to teach karate, and he was able to be doing just that. Except that now, his traitorous body has no energy, and he has to step down. I'm beside myself worrying about him, and so very sad for his loss of his life's love. I can only hope that treatment can be found for him to be able to strike the balance and find the energy to at least train in the martial arts and progress to higher black belt levels. Because he is an amazing martial artist. And he damn well deserves to be able to do what he loves.

So no more bitching about how unfair it is that I have what I have. I refuse to allow myself to give in to this joint crap anymore. This week, I feel a sense of renewed purpose - and I feel that at least I have a chiropractor interested in helping me rehabilitate myself, and get to the point where I CAN do what I want physically.

I was wavering about whether or not to keep going in martial arts, trying for my black belt. Mainly, this was due to the fact that the test is 6 hours long. With a LOT of physical demands. And many things that would hurt like hell now. But my chiro said that with work, I could be able to do it without having numb hands, or swollen knees.

And now, I WILL do it. Period. It's not an option, not after this weekend.

Monday, April 21, 2008

When it rains....

Yeah, so that saying? So true...

Saturday was Chili Fest - went well, would have been EVEN better had we had more volunteers. And yet, the people who hadn't done a thing to help? Full of TONS of complaints and suggestions. Er, yeah - shaddup unless you're willing to DO the thing you suggested to better the event, mmmkay?

But then it happened.

Sunday morning, we spent about 4 and a half hours at the ER. My poor hubby has a kidney stone. He was in so much pain, and we finally decided it couldn't be a strained back - not with it hurting around front. Yeah, we're brilliant individuals, no?

He "thinks" he's passed it now. Gotta love that. How does one know? I mean, at least with labor and delivery, there's a screaming person there to prove you did something. But he has no trophy, no thing he can hold up and say, see that? *I* did that.

I did have to talk him into taking Vicodin. Which I cannot for the life of me figure out. I'm not a drug person, I don't like aspirin let alone getting high. But use the pain meds you're given when you're in severe pain! I've had a kidney stone, I've passed a fragment - and I'll say this: I would give birth to my 65 pound 4 year old right here, right now, instead of go through a kidney stone again. SERIOUSLY. It's that bad.

He did a lot better once he took the meds - uh, duh. Pain makes you stress out. Stressing out means clenched muscles. Clenched muscles mean the stone can't get through. Logical, yes?

I do have to say this - he is SUCH a good husband. He waited until Chili Fest was over to have his episode. Gotta love a dedicated husband and father!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

I'm posting to tell ya why I haven't posted a blog...., yeah - weird. I know.

I volunteered to help the PTO. Which, as any of you have done that, is like signing over a major organ. That scene from Monty Python's Meaning of Life comes to mind.

(DISCLAIMER - do not click if you're upset by gratuitous blood/gore/weird British humor)

Right - that's what I currently feel like...

So yeah - I'll be back to form next week - our event is Saturday.....keep your fingers crossed for me, will y'all??? :D

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Blast from the past gets me thinking!

I was driving the kids home from karate today, and the song Stand by R.E.M. came on. I loved this band - still love the music that I loved "back then," of course. So I wanted to find the video of my favorite song, and their most well-known song - End of the World As We Know It.

I know all the words to this song. I remember the clip from Tommy Boy where Chris Farley and David Spade are driving and singing, and this song comes on, and they screw it up royally! Not me, I always thought - I know the words!

The song I'm talking about runs from about 27 sec to 50 sec

Apparently, I had some of them wrong. :O The horror! For those who don't know this about me - I pride myself on knowing the RIGHT lyrics to a song. HAVE to know them, or I feel weird when I listen. I will listen to a song over and over and over until I get them down, too. With the proper inflection and emphasis and everything. Go ahead - we'll pause while you laugh at me.

Yes, I know that's sad. I know that's weird. But I love music. It can make me feel better, help me get out anger, you name it, it helps with my emotions. So the lyrics are important to both my music loving side, and the writer buried inside of me.

