Monday, December 30, 2013

Random Observations

The Weather: I like it right now. Cold enough to make you think it's winter, gray enough to make you want to snuggle up and watch a movie, not so nasty as to keep you from running outside. Perfect!

Shopping Sick: Not a big fan.  I know at some point in your illness you need to get out of the house and get some food, however would it be possible that you not do it at peak grocery shopping time (10am on Monday) in your pajamas and slippers?  And I know you think that it is all good because you are covering your coughing and sneezing with the front of your oversized flannel shirt, which you continue to parade around the store like a germ infested flag.  Thanks for sharing your micro organisms with us when we have less than a week of break left.

Good Deeds: My 15 year old son managed to gather 4 friends at 8am on a Monday of Christmas break to go to the food bank and pack boxes and do inventory for the Sunshine Division.  Of course they were lured with Sesame Donuts and Pizza for lunch, but still.

Mid-Week Holidays: All at once it seemed like it took forever for Christmas to get here because it was on a Wednesday and I was working, but by the same token I was all ready for the kids to make lunches and head off to school this morning.  Its very strange.

Desserts: I think I might actually be done with them.  Not forever of course, but probably for a month or so.

The Fridge: Something smells in there and I cannot figure it out!  I have gotten rid of every suspicious left over, vegetable and piece of fruit.  The milk, eggs and cheese are new.  Help!

Aluminum Foil: Also known as tin foil is only $1.00 more at 7-11 on Christmas Day at 5pm than it is any other regular day at Safeway.  Not bad really.

Coffee: I'm a little scared to admit that I am beginning to like my homemade coffees better than the ones I buy. Which introduces a dilemma.  Am I really going to Starbucks, Coffee Rush, Ava, for the coffee, or the 'experience'? Granted when it is a coffee gathering it is the conversation and the company, but we could have that in one of our kitchens right? Maybe that's a thought for the new year.

Decaf: I'm thinking about it for the new year.  Why?  Why not?

Self Check Out: My kids like Dragon Fruit, know what it looks like, are always on the lookout for it.  How come the 9 year old can identify it, but the self check out machine at Safeway has no record of it and the person that is supposed to help you with these sort of things has to be told what it is as well?

Target: Is everyone going to use cash, checks and gift cards there now?

The Van: Since my husband was ferrying the do-gooders around today he took the van.  Since my vehicle is the 'van of requirement' -Harry Potter reference borrowed from my good friend- I was without all my shopping bags. But even more enlightening when I pulled up to drop my son for basketball practice, waving at my friends as they also dropped their boys no one recognized me!  Apparently the truck possesses an invisibility cloak for the driver. (more Harry Potter, sorry)

Alcohol: I think we may officially be old.  We have reached the point where we are receiving bottles of  alcohol for Christmas.  Rum for my husband, Tequila for me.  Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

One More Week!

Recent observations:

Best Cookie Ever?  Salted caramel chocolate chip cookie from Great Harvest!  Love it!  Especially warmed up a little so the caramel is gooey.

Yellow School Buses.  There is a reason why only kids ride in these things, because they are totally oblivious to their surroundings and the eminent danger they are in.  As we rumbled along returning from a high school field trip the kids were chatting amongst themselves, texting, playing on their iPhone, etc. I was looking around at this gigantic vehicle, no seat belts of course, making its way through downtown traffic during the holiday season and the lunch rush...........Help! I'm happy to report that no lives were lost while returning to school.

If your children are behaving like they had meth in their breakfast it may be the week before Christmas.
We have school all week and Christmas isn't until Wednesday! If I do not go officially insane before Friday, we still need to get through a weekend before the big day.  To add insult to injury, according to my kids anyway, since I work on Christmas, they get to open their stockings in the morning and then have to wait until after dinner for the rest of the presents.  Much whining and complaining on this subject, but we are standing firm.  This has always been our practice.  The kids however seem to think this is up for discussion, each and every year.  Unfortunately they are operating under false hopes yet again.  So sorry!

I am composing the shopping list for the liquor store as we speak.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Shop the madness!

So this may be a little untimely, but I do have to comment on the shopping situation so far this season.
For the most part, I keep my eyes and ears open all year and purchase presents along the way.  Then closer to Christmas there is a small frenzy of last minute stocking stuffers and odds and ends.

Of course the official shopping season begins on Black Friday.  I do draw the line with getting up in the wee hours for Black Friday.  I will not go out on Thursday night.  I don't need anything that badly.  I also draw the line at going out at midnight.  I've done all the all nighters I care to do in this lifetime.

I didn't grow up doing Black Friday, I have only recently started going.  The first early morning experience was accidental. I was working the day after Thanksgiving and had to be there at 7.  This meant dropping my son at day care at 630, because my husband was working nights at the time.  So since I was 7 months pregnant and the 10 month old and I were up anyway at the crack of dawn we just headed out and did a little pre-work shopping.

It was sort of hit and miss after that depending on whether or not I was working.  Now that my daughter is old enough to want to go, I have to say I do enjoy having this little tradition with her.  Last year I was supposed to work, and they cancelled me, but I was on call.  We hurried up and got dressed.  We made it to Target before they called me in again!  Dang! That was disappointing.  This year I took it as a vacation day.

