Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Olympic Controversy

Colin, my 14 year old son, does not like the Olympics.  How is this possible?   Some of my fondest memories revolve around the Olympics. They signify strength, determination and patriotism.  I just can't believe that something I really look forward to holds no interest from my own child.

One of my earliest memories is sitting at my Nana’s house watching the compulsories for Ice Dancing.  We watched couples do the same exact routine, even making the same marks in the ice.  I was fascinated that people from all over the world learned the exact same dance, right down to the exact position on the ice.  Apparently they don’t do that anymore because it does not make compelling television for the average viewer. 

Who doesn't remember the Miracle on Ice?  It was on a Sunday.  I remember because we prayed for the team at church.  Some friends came to our house afterward to watch the game.  Nine people were jammed into a room that could comfortably fit four.  I didn't know anything about hockey, but I had never felt more patriotic in my young life.    

It is not so much the sports that draws me to the games, but the human interest stories.  It is the sacrifices the families made so the kids could excel.  How much work must be put into making it to the games?  What motivates some kids to want this when other kids are not interested at all?  How do I motivate my child to be so passionate about life?  How do parents watch as their kids fling themselves off a hill wearing only skis just to see how far they can go?  What made someone think that was a good idea in the first place.   How come each sport is more dangerous that the previous one?

Colin thinks that once you have seen one person do the half-pipe, you have seen it all.  He refuses to believe that Ice Dancing is a sport.  (I am sure the mothers of Meryl Davis and Charlie White will beg to differ.) He has no interest in the human interest stories.  Because he has never had to pay for a lesson or drive someone to and from, he can’t appreciate the struggle to allow your kids to reach for their dreams.  Maybe this is just another one of those things he will enjoy as he gets older.  I am really starting to look forward to 2022.  That might give him just enough time to catch up.

 moonshine  <a href="http://yeahwrite.me/moonshine/"><img src="http://yeahwrite.me/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/moonshine.png"></a>

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Symmetry and the Subway Sandwich Artists

I don’t deny that the older I get the worse my idiosyncrasies get.  I still won’t eat ketchup or mustard. Mayonnaise?  Forget about it.  My food issues are well documented, but my other issue is that things need to be symmetrical.  Balance is very important in both appearance and weight.  For instance, there is a house in my neighborhood that is a colonial, but it has more windows on the right than the left.  Every single time we walk by it, I have to tell Dave how much it bothers me.  After 12 years, it is really starting to bother him, too.  If you are wearing a shirt with a pattern and it doesn't match up at the buttons, don't be surprised when I look over your shoulder when talking to you, because looking at it straight on will set me teeth on edge.  When you combine my food issues with symmetry issues, things get a little crazy. 

I order a veggie delight sandwich with double American cheese.  The American cheese comes in triangles. Triangles. Do you see where this is going?  I ask you, if you are trying to cover the bread, why would you arrange the cheese in a mountain formation instead of inverting every other triangle to make rectangles?  Am I the only one that thinks this should be basic common sense?   When you combine that with the fact that I like double cheese, half my sandwich is quadruple cheesy where the cheese overlaps, whereas the other half has no cheese at all. My kids won’t let me say anything; I already embarrass them enough. 

On top of the double cheese, I ask for a little bit of spinach, tomatoes that are ripe and don’t have a big hole in the middle (indicative of the removal of a hard, white, tasteless core), and one piece of onion to cover the entire length of the sandwich. (I don’t want to have onion breath the rest of the day.)  And to finish it off, just a light sprinkle of salt and pepper.  They already think I am crazy, and I am sure they would have spit on it if they didn’t make it right in front of me.  I know they want to roll their eyes when they see me coming, and I have seen them race to the back so they don’t have to deal with me. Could it really be a coincidence that all the supplies are empty and need refilling just as I walk in.  Why not just ask them to turn the triangle over, you ask? Apparently vocalizing that request is just too much for my children to bare.  

For now, at least I have all the ingredients, albeit disorganized.  I guess I will have to be content with reconstructing my sandwich the way Euclid, the father of geometry, would have intended.  Not only do I get cheese in every bite, but I can be relaxed while eating it.

<a href="http://yeahwrite.me/moonshine/"><img src="http://yeahwrite.me/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/moonshine.png"></a>


Thursday, January 30, 2014

How the Wheels Fell Off the Exercise Wagon

Before I captivate you with the story on how I sabotaged my own exercise plan, I am asking a favor.  I have joined a writing community called Yeah Write.  My posts will be judged by perfect strangers and I am a bit nervous to pull the trigger on it.  Can you please tell me what you think about this post and how I can make it better?  I would rather hear it from people that know me and kind of like me than from an editor that doesn't understand my fragile ego. 

Now, without further ado, I bring you "How the Wheels Fell Off the Exercise Wagon."

