I feel the need

I feel the need

Friday, April 29, 2011

Laundry List Friday: Five strange reasons we've gone someplace...and the even stranger results of the quest.

Good afternoon! 

I know, I've been away for a long week.  It's been one of those weeks that sort of slides away without anyone noticing and suddenly it's FRIDAY and there's a bevy of fire trucks parked outside your office building...and you pray, YOU PRAY that the building is on fire and....

oh wait...is that just me?

Okay, so this week I'm recounting some of the oddest vacation moments of my life.  Some I can blame on my parents, neither of whom were born with anything resembling an internal compass.  Some, well, it's all on me.

5)  Disneyland...1981

We had no intention of going to Disneyland the summer after I graduated from grade school.  We were on our way to Phoenix to see some relatives.  (for those of you who have paid attention, yes, this is the camping trip.)  But when we got to Phoenix every single person we saw said, "You're so close, YOU HAVE TO GO TO DISNEYLAND!"

For the record...Phoenix is NOT "that close" to Disneyland.  It's a very, very long day's drive.  Just sayin'.

Finding Disneyland was not the hard part.  What made this side trip a quest was finding a relative to stay with in Anaheim, CA.  And sure enough...my mother's side of the family came through again!  Low and behold, there was a cousin who lived in Anaheim and wouldn't you know it?  They had some extra bedrooms!  (My mother's grandparents had 9 children...who all had packs of kids...who all pretty much stayed in the Mequon, WI area, except for a couple brave branches of the family tree.)

Disneyland was great.  Meeting cousins for the first time while using their showers, really great.  Seeing futuristic square toilets in said cousin's house?  Well worth the trip!

4)  Grey Oaks Manor, 1987.

My mother is a GIGANTIC fan of the movie "Gone with the Wind."  Christmas of 1987, yes, the prune induced farting trip, we had on the schedule a trip to the antebellum home that inspired "Tara" for the movie.  Not the actual house from the movie, mind you, but the house that inspired it.

This was the high point, my mother insisted, of the trip.  We'd spent days in the car following the Natchez Trace, eating good Southern food, (We northerners have no idea how to make biscuits.)  touring plantation homes and hiding our Northern Accent every time the tour guide mentioned damages done to said homes.  But Grey Oaks, my mother swore, was going to be the pinnacle of the trip.

Ya know how you lose track of days on a vacation?  You know, the TV channels aren't the same and your schedule is way off so you don't see your normal shows and therefore you have no idea what day it is?  Such was the problem on this trip.

We hit Grey Oaks Manor, apparently, on the one day a week they were not open...Sunday. 

We do have a nice snapshot of that stop on the trip.  My mother, her head hung low, standing in front of the "CLOSED" sign.

3)  A repair shop...Upper Michigan...1978.

Have I mentioned that, not only were my parents poor and directionally challenged, they were terrible when it came to buying cars?  Almost every vacation of my childhood involved at least one trip to a repair shop, but none was quite so awesomely funny as the year we went from Montello, WI  (central part of the state) to Washington DC, via UPPER MICHIGAN.

(My father is one of those people who will do ANYTHING to avoid driving in Chicago.)

We were driving the light brown station wagon at the time...and that beast liked to backfire flames for no reason.  This would be fine except Brother and I were the type of kids that cannot sit next to each other on a long trip.  I liked to sleep in the car.  He liked to make sure I couldn't.  So my space was in the "Way Back" of the station wagon where I would sleep for HOURS and HOURS in the car.  (And yes, it irritated my mother no end that I then was WIDE AWAKE all night long.)

But with the car farting flames, my parents thought it best that I sit in the middle seat while we drove said death trap around to find a fix it shop.  (Note...we did not actually stop and get out of the car...but sitting 9 inches farther away from open flames was very safe.)

The only fix it shop in that part of the UP at that time was a shop that belonged to a gent who was sort of the circuit mechanic for the tri county area.  I cannot make this up.  He was in that shop on Tuesdays only.  and lucky us...it wasn't Tuesday.  BUT...someone was nice enough to run to the neighboring town...this was in the days BEFORE cell phones...and get him to come and fix our car.

I believe we spent 7 hours at that shop.  Brother and I played in the parking lot.   My mother cried in the front seat.  So it was a pretty typical vacation for us!

2)  Carl Sandburg Village...Chicago...1988

My father is a literary guy.  He loves all things literature.  And American Literature is a big score for him.  So on a weekend jaunt to Chicago one summer  (while my father loathes driving in Chicago, my mother loves the city) he mentioned that he wanted to tour the Carl Sandburg village.  We all agreed, because he was driving, that this was a good idea.  He got the coordinates from a gas station clerk.  (Before the days of celebrity voiced GPS)  and searched for a solid two hours on Saturday.  With no luck, and since our short vaca time was running out, we agreed, again, because he was driving, that we would give up and come back on Sunday.

Getting better coordinates from the hotel desk clerk, Sunday we spent another hour looking for the Carl Sandburg village. 

Folks, lest you get the hankerin' to tour the Carl Sandburg village, let me save you the time....IT'S AN APARTMENT COMPLEX!

We drove in to the parking lot of the complex, my father grumbled something I didn't hear clearly and probably couldn't repeat anyway, and we headed home.

1)  Waffle House, Indianapolis, 2011

Finally, my own quest.  Hubby and I have been pretty good at planning an executing family vacations.  The secret, we believe, is to not do them every year.  So we're on a sort of every five years or so plan.  This year, since Peaches has never eaten at a Waffle House, and since there are no Waffle Houses in Wisconsin, we searched the internet to find the closest one. 

Indianapolis, IN.  255 miles away.

So, Easter Sunday, after singing in church and Peaches posing as the angel at the tomb and Hubby standing guard over the tomb all of Friday night and both Peaches and Skippy hitting rock concerts over the weekend, we got into the family Impala, loaded up the GPS  (whose name is Susan) and left for the closest Waffle House.

Due to work commitments, we had 30 hours.  30 hours, 15 of which were spent in the car.  BUT, we were able to eat two meals at a very nice Waffle House.  I got my grits, which I love, and Peaches is now aware of the magic that is Waffle House.