We actually did some planning this year.  We got the paper, decided what we needed and where, checked out their hours, we had a plan.  We left the house at 0330 first stop Starbucks, of course!  It really wasn't bad and we got everything we needed/wanted.  We were home by 1200. I know!  What the heck took so long?  I still don't know, but the memories are made right?  I did underestimate the resolve of the Downton Abbey fans and so did not make it into the first 100 customers at World Market for the souvenir teacup.  Lesson learned there!

As our shopping trip was evolving in the days leading up to the big event my oldest son was making noises about an XBox game he needed from Game Stop.  I assured him that by the time we would get to Game Stop, the 'deal' they were offering would be long gone since it opened at midnight.  I sent him in the general direction of his father, who while he puts on a big show is usually a bit of a pushover for stuff like this and agreed to head out with the 15 year old and his gamer friends at 1130 that night.
Here was his synopsis of the situation. "Every geek in the city had seen the Bat Signal for that sale". Enough said.

Now with a mere 8 days until the big event people are getting cranky out there, so I am more than happy to know I am done.  In fact I had a little wrapping get together with a friend last Friday.  That may be another new tradition.  Tea and present wrapping while watching White Christmas, does it get any better than that?

No comments from the audience please.  I can hear you all loud and clear and I don't think I exactaly like your tone.  We all deal with this holiday frenzy in our own weird way and mine is to just Get It Done!  It is my usual M.O. in all things.  If it seems daunting at all the best thing to do is just put your head down and plow through.  Hopefully everyone comes out alive in the end.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

36 days..............

So after my little, 'Let's enjoy the seasons', observation, I made the mistake of going into Michaels today.

Two words, sensory, overload!  It is like Christmas exploded in there, complete with Christmas music playing overhead.  Help!

The whole thing is giving me anxiety!  And with Thanksgiving so late that means a rush job by me in the holiday set up at our house.  I usually like to take my time a parcel it out, but it is going to be December just 3 days after Thanksgiving.  Aaaaaahhhhhhhhh........

Now my brain is in complete overdrive. Gifts, what? and for who. Parties? maybe. Shopping? yes, yes and yes! Cookies?  OMG! Alcohol?  I think lots are in order.

Wish me luck friends. 36 days until the big day, which I'm working on by the way.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

And so it begins.

The holidays have officially arrived!  The inaugural egg nog latte, half skim of course, has been consumed!  YUM!

Break out the pilgrim salt and pepper shakers, cornucopia and table linen in rich fall colors.  No green and red, yet please.  Let's try and savor the days as they come.  Besides why invite the annual holiday anxiety all at once?  Parcel it out so you will be truly ready for that New Year's psychotic break you will so richly deserve.

Cheers!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Am I being petty?

I was at a conference for the last two days.  Being in a primarily female dominated profession, living in the same city for 18 years, let alone working at the same place, in addition to others, you know people.  You start seeing people you haven't seen in months, some of them years.  The last time you saw them they were younger, thinner, fatter, single, married, didn't have kids, had longer hair, shorter hair, more hair, no gray, bigger boobs, smaller boobs, I could go on forever.  How is it that these people change so much and when I look in the mirror, I think I'm mostly the same.  I certainly don't really feel any different.  I mean obviously the kids are older, we've moved a couple of times, still married, same job, pretty boring really.

People watching is at a premium at these things. What is wrong with us though? Why are we so petty? Notice I said, we?  I'll admit it I was thinking it, 'What is she wearing?', 'Oh my gosh she looks old!', 'Please don't ask another question so we can get out of here!'  Is there a woman out there who doesn't constantly compare herself to everyone around her? Why do we do it?  What is there to gain?  Is it some sort of throw back to our hunter/gatherer beginnings? Trying to decide who is the most fit, the most likely to survive the long winter, produce the most offspring. Or is it that we can't just celebrate our accomplishments but have to try and build ourselves up or maybe chastise ourselves based on the progress of others.

This is one of my constant struggles  I am truely of two minds.  I just need to do my thing and make sure I'm right with myself and my family, it doesn't really matter what anyone else has to say about it.  Then again if I am so arrogant as to think that I don't need anyone else, then what?  Of course my actions are constantly influenced by others, but is it their opinion that matters or what I perceive their opinion to be?

I am really good at assigning opinions to other people in my mind.  Here's the real truth though.  Most people couldn't give me or anyone else a second thought.  They are so wrapped up in their own business they certainly don't have time to think about whether or not I've worn this sweater recently, notice that I may have gotten a bit over enthusiastic with the eyebrow tweezers or wonder why I haven't gotten around to showering before getting groceries after the gym.  It's like my super power.

No matter what I may think, the fact of the matter is no one is that important.  We are all just wandering around trying to make sure the kids are fed, laundry is done, bills are paid, groceries purchased, gas in the car, people get to the places they need to, on time and hopefully we do something kind for someone else once in awhile.  We are all so busy worrying about our own over scheduled lives we certainly don't have time to worry about anyone else's!  At least I hope that's what is going on. You're not all talking about me, are you?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Mom?, Dad? Would you mind taking a parenting class?

Last weekend my husband and I went to a dinner party.  We were the youngest ones there, which doesn't happen much anymore. Everyone else was about 5-10 years older, so they all already had some grandchildren some for longer than others, but it was obvious everyone was involved with their adult kids and grandkids on a regular basis.

