Random Crap: While Lifting Weights

I really, really like weightlifing. I mean, like, for the first time in my life I look forward to exercise. I break it up by doing 10 minute intervals on the eliptical, and after yesterday’s fiasco of a non-workout, it felt soooo good today.

Some music is awesome for weightlifing. For instance, the Dropkick Murphys. PERFECT heavy music. Red Hot Chili Peppers are also good. Lady Gaga and No Doubt are great for on the treadmill or eliptical. Sarah Maclaughlin? As much as I love her, she is not gym music.

Well, my taste in men has sadly not changed. I’m still drawn (and draw) the same burly guys I’ve always drawn. I’m trying really hard to change that. When it’s time to start dating again, I don’t want to follow the same old patterns- it worked out SO well for me in the past.  I’m purposely looking away from the barrel chested guys lifting heavy iron at the gym. No eye contact, no smiles.  Serious business. Can I still like bald heads though?

Oh man, a man in a kilt is one of the hottest things on earth. That is all.

Larabars are SOOOO good. They’re all real food with no preservative or gluten or soy or ickiness, and I can toss one in my bag and stave off the crazy burger cravings post-weightlifting.

I have the best friends on earth. I’ve had some crappy luck in the past, but I know some insanely cool people, and count myself really, really blessed.

When we got home from the gym, someone had gone to our old house and disassembled the Rainbow play fort and brought it to Little House. I don’t even know who to call and thank, but it’s sitting in the yard waiting to be re-assembled. Bean and Abby were giddy and jumping for joy. Really. Real jumping. Real Joy.

Working on another painting. Yes, it’s the one I should be working on. Maybe this time it will actually be presentable. I’m almost holding my breath.

Best Laid Plans

The last two day have frustrated my plans to get to the gym, and I was feeling crummy and morose. This morning, determined, I got dressed immediately in my workout clothes, and rassled up the kids to get ready. I fixes a real breakfast and not just toast, I ate my Lara Bar and a diet Dr. Pepper (I know, I know) and got Jeffrey out the door to school.

As I returned some phone calls and answered some emails, the phone rang. It was Jeffrey’s teacher telling me Jeffrey forgot his homework, and he really needed it for a project. Okay, I can get it there- it means I may be late for Zumba, but I can hit the eliptical instead. Get everyone in the car, and drop the homework off at the elementary.

Then I end up talking to the principal about the plan for Bean next year. This a good thing, but wasn’t part of my schedule.

We finally make it to the gym, and there is a sign on the childcare center. Full. They are not accepting any more kids right now. I am not accepting this, and wait for someone to pick up their two kids, and jump like a vulture on the poor girl and squeeze Bean and Abby in. Got a spot. I went to the locker room, threw my stuff in my locker and ran up to the yoga room. I love my yoga teacher, and I’ve missed Zumba completely.

Aaaaand my teacher has been replaced. I’m sure she is a lovely teacher, but I am used to and really love Kim, who sounds like Ellen Degeneres, and has a cadence to her voice that soothes me. Kim is in the class, but not teaching anymore. Crap. Oh well, I’m here and I’m getting my mat and I am GOING to get a work out.

The new teacher spends some time introducing herself and doing a warm up. I am just finishing the spine flexes when the day care lady taps on my shoulder. Abby has wet her pants and they cannot keep her in daycare with pee on her. Of course.

Life: 6 / Mama: 0

I flop down and pull my shoes and socks back on. I give up. I’ll try again tomorrow. Some days, I swear…

Waassa Happenin’ Hot Stuff?

That John Hughes tribute on the Oscars made me feel old. I grew up to John Hughes films and they are still cultural milestones for most people near my age. I mean, tell me didn’t think of The Donger hanging from the tree outside Jake Ryan’s trashed house when you read that title. I thought so. Hold on a minute while I sigh and think of Jake Ryan…

Molly Ringwald gave me hope as a teenager. She was kind of dorky and while pretty, wasn’t the leggy Malibu Barbie pretty of  the 80’s. She was awkward and had fuzzy hair like me, and she geeked out around boys she liked.  I never got that perfect kiss over my 16th birthday cake, but I did have hope that maybe, someday, some boy I found dreamy would actually notice me. Because if Jake Ryan could like Molly, maybe some cute boy could like me too.

Eventually it happened, the boy noticed me. I got the kiss. Then career, dating, fun, travel, marriage, babies… and the tiny beginning of crow’s feet. And now divorce. And I’m back in the dating boat and I don’t have a clue what to do.

I wish John Hughes could make a move to give me some hope now. I need to see what Molly Ringwald and Jake Ryan are up to now.  Ferris Bueller married Carrie Bradshaw, and The Dork is a bigger hunk than Judd Nelson. And the storyteller is gone. Maybe I’ll go pop in The Breakfast Club.