There you have it.  5 Quests, 5 reasons to quest, and 5 odd results.

Have a great weekend all!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Laundry list Friday: 5 debates I can't believe I've been in.

Good evening!  I know I'm a bit late blogging today.  I had the day off of work and spent some time at church.  For those of you who celebrate it, Happy Easter to you!  For those of you who celebrate Passover...Happy Passover?  (Is that the right greeting?)

Anyway, since this is Holy Week for Christians, the family 's spent more time than usual in church.  Which is why, last night, I got the inspiration for today's list.

These are five discussions/debates that I've had...most of them very recently...that I cannot believe I've gotten myself into.

5)  No, you never told me I shouldn't poop on a motel bed.

For those of you who have teens...you know that they like to say things to get a rise out of you. Case in point: Sunday the Bradley family is taking a 24 vacation to Indianapolis...mostly because that's the location of the nearest Waffle House to us....and I was telling the children about the hotel I'd booked. I have no idea how we got to this point, but according to Skippy, I'd never told him that he couldn't poop on a motel bed if the motel wasn't nice.  Now, in my saner moments, I realize he says stuff like this just to get my goat, but still...after about five minutes of debate as to whether or not that was actually something that needed to be told a child, I looked him in the eye and said, "You are NEVER to poop on a motel bed.  Period."

4)  What was in that building?
This was a 3 way debate between hubby, Skippy, and me.  We were talking about a vacant building in town and I, who had spent 12 years touring the inside of just about every commercial building in Waukesha for work, maintained the building had been a school.  I was shouted down for about ten minutes because the MEN I live with insisted that no, that building had never been a school.  I was proved right two nights later, when, driving past the building in question, I pointed to the faded letters on the side of the building that denoted I was right.  A nice win, but why was the debate needed?

3)  Yes, the pool IS through that door.

okay, this one goes back to the days when I thought I was cool.  Time has proven that I am not now, nor will I ever been cool, and therefore I'm able to share this story with you.  My cousin Todd, and that is his real name, is a great swimmer.  Years of lessons at the YMCA made him sort of the king of the pool in his home town.  One weekend I was visiting and got to go swimming with Todd and his other friends, many of whom were girls.  The girls were given the task of getting me to the pool because, obviously, Todd couldn't go in the girls locker room.

Well, we got in our little swim suits and I got dressed before the other girls did.  Not knowing my way around the lockeroom, I asked where the pool was.  A number of girls pointed to the shower room.  "It's through there."

What happened after that I do not clearly recall.  I know I was pretty adamant that, even though I'd never been in this locker room, the door they were pointing to was merely the showers and they were playing a joke on me.  It got to the point that one of them had to summon Todd to come in the girls' locker room and show me that yes, the door was actually the pool door. 

maybe that's why he still gives me the funny look at Christmas.

Anyway, now i call it the "Locker room door syndrome."  this is what I call it when I talk to someone who can't get past a certain point, either mental or physical.

2)  Is black licorice racist?

Okay, again from the files of Skippy.  (17 year old boys...you gotta love them.)  he informed me that since black licorice tastes so bad, African American people must hate it and think that the candy itself is racist.  

I will let you all sort that out on your own. Personally, I can't believe I spent a good part of a half and hour debating that one.

1)  Did Jesus smell good?

Peaches wins today.  this one she came up with last night in church when, while reading the Maundy Thursday bulletin, she noted the picture (a very lame copy) of Da Vinci's "Last Supper."  She asked if Jesus smelled bad because the disciples all seemed to be leaning away from Him.  I said Jesus probably smelled like everyone around Him.  She, with all the conviction of a 14 year old said, "I bet He smelled good."

Not only did this debate rage on all through the preservice music, but then after church...this morning...and later in the day when we included Skippy and Skippy's female friend Mimi  (not her real name.)

so there you go.  Five debates I cannot believe I took part in. 

Friends, the next time you hear from me, I will have had a country fried steak from Waffle House!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Um...is there any chance Gold's offers a Remedial Body Vive class?

Good morning!

The things I let Dee convince me to do.

Saturday she asked me to meet her at Gold's so that we could work on our "journey" essays.  She said she was taking a couple classes in the morning.  (because for her, working out five days a week is just not enough) and that I should join her for "Body Vive."

The way she described it:  "It's a super easy class that involves bouncing a ball and pulling on rubber bands.  You'll love it."

Those of you who have read this blog before know that when it comes to exercise, Homey don't LOVE anything.  Homey tolerates exercise as a way to balance out the snack food on which she lives.  So to say I was skeptical about loving this class was, I believe, a flat out lie on Dee's part.  A lie for which she must be punished.

I am a woman of my word.  (A trait that, as I have found in the last several days, seems to be something most people simply do not possess.  Anyone else tired of being the one who has to fix everything when other people let you down?  Let's see a show of hands.  If you aren't raising your hand, you are part of the problem and also, like Dee, need to be punished.  So go to your nearest Gold's Gym and take a Body Vive class.)

As I was saying, I am a woman of my word.  If I say I'm going to be someplace or do something, I do my very, very best to fulfill my commitment.  Therefore, while I do believe I need to have my brain examined, I showed up bright and early for Body Vive on a crummy, rainy, cold Saturday morning when all I really wanted to do was curl up on the couch with a cup of coffee and a good book.

I should have known I was in trouble when I checked in at the front desk.  I asked where the class was being held, and the front desk folks, people who have seen me come in all the time, looked at me like I was insane.  Seriously.  Their collective expression said to me, "Seriously, Sarah, you're going to do Body Vive?  YOU?"

Ignoring their unspoken warning, I took a seat on the chair outside the studio where the Body Flow class was finishing up (Body Flow is, apparently a sort of Yoga meets Tai chi thing.  Dee loves it.  I know they get to do the class in the dark, which is a plus.)  and assessed the other people taking the Body Vive class with me.

Two heavier set girls, check.  An older lady who was explaining to a friend why she couldn't take a different class because it was too hard on her feet, but that this one was okay for her feet, check.  A gentleman walking with two canes.  Check. 

I stereotype, and Sarah, you're not the type to take this class!
This was shaping up to be my kind of class!