One of the newer grandpas commented that his son's wife had requested that grandma and grandpa take a parenting class before watching the little bundle of joy.  I think my mouth was literally hanging open, I was speechless!  All kinds of things were going through my head! I just looked at my hubby with that, 'can you believe the nerve?!', look on my face.

At this point two of the other couples chimed in saying that they had had similar experiences!  Again total disbelief!  I can't believe what kind of nerve you have to have to ask the people who have raised you, clothed you, fed you, educated you, payed for your wedding and are now offering to watch your children without monetary compensation by the way, because they love that little person you have brought into the world, maybe more than you at this point.

The next day I saw my Dad at the gym and relayed the story to him.  I thought he might fall off the elliptical with laughter! (Which would not be good by the way because at 76 that would be a hip fracture for sure.)  Trying to control his laughter he said, 'Can you imagine what your Mother would have said'?  My response was, 'I know what side my bread is buttered on'!

My mother the queen of brain washing had told me all my life that she would not be babysitting my kids.  Turns out this was just a ploy on her part to deter  any thoughts of teenage pregnancy.  So by the time I had my first baby after being married for 8 years I was having some sort of anxiety disorder about asking her to watch him.  She was the one who offered first and when reminded of her prior statements regarding child care, she said, 'Oh I just wanted to make sure you knew I would not be raising another family'. Ok, score one for Mom.

My parents probably didn't and still don't do things the way I would with the kids, but that's the beauty of grandparents, right? The kids love to go there because it is different.  The routine is different, the food, the way the laundry smells, the outings.  My parents do a lot of things with the kids that they didn't necessarily do with my brother and I because now they have the time.  They don't have jobs, school, and crazy schedules getting in the way.

There is something to be said for being able to have the kids somewhere where you know that they are getting the best treatment ever.  Maybe better than we can give at times because of all the family commitments that we have.  Knowing they are there, I never give a second thought to their well fare or safety.  Truth be told I couldn't afford to leave my kids with anyone that has the experience that they do.  My mom was a pediatric nurse for over 20 years and my dad has a Masters in early childhood education.

I know not everyone's parents have that kind of resume, but they do have one outstanding qualification. They raised you, enough said.  I guess what I'm trying to say is how disrespectful, and ungrateful those kids are to even suggest such a thing.  They are lucky they didn't end up with the 12 year old neighbor watching the kids.  They are also lucky  that they have wise parents who were willing to overlook their temporary insanity.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Pharmacy Drive Up?

As I recently shared, when the drive thru is full I walk in.  So today, 2 car line up at the Walgreens drive thru.  I know the ultimate in laziness, we pull up to receive medications, anyone have a little problem with that?

I went in and walked right up because everyone else, 3 cars now are trying to drive thru.  I even had time to grab a fantastic nail polish.  I like Sally Hansen Insta-Dri.  It goes on great and dries in a second.  Anyway I digress.

As I am completing my transaction the pharmacist goes to the window to commence the 'confidential' consultation through inch thick bullet proof glass using a microphone that blasts through a speaker on the outside of the building.  Of course she is nearly shouting because, after all if you speak loudly enough, comprehension will be increased on the part of the listener.  Really does this technique ever work?

It is always good to know that someone who is DRIVING in a car is getting a prescription for the next higher strength of Vicodin so you can keep a look out for them when you are back on the street. After all as the pharmacist revealed during their private consultation, 'FYI it may cause increased sedation.'

So much for HIPPA.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Thanks Brooke!

Observation of my 13 year old daughter going to get her brows waxed - for the second time.
Mom, did you ever think about how when you go in there they have all the soft music, and candles with the lights low and that weird music and you lay down to relax, and then they put BURNING HOT WAX on your face and RIP OUT all your hairs by the root?

I know you are thinking what does a 13 year old need her brows waxed for?  Several reasons, first and foremost, this is the person whose eyes well up with crocodile tears if I braid her hair too tight, so the thought of plucking out individual eyebrow hairs with her own tweezers is really beyond her comprehension.  Speaking as someone who needs to pluck almost every night to keep the unibrow at bay, I tried to introduce her to the joys and nuances of brow plucking over the summer.  Let's just say it's worth the $16 to have her waxed.

Second and third, Dad, half Italian, Mom, half German.  We are crazy old man eye brow antennaes waiting to happen without regular grooming.  Unfortunately she got the Irish sensitive almost glow in the dark pale skin, but her brows would make Brooke Shields proud.  After all Brooke is the reason all of us coming up in the 80's were able to keep our eyebrows.

Thanks Brooke!


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

What do you mean, I need to order flowers?

Ok, so I warned you I was an inconsistent blogger, and having challenged myself to make some sort of daily comment, I will own the fact that I can't do it, and I'm ok with that!  That being said there will always be blog fodder in my life and when the stars align I will have the opportunity to share.


It is hard to get across to 15 year old boys that when it comes to school dances, like homecoming, there are certain things that must be done.

It does not help when Dad is giving him the good old boy party line, - Don't worry about that stuff it's just a dance.

Now I'm not talking about asking her on the jumbo-tron at a Blazer's game, renting a limo, or a violin player to serenade you at dinner.  I'm talking about the BASICS.

- You don't want to totally clash, clothing-wise, so it might be helpful to ask her the color of the dress.  I know I'm asking a lot........

- It is on Saturday night, even when old people like my husband and I go out on a Saturday night we make a reservation.  It's busy!  So maybe finding out if you are going to dinner somewhere other than 5 Guys Burgers and Fries would be in order.  I know CRAZY!