For 20 weeks last year, through the hottest of hot and the coldest of cold that Northeastern Ohio has to offer, I schlepped across campus for my exercise class.  I put my sedentary body through previously unimaginable exercises and became a lean, mean exercising machine.  I liked it so much that I actually recruited new members for our class.  Granted, at the beginning it was so I would not be the only person who couldn’t do a proper push-up, but by the end of the winter semester I was loving how I looked and felt.   

I was sure that a little thing like a five week break in the class and the Christmas/New Year’s holiday would not break my stride.  Oliver had taught me all I needed to know to carry on by myself.  In the past five weeks I only proved to myself that I cannot be trusted to my own devices.  My warm bed, comfy couch and a hectic holiday season were my downfall.  Who was I trying to kid?  My Kindle full of books and DVR full of shows was a much bigger draw than planks and weights. 

I started this program because I knew that I needed to take care of myself.  Now that I am working in an office instead of from home, I sit at my desk all day, with the only activity being to walk to the restroom.  Most days I didn’t even leave for lunch.  Something had to be done.  When the university offered a class designed specifically for couch potatoes, I jumped at the chance. 

It started in the summer.  The hot, hot summer.  I was in the worst shape of my life and was embarrassed that I would be the most pathetic participant.  I quickly found out that not only was I not pathetic, but I was firmly in the upper middle of the pack.  I gained a little confidence and a few muscles and made a few friends.  I started to look forward to exercising.  For the first time since I had kids I was taking care of me.  

We went all summer and into the fall without stopping.  That was the key, we didn’t stop.  Fall turned to winter and what I now refer to as THE BREAK.  Nobody was watching for me or e-mailing me when I didn’t go.  Nobody cared how many movements I had on my MOVBAND.  There were no rewards for fighting the good fight.  There were holiday cookies to eat, smut romance novels to read and 27 back episodes of NCIS on my DVR.  I had kids to entertain and laundry to fold.  There was no such thing as lunch time, let alone “me” time. 

Monday starts the new class and I will be back on the straight and narrow.  I am looking forward to seeing my old workout friends and making some new ones.  I can’t wait to tell the new people that it is going to be okay and they are doing a great thing that is going to change the quality of their lives.  I am excited to lose the sluggish cloud that has followed me for the last five weeks.   In 12 weeks I will once again be a lean, mean exercising machine.  Until then, you can find me on my couch reading “Orange is the New Black” on my kindle and binge watching it on Netflix before they release season two!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

A Round Up of Sorts

I have a lot of half posts roaming in my head.  I thought I would just get them out as a round-up and see where we are.  If there is interest, I can expand, but I doubt that will be  the case.

  • Yesterday was the 21st anniversary of my first date with Dave.  I should say the first time we went out.  I didn't know it was a date.  If you want to know when we went out when we both knew it was a date, that would be the 15th. 
  • I took my contacts out at work today because my eyes are very dry and itchy.  I learned that even if you know you have a pair of glasses in your desk drawer, it would be a good idea to find them before you take out your contacts.  It is slightly embarrassing to have to ask your student assistant to find them for you. 
  • We watched the Kevin James movie, "Here Comes the Boom" yesterday because the kids were still off for the holiday.  It was way better than I thought it would be. 
  • When your kids are off for an extra three days from a two week holiday, you do things you don't think you will do.  Namely watch the Kevin James film, "Here Comes the Boom".
  • Ryan does not do well when cooped up in the house for 2.5 weeks.  I do not do well being cooped up in the house with Ryan for the same length of time.   
  • Diesel fuel turns to sludge in -20 degree weather.  When this happens you get yet ANOTHER day off of school when the buses don't start. 
  • If you don't want your kids to tell you they are bored, tell them they will have to clean their disgusting bathroom if they mention it.  They will come up with creative ways to get the point across, so make sure they understand that you do not want to know that they are less than fully engaged in activities that you do not have to come up with or participate in unless it is of your doing. 
  • Even if you manage to get all of the laundry done, including mating socks and getting it put away, if you turn your back, even for a minute, it will explode again and morph all over your house. 
  • I read a good book when I was on Christmas break.  It was called "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed.  I have since found out that it is going to be turned into a movie with Reece Witherspoon in the lead role.  She would not have been my first pick to be in the lead, but we will have to wait and see how she does.  I would have picked somone like Sandra Bullock, or maybe the girl who played Hermione in Harry Potter.  Can't think of her name right now. 
  • I still don't like winter. 
  • This will cover it for now.  I hope this post finds you all warm and happy in this new year!

Friday, December 6, 2013

The Fountain of Youth

It has been said that my parents neighborhood must be built over the Fountain of Youth because most of the people that live there built their houses and still live there.  They have always been very active and vibrant people and many of them are in their eighties and nineties.  Within the last 12 months, I have seen some of them up on their roofs cleaning out their gutters. 