And now I must respectfully disagree with George Clooney's Character in the movie "Up in the Air."  He said, "I stereotype.  It's faster."

He could not have been more wrong about this group!

I got in to the studio, where Dee was looking fabulous and not at all like she was at the start of her second class of the morning.  I collected a mat, a ball, and a rubber band.  With this sort of Kindergarten equipment, how hard could the class be?

Then the instructor, a very nice lady whose name I did not catch, announced that 1)  She had no microphone and 2)  She had bronchitis and was really feeling sick.


Oh come on, everyone knows when the teacher is sick the class is easier.  Right?


Again, could not have been more wrong.

The first five minutes were pretty easy.  Marching, waving the arms around, I felt right in my groove with this assemblage of less than top tier physical specimens.  (Well, except for Dee, the woman next to Dee and the blond supermodel by the door they were perfect.  Still, I felt I fell in the middle someplace.)

Once the warm up was over and we picked up the balls it became very, very apparent to me that 1)  The two heavier women were obviously wearing fat suits to make the class even more challenging and were, actually, professional athletes.  2)  The class the older woman was avoiding must involve walking barefoot on rusty nails because she was a whirling dervish in this class and 3) The man on Canes?  That was a case of blatant false advertising, I'm convinced.

Egads, I was actually in worse shape than an older man who walked with two canes.  In all honesty, as I stumbled through routines, and failed miserably with the rubber band thing  (everyone else could stretch it over their heads...I couldn't get past my waist.)  I realized that what I really needed was a slower version of this class...maybe some sort of remedial class that didn't involve quite so much...sweating and pain.

Oh, and bronchitis didn't slow down the instructor on single bit.

Lifting the ball in the air...who knew that could hurt so much?  By the end of that segment, when everyone else slammed the ball on the floor, all I could manage was to let it fall from my burning hands.  I was mildly surprised, my arms didn't actually follow the ball to the floor because it felt like I'd disconnected them from the rest of my body.

Playground toys or instruments of torture?
It got worse.  The rubber bands?  At the end of that segment, every else snapped them so they fell to the floor with a loud snap sound.  Me...I was already pretty much crumpled on the floor, I just set the band neatly in front of me...sort of like a headstone.

At some point we were instructed to lie down on the mats.  I was relieved, thinking it was time for a nap or at least a cool few moments of gentle stretching.

Oh no.


My friends, I am going to admit...I did not do one push up.  I just recently got back the use of my hands sort of.  I wasn't about to do anything  to risk that.  Besides, my hands were too busy trying to ease the pain in my back brought on by the stress of lifting an air filled ball over my head several times.  Hey, it's not as simple as it sounds!

So I sort of faked the push ups....since the instructor is on a platform, I'm pretty sure she saw me, but she was nice enough not to mention it.  When all was said and done, and we were putting away our toys...I mean our equipment...Dee looked at me and said, "You're going to blog about this, aren't you?"

Only when I've regained the ability to move my hands and arms again, yes.

Now, 48 hours later, I'm still feeling sore and very, very stiff in every joint of my body.  Body vive?  How about Body destroy?  That would be a better name. 

Will I do it again?

Of course.

That is..if I get the feeling back in my legs and the searing pain in my back eases.  After all...who needs to sleep in and relax on a Saturday morning?  Torture with children's toys is so much more fun.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Laundry List Friday: 5 things I intend to do...and 5 things I will do this weekend!

Good afternoon! 

We all have plans for weekends.  And then we have what actually will happen on the weekend.  Here's my list of all my best intentions...and what will probably happen.

5)  My intention:  Go to my daughter's play and have a good time chatting with friends and not snacking.

What will happen:  I will go to my daughter's play.  My parents will show up with my niece and nephew in tow.  Said children will be disruptive, my mother will stress, she will also cry because it's Peaches' last school play in grade school. I will escape to the school kitchen where I will stress eat and entire pan of brownies.

4)  My intention:  clean out at least two closets.

What will happen:  I will NOT clean out two closets.  I will spend 6 hours trying to win a game of Spider Solitaire.

3)  My intention:  Go to Bodyvive with Dee at 9:15 AM on Saturday and enjoy a good workout.  Write our "journey essays" after.

What will happen:  Oh, I'll be at Bodyvive.  Dee won't let me miss.  Enjoy?  Well, since this is a new class for me, and it involves stretchy bands, look for some post next week involving an injury incurred by stretch bands.  The essay will NOT get written. We will, instead, sit at my table and chat for two hours until I have to go to Peaches' soccer game.

2)  My intention:  Go to Peaches' Soccer game and have a rockin' time.

What will happen:  It's going to rain and we're supposed to have ridiculous winds tomorrow.  I probably won't get out of the car.  If I do...I will do the following  1)  Spill coffee on myself and the three blankets I'm wearing.  2)  dump the contents of my purse on the soccer field trying to answer a phone call.  Phone will fall in the mud.  3)  Fall down in mud, which will of course necessitate a nap on my heating pad...if the work out with Dee doesn't already.

1)  My intention:  Watch NHL hockey playoffs while folding laundry, catching up on dishes, planning the week's dinners, and wiping the kitchen down with bleach.

What will happen:  Well, Hockey will be on TV.  Not one other thing is going to happen because by Sunday I will be either sick or exhausted and I will be asleep on the couch.  How do I know this?  For the past 20 years Sunday afternoon has equalled a nap on the couch.  You do the math.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Weigh it faster, tiny dancer...the big girl needs to go entertain the sweaty.

Good morning!

Once again, I have a humorous moment from Gold's Gym last night that will again beg the question:  Why on EARTH does Gold's allow me through the doors?

But first:


Seriously...I was in the locker room yesterday, waiting to weigh myself.  I had to wait because there was this woman who was probably all of 96 pounds, standing on the scale, doing that little dance we all do when we weigh ourselves.  You know that dance.  Get on.  Loathe the number.  Get off.  Take off your shoes.  Get on again.  Do some subtraction for the clothes you're wearing, including the lead bricks you're obviously holding your pockets.  Get off again.  Get on one last time to be double sure.

