Friday, September 28, 2007

Open Sesame

M winged his way back to The Lou yesterday, and Zozo and I are sure glad. We were waiting for him to get home, and to keep her occupied, we started to go for a little walk down the sidewalk towards the direction I knew he'd come. We were in front of the house when she saw his car and started doing a little dance right there on the sidewalk. It was the sweetest thing ever.

Until he pulled in the driveway and she took off running towards his car. Then that became the sweetest thing ever. I think this was his first trip where she really grasped the concept that he was gone, and now he's back. I'm not sure who was more happy to see the other, but it was great to watch them have their little reunion.
Parents as Teachers has recommended regular doses of Sesame Street to help with Zozo's talking (or lack of). She began treatment yesterday at Grandma's, and came home saying "Elmo" and "Oscar," so it must be working. Many thanks to Grandpa for calling me this morning and giving me the heads-up to sneak over and peek through the window to watch her watching. It was adorable!
I love love love Sesame Street, and have to admit that I'm kind of excited that I have an excuse to watch it again. If I remember it correctly, there are all sorts of sly adult references mingled in with the kid-friendly stuff. Just enough to keep adults amused, too. I think the program is so powerful for children, and am certain that Zozo will really enjoy it.

My favorite SS character was always Grover. I remember receiving two large, identical Grover dolls when I was a kid (miscommunication between divorced parents...hey, no complaints from me! Two Grovers are definitely better than one!). My cousin Jen and I solved the identity issue by liberally spraying one of the Grovers with our Granny's perfume (thereby turning it into Groverina or Groverette, I suppose), which worked quite well but probably shouldn't have been done in the car on the way into town. One of us got sick (I think it was Jen) and Gran was, to say the least, not too pleased. Groverette was not long in my possession after that, as the family decided that although Gran's perfume was lovely, the amount that had been sprayed on Grover was drastic overkill and bordered on noxious. In fact, I'm sure in today's world we'd have WMD folks, dressed in those funny environmental outfits with gas masks, descending on our car within minutes.

Kermit is a close second as far as favorite SS characters go, and deserves props for being not only an SS regular, but also an official Muppet. I never really understood how he could hook up with Miss Piggy, who was more than mildly annoying, especially to a tomboy like me. Now, however, that I've grown some girly-girlness, I can see the attraction of Piggy. Especially when she's wearing sparkly outfits. Anyway, the fact that Kermit can transverse between the two worlds (Sesame and Muppet) is very cool.
Muppets are a whole other level, entirely. Who doesn't love the Muppets? If we're going to get into Muppetdom, I'm going to have to admit my irrational fondness for Beaker. That guy just cracks me up. Long live Beaker!

I've always thought that one of the best jobs in the world is that of a puppeteer. I even have proof of my long-standing love for puppets (and Muppets) thanks to one of my grade school yearbooks. In art class that year, my art teacher asked us all to draw a picture of what we'd like to be when we grew up. I chose puppeteer, and so drew some puppets. I didn't know that all our drawings were entered in a school-wide competition. Mine was chosen to be the cover (the cover!) of that year's yearbook. Along with the honor of my artwork gracing the cover, my whole class got Blo-Pops. I was very popular that day. Should you ever want to see my winning artwork, just let me know next time you're over. I'm warning you, I was not, nor am I now, even close to a decent artist when it comes to drawing. I think the judges just liked the oddity of a little kid saying she wanted to create puppets for a living.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Dance Fever

A blogger milestone for yours truly: this is my 500th post.

Here's the thing about watching music videos while you work out at the gym. Say, for instance, the new Jennifer Lopez video comes on while you're on the treadmill. It's got a catchy beat, and so you start digging the song, which makes you run faster. This is good, but you have to remember to up the speed of the treadmill or you find yourself running into the heartbeat monitor bar on the treadmill, thereby looking like a giant dork. I know this from experience.

The other issue is that J.Lo can dance, and dance well, which makes you want to dance. Preferably not on the treadmill, which would be not only embarrassing, but just asking for injury. However, watching someone dance to a great tune really can inspire you to dance. Especially if you happen to know that you can keep a pretty good beat and that you, too, used to be able to dance like that once upon a time. When you were in high school, had 5% body fat, and were athletically inclined.