- Flowers are required, period, end of discussion.  I'm playing the 'it's a girl thing' card on this one.

- No you may not wear your black Nikes with dress pants and a blazer.  Some form of dress shoe will be required.  Your only choice here is do you want to shop with me or your father.  He chose Dad.

With the minor details and requirements in order and met, I feel we are at least minimally ready for our first foray into the teenage dance world.

I know we're getting off easy with a jacket, tie, and a pair of dress shoes.  I was a girl once you know.  Hard to believe as that is.  I also know I'm about 2 years away from mani/pedi to match the dress, the dress itself, with the added bonus of the whole 'it's inappropriate' debate that is unavoidable when shopping with teen girls. Not to mention the 'you are going to break your ankle in those shoes' discussion, all topped off with my husband having to face the 'who is this boy' reality of his new phase of life.  Lord help us all!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Mommy?

I may be wrong, but then again it is my opinion, so I'm just going to go for it.

No one over the age of 5 should refer to their parents, or themselves for that matter, as 'Mommy and/or Daddy'.  Believe it or not I am running into this a lot lately.

Millenials and Gen-Xers, all the way up to Boomers.  It's not good.  Please people have a little self respect!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Challenge yourself

You may have noticed that I am a fairly sporadic blogger.  I am finding it hard to fit into the daily routine.  However, I don't have a quote of the day or any of that sort of thing automatically running on my page, so I thought it an effort to better myself and to keep you coming back for more I would at least try to make a daily observation.  That shouldn't be so hard, should it?  I guess we will see, I may have spoken too soon!  Here we go.

Why is it that we will wait in line at the drive up coffee for 15 min, when we can park, walk up to the window and be out of there in 5?  Are we really that lazy?  For me, if there is a line at the drive through, I'm parking it!  Besides, any exercise is better than none, right?  Not to mention the looks on the faces of the people in their cars in the line as I walk away with my steaming hot coffee.  Good thing I'm not sensitive about those kind of things, it might give a person a complex.  You just have to celebrate the small successes.  Hot coffee and a moderate challenge to your self confidence.  What better way to start the day?  At least no one called me any names, out loud that is.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

I stand corrected

OK,  so it has been called to my attention that I have been fortunate to have had a regular period at all so I should just be grateful and shut up about it. OK, I get it! I'm just sayin' it's like one of those secrets that no one ever talks about, but when you have really good friends you realize it's happened to us all we just never say anything.  Like hemorrhoids during pregnancy- and if you didn't have any I don't want to hear about it!  Or having to buy an athletic cup for your 8 year old when your husband is out of town.  That is not my area of expertise, obviously.  Or your teenage daughter is going to completely screw up any sort of cycle you had but to complicate things it could also be 'the menopause' or maybe it's just the brain tumor or alzheimers setting in.  Possibly late onset schizophrenia.  No offense to anyone actually suffering from these disease processes, but you know that's how our brains work some days we get crazy!

In short apologies to all you unfortunate irregular people out there.  I guess I have one more thing to be thankful for.

Monday, October 14, 2013

It's not over 'till it's over.

Waiting for menopause to start is an awful lot like waiting to get your period.  Why do we as teenage girls wait and hope for it, even though our wise mothers tell us not to worry and enjoy it while it lasts.  It's like some big secret we can't wait to have and like many things in life with lengthy anticipation when it is acutually here you wonder- 'What the heck was I all excited about?'

Now at the age of 45, I'm waiting again, for it to be over!  You never know when it will happen.  My mom was 47 when hers started.  My grandma- my mother's mom like many women of that time had a hysterectomy.  My dad's mom and her sister- Great Aunt Mary, well I didn't have the forethought to ask them when they were alive, so that's it, the culmination of my family reproductive history as it applies to menopause, not much help.

To complicate matters, having a 13 year old girl in the house is allowing her raging hormones to ride roughshod over my declining ones.  I have a group of six girlfriends, all of us have daughters in the same class, except for one who has a son.  She just smiles and thanks God for her boys when all these conversations ensue.  It seems that all of our regularly regular, 28 day cycles are bing completely undermined by these girls and their unpredictable super teenage hormones!  After finally figuring our own stuff out, now the girls seem to be running the show.  All of our routines have fallen prey to the erratic whims of the teenage cycle.  They are really messing us up!  Its getting to the point of exasperation.  We're early, we're late its all over the place!

Now I have been regular, every 28 days, for the last 32 years, so if I go on a trip, I know what to pack and when - well I used to anyway...... I am a feminine hygiene product hoarder.  They are everywhere, in the car, in every suitcase, all purses and gym bags, my lunch sack, the kitchen, all bathrooms, my knitting bag - everywhere, usually.......

Recently my husband and I went on a trip to the Dominican Republic.  As I was packing I unearthed the stash in that particular suitcase.  I did the calculations, we'd be home in plenty of time, no need to haul those things all the way to another country, I should have known better!!  The day before we were set to be out on a catamaran tour - all day on the ocean, four days early, a panicked search was on for the afore mentioned products.  Purchased with Dominican Pesos, requested in Espanol, thank goodness for high school Spanish.  I blame my daughter (and so does my husband).