And then this woman, this tiny, tiny, TINY woman, gets off the scale for the third time and LEAVES it on the number of her weight.  (And it was under 100.)

Now, I wasn't being subtle.  I was standing just to the side of her, WAITING for the scale.  So she does the dance, then gets off and lets me, gigantor, see just how much less she weighs than I do.  Seriously... BAD FORM TINY WOMAN!

So, because I was waiting to weigh in, that made me late, in my head, for the start of my workout.  I hate not starting right when I want to. 

Since Cardio Cinema was again playing a movie that pretty much stunk, I opted to hop on a treadmill out in the BIG ROOM.  Only this time I brought along my iPod. 

I love my iPod.  First of all, I didn't pay a dime for it.  Hubby found it in the back of a rental car that came into his shop for repair.  He tried to find the owner, but to no avail, and therefore I got an iPod.  It's not fancy, but it is pink, and it holds 869 of my favorite songs, a list complied by me, for me.  There are radio stations that don't have the kind of variety I have on my iPod.  869 songs that range from the goofy  (Sir Mixalot's Baby Got Back)

 to the sublime  (Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman's "Time to Say Goodbye")
And of course, there's plenty of Rick tunes in there! 
So I get out to the BIG ROOM, and since I was delayed by the tiny dancer in the locker room, the place is BUSY.  I found a treadmill, turn on the iPod and start walking. 
Can I just say this:  BEST TREADMILL WORKOUT EVER!  I walked faster, I ran more, all because I was PUMPED by the music I'd chosen for myself.  I was a treadmill MACHINE.

After about half an hour I looked around and noticed that, while the place was still pretty packed, but the treadmills on either side of me, which had been occupied, were now empty.  The woman who had been on my right was on the pedal machine farther down the line.  Have you seen these machines?  You stand there and just pedal with your hands.  Well, I thought it strange that 1)  She was standing there, lazily moving the pedals with one hand and 2)  She was talking to her friend at on the other pedal machine, and they were staring at me and laughing.

Then I looked to my left, where an older lady had been.  She'd moved down two machines and also, was staring at me.

That's when I remembered why I haven't brought my iPod to Gold's before:

Deep in the darkest parts of my heart, I'm a secret rock star.  Catch me at a stoplight when I'm driving and a good song comes on the radio...I'll be putting on a concert.  I'm incapable of NOT SINGING or PERFORMING when I'm listening to my favorite songs AND when hooked in to my iPod I often forget that those around me cannot hear what I'm hearing and therefore the drumming motions I'm doing and the humming and...horrors, the ROCK AND ROLL FACE I'm wearing all seem...quite entertaining, and possibly scary, to those around me.  (Because, as you've most likely guessed, while in my heart I'm a rock star, in real life I'm a bit less...talented.)

I'd like to say I was ashamed enough to slink away from the bright lights of the BIG ROOM and go hide in Cardio Cinema.  (Oh yeah, and I understand now why people with iPods go in there.  They couldn't handle the people staring and laughing.)  But, as you know, I was born to make people laugh out loud.  So, instead of shutting down the Rock Show Starring Sarah, I cranked the treadmill up for more time and continued the musical mime to the amusement of sweaty folk around me.

That's just how I roll!

Hey, you know what doesn't embarrass you while you're getting your Rock and Roll fix?  A copy of my Rock and Roll Romantic comedy, Dream in Color!  Available in paperback and digital!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Getting from point A to point B is NOT always a "journey."

Good morning!

The tiny little dictionary I have in my work desk defines the word "journey" as "to travel."

I bring this up because the word "journey" has become one of those go to words that's being used WAY too much.

Don't believe me?  Okay, ponder this:  Recently I completed...sort of...Gold's Gym 12 week body challenge.  I've now been asked to write an essay detailing my "journey" during the challenge.

I'm not going to address the fact that the gym has given me HOMEWORK.  Not today anyway.

I know why there's tape over Simon's mouth...Paula used the word "JOURNEY" once too often.
This request is just one in a very long line to things that have now been labeled a journey.  I'm not sure, but I believe we have Paula Abdul to blame for this over use of the word.  If you recall, some time in the middle seasons of "American Idol" Paula Abdul started using the phrase, "Your journey with us is over."  As if that wasn't bad enough, Ryan Seacrest, that pocket sized Peter Pan that is going to use his elfin magic to some day rule us all, picked up the phrase and now, though Paula is a faint memory in American Idol history, the concept of the "journey" sticks with us every single week.

I suppose you could make an argument that contestants on American Idol do go through a journey of sorts.  Maybe you could argue that their transformation from unknown to household-name-for-about-three-weeks is a journey. 
You can fit Ryan in your pocket and
carry him around!

But really, is EVERYTHING a journey?

I caught myself saying the following the other day:

The difference between Dobby
the House Elf
and Ryan Seacrest?

My son's journey is going to take him down paths that might not seem normal to most of my relatives.

Yes, I actually uttered those words in conversation.

And yes, I do feel really, really stupid for saying such a completely ridiculous thing out loud.

What I should have said is this:  "My son is NOT going to be a pastor or a parochial school teacher.  He will probably wind up managing an underground rock band and will, at some point in his life, lose and eye while in a mosh pit.  My very conservative relatives are not going to understand that, so I'm telling them that he wants to be a high school English teacher."

The truth is, Skippy is not on some journey to his future.  Skippy likes to go to concerts at The Rave.  He likes being in mosh pits.  He loathes going to school.  If he has a thought about his future, it generally involves what the next concert is going to be, or what the Summerfest line up is going to be. 

So he's not on a journey.  He's hanging out in his basement lair and treading water in school until he's completed the credits he needs to be out of school.  Then he'll tolerate college only until he finds a job that will pay him enough so he can move out of his in our basement and into someone else's basement.  It's not a journey.  It's getting from point A to point B.

Just like the Gold's Body Challenge was not a journey for me.  It was getting from point A to point B and hopefully losing some weight in the process.  I did find out some things about myself, both physically  (I have arthritis, and I won't die if I run for three minutes in a row)  and mentally  (My brain is not as smart as my body when it comes to running on a treadmill because my brain does not believe that a fluffy girl like me CAN run.  Note, I said, CAN, not SHOULD.  Two different things entirely.  Just because I CAN doesn't mean I SHOULD.)