I digress. Anyway, I've made fun of my husband for not knowing the lyrics to songs - I will correct him singing in the shower without even having to think about it. Yes, it drives him nuts. But you know, he actually appreciates that knack in me. He was so embarrassed, for example, to learn that in the song "If You're Gonna Play in Texas," by Alabama (yes country - :P), where he sang " When a cowboy in the back stood up and yelled, 'Hi-hi Joe'!" the lyric is ACTUALLY "When a cowboy in the back stood up and yelled, 'Cotton-Eyed Joe'!" I honestly laughed so hard at him for two reasons - one, HOW did he get that? No one says "Hi hi," especially not a COWBOY. But Cotton Eyed doesn't sound a thing like Hi hi. Anyway - you get the picture.

So when searching for this video:

I also found the "official" lyrics - and I was appalled to find out I was singing some of them wrong. Yeah, that's a silly thing to be appalled about, but man, how embarrassing to tease my hubby about lyrics - when something I prided myself in (this is a tough song to learn the lyrics to, if you know what I mean) was WRONG!!! Ugh. Sad.

So here are the lyrics for those of you who've always wanted to know just what the heck Michael Stipe was saying in this song!

That's great, it starts with an earthquake, birds and snakes, an aeroplane -
Lenny Bruce is not afraid. Eye of a hurricane, listen to yourself churn -
world serves its own needs, regardless of your own needs. Feed it up a knock,
speed, grunt no, strength no. Ladder structure clatter with fear of height,
down height. Wire in a fire, represent the seven games in a government for
hire and a combat site. Left her, wasn't coming in a hurry with the furies
breathing down your neck. Team by team reporters baffled, trump, tethered
crop. Look at that low plane! Fine then. Uh oh, overflow, population,
common group, but it'll do. Save yourself, serve yourself. World serves its
own needs, listen to your heart bleed. Tell me with the rapture and the
reverent in the right - right. You vitriolic, patriotic, slam, fight, bright
light, feeling pretty psyched.

It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.

Six o'clock - TV hour. Don't get caught in foreign tower. Slash and burn,
return, listen to yourself churn. Lock him in uniform and book burning,
blood letting. Every motive escalate. Automotive incinerate. Light a candle,
light a motive. Step down, step down. Watch a heel crush, crush. Uh oh,
this means no fear - cavalier. Renegade and steer clear! A tournament,
a tournament, a tournament of lies. Offer me solutions, offer me alternatives
and I decline.

It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.

The other night I tripped a nice continental drift divide. Mount St. Edelite.
Leonard Bernstein. Leonid Breshnev, Lenny Bruce and Lester Bangs.
Birthday party, cheesecake, jelly bean, boom! You symbiotic, patriotic,
slam, but neck, right? Right.

It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine...fine...

(It's time I had some time alone)

Sing it with me, people!!! You know you love the song!!!

Monday, April 7, 2008

I Got Tagged, so Here it IS!!

My lovely friend Melisa (you know, the kickass spin instructor!) tagged me on her blog (and I am too new to know how to hyperlink, so please forgive!). So here it's about my hubby!

How long have you been together? We had our first date August 11, 1998 - so this year it will be 10 years! Yipes, a decade!

How long did you date? 3 months, got engaged on Friday the 13th, Nov 1998. Yeah, we're that type of couple! LOL!

How old is he? 37 - 7 years older than me!!

Who said ‘I love you’ first? I have no idea. I know we pretty much knew at that first date that this was it....

Who is taller? He is by (according to him) an inch and a quarter. He's 6'1" and (once again, according to him) I'm 5'11.75"

Who is smarter? He normally scored about 2 points higher than I do on IQ tests - but we're both smarties, always were good in school. We're both math people, too, so our kids are annoyingly math-oriented.

Who does the laundry? ME - he is SO not allowed near my clothing, he put an underwire Wacoal bra in the DRYER the first week I lived with him!

Who does the dishes? Me, mostly, but he'll help once in a while. But I am the stay-at-home parents, so you know, it's sort of my job. LOL!

Who sleeps on the right side of the bed? Uh, right when you're laying face up or face down?

Who pays the bills? We take turns writing out the checks/calling the utility company

Who mows the lawn? We both do it together, most of the time. Two tiny push mowers for about an acre, with about 52 trees? Yeah, we need to do it together or it would take HOURS...

Who cooks dinner? Both of us - but - don't tell him I said this - he's the better, more inventive cook. I do better comfort food and baking....

Who is more stubborn? Him, for sure. Which is saying a lot, because I'm hard headed!