Moral of the story?  The tried and true motto:  It's not over 'till the fat lady sings, or at least until she is officially through with menopause.  So ladies start squirreling away your 'things'.  The teenagers are running the show whether we like it or not.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Science Camp

Dayquil, Halls, travel tissues and Emergen-c because you still have a cold: $25.00
Two vacation days from work: $700.00
Spending a week in the forest with your 13 year old and her class: Priceless

I know its been done but it really does say it all.  There can never be a more fulfilling experience than
spending this time with these kids.  They are trying so hard to be mature, but they are still young enough to be silly and have fun getting muddy and wet hiking around, with messy hair and rain pants on.  (If you don't have experience with rain pants, they are the most unflattering piece of apparel ever made!  No matter who you are.)

You have to snatch up these opportunities when they come along.  They are few and far between!

Monday, September 16, 2013

No samples for you!

Today at the grocery store I overheard a mom talking to her 4ish daughter. There was a tray of samples out on the counter at the Starbucks in the store.  Cute little girl reached out for one.  'That's not for you.' mom said.  'Why?', 'Do you know what's in it?', 'No.'  'If it was a big piece of chocolate would you take it?',  'No!',  'Why not?', 'Because I'm allergic.'  'Do you know if there is chocolate in that?'  'No.'

I was really loving this exchange as I self checked my groceries.  Always multi-tasking!
'Why do they put those out if people can't have them?'  'Some people can, but you can't and it is not the store's job to know about your allergies, it is your job.'  'Ohhhhhh,' she said.

'Thank you for being responsible!' mom said to her.

And I thank mom for being responsible!  The best way to avoid unintentional exposures to any kind is for everyone involved to be aware. It doesn't matter if it is a food allergy, a show you don't think is appropriate, a toy you don't care for, the list could go on forever. Kids are never to young to learn what they are unable to  have and are more likely to be aware of things in their daily lives that they can't have if they have been educated.

My kids were always happy to tell you they couldn't have something 'because Mom says it's inappropriate.'  They were also happy to tell employees of any store outside on a smoke break, 'That's not a good choice. Smoking causes cancer.'  Oh well, at least they were listening to us, right?

I think some parents feel like their kids are missing out on things so they don't necessarily tell them they can't have certain foods, play certain video games, or watch certain shows. These parents just make sure to avoid the offenders, and ask everyone else to avoid them too.

There will come a day when your child has to make a choice on their own and just think how easy it would be if they have been saying no thank you all along and not thinking anything of it. Than if they think since mom is not here to say anything maybe they will just try it one time.

Kids are usually happy to do the right thing, they just have to be empowered with the knowledge to do so.  It is so much easier to get them in the habit when they are toddlers and still eager to please mom and dad at every turn, than when they are petulant 12 year olds who are sure we as parents are trying to ruin their lives.

I'm not the first one to say it and certainly not the last, knowledge is power.


Saturday, September 14, 2013

Personal Best!

It was a great day for a run.  Overcast, light breeze, 60s, perfect!  Today was the Oktoberfest
5k walk/run and 10k run in Mt. Angel.  I was a little disappointed when the sun wasn't blazing down, because I love to run when it's like that, but I think in light of my results, maybe I am becoming an Oregonian runner.  What's next running in the pouring rain, voluntarily?

I have been looking for a 10k to run for about a year now.  They seem to be harder to come by, or maybe it's just that I am working when they are scheduled.  That happens to me a lot.  I'm sure I could be a seriously impressive runner if stuff like home, family, work didn't keep getting in the way. Go figure!

This has been a pretty good year for me running wise.  It started with the 'First Run' at midnight January 1 which was a 5k personal record for me, 27:04 min.  Mainly because it was so cold I couldn't even feel my legs by the end.  Then I had a personal record for the 15k Shamrock run, 1:28:04 and a personal record for the 1/2 marathon in the foot traffic flat on the 4th of July, 2:04:48.  So to complete my personal record year, I just needed a 10k.  My goal has always been to do it in less than an hour, and that seemed to keep eluding me.

Apparently today was the day though.  Personal record achieved!  I can't tell you how excited I am about it!  I guess all the planets were in alignment and there was some sort of convergence in the universe because I finished in 55:07!  8:53/mi!

It was a good day.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Every day is independence day with a small 'i'.

As you may or may not know I am a very pragmatic mom.  Some people say I'm tough and when I am on playground duty at school, look out!  I see parenting as keeping the children housed, clothed, fed and safe, as well as fostering an environment that will give these people every opportunity to at some point evolve into strong, independent adults able to make wise choices for themselves.

I had a full circle moment this morning.  I was lingering in the hall at school waiting for another mom so we could go for a run.  In through the door came a sweet little girl with blonde hair, blue eyes, a shiny new hot pink backpack with orange flowers and big crocodile tears.

'What's wrong?' I asked, 'I didn't want to do drop off today', she said.  At our school you can drive through and drop the kids off or you can park and walk in as far as the front hall.

'Oh, you wanted your mom to walk you in?' Nodding and additional tears, 'Yes.'  This was my Ahhhhh moment.  Here is another 'tough' mom getting her kids used to the independent drop off.   I imagine that  last week, the first week of school, she told my little friend that this week they would be working on drop off and getting to class on her own.  Good for her!  And now I got to be the nice lady who helped her in the hallway.