Not everything is a journey.  Not even travel.  Driving to your mother's house on Easter is NOT a journey.  Unless your mother lives in Argentina and you live in Alaska.  And you travel by stagecoach and it takes you two months.  Then it might be a journey.  Other wise, you're just taking a trip.

So I'll be writing my essay at some point.  I think it's due in a month.  And yes, I am one of those people who did everything at the last minute.  But I will NOT use the word "journey." 

At least, not if I can help it.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Chalk up another loss in the battle against age.

Good morning!

We had quite the weekend!  First of all, those of you who attended my Party lite party..THANK YOU!  You enabled me to acquire $487.00  in Free candle stuff.  I officially have more candles than most small countries!

Second...Peaches had her high school cheer tryouts on Friday night.  SHE MADE THE VARSITY SQUAD.  Granted, there is a sneaking suspicion that Varsity is the ONLY squad at her future high school, but it doesn't matter.  She made it!  As did her very good friend Toni Basil.  (Those who know who I'm talking about will get the connection.) 

But that's not what brings me here today.  No, today I'm here to talk about something that used to give me pleasure that I've now pretty much lost to old age.  If you are easily embarrassed, you may not want to read further.  Then again, if you are easily embarrassed, why on EARTH are you even reading this at all?

Since the dawn of time there have been dirty dishes.  Since the dawn of time, parents have given the task of washing said dirty dishes to their children.  Said children have hated the task of washing and drying said dishes.  Indeed, I believe Cain murdered Abel during an argument over who should wash and who should dry.   

I know, in my own childhood, I was always the one who had to wash, since I was the oldest, and Brother had to dry. Dishes at our house often took as long as an hour to do because we spent that quality time silently fighting with each other.  Our epic battles had to be silent because my mother taught piano lessons in the next room, and any sound from the kitchen was a distraction worthy of a spanking or...later, loss of radio privileges. 

So whilst being silent, Brother and I would usually try to scald each other with hot water.  I by rinsing silverware in water hot enough to burn, he by using the sprayer and firing at will when I was elbow deep in soapy water, scrubbing the burnt remains of my mother's potatoes.  Every night...silent...and deadly.

But when it came to holidays, the women folk would generally take over the duty of washing dishes.  I remember my grandmother starting to wash dishes before we were even done eating.  The kids...and this is the part I know you all remember...were required to help dry dishes for ten minutes.

This was a plan that worked well...except there was always one kid, usually my brother, who would find a way to get out of helping.  And, as we all know, there was only one way to get out of helping with the dishes.

Using the bathroom.

Oh we've all used that excuse.  "I can't clear the table/wash the dishes until  I've used the bathroom."  And that bathroom run would last exactly as long as it took for the dishes to be done.

I'll admit, I've used the excuse myself.  Every kid has.  For me, the bathroom was the only place I could go where I knew no one would bother me.  I became a huge fan of reading while on the toilet.  

Reading in the bathroom is something that's mocked on TV shows like Married with Children where some man will tuck a newspaper under his arm, indicating he intends to spend a very long time in the bathroom reading.  I, however, maintain that reading in the bathroom is the only thing that keeps us a planet of literates. 

"The only thing this bathroom is missing is a copy of Reader's Digest!"
Go into every bathroom in the world, I promise you will find, at the very least, a magazine, probably "Reader's Digest."  For most of my life,  I've gotten the better part of my news, my world info, and my best reading while in the bathroom, reading Reader's Digest.  Reader's Digest tag line is something like "The World's most Widely Read Magazine."  They might want to embrace the fact that every copy of Reader's Digest I've ever found has been in the bathroom, and change their line to "The World's most Widely read Bathroom Reader."  You have to think the folks at RD know their publication winds up on the toilet tank...the magazine itself is the perfect width for sitting in just that spot.

Anyway...getting to the point of today's discussion...I've loved reading in the bathroom for years.  I would read until my feet fell asleep.  (That's how I knew it was time to leave the bathroom.  If I really must explain why my feet fell asleep in the bathroom, then you've never read while sitting on the toilet.)

So yesterday I was deep in an article in, yes, the Reader's Digest.  I'd only been sitting for a couple minutes when my feet started to fall asleep. 

This shouldn't have been a big deal except that it wasn't that long ago when I could read the whole magazine from cover to cover, undisturbed, and without any lost of circulation.  Yesterday I barely got three pages read before my toes tingled.  Either I'm reading more slowly, (and why not...I seem to be doing everything more slowly lately) or my body no longer has the stamina for the strains of reading while sitting on a toilet seat.  Either way you look at it, this is a big loss in the battle against aging, at least for me.

Now I'll have to do my turn at drying dishes at Christmas.  Bonus, now I have to find another place to read where I know I'll be left undisturbed. 

Good luck with that.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Laundry List Friday: Top five things that have amused and horrified me this week.

Good afternoon!

It's one of those Fridays a writer dreams about:  It's damp, rainy, dreary, and everyone seems to have lost my office number so it's very quiet here.  Who knows?  I may actually get some writing done today!

This has been a very strange week.  I've seen some things that are that rare combination of humorous and horrifying, and that's the list I'm going to share with you today.  Aren't you the lucky ones?

5)  My tax returns.

Ah yes...2010 was an exciting mix of unemployment, aging children, and a new job that didn't take out enough federal taxes from each check.  The end result?  Well, we're getting a decent refund from the State of Wisconsin.  Which should just about cover what we owe the US government.  Yay me!  Meanwhile, we lost $1000 in deductions because Skippy turned 17 last year.  Who ever heard of THAT?  Anyway, in a twist of irony that's NOT lost on me...Skippy is a getting a $3 REFUND from the feds. 

4)  Peaches practicing for cheer tryouts.

Just when I thought we were safe from cheer leading for a while...high school tryouts happened!  For the last three days Peaches and various combinations of her friends, have been practicing a dance and a cheer for the BIG NIGHT tonight.  What amuses me is how very earnest they all are, working on the dance.  It's that sort of single minded focus we need to have running the country.  So maybe instead of career politicians who are only interested in getting reelected running the show, we should instead put 14 year old girls who want to be high school cheerleaders.  I bet they have all our problems solved by the end of first period.