I have a feeling they’re a lot like me and you…

Parenthood: What I Think So Far

After the fifth person emailed me and said I HAD to watch this new show on NBC, I finally caved and pulled it up on my laptop.

Episode One: We meet the Braverman family based in the East Bay area- more precisely the Oakland/Berkeley hills- judging by their house and my own familiarity with the area. (You don’t get digs like that in the bay area without some serious cash.) So it’s another series about an affluent white family, with their share of problems.

Whether this is good or meaningless, I can’t say, but I can relate. I grew up in the area, and I know them, and their problems are mine. And in this case, it’s truer and closer to home than I care to admit.

The four adult children- Adam, Sarah, Julia and Crosby- and their families are the center of the series. Sarah, played by Lauren Graham, is an artist and mother of two, divorcing her do-nothing drug-addict husband, and trying to find her footing. She is packing up her home and moving back to her parent’s, at the urging of her brother Adam. Adam is a responsible business man and general nice guy, but he is struggling with coming to terms with a son who is diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome in the first episode. Julia is a corporate lawyer and plagued with guilt at not being the mom she feels she should be, but really doesn’t want to give up her career. Her husband stays at home and has the primary relationship with their daughter. Crosby is a layabout youngest brother with commitment issues, and is a walking stereotype.

The pilot was filmed on location in Berkeley, but the remainder of the series will be shot in LA. Which is too bad, but no one asked me- the sunlight in the bay area is undupliacatable. Just my two cents.

Episode one was like a raw flaming arrow through my heart. 38 year old Sarah is forced to move home with her teen children after her marriage to a drug-addict musician goes down in sputtering ashes. She is humiliated, grieving, angry and sad, all while trying to be the best mom she can figure out how to be. The tension with her parents, despite the obvious love between them, is spot-on. Her siblings want her to date, but her one dating adventure crashes goes supernova with her role as a mother when her son walks in on her date. She has to rescue her son from his heartwrenching attempt to get his to father, ending with a tear-jerking scene at a rainy gas-station where she tells him “You deserve a dad who loves you. You do. I may not be enough, but I’m all you’ve got, and I’m not going anywhere.”

Adam and his wife have an 8 year old son who wears a pirate costume everywhere and has trouble in social situations. After a gut-wrenching scene at school where he is trying to cut paper hearts and cannot make the scissors work, he bites a classmate in panic and frustration. He is diagnosed with Aspergers. He is kicked out of his school, and his parents begin trying to figure out how to handle and help him.

I’m less interested in Julia and Crosby’s storylines, for obvious reasons. They both come off as more of facets or stereotypes than full characters- but it’s early still.

After episode 2, I’m a little disappointed in how they are handling the Aspergers- but maybe that’s because they’re parked in my driveway. Nevermind that a child wouldn’t make it to 8 without someone noticing something was wrong and he needed help. I suppose it must happen, but this floors me- especially with affluent, educated and involved parents. The child actor is a little too expressive in his voice, and they are taking the over-the-top method portrayal. The parents are being very melodramatic and treating it like a death sentence, which it undoubtably is not. I am holding out hope this is just character development, and they might move on in a less bombastic way.

{addendum: It’s been pointed out to me by several reputable sources that the parents’ reaction to the Aspergers diagnosis is actually pretty common and normal; it’s my reaction that’s atypical. Very interesting. It also means the show is doing their homework and not just talking to me. Here I was thinking I was normal… }

Sarah is trying to land a job after 15 years out of her field (graphic design) and has to answer questions about what she’s been doing with her life and talent for the last decade and a half. Her work is good, but she doesn’t have a college degree so she can’t get anyone to hire her. Meanwhile, her kids are struggling to assimilate at a new high school and her daughter might have to repeat a grade.

So… I’m willing to hang in there and give it a chance to mellow and mature. Tone down the stereotypes and high-drama. The bones are good. The premise is, um, relatable? Yeah. Ya think?

Now I just want my cut of the writer’s pay because they’ve obviously been mining blogs for material.

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If you only knew how many abysmal and lame posts I’ve started and trashed, and all I can think of is if I bite the inside of my !&*%$#! cheek ONE MORE TIME I am going to SCREAM! That’s how I am. How are you?

Portrait of a Boy

How I love this child. How I treasure his unrestrained spirit, and the joy he brings. As he gains the ability and skills to express himself and find his own happiness, his world opens up and he shares himself- with unfettered joy.