'Well some days moms just need you to do drop off.', I told her.  'Would you like me to walk with you?'  More nodding, she said she was in first grade.  I told her I had 3 kids that had been in first grade with this particular teacher, but they were all older now.  Small smile.

It really was a rewarding  interaction.  I'm all for fostering independence and supporting those parents who are struggling to do the same.  We are all in this together, whether we realize it or not.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Top 10 reasons to be thankful,...... this week.

It was kind of one of those weeks.  Not one of THOSE, but enough of a karmic, or cosmic reminder that maybe we have it kind of good, and today was definetly one of THOSE days, so I thought a little good mo-jo was in order.

1. We are employed.  While we have fairly recession proof jobs, because people will always need medical care and there will always be crime, it is still good to appreciate what you have.

2. NO one in our family has food allergies!  I have come to appreciate this more and more over the
years.

3. We have no serious medical problems.  Are we the supreme pictures of health?, no. We have the middle aged issues. Joints are achey, could maybe eat better, exercise more, sleep more you know boring issues that we all want to ignore, but hey still getting around under our own power so......

4. NO mental health issues, kind of says it all.

5. We have children with the actual potential to live independently one day.  Will it be soon enough for our liking?, maybe not, but the potential is there and that is a good thing.

6. We have good friends that we enjoy!

7. We have savings!  It may not be much but it is ours and it is growing little by little everyday.  There is hope of retirement before death, I think.

8. We don't have any major debt.  Again, kind of speaks for itself.

9. Our families like each other.  While it is hard for me to imagine that this would not be the case, it really does surprise me how often it occurs and what a struggle that must be.

10. As my Mom says everyday that you wake up is a good day.


Top 10 is subject to change at any given moment, so feel blessed and enjoy!







Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Back to School!

Did you hear it?  The sound of squealing tires as hundreds of mini vans simultaneously exited the parking lots of schools all across the country.

Although my kids are at the age where summer has really become a pleasure.  Lazy mornings and late nights.  Lots to do, but no agenda.  The days are fluid and flexible and wonderfully spontaneous at times.  It will be nice to return to a predictable routine.

My heart goes out to the teachers everywhere who are headed into one of the hardest weeks of school.  Everyone is tired, left with a summer hang over of irregular bedtimes, unusual meals, vacations without the usual rules and regulations, and just maybe too much sugar, caffeine, and electronics.

I would like to say it was from too much sun, exercise and outdoor activity, but I think that would be a bit optimistic.  A mom can dream right?

So good luck, teachers and students.  Parents welcome to the hectic order of daily lunches, band and sports practices, orthodontia appointments, new classes, classmates and teachers.

Even though the Halloween costumes and Christmas decorations are out at Target and Michael's, it is still time for Back to School.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Just sayin'.....

If the NSA has a $278 million budget for 2013 to reimburse telecommunications companies for the data they allow the government to collect, why do my cell and internet bills keep going up?

Good old fashioned greed?, or maybe this is a new stimulus package and we are suppling the stimulus?

Just sayin'.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Did I really agree to this?

New heights have been reached in the feeling old and possibly having a death wish category. I accompanied my 15 year old on his maiden voyage in the family van with his shiny new drivers permit.  Lord help us all!  Is there a patron saint for teaching kids to drive? Because I'm going to need some spiritual assistance, or maybe the assistance of spirits - tequila in particular!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Hipster Dinner

Now I know that technically my friends and I are outside the age window to be in any way considered 'Hipsters', unless of course you would be talking about people who have an increased chance of acquiring a hip fracture during their everyday activities.  That being said we found ourselves at a restaurant last night that may have been considered a little out of our 40-50 year old,  80s, Huey Lewis and the News hip to be square comfort zone.

About a year ago my husband and I decided that since the kids are ever more rapidly approaching the age when they will move out of our house -notice I said when not if- we should make more of an effort to carve out some time for the two of us to go out together even if it was just for a walk or a coffee, anything to make sure we still like each other and have something to talk about without the benefit of distractions like kids, house, sports, pets, homework........need I say more?

Being gluttons for punishment we decided to try and coordinate with 2 other couples to meet us for dinner.  It took 3 months, but we found a date.  Now to find a place.  Two of us live fairly close, but the third couple live on the other side of town, so we decided to meet in the middle.

Mexican was the fare of choice.  I have the Original Taco House on my list of things to do this year.  It has been around forever and is supposed to be great, but the location can get complicated on a weeknight with traffic etc. so we moved the search a little closer in.  The people who work downtown would meet us there and the rest would carpool.  We started google-ing Mexican restaurants in the general area and checked the menus and websites for something moderately priced, after all we still have kids at home sucking the life out of our checking accounts, remember?

We came upon Que Pasa Cantina http://quepasacantinapdx.com/. It looked great, was right where we wanted to be, had a diverse menu and the price was right. Game on! We were entering the trendy Hawthorne area, cute cafes, food carts, yarn shops. We may have been exceeding the maximum age, there were no skinny jeans, plaid ties, or Ray Bans, no one is gluten free or lactose intolerant. We were living on the edge!

By some sort of bizarre traffic karma we arrived before the agreed upon 6pm.  Lucky for us!  Happy Hour from 4-6.  The Margaritas (you may recall I am a connoisseur) were fantastic!  Chips and guac, YUM!  All of our dinners were excellent, and dessert? The warm cinnamon brownie with Mexican caramel.  There aren't words.  The weather was perfect for an evening walk, the sunset was gorgeous, we may not be hipsters, but I think we just might go again.

