Archive for May, 2010


It’s Memorial Day and she’d rather be camping.

She has yet to learn we are not a camping kind of family.

That doesn’t mean we won’t be making S’mores today.

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Aqua sparkle


Yeah, another picture of the dog, but I just had to show you the color we painted our foyer walls.

If you look to the bottom right of the picture just past Molly’s collar you’ll see it.

It looks much better on the walls.

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I spent some time today clearing out the drafts of my unpublished posts. Some were posts that had been published and retracted, some never made it past the first sentence while others were complete posts that just needed a good title.

I deleted most of the drafts today, republished some of the retracted posts and saved a few of the drafts to finish later. Of the stuff I did delete, I decided to save a few choice excerpts to publish here.

So here we go.

In the beginning I couldn’t get through a discussion without crying. Sometimes I would clean my face and remove all my makeup because I knew it was going to be bad. Other times I’d go in determined to keep myself together only to wind up a wreck when the conversation took an unexpected turn. But therapists can be sneaky like that.”

She became hysterical as Nathan and I stood there in shock. Every word was like knives being thrust into our hearts and yet we could do nothing more than stare dumbfounded as our child wept in the bathtub.

Finally I said, ‘Honey, I’ve told you before that we love you no matter how naughty you are. We’d never send you away to another family.’”

I miss working with men.”

I kept the worst mess of a bedroom throughout adolescence, and it was actually my husband’s willingness to clean that room for me that led to me falling in love with him. No one had ever offered to clean my bedroom before.”

To this day I have no idea why I chose the sombrero. It was huge, monstrous even, and there was absolutely no place to store the thing on our bus. It didn’t fit in the overhead bins and I wasn’t exactly going to wear it all the way home. I wound up shoving the thing under my seat, from whence it emerged dirty and misshapen.”

I smiled at her. ‘Yes, this is your song.’ Mama was so proud, not only because the girl had been shaking her thing to the likes of Al Green and Michael Jackson all evening, but it was the second time that night she recognized a piece of music from something she had seen weeks earlier. We had heard Leslie Gore sing ‘It’s My Party’ at the grocery store and Autumn asked me if it was the song from the ‘naughty kids.’ I didn’t know she was talking about until I recalled the song had played during the birthday party sequence of Problem Child, a movie we unwittingly exposed her to a couple of weeks ago.”

My husband has lately been yearning for an apocalypse or some other such catastrophic event that would put his survival skills to the test. I don’t know if it’s boredom or if he misses his X-Box 360, but he has said on a couple occasions recently how cool it would be to be in the middle of something like that. We’ve also been watching episodes of ‘Jericho’ through Netflix and I guess the whole post-apocalyptic lifestyle appeals to him. I found this a little disturbing, especially since these gun-toting, survivalist fantasies of his don’t take into account the well-being of his three year-old daughter.”

There are two kinds of fat women.”

So the New Year is now upon us and I am very much looking forward to it. I have a list of resolutions for the next twelve months. I don’t usually make a list because my goals are the same; lose weight, exercise more, yadda yaddda yadda. In fact as long as I’ve been able to put pen to paper I’ve only made a list of resolutions once and I was drunk at the time. I can’t recall if I ever stuck to what was on the list, but I can tell you it was pretty funny finding that list years later in the pocket of the coat I wore that night.”

And what about the tech? Back in 1988 mobile phones were a luxury and certainly not compact enough to conceal in your back pocket or stuff down your bra. Back then when the phone lines were cut they were CUT and your only way to communicate with the outside world was to toss a dead terrorist out the window and onto an unsuspecting police cruiser. But today? Today John McClane could simply borrow someone’s iPhone or Blackberry to stay connected to the outside world. And when he’s done dispatching terrorists he could consult Urban Spoon for suggestions on where to find a quality post-hostage crisis meal.”

As you can see, I’m all over the place with these, but I like to think they represent what this blog is all about. Life, humor, family, sadness and joy.

And, of course, Die Hard.

Do you care to share what’s in your slush pile? If so, leave a link to your post in the comments. Who knows? This could be fun.

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I met with a new orthopedist this morning. It’s been two years since I had someone look at my knees and I felt I needed a second opinion on what is and is not possible in terms of physical activity.

The good news is I do not need any more surgery.

The bad news is I have a fairly advanced case of osteoarthritis for someone my age. The doctor said on a scale from 1-4, a woman in her late 30s should expect to be anywhere from a 1-2 in terms of joint degeneration. I’m at about a 4.2.

Of course I asked him if such advanced arthritis could have been caused by my weight. He said yes but that it also could be hereditary. It’s probably a combination of the two, but I don’t have the medical degree to back up that theory.

More good news is that I can get back on the elliptical. Since I’m so in love with the arc trainer right now I’m not really missing the elliptical, but it’s nice to know I have the option. The doctor said I can do whatever I want as long as it doesn’t put too much strain on the knees and it doesn’t cause me pain.