On a side note...as a mom...I was horrified to watch Peaches do the dance routine.  Not because she's bad at it, no, quite the opposite.  After 9 years in parochial school, I had NO IDEA her hips could move quite that...smoothly.  Hubby best start thinking about buying that gun he's always talked about.  I have a feeling high school boys will not have quite the fear of me the grade school boys do.

3)  Our grocery bill for March.

Seriously, we are a family of four and two of us do not eat meat.  Also, there is NEVER ANY FOOD in our house...so my family tells me at 10 PM when we are all sort of trolling around looking for that magic snack that will end our day on a most perfect note.  I look at the checkbook.  I spend the GNP of some small countries every month for food...and our various food storage units are always full.  So full, in fact, that we had to buy a small fridge just for flavored waters and that got so full we now keep our flavored waters in the garage...right next to the garbage cans.  Yeah, that's healthy! 

So how can there never be ANY FOOD? 

A better question is...who does all the shopping so that the only thing we do have is spring roll wrappers, cherry pie filling and a can of potatoes?  (Yes, a can.)  Who are these people doing the shopping?  Did a blind monkey suddenly get a hold of my cart and my check book and now we are left to eat what said monkey flung?

2)  The mother and child outside the post office this morning.

I've had small children and I've done extensive babysitting.  I've had to take children to public places while running errands.  So I know how stressful it is to take a kid who does not want to go with you.  I understand that. 

But the scene in front of the post office this morning first horrified me, then made me want to laugh.

Mom and young son, maybe he was 3, were walking out of the post office.  I was approaching the doors.  We were the only people in front of the post office.  Young son took off out the door at a run, a run which, if left unchecked, would have put him directly into the path of the oncoming city BUS.  (A vehicle that, of course, was empty as most city buses in Waukesha are.)  Mother followed young son out and, unable or unwilling to run after him, she shouted in a voice that would have frozen a longshoreman in his tracks.  I haven't heard that tone of voice emitting from a woman....since I babysat. 

Young son stopped running.  I stopped walking.  Hey, when someone yells STOP that way, you just do it. Mother grabbed Young Son by the arm and started shouting at him.  That sort of horrified me, because, well, he's just a little kid.  BUT, it didn't take much for me to remember the days when Skippy and Peaches would roam away and I would see imminent danger and shout at them for a bit.  If you have raised children and you've never had that "losing it" moment where you just have to yell at them, then obviously your child is a saint and you need to stop reading this blog immediately and go get in contact with the people who pronounce sainthood on people.  My kids...nope, they made me yell.  A lot.

Mother kept her grip on Young Son's arm and we began walking toward each other.  I kept my eyes averted because, well, she was still yelling at the kid and who wants to be caught staring at that?  I looked up just at the moment when we were about to pass each other and she looked at me.  Her expression flipped like a switch to a HUGE SUNNY SMILE and she said, "Good morning!" in a tone of voice that made me think a completely different person was speaking. 

Moms have all had this experience.  You know a stranger is seeing you at a tough moment in parenting.  Do you ignore the stranger and just keep scolding the child?  Do you stop the scolding and give the stranger that, "We've all been HERE" looks?  (This is what I generally do.) 

Or do you, as this mother did, act as if the whole scene had never happened?

But that's not what amused me.  Nope, not even that.  What amused was, once we'd passed by each other, she dropped the facade and CONTINUED YELLING AT THE KID. 

If you can picture it...it was

Panic-yell-yell-smile and act like you've never had a cross moment in your life-pass the stranger-yell.

1)  Finally...MY BEFORE AND AFTER PICTURE FROM GOLD'S, and the fact that I have to hate Dee for a moment now.

Oh I knew this moment was coming.  I expected it.  But after all the flattery at my Party lite party last night (People greeted me as "Skinny" and exclaimed at how thin I looked.)  I thought I was ready for it.

I wouldn't have known the pictures were in, had Dee not texted me SUPER EARLY and asked me to look at hers.  Hers looks amazing, fantastic.  She did the work, and it paid off.  I'm not sure why she asked me to judge whether or not her after picture was good enough to share with her trainer...of course it is!  But hey, thanks for reminding me that I FAIL at weight loss.  :)

Meanwhile I looked at mine...how is it possible my "After picture" looks WORSE than my before picture?  First of all, my hair is bad.  Second, I'm in my stocking feet, and wearing socks always makes my legs look stumpy.  Third, I'm smiling in a weird way.

And then I realized something...I look worse in the picture because I'm looking at something other than my fat!  This is a new experience for me. 

Then I looked at the fat.  Yep, still there.  BUT, maybe a tiny, tiny, TINY bit less of it is visible. 

After that, I was able to once again focus on the funny.  I stopped hating Dee, too.  And all was well with the world.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

REQUESTED REPOST! Quite possibly the MOST hilarious thing Hubby has ever said.

Good afternoon all!

Those of you who know me personally probably also know my Hubby.  He's tried very, very hard to stay out of this blog.  Today, officially, he's failed.

Hubby and I have a standing joke.  He says I married him becuase he made me laugh.  I said I married him for his money.  He says "Then I had you fooled, didn't I?"  And we laugh and laugh and laugh.  And pay some bills, ignore a few others, and laugh some more.

Yep, I married a comedian.  I married a guy who is ALWAYS "on."  His specialty is puns.  Seriously, I've been known to tell a funny story a time or two  (really?)  but my Hubby is always on the prowl for a good...bad...pun.  For the record, I'm not a huge fan of puns.  He also does impressions.  His "Reverand Jim" from the old TV show "Taxi" is so good, it creeps me out a little.

Most of all, he and I both see the ridiculousness of the world in which we live.  The local news is simply 30 minutes of the two of us jeering the TV for everything from the actual headlines to the news reporters themselves.  (For the record, I've writting and entire world in my head around Susan Kim and Vince Vittranno on WTMJ Channel 4's morning news.)