Tragically un-hip and loving it!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Does anyone ever TALK anymore?

It seems that a  popular topic for discussion lately, when there is discussion, is the technology, no technology, social media, no social media, electronics yes or no debate. It seems to affect our generation, in our 30s and 40s with teenage kids.  Many of us grew up with black and white TVs, no cable and no gaming system what-so-ever.  'Portable phone' meant you could make the long cord stretch from the kitchen wall around the corner and maybe into a pantry or closet or stairway.  If you were really lucky you might have a 'teen line'.

We like technology we have been growing up side by side with it.  The first mobile phones, shaped like a brick and weighing more! Atari, Nintendo and Sega. Cable boxes and the first TV remotes. We are conflicted though. We had great childhoods full of tree houses, camping in the backyard, telling ghost stories, running with a pack of neighborhood kids and staying outside from sun up until after dark.  We rushed inside for food and back out again.  We went to the library and read for hours.  We want these things for our kids too.

We rationalize by saying, well it's different now, kids can't just be out on their own like we were.  Can't they? or are we just so paralyzed by our own fears of what might happen that we can't let them out of our sight?  Shouldn't we be educating them as best we can so they can get out there on their own? Shouldn't we utilize the communication technology we have to increase their freedom? Instead of letting them turn into a bunch of mushrooms hiding out in the family room texting, messaging, gaming.......

Meanwhile we rack our brains wondering why they seem to be so unable to make common sense decisions, why they won't stand up for themselves, why they are constantly wondering what to do instead of just doing it.

I think they are losing their ability to communicate in any way that involves direct person to person contact.  All that 'skin to skin' bonding we did with them when they were infants, the eye contact, and constant chatter so they would have well developed brains and vocabularies.  We are systematically reversing all the work we did by handing them device after device in the name of advancing technology.  They don't want to call, they would rather text.  They are more than happy to meet online for gaming or group text, but if you ask them to go out with their friends and meet somewhere, TALK TO EACH OTHER, they act like you just asked them to go to school in their underwear.

We have struggled with all of our kids from kindergarden to high school with a reoccurring theme on all report cards and conferences, it boils down to 'more work, less talk'.   Not surprisingly my husband and I both have ancient report cards with similar comments on them!  As parents we dutifully chastise them for talking when they should be listening, and tell them to do their talking during lunch and recess, not during class.  As the kids we used to be we totally get it!  How can you possibly contain all the excitement of the day into some cafeteria or playground chat?

I had a realization the other day while running.  I do a lot of thinking while running, after all how can you run that far, that much without some sort of distraction.  Music can only do so much for a person.  Maybe we should be proud of them for communicating in a non electronic fashion. Obviously we would not in any way encourage them for talking at inappropriate times or distracting others, but there is a small secret voice in me that says, 'way to go for being a good old fashioned Chatty Kathy, for getting out there and exercising your mind.'  I guess if that's the only negative comment on the report cards, I'll take it.  Never mind they all have the handwriting of a serial killer because no one teaches handwriting anymore.........I'll save that for another post.


Monday, August 12, 2013

When you realize life is good....

Getting off work early on the 4th day of your stretch.
Thai food for dinner with spontaneous friends.
Sitting outside for dessert so you can laugh until you have tears and your belly hurts.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Did you ever think maybe you're punishing yourself more than the kids?

A few years ago, before I ever thought I would need it, I learned about Amish days from my friend Mel at work.  Amish days are just what you might think, if it requires electricity you will not be using it, with the exception of household appliances, in case chores need to be done and of course lighting.  It was Amish day for the kids at our house today.

It always seems like a good idea when all the electronic devices are going off simultaneously, and no one can seem to find any of the thousand pair of headphones or earphones that we own and then the bickering starts over the TV which they are all watching while texting and or messaging on iPods, iPads and cell phones.  When you call their names to try and put some order to the situation they glance up at you with a blank look, the white/blue light of their electronic device of choice reflected in their blank zombie like gaze and say, 'Huh?'

'THAT IS IT!'  The last nerve is finally gone. 'Tomorrow is Amish day!' For a moment you revel in the thought of the quiet that will surround you in the house and if there was a sound track for the day it would be, 'Heaven, I'm in Heaven.......'  Then it hits you, hold on a minute, now I am going to be alone with these beasts all day.

Why can't they be more like the dog who sprints to you with wild abandon, ears flying and tail high when you merely say- 'Come on, let's go!'?



Friday, August 9, 2013

Have you ever wondered, what Victoria's actual secret is?

Well, I think I may have figured it out!  Get ready, this may be a shock for some of you out there.  No one over the age of 20 has boobs that look that good no matter what kind of bra they wear.  Unless of course they have had some sort of gravity defying front end work done.  If you ever had a braless-hippie-chick phase (about 3-4 years for me), then proceeded to have and nurse three kids then continue on to lose 50 lbs, well it's kind of a rock-in-sock situation as my friend Susan says.  Don't get me wrong I think Victoria's Secret is great, I get all my bras there -overshare alert- if anyone can give the girls a mini makeover its the Body by Victoria demi. The have to have some sort of design savants creating these engineering marvels with lace and bling on them.