Alas running is out of the question. That kind of sucks because I would have liked to have trained for a 5K after taking more of the weight off. I know running can be very empowering and rewarding and it makes me just a little bit sad that I won’t get to experience that.

I guess I’ll just have to be awesome some other way.

I have no idea if the arthritis will get better or worse and neither does the doctor. He says I’m doing all the right things by taking the weight off and exercising regularly and I have some physical therapy scheduled in a couple of weeks to help with the everyday pain I’ve been experiencing for awhile.

I’ve never had physical therapy before. I did go with my mother once after she injured her knee. I was around 13 or 14 years old and all I remember about that session was that she screamed. A lot.


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I had to tell her four times to stop yanking leaves off the tree.

You just don’t do that sort of thing at an organic farm.

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Swan dive

Yesterday I forgot to bring my bag with me to work. My bag contains whatever I think I need during the day. Sometimes what the bag holds varies depending the day and yesterday the bag held my sneakers, my glasses and a box of Fiber One bars.

I realized I’d forgotten the bag once I got to work and threw everything on my desk. Oh hey, I’m short a bag, I thought. Luckily Nathan was at home and I asked him if he could bring it in.  After issuing a big sigh he said that wouldn’t be a problem.

Three hours later he showed up with my glasses.

“Where’s my bag?” I asked.

“I just brought these,” he said and handed me the eyeglass case.

“But I asked you to bring the bag,” I said.

He started to ask why I needed the bag and then remembered something I’d said about wanting to take a walk on my lunch. I needed the sneakers in the bag.

“I’m sorry,” he said, “I forgot you wanted the shoes, too.”

Because I can be kind of a jerk sometimes, I started to press him as to how he could reach into THE BAG for my glasses and pull them out of THE BAG and not remember that I had asked him to bring THE BAG with him.  Then I dropped it because he’s a guy and probably did not want to walk into my office and down the aisle to the very end where my desk is while carrying THE BAG.

My husband is awesome and I thanked him for bringing in the glasses. I shrugged off the forgotten bag because he wasn’t the one who left it home in the first place.

A while later I called Nathan and told him I’d probably be coming back to campus that evening to work out since I wouldn’t be walking during my lunch. He suggested we make it a family thing and he’d take Autumn to the pool while I worked out at the Rec Center. I could then join them in the pool when I was done.

So that’s what we did. I checked them in at the pool, checked myself in at the Rec Center, worked out on the arc trainer for a half hour and went back down to the pool.

But this is what happened when I tried to get into the pool.

As I was lowering myself down the ladder, my foot missed a step and my hands, all sweaty from the workout, lost their grip on the rail. I banged my left knee and right shin against the side of the pool and fell into the water.

I surfaced and gasped from the pain.  Christ it hurt.

The lifeguard, who up to that point had seemed very disinterested in his job, called over and asked if I was okay. I waved him off. Yes, I was okay. I just felt like an idiot.

As we were walking back out to the car after our swim, Nathan and I chuckled about my graceful entrance into the water and he asked if I was going to post about it on Twitter.

I told him I wasn’t going to mention it but that I wouldn’t be surprised if someone else had posted that they just saw a fat lady fall into a pool.

Because that’s what our lives have become. Moments that are Twitter-worthy and moments that are not.

Some people like me, who tend to be a little more narcissistic, like to stretch out a story beyond 140 characters.

Long story short, I fell into a pool last night and bruised up my legs.

That is all.

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I stayed home from work yesterday with some ladies who are painting the walls of our foyer and our downstairs hall. We decided to hire someone to paint because we wanted it done right and because Nathan fell off the ladder when he tried to pull the wallpaper off. We live in a split-level house with insanely high ceilings. Not Sistine Chapel high, but high enough to cause a six-foot-five man vertigo.

I didn’t know Nathan fell off the ladder until much later in the day when he was telling me about it.  I think he was put out that I wasn’t more concerned. I would have been concerned if I’d come home to find him still sprawled on the floor at the foot of the ladder, but he obviously lived to tell me about it so I assumed all was well.

It turns out the fall may have actually caused an injury that resulted in a painful nerve induction test and resulting medical bill that was not covered in full by my insurance.

So this medical bill and the few hundred dollars we’re paying the painters all came about because we didn’t replace a broken doorstop right away.  Without the aid  of a doorstop, the door was repeatedly pushed into the drywall until a knob-size dent formed. Then one day a particularly strong gust of wind turned that dent into a hole.

Nathan, God bless him, wanted to fix that hole. He started cutting around the doorknob-size hole with the intent to create a nice square hole that could be patched with a spare piece of drywall.

But as he cut, he realized he wasn’t cutting straight enough or even enough and that hole kept getting bigger and bigger until he came to the conclusion he was in over his head and had no idea to fix it.