Who kissed who first? He leaned in first.....

Who asked who out? He asked me to dinner during our one 3 hour long phone convo...

Who proposed? Well, technically, he never REALLY asked the question, "Will you marry me?" and I never actually said "Yes."

Who is more sensitive?
If you mean sensitive as in, get upset and hurt by little jokes and annoyances, uh - that would be me.

Thanks Melisa! :D

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Monkeys, Bears, Eagles - oh, and the animals in the zoo too!

Yesterday was a wonderful day here! My husband took the day off and we headed to the zoo. Our boys are very much interested in animals, but even more fun is that we've all explored, and decided upon, our own personal animal spirit totems.

The hubby brought back two necklaces when he went to Glacier Park on a business trip last July. Ever since, the boys have been fascinated by the concept of spirit totems, and we've even begun a treasure trove of stories about two spirit brothers, Brother Eagle and Brother Bear. It's wonderful, and I've always felt drawn to the earth religions and the Native American religions.

My older son is Bear. Bear is loving, but grumpy, wise, but impulsive and war-like. It's perfect for him, he's such a dichotomous personality! My younger son is Eagle. Eagle is respected, wise, overlooks everything with a benign eye. He can be playful, but firm and resolved. He is also more removed and aloof. Once again, it fits him very well. He is wise beyond his years, yet playful. He holds himself somewhat aloof from people, and has always been an observer.

Of course, the kids picked out totems for my husband and me. I was the harder to peg. Up until a few weeks ago, I had no totem. Each one we all thought about didn't seem right. My husband is turtle. Turtle is a survivor, he travels, and is also associated with longevity and life. It fits him well, if you ask me.

Now the funny part. My younger son never liked any of the suggestions any of us made for me. He was always and forever yelling at us about it! But a few weeks back - apparently he decided. He is very persistent and tenacious about his beliefs, and due to the fact that he is our Eagle, and thus a leader of some sort, we've all given in to his choice.

I am butterfly, apparently! He picked it in part because I am the "pretty" one in the family, since I'm the only girl in the house! But butterfly seems to work well, as it is a constant metamorphosis totem, and also has a critical and multi-faceted way at looking things.

So, I promise, I have a point. Truly!

The boys kept hearing these stories of Brother Bear and Brother Eagle. And somehow, our younger son came to believe that these animals are purely made up! He wouldn't believe me that there really were wild eagles and wild bears, as well as live ones we could go visit in the zoo.

So I determined to prove him wrong, and in turn, cause much elation in being able to visit their spirit animals in the flesh. We gathered our passes, and snacks, and hit the road.

The awe that my younger son had on his face when he saw the condor that he was convinced was an eagle was just breathtaking. His little face lit up, and he was yelling and waving, and singing to this giant of a bird. Here's a picture of him in front of the wingspan display:


The older son was a little less enthusiastic at first. Then we saw the polar bears and the brown bears swimming and playing and goofing around with each other. He loved it. He didn't realize other animals played. It's so much fun watching that sort of realization hit. Here's both kids in front of the bear display:


It was a gorgeous day, albeit a very cold one for our area in April! But the best part about having free passes is you don't feel the need to stress out and SEE EVERYTHING. I hate that part about vacations where you buy tickets to parks, etc. I just don't enjoy having to rush around. I like being able to visit only 4 exhibits out of our enormous zoo's entire grounds. It's so much more fun.

And the picture (and hats) that made me laugh:


And in case anyone complains about my not including one with me in it:


I do have one main problem with zoos. I don't know that ALL zoos are like this, but we go to Brookfield Zoo a lot. My mom has an awesome membership, and she takes us, we get passes, etc. So it's several times a year at the very least.

For some reason, our zoo feels the need to keep changing these display boards. Why is it that we can't just go to the zoo to see, GASP, animals? Instead, there's these "informational" and "educational" boards with switches, and cranks, and buttons, noises, lights, you name it! I hate the things. The kids push the buttons to push the buttons. They don't stand there and actually LEARN something. They're just doing it to do it. It drives me nuts. My kids aren't allowed to touch them, in fact. Maybe that's borderline crazy, but I would much rather talk to my kids and explain things to them than they stand and press a button and keep pressing it, doing a sort of DJ-style mixup.