Hubby and perform without a laugh track and the goal is to get a good zinger in that the other doesn't realize is funny until minutes later.  The longer it takes to "get the joke" the more successful we figure we are.

Ya know, most couples just go ahead and have sex or eat a pizza or something.

Anyway, last night, during "Biggest Loser"  Hubby uttered quite possibly the most hilarious thing I've ever heard him say.

If you watched the show last night, you know that the Red Team, coached by the personal trainer I call "Pretty Boy Brett" was down to one member, my favorite contestant, Courtney.  Much was made during the 90 minutes leading up to the weigh in, and then the 15 minutes of the weigh in because OF COURSE they weighed Courtney in last, about the pressure she was under to lose weight so that she could stay and Brett could keep his job.  They mentioned this over and over again.

So OF COURSE Courtney lost the weigh in.  Of course she did.  There were many tears and all the trainers yelled about how it "Wasn't fair" and "This isn't right!)
Oh come on! I'm too pretty to be fired!

Made me sort of wonder if this was the first time the trainers had actually paid attention.  I mean, were they just recently made aware of the fact that the person who loses the lowest percentage of total weight goes home.  This is what, season 97?  Why is this such a surprise?  Granted, Courtney's story is compelling and who doesn't cheer for the young girl who had to lose over 100 pounds to get on the show?  But the fact remains...she didn't lose enough weight this week to stay on the show.

After the weeping and wailing from the trainers was over, someone...someone who obviously hadn't been paying attention, asked this question:

So what happens to Brett?

Allison Sweeny, who might just be my favorite TV personality ever, is the host of the show.  She's had her own weight loss battles, so she's the perfect pick for "Biggest Loser."  Allison has been a bit tougher this season than in the past.  Makes me wonder just how stupid the contestants really are, if they can get on Allison's nerves.  Anyway, Allison says, "Well, Brett doesn't have a team to coach anymore, so he also has to go."


Now, I'm a romantic.  I believe that reality television is real.  I believe there's no script and that real people are just that...real.  But after hearing the whole, "If Courtney goes, Brett loses a job" storyline for 90 minutes, I found the level of surprise and anguish displayed to be a little...overplayed.

My Hubby, however, was more on the ball than I.  When someone again asked, "What will Brett do?"  hubby uttered these words:

"Service Jillian."

Friends, I nearly snorted popcorn through my nose.  And of course it was a delayed reaction because he delivered the two words with such a flat tone, I first thought he was asking me to share the popcorn.

"Service Jillian."

I could write a hundred blogs and not hit anything quite that funny.  And so, having glimpsed comedic perfection, I'll just leave you all with that very...interesting image in your head.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

My pants aren't any looser, but my skin is...does that count?

Hello my friends!

So my twelve week body challenge at Gold's gym is over as of Saturday.  My final numbers aren't as impressive as I'd quite hoped back in January when Dee and I swore we were going to win the big honkin' cash prize.  (Okay, Dee might just win...she's lost so much weight she looks like a completely different person, and I'm sooooooo proud of her...and jealous.  But mostly proud...and a little jealous.  Okay, I'm way jealous because she's been really sucessful, but I'm mostly proud.  Really.  I am.  Honest.)

I also have to give a shout out the to the trainers at Gold's.  There's been a little misunderstanding about how I feel about the trainers and about Gold's in general.  So I'll clear it all up by saying this:  The support I get from the folks that work at Gold's could NOT BE BETTER.  I have my emotional ups and downs, like everyone, but KRAM has been pretty awesome at not taking my general whiny crap.  If I actually paid for acutal sessions, he'd probably beat me over the head with something, but I'm sure I would deserve it.  And I have to say, since I'm one of those folks who only consults a personal trainer when the session is free, I am so pleased at the amount of attention I've been given by the trainers.  I adore KRAM  (can't wait 'til his wife has her baby so that he understands what I'm talking about when I say my time is not my own.)  and Dixie and Kira  (Not their real names of course) have been literally cheerleaders through this process.  While I haven't met all the trainers at the Gold's in Waukesha, I get the feeling, just in my contact with these three, that N.B. M., the gent who manages the place, has a talent for finding excellent trainers.

Too much?

Well every word is true.  If it weren't, this blog would not be nearly as much fun to read.  Then it would just be fiction and hey, you can get your fiction anyplace.  Here you get my real life in blazing color.  Or whatever.

Back to my weight loss.

So I'm not super thin yet, still, I'm happy that things are moving in the positive direction.  I lost 6 pounds, most of them in the last 10 days, which brings my total weight loss since 11-1-10 to the big 20 pounds.  I've also managed to firm up my fat enough that I'm a total of 14 inches smaller.

Where those 14 inches went, I'm not sure.  The biggest thing, people tell me, is that I should notice my clothes fitting better.  I'll be honest.  I don't.  But that's not anyone's fault really.  Maybe I'm just not that observant.  Or maybe Hubby's been switching out my normal clothes for skinnier versions so that I keep thinking I'm fat and I stop eating the ice cream during "Biggest Loser" and then he can have some. 

What I have noticed, is that my skin is looser.  This is something women of a certain age start to fear when talking about weight loss.  So you lose the weight, but your skin is no longer as springy as it used to be and then you're stuck with a lot of skin that just hangs on you like a very weird, sort of ugly sweatshirt. 

I actually had a conversation the other day with someone who decided it was just better to be fat.  Oh wait...I think I may have said that.  Let's NOT share that with anyone at Gold's...okay?

You know what I'm talking about.  You get to a certain age where you realize that if you truly do lose that pesky 90 pounds you've spent the last 10 years building up, your skin might not read the memo. Then what?  Then you're one of those people who goes on Discovery Health  (Oh, wait, there isn't a Discovery Health Channel anymore because Oprah took it over. Thanks Oprah.  Thanks a ton.)  or The Learning Channel and get one of those full body lifts where they just carve chunks of loose skin off of you like some weird Captain Ahab/Moby Dick nightmare.  And then they make a fake belly button for you because the skin you're using as belly skin now is actually from you ankles, and I haven't met a person yet who has belly buttons on their ankles.

I don't love my belly button, but it is one of the few body parts I'm not that interested in replacing.