This was a week before we were due to have the entire family over for Thanksgiving and I was freaking out because the first thing the family would see upon stepping into the foyer and closing the door would be this huge hole that provided a stellar view of our furnace.

Nathan also freaked out because he was quite sure he had ruined our house.

Our house has seen worse, most of it perpetrated by the dog, but this was A hole! In the wall! One that had gotten significantly larger the more we tried to fix it.

I stood there looking at this hole, and through it our furnace, while Nathan berated himself for making the problem worse. Then I did what any normal person would do when faced with a hole in the wall and guests arriving for Thanksgiving dinner in a week. I started tearing off the wallpaper.

I didn’t mean to start tearing off the wallpaper, but there was this little piece of it that had ripped away from the wall after all the hole-creating nonsense and I couldn’t help myself. It was like a scab.

The paper came off easily so I tore a little bit more off and then some more until I had a nice pile of ugly wallpaper at my feet.  Nathan thought I was insane, but when he saw how easily and cleanly the wallpaper came off he decided to join me.

In our house wallpaper doesn’t just come off like that. The people who lived there before us were, perhaps, more inept than we are when it comes to home improvement and they never sized the walls before applying the paper to both upstairs bedrooms and our family room downstairs.

Sizing the walls does not mean you look them up and down and decide whether they’re pretty enough to ask out on a date. Sizing the walls means applying a primer/sealer so that the chumps who buy your house some day won’t pull off the top layer of paper from the drywall because they think wallpaper sucks.

Lucky for us, whomever had papered the foyer had done it right, so Nathan and I spent hours that evening pulling off paper.  The hole was forgotten for the time being and we started discussing what paint colors might look nice once the walls were completely clean.

Did I mention this was right before Thanksgiving 2008?

The hole is still there, though Nathan has disguised it brilliantly with a large vent he bought at Lowe’s. It looks like it might actually have been put there on purpose and we like to think it allows for better heat/AC distribution throughout the house. We’re probably wrong about that.

And we’ve finally gotten someone in to paint. We chose a pretty blue color with the word Sparkle or Mist in it and we’re hoping it doesn’t make the house look like an Easter egg when paired with the yellow walls of our kitchen.

I didn’t actually get to see the ladies apply any paint yesterday. Yesterday was all about cleaning and repairing the walls before putting the primer on, and while they did this the painters effectively blocked my access to the garage, and thus the deep freeze, with their ladders.

So that’s how I wound up cooking with chorizo for the first time ever last night. Chorizo thaws quickly.

I made a spicy tortilla soup that would have been a perfect dish six months ago. I expected Nathan to complain since we’re having July weather in May and he’s all about eating weather-appropriate meals. But he said he’s not stupid. He’ll eat it if I take the time to cook it.

It was very good soup.

But I still wish we had replaced the doorstop a little sooner.

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Into the woods

Gleek Retreat was awesome. It was my second blogging conference and it left me wanting more.

There’s something to be said about doing things on a small scale. The setting was beautiful and intimate. There were about 40 people total who attended Saturday, fewer on Sunday since some had to go back home, but it was the perfect size.

As with BlogHer last year, I didn’t take many photos. Of the photos I did take, a good number of them are of food. Seriously, I hovered around the kitchen a little too much. If you mosey on over to my Flickr stream you can click on my Gleek Retreat set and say hello to fruit, cheesecake and chocolate.

I met a lot of bloggers, though I tended to hang with the ones I already knew. What can I say? I’m still a little bit of a wallflower. That’s why I like to have a camera hanging around my neck. It gives me a reason to approach people, though my pictures tell a different story. Food and nature, folks. That’s where it’s at.

The sessions and panelists were amazing, and while I’d love to discuss each one, you’d probably be better served by skimming through the transcript our Gleek Retreat tweets. Wow, say that three times as fast as you can.

Gleek Retreat tweets.
Gleek Retreat tweets.
GleekRetreat tweets.

I learned there are some things I am doing right and some things I could be doing better. I learned famous bloggers can be very gracious when you look at them and say, “Oh that’s why you look familiar.” I also learned that I’ve been living in a cave and the walls of that cave are covered in my own words. No one is going to find me if I don’t get out there and look for them.

I would love nothing more than to be able to go to more conferences like this because the people I hung out with this weekend are my people. I have found my tribe and that’s better than any swag bag you can give me.

Sill loved the swag, though. Jodi and Stacey did a fantastic job putting this thing together and are already talking about Gleek Retreat 2011.

I can’t wait.

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So the “Lost” finale was last night.

And it was perfect.

Did you watch? Did you enjoy it? Did you cry as much as I did?  Since I just caught up with the series in the last year, I may not have the same reaction to the finale as one who invested six long years in the lives of the Oceanic survivors, but I’m still thinking about the episode this morning and tearing up at the thought of those last few moments.

I’m going to keep this space spoiler-free for those who haven’t seen it yet, but feel free to leave a comment so we can discuss.


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