The money they use for these displays boggles my mind. They could be using it for much better things, I would think! There's a new one. You exit the gorilla house - ours is Tropic World, and it's indoor, but with "realistic" habitat. It's wonderful. It even RAINS in the ape house. It's fantastic to hear the thunder and watch the monkeys take off to get out of the rain. But you exit - and BAM. It's a maze of these big wooden things. You have to walk through it, and it's a "decide what path" sort of thing. Except that the decisions are things like, "Are you going to conserve energy and walk to school, or waste the Earth's resources and flush the toilet every time you use it??" What kind of question IS that, anyway?

It just makes me nuts that I can't just go to a zoo, see the animals playing, being themselves, without some sign preaching at me with really lame pictures (seriously, folks - there was a giant TOILET with an evil face....). Why can't I pay my membership fee, and that will be enough to save the Earth for them? I try. I really do! I recycle, I conserve energy, I try not to drive tons of places, and I am pretty tough on water usage. I just don't see how Terry the Evil Toilet helps.

And I do see how lowering ticket prices COULD help, I guess.

So, all that long windedness about a short trip to the zoo! Well, the good news is, we got to see animals, and I didn't go berserk and rip down the signs with Agua the water droplet. The bad news? They wouldn't let us set up an exhibit for the boys.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Signs, signs, everwhere there's signs....

Eating healthy foods would be a whole lot easier if there were no such thing as a fast food commercial, or husbands. Husbands love to bring home foods that are a complete death knell to all the willpower in the world. Mine loves to tempt me with the fact that I wouldn’t have to cook. Not fair! What mom in her right mind would rather cook some boring, healthy meal than get to eat scrumptious food someone else made? Ok, well, some people out there are fabulous cooks, and the junk from take-out places is far lower than their standards. But for me, the take-out is somehow more glamorous - sad, yes?

Then there are the commercials. It kills me how long the thought of a hamburger stays imbedded in my brain after a fleeting glimpse of one on television. It’s crazy. And then the hamburger begins to enter into my thoughts for the rest of the day. Time to dust the hamburger, oops, I mean the dresser…..time to turn on the hamburger, oops, I mean the dryer. I know - that completely makes me sound like a mental case. However, it’s true, I took marketing classes in college, and the fact that those images remain in my mind like that just means they are doing what they’re supposed to do. They’re supposed to make people crave, desire, and drool over that hamburger. And let’s face it – fast food burgers are sub-par. I can definitely make a much better tasting one at home, on my grill. For some reason, though, I still only want THAT store’s hamburger.

So in my constant battle with the commercials and my husband’s cravings, I’ve managed to find some sort of balance. Meaning, the scale is headed in the right direction, even though I give in to those impulses from time to time. It’s sad that I’m surprised by this, but it’s such a simple answer as to how, too. It’s exercise. That is the ONE cure-all out there for the expanding waistline. No pill, diet, program, or hypnosis tape will work as fabulously as merely putting on your cross trainers and going out for a brisk walk. Adding in some squats will make your next morning painful, but it sure improves the rear view.

Why didn’t I remember how good it felt to get to eat a little more because I was working out? Why do I let myself stop working out, ever? The answer, unfortunately, is laziness. Being a couch potato is far easier than hopping onto a treadmill or lifting some weights. Surely just sitting still and watching television is easier than, say, doing sit ups while you’re watching.

It sounds like such a small change, doesn’t it? Here’s the big secret – it works. I feel like I’m the incredible shrinking woman because of my new addiction to Spin, and karate. Add to that the fact that I’m sleeping better at night too, and it feels like I already hit my goal weight. I can’t believe how much I’m challenging myself with lately. I even took karate, AND hit the gym, AND swam this past Saturday! And I signed up to run a 5K! Take it from me, I don’t normally run unless there is something large and fast chasing me. But something in my head said, you can do that, you can run 3 miles. The strangest part is that I still have days where I have to push myself to do it. I can’t fathom why, since it feels so darn good when I’m done. Guess the old couch potato roots are still there. I need some of that weed killer to get rid of those tubers, I tell you!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Does this skirt go with my bike?