Lately, the fountain has been failing us.  Earlier in the year we lost a couple that had lived at the end of the street.  They died within a few weeks of each other.  We were friends with their kids growing up, and they had a ton of kids.  There are many grand kids and I am sure there are great grand kids as well.  It was a devastating loss for their family, as well as the neighborhood.  Their house is still in the family which makes me happy.  The yellow house will always be their house. 

A couple of weeks ago we lost a another member of the neighborhood.  He was a 97 year old Pearl Harbor veteran who lived a very full life.  He and his wife had been married for 66 years.  He didn't appreciate us when we were younger and tried to eat his apples, but as we grew into adults, we got to see another side of this man, and to appreciate him as well.  This past summer we had a picnic on Memorial Day and he told us a little bit about his Pearl Harbor experience.  It is hard for me to wrap my head around how scary that must have been for him as he was only a 19 year old boy.  He really didn't want to talk about it, but we pushed him, and now I am glad we did. 

Last Saturday was a crushing blow for me.  We lost our next door neighbor who was only 53.  He had lung cancer that wasn't discovered until it was too late.  He fought the good fight for three years, and I watched as he got weaker this summer.  Still, I was shocked when I got the call that he had passed.  He was an incredibly generous man that watched me grow up from a snot nosed kid to a productive member of society with a job and kids of my own.  He was a big man that had gotten a scholarship to play football at the University of Akron. He had a deep booming voice that could draw the attention of even their cat when he would try to leave their yard.   When he and his wife moved in, they had a big boat and a motorcycle and a huge dog. After a few years, the toys disappeared, and in their place came a baby boy.  That baby boy is now in his twenties and is the spitting image of his dad.  As I was looking at the pictures at his memorial service yesterday I realized that as he was only 11 years older than me, but he always seemed so much older than that.  I realized that as he was watching me grow up, I was watching him grow up as well. 

The old neighborhood will never be the same, but I know I am better for having lived there. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Reasons Why Thanksgiving is My Favorite Holiday

  1. Laura comes home and my kids get to play with her kids.  This makes my kids very happy.
  2. Girls day on Black Friday. 
  3. Yum Yum salad.  (Marshmallow goodness mixed with pineapple and cream cheese!)
  4. There is no gift buying or giving involved.
  5. Going to Julie's house for dinner and letting Ryan play to his hearts content with Parker and Payton.  Adult supervision is still required to avoid the emergency room; however, Colin does not want to be the supervisor anymore which is a big bummer for the rest of us. 
  6.  Going to Mary Beth's house with a full belly to eat desserts and plan our black Friday shopping adventure.  I must add a bit of a rant here.  Now that stores are opening on Thursday, we are deprived of the door busters because I REFUSE TO SHOP ON THANKSGIVING!
  7.  I get five days off of work in a row and I am not in charge of any kids for at least one of those days.
  8. Organized chaos for a short time is good. 
  9. My mom's crumb top apple pie.   
  10. The most important is that we get to have all 20 of us in the same place at the same time for a short while and that makes me very happy. 

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Why does StoryCorp Have to Make Me Cry?

This whole week on NPR, they have been commemorating 10 years of StoryCorps by replaying and updating some of the most popular stories.  This is the one they played today which is a story about one of those couples that is so in love that it makes you long to have that kind of relationship.  As I was driving to work I started to get teary and this made me think of Dave. 

Danny said "Being married is like having a color television set; you never want to go back to black and white."  I can totally relate to this.  I had a great life before I got married.  As is well documented, I have a great family that has fulfilled pretty much all my needs.  I have amazing sisters and brother-in-laws that would have helped me with anything I might have needed.  What I didn't have was a partner to share it with.  Someone that was on my team no matter what.  Someone that I could bounce ideas off of without being judged; someone that "got"me.  My life was a great story, but with Dave it has color. 

I say these things for no other reason than to tell the world that I love Dave. He does not read this blog very often, so it could be months before he sees it.  On the outside, it doesn't look like we have one of those relationships.  On the outside it looks like we are just tryin to make it through, and on the inside sometimes it feels like it.   He does not write me daily love notes, but he does tell me and show me every day that he loves me.  We are partners in this messy life we have created, and there is nobody else that I would like to share it with. 

On an different note, I have had the opportunity to participate in StoryCorps with my dad.  I didn't know what it was all about when I did it, but now I feel like I am a part of something really cool.  Ours will never be the featured story of the week, but it is our story and I got to ask him some questions that I never knew.  My dad is not the most talkative of men, so I never knew what his favorite memory of me was until then.  I had suspected it was the one about the girl who cried wolf, but now I know for sure. 

I should tell him that some of my favorite memories of him are when I would fall asleep during church and he would carry me up to communion and then out to the car when mass was over.  People would tell him how special I was, and at that moment, it was just the two of us instead of all six of us.  I would bet that this will surprise him. 

If you ever get the opportunity to participate in StoryCorps, please do it.  You do not have to have a story that will be featured that talks about some groundbreaking thing.  Your story is just that.  Your story, and it is important, too.