Oh yeah...you think you have a hard time finding jeans that fit?  How about jeans with the "excess skin" pocket?
So I noticed the other day, as I was drying my hands at Gold's, that the skin on my hands and arms is definitely looser than it was 12 weeks ago.  See, Gold's doesn't believe in paper towel.  A lot of public bathrooms have gone through the air drier/paper towel/nasty cloth ring thing that never gets changed argument when it comes to folks drying their hands after using the facilities.  I know there's a section of the population that might go for optino 4, no hand washing at all, which is why it's a good thing the country isn't run by 8 year old boys. 

At Gold's they've gone with the hand drier.  But, because it's Gold's, we're not dealing with any sissy half power electric drier that will blow for ten seconds and you wind up drying your hands on your pants anyway.  Oh no, Gold's has a hand drier that will, under the right circumstances, send a light weight person into orbit.

Since I am not a light weight person yet, I have to be satisfied with the fact that the powerful hand drier at Gold's ripples my skin sort of like those beach pictures where the sand is the shade of a lovely tan and has measured ripples where the tide has left its mark.  Yes, that's what I think of when I'm drying my hands at Gold's.

AT first I thought it was funny...now I'm just scared.  How long until I'm able to star as the skin dress in "Silence of the Lambs II:  How to Make a Dress of Your Own Skin?"  Honestly, if my arm skin, and my hand skin, both of which are still pretty firm becuase I do pay attention from time to time and put lotion on them, are rippling like that, what's going to happen when my weight loss reaches the less elastic skin of, say, my butt?

I haven't had the courage to hoist my hamhocks up under the hand drier to see if I get the same ripple effect on my fanny as I do on my hands. I haven't done this mostly because just picturing how awkward that would be makes me laugh out loud.    You know, the type of laughing you do when someone you already don't like too much falls down into a pile of snow?  There's no injury, so a deep down belly laugh is okay.

Well, I'm on this planet to make people laugh...I'm just not sure I'm ready to be that funny yet!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Laundry List Friday: Five rules everyone should live by...according to me!

Good morning!

So I'm back from a short get away with Peaches.  While I'll dwell on the details of the trip in a later post, I will say this:  There's something very nice about hanging out with your kid when she still likes you.  Skippy no longer wants to hang out with old mom, but I'm enjoying my few last years with Peaches before she goes out into the big old world and I become "mother."

But today I think I need to lay down a few of the ground rules that everyone should be following because, well, they are rules I live by and therefore everyone should follow them! 

5) If you're going to ask the question, "How are you doing?" as a form of a greeting, you MUST stop and face the person you're asking and wait for a reply, no matter how long that reply might be.

I walk past a lot of people in the course of a week and I always try to say a cheery "hello!"  I figure it's just good manners.  What I don't understand, however, is when people respond to my "Hello" with a "How are you doing?"  and then whisk past me.  Do we not understand that "How are you doing?"  is a QUESTION and therefore requires an answer?    And frankly, if you're going to ask such an open ended question, you really should at least pause and wait for an answer, even if it's the usual, "Just fine, thanks." 

That's just good manners.

4) Unless you are under the age of 6 or actively working out in a gym, jammie pants/sweatpants are really NOT okay to wear in public. This goes DOUBLE if you are a MAN. TRIPLE if you are trying to pick up a woman in the bank. QUADRUPLE if said jammie pants have cartoon characters on them.

If you bear any resemblance to this guy...the answer is NO, she is NOT interested.

I realize that lounge pants are awesome.  They are comfortable.  They are fun.  They keep us young, and make some of us feel cool.  However, if you are not a child, it's really not okay to be wandering around in these in public.  Oh sure, I'm guilty of this myself.  I have a favorite pair of sweats that I wear, especially on days I'm going for a weigh in at Gold's.  However, if you are a MAN and you are wearing cartoon character jammie pants in public, save yourself the major embarrassment, and use the drive through at the bank.  While watching you try to pick up a woman in line is great theater for the rest of us, sort of like watching an episode of "The Office" it's not good for your self esteem and chances are you're going to be one of those guys who winds up driving your car into the side of a house or something because you were rejected.  Guys, women do NOT dig guys in lounge pants, especially those with cartoon characters.  We think they are sort of creepy.  Put on jeans...you'd be amazed how much more receptive we are.

3)  If you are driving and you make a turn without using your directionals, expect someone to yell something at you.

I would say the vast majority of drivers are NOT mind readers.  And while I'm not in favor of having physical road tests every year for every driver, (Mostly because I'm not sure I would pass.)  I am in favor of caning people who do not use their turn signals.  I cannot count the number of times I've had a near miss because the driver in front of me or next to me decided to make that turn across traffic in front of me with NO WARNING WHATSOEVER.  One of the best accidents I was ever in involved some knucklehead who decided to park on the left side of the street while he was driving on the right.  It was a one way street.  My car was between knucklehead and the the parking spot he craved.  Oh, and I was 8 months pregnant.  That was a very fun exchange of insurance info, I can tell you.

2)  If you are a movie theater and you charge $4.00 for a box of candy, but the store next door is selling the same box of candy for a $1.00  GET OVER YOURSELF...people are going to bring it in. 

 Posting those sorry signs about "no carry ins allowed" is only going to work with people like my Hubby.  The rest of the planet is going to bring in candy because you're already gouging us at the box office.  $10 a ticket to see something starring George Lopez as the voice of a dog?  You should be paying ME to eat something while I'm watching.


If you put up so many decorations that you haven't had the time to take them down by now, then cut back on the celebratory lights next time around.  Seriously, it's APRIL.  Granted, we're still getting snow here in Wisconsin, but we've had enough nice days for you to get off the couch and take down the lights. No one wants to see Santa this time of year.  And yes, your neighbors ARE laughing at you.  And so is everyone else who drives by your house. 

So get out of the cartoon character lounge pants and take down the lights!

See, those aren't such bad rules, are they?  And really, if people would listen to me, there are a lot of things would be better around here.

Fun Fact Friday: Now that it's dead, Sarah reveals a childhood dream.

Happy Friday all! What do you want to be when you grow up? That's a question we ask little kids...and I haven't a clue why....