Hi, I'm Deanna, and I'm a Spin addict. Spin, for those who don't know, is basically biking. On a stationary bike with no brakes. And a 45 pound flywheel. So you can't stop. And the seat hurts your rear end so bad until you do it a few weeks that you wind up standing a lot. Oh, and there's music. In a perfect world (or gym) you have a kickass instructor with killer music. I happen to go to a perfect gym! YAY Spin!

I hurt my knee in karate a few weeks back, and my orthopedist wanted me to rest it for 2 weeks. I was somewhat happy to get to slack at karate (I like it, but it's more for my hubby and kids). But not being able to Spin? TORTURE.

So last night my two weeks were up. My knee felt pretty sound, and I was given the clearance to go to Spin as long as I wore my neoprene brace. YAY!

Well, yay until I tried to get dressed to go. None of the workout pants I own that fit me will fit over the brace. And the brace both does not work, and does not feel good, over my workout pants.

I wound up having to break out the - GASP - bike shorts. Yes, yes - I still own bike shorts. How very 1990's of me, yes? The problems with my bike shorts are many. They're a half size too small. They're too short, even when I'm thinner. They're also OLD. Read: they are getting thin in the butt. Uh oh.

I put them on, put on my huge t-shirt, and my brace. I wish I could have gotten a picture. It was spectacularly horrible. Picture, if you will, pasty white long legs, topped by what looks like a big gray beach ball. I looked like a black and white picture of a lollipop.

So I started trying to find something, anything, to wear over these shorts. I'm unfortunately between sizes at the moment, so the pickings were slim.

I settled onto my favorite work out SKIRT. Yes, you read that right - SKIRT. There's background to the skirt - bear with me, please.

I like to participate in Breast Cancer support walks and runs. I've walked the 3-Day twice (yup, 120 miles total!), crewed it once, and walked the Y-Me Mother's Day race last year (and will run it this year). The skirt I found last night is from last year's race. I've worn skirts to these events because I feel bad for the women and men who must walk behind me. I can't wear loose shorts, unfortunately, because my thighs rub together. There, I said it. Lovely picture, right? So I usually wind up wearing tight workout pants, but don't want people behind me to have to stare at my rear encased in stretchy fabric. It's not a sight for the faint of heart, if you get my drift. So I made skirts with pink ribbons and other things on them to wear over the pants/shorts. (The one I made for my last 3-Day has "Hey Cancer, Kiss THIS!" on it, and big ol' pair of lips on my cheek.)

So I put on this skirt with my little pink ribbons and looked in the mirror. It was laughable, but still better, to my way of thinking, than the scary bike shorts.

I got the kids ready, got into the car, all of it, figuring my spin instructor would get a kick out of the skirt, since she has a thing for tiaras! Alas, it was not meant to be! Sadly, as I was getting my younger son out of the car, he sneezed. On me. More specifically, on my WHITE skirt. There was no wiping it off. This skirt needs to be laundered. So I had to take the darn thing off and wear my scary, stretchy, nearly-see-through pants!

I wish I had pictures - but then again, the imagination is far more colorful I'm sure.

I do believe I'll be heading to the store prior to next week's class - or else carrying the skirt until I get the kids into the day care center.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

My First Blog!

Aww, momentous occasion! This is my FIRST blog. But I'm following the trend, bowing to the peer pressure. As a hopeful-author, I'm thinking this will be good for me, yes?

So a few things.

Why the title? I'll tell you why. Carrots should taste like cheetos. They're the same color. Why is one healthy, and the other has more calories, fat, etc? Whoever came up with healthy food needs to do a bit more R&D and come out with "New and Improved - Carrots!" Extra strength lettuce would be nice too. Basically, I'm always in a battle with my mind and body to get to - and then maintain - a good, healthy level of fitness and weight. So I'm sure a lot of what I post here will wind up referring to my frustrations, or successes, of that struggle. Battle, more like.

Anyway. I'm Deanna - I just turned 31. I am a mostly-stay-at-home-mom to two boys, ages 7 and 4. When I say mostly-stay-at-home-mom I mean that I DO work from home to make extra money for the family. But it's not a full time job or anything, so I pretty much refer to myself as a SAHM.

My husband is 37. He is also losing weight, or at least - working on it! He also travels for work quite a bit - so again, that will probably wind up somewhere on this blog!

So that's a small snapshot of the person at the keyboard. I hope that what I write will entertain - please comment and critique! Thanks!

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