The thing is we aren't talking actual boobs anymore it is something formerly know as boobs that I strap into the demi for a truely new and improved look.  I am being totally honest here, so gentlemen keep that in the back of your mind next time you are admiring what you think are the best looking set ever, it is not all truth in advertising my friends.  Is it real? or is it a secret between your dream girl and Victoria.

Victoria really has the marketing locked up though, who can pass up a free panty or $10 off a bra?  They send those little coupons for a free panty and $10 off about once a month, if you are brave enough to give them your email address.  I know they think that once you get in there with your free panty coupon you will just go crazy and spend a zillion dollars, which you could.  At least I could.

I myself have no problem walking in there claiming my free panty and hitting the road.  That's just me.  It is an adventure of sorts, you never know what the free panty will be, Cheekys, Laceys, Hip Huggers, Boy Shorts, Thongs.  It is a panty extravaganza!

So thanks to Victoria for helping us all look like we have 20 year old boobs.  It was just one of those secrets I couldn't keep to myself. And I think maybe our husbands also thank you for the demise of the granny panty and the surprise panty of  the month that is probably going on in houses all over the United States.  Lets face it how can you complain about anything that was free.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Cr8tive Places

I thought I might elaborate on some of the links I have posted.  At first glance you might be thinking, 'What the heck, kind of random' so here we go!

Seasons and Generations:  About a year and a half ago I sent out one of my then 'imaginary blog posts'.  Occasional comments on daily life in our household.  I usually sent them to some friends and family.  On this particular story my Aunt replied, 'Have you ever thought of publishing?' Well no of course not, I mean I totally have my plate full with family and work this was just a infrequent indulgence to write these little tidbits and e-mail them off.  Long story short she forwarded it to her friend who was starting a monthly publication- Seasons and Generations.

Too Cute:  One of the Moms from school ventured out into the children's resale business.  She also includes some artisan crafts. One of which is my ever popular Felted Coffee Cuff.  They have been referred to as, 'the best gift ever!'

Wendy Green Yoga: Wendy Green has a raw foods yoga retreat on the North Caribbean Coast of Honduras.  She and my brother  host 10-14 day 'deep green' retreats year round.  It is truely amazing.

Road ID: Three years ago I decided it was time to take charge of my personal fitness, so I started running.  I still don't think I really consider myself a 'Runner'.  I did decide to keep track of my miles this year, so at what milage do you consider yourself a 'Runner'?  Anyway, since I don't want to be lying unidentified in a ditch or on the side of the road somewhere I invested in a Road ID band.  Love it!  Also great for kids when they start out on their own riding to school and friends houses.  Great for the little guys too because they have your phone numbers right there if they are on a school trip or the whole fam is at the amusement park.

Active:  Lots of great health and exercise tips for whatever you are interested in doing.

Map My Run:  No matter where we go I can map a run, know my route and distance and my hubby will know where I am headed. ( He worries.)

Mountain Girl Silver:  I gave myself one of her disc necklaces with the kids names for my 40th birthday.  I LOVE it!  I always get compliments and people want to know where I got it.

Ravelry: Anything you could possibly want to know about Knitting, Crochet etc.  If you have a yarn problem, and you know who you are, you have to check it out.

Etsy:  I think the name says it all. If you think you might want it, they have it.


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Best Mocha Ever...

So, I wouldn't say I have to have a coffee everyday, and we're not talking some drip coffee I make at home, we're talking COFFEE.  In an emergency I can do a Starbucks instant Via, but that is my limit on home made stuff.  After all we all have our places in this world and the baristas of the planet hold a special place in my heart.

I have no brand loyalty, I'm pretty much like that across the board.  If I like it I will try it, as long as the price is right. ( I'm a bit of a cheap skate as well)  There are a few local coffee places that I love and if I have the time I would prefer to go there, because the coffee is gooooood.

When I am on the fly though, between errands, chores, dropping off and picking up kids, I'm a Starbucks girl just because they are reliable.  If they actually make what I ask for I can usually count on it tasting the same no matter which one I go to.

Sometimes I will give a new place a try.  There is always that moment though when you think, 'Is this going to be worth it?'  Because of course I have rules.  My kids think I'm crazy, but oh well, more fodder for their future therapy right?  I only have one coffee a day, I only get a coffee if I have done my workout for the day and had at least half of my water for the day- I know you are all thinking 'crazy train', but if not I end up drinking coffee and not much else, the water gets lost in the shuffle and all I have to show for it is a headache and crankier than usual attitude. No comment from family and friends here!

If I buy a coffee I will usually suffer through even if it is not great.  It has to be really horrific for me to give up and dump it down the drain.

OK, so here is where I was going when I started this whole thing.  I had the best mocha ever last weekend on a road trip in Montana.  We were visiting friends in Western Montana, not a lot of population out there and certainly no Starbucks, but over the last 8 years that we have been making this summer trip some coffee carts have been popping up.

We stopped at Cheri's Coffee in Thompson Falls, MT  It is on Montana Hwy 200 right next to the Ace Hardware.  She was just closing up, put popped back in to make me a 12oz.  double iced mocha.  Delish!  I'm picky about my mochas because if there is too much chocolate that makes it too sweet and it overtakes the coffee.  This was fantastic just the right amount of chocolate vs. coffee.  Cheri's is my new go to in the Western Montana area!

Bad news is it is an 8 1/2 hour drive from here.  I just have to keep up my local search.