This is also one of the countless faces of Autism. This is what a happy healthy boy looks like, and it’s exactly how invisible Autism can be. So when you inevitably see and come to know (1 in 110) a person who acts and perhaps processes things in a way you find different- be kind. Cease judgement. Pause and think before you speak. Smile at the child, but don’t take it personally if he doesn’t look at you, or smile back. He might. He might not. But I promise he hears your comments- so make them good ones.

At the Car Wash

I have just left the dentist.  My face is numb to my eyeballs because of the massive amount of work my wonderful dentist has to undertake. It’s cold and clear outside, but the car is warm in the sunlight and my nose and hands begin to tingle and thaw as I start the car and flip on the heater. It feels so good not to hurt- even if it’s novocaine induced. My teeth have hurt for well over a year and I had grown accustomed to the pain. The right side of my face sags as I try and smile in the rearview mirror and slather some lipbalm on my numb lips. Such a strange sensation. It’s after noon now, and my stomach gurgles and complains, but half my face won’t cooperate- so food will wait. The nurse said the feeling would return in an hour or two.

I’ve grown accustomed to too many things that hurt. I have a lot to unlearn.

I have 20 minutes before I need to pick up the kids, and no matter how hard I try, my car is always a disaster. In grade school, I would sit at my desk idly chewing on my Ticonderoga and stare wistfully at the spotless white sneakers of the girl one desk over. She played on the playground, she ran around, and she did flips on the rings like I did- and yet her shoes were always gleaming white. No matter how hard I tried, my shoes were scuffed, the laces were frayed, and I could not keep them clean. It baffled me. My car is the same way. It still baffles me when mothers have clean cars. How does this happen?

I head to the car wash, poking and pulling on my floppy lip as I drive in silence. My radio broke months ago, and all I can get is a thin, tinny sound on a few stations. Sometimes it sucks, and sometimes I relish the quiet. Today is a quiet day.

The cold is brisk and startling. The yellow sunlight and my warm car fooled me and I forgot about the cold. My ears are full of silence and my face hangs slack, as I push the silver button to activate the giant super sucking vacuum that will swallow up at least a Jackson worth of Legos before I’m finished. Sometimes I collect them all, but not today. The constant roar of the giant vacuum is almost as good as the quiet.

We don’t even do drive-thru anymore- how can one mother and three little kids generate so much stuff? Papers, homework, socks, gloves and mittens, a rabbit fur lined hat from granddad, Bionicles, more Lego, a granola bar, a pink plastic cup, someone’s scriptures, a water bottle from the gym, junk-mail and maps shoved in the door pocket, tissues and pencils and shoes. Silently I gathered it all up, and meticulously vacuumed the mats, the seat and the beige carpeting.

The hose curls up compliantly on it’s arm when I finish, and I steer the car around the half-loop towards the yawning opening of the wash. It dawns on me that I may never have done the carwash alone. It’s usually a family affair, and looked forward to with great glee and rejoicing. Today, it is quiet. I don’t even chit-chat with the car-wash man. I just hand him my money, check the windows, and nod as he waves me forward. The little light turns red, and I slide the shift into neutral.

The car wash takes over.

Somewhere underground, I imagine giant wheels turning, and the car moved forward into the great wet tunnel. Nothing is required of me. I rest my numb chin on my hands and peer into the jets of water cascading over my hood. It’s odd. With my hand, I can feel the softness of my lip, the curve of my cheek, and even the curve of my cheekbone meeting my eye, yet I have no sensation of my own touch. Disconnect.

The giant wheels smoothly draw me deeper into the carwash, and the fluffy foam squirts and sputters over the glass as huge drum rollers spin and swirl over the sheet metal and glass. It’s oddly soothing. The white noise, the darkness, the colors and water. The being pulled forward and having nothing required of me.

I have grown accustomed to pushing, to struggle, to immense effort. I have grown accustomed to constant hurt and living with pain. I wish the carwash was five miles long and I could just sit here for an hour, numb, protected, warm and gliding through the storm.

However brief the respite, I am grateful. I am grateful for carwashes, and dentists, and novocaine. I am grateful that eventually, no matter how bad, the numbness eventually wears off, and your feelings come back. I am grateful for rainbow soap, giant vacuums, odd moments of peace and white noise.

I am grateful for the tingling that means life is returning.

One of My Favorite Authors…

Often people attempt to live their lives backwards: they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want so that they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first BE who you really are, then, DO what you need to do, in order to HAVE what you want.

~ Margaret Young.

Joyful Malaise

So then follow the migraine up with a root-canal! Hooray!

(Okay, really, I’m super glad to have my teeth fixed- they were bothering me for a long time. I just couldn’t figure out why I felt so poopy and sluggish today, until I thought: Oh yeah- I had a migraine yesterday, and then a root canal today. No wonder I feel off… File that under Duh.)