It's funny how the mind doesn't age quite in time with the body. Because in my mind, I'm thinking, "Damn, that looks cool. I bet I could get those moves down, with a little practice." My body, however, is going, "Oh hellllll no. What are you thinkin'?"

So I've had this song running through my head all day, and every once in awhile I feel like bustin' a move, and then I remember that no, I'm not Jennifer Lopez, and I don't dance like that anymore. Ever. Which is sorta depressing. But part of me wants to go home and, after putting Zoe to bed, just try it out.

I think I'd sprain something, though, so I won't. That you know of, anyway.

Best wishes to Shawn and his newly-repaired ACL. He claims he tore it going after a foul ball at Busch Stadium. Personally, I think he was trying to dance like J.Lo.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Calling Daddy

I'm feeling kind of sad today, and a bit lonely. Could be that my hub is in Vegas and not due to return until Thursday. Could be that my BFF is quite busy and doesn't have time to talk. Or it could be gas. Who knows?

Zozo and I are having quite the Girls Week without Daddy. We are having a blast, hanging out, doing things together. She's at the stage where she's "helping" quite a bit, which is great, and makes me feel even closer to her.

Last night, she picked up her pink Polly Pockets cell phone, opened it, dialed, and held the phone up to her ear. I asked, "Are you calling someone?" She answered, "Uh huh." "Whom are you calling?" "Dad." I think I almost fell over.

She's adding to her vocabulary daily now, having decided, apparently, to start talking. We currently stand at:
Eye (or I)
Various animal sounds (hoo hooo, roar, eee eee eee (that's the monkey), auwa (that's our cat))

Plus she's been known to say:
Bye bye

These don't include those words she has in her very own language, which include unintelligible sounds for "I want to go outside," "moon," and "pick me up!"

Many thanks go out to the grandparents, who are all working diligently with her to develop her vocabulary. Even though they've all got a stake in getting her to say "Grandpa" or "Grandma."

Monday, September 24, 2007

Hello, my name is...

A couple in Chicago, Illinois, tried for 15 years to have a baby. They finally succeeded September 12. Their 15 years makes our two years pale in comparison, and my heart is filled with overwhelming joy that their wish finally came true.

But I'd also like to clock 'em in the head and ask, "What were you thinking?"

It seems Mommy and Daddy are die-hard Cubs fans and want their newborn baby to be, as well. That's quite a cross to bear so early in life, but who knows, they're playing well this season and this just may be it for them. (In the Z house we are Cards fans all the way, but if our Cards can't go anywhere, well, then we'll root for the ol' Cubbies. Keep it in the Midwest that way, eh?)

Anyway, the couple, whose last name is Field, named their child "Wrigley." I kid you not. It was on NPR this morning. I actually stopped and considered whether it was April 1, as that's the sort of bullshit story NPR runs on April Fools Day.

Wrigley Field was issued an authentic Cubs onesie, and will be given the option of going by his middle name, Alexander, as soon as he's able to talk. Which, thankfully, should be before he starts school.

I thought we were toeing the line when we gave Zoe the initials ZZ, but I see that the line has moved now and we're nowhere near it anymore.

You know, school is hard enough without being saddled with a name like that. And, being that they are Cubs fans, well, it just adds insult to injury.

Big news on the Zozo Front: she escaped from her crib for the first time this weekend. I had put her down for her nap and was watching a movie when I heard "thud" and then crying. As soon as I heard the thud I was up off the couch and already in the kitchen by the time the howling started. I knew as soon as I heard the noise what it was. I took the hallway in about three steps and busted into her room. She was standing by the side of crib, crying, with a look of "what the hell just happened?" on her face.

Holy shit. This be the end of an era at our house. We're converting the crib to a toddler bed this weekend. Wish us luck.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Take me out of the ballgame...

Well, we went to the Cardinals "game" last night. I put game in quotes because, if you saw any of it, you know it was anything but. A game denotes actual competition, and since we didn't even really bother to show up I hesitate to call it a game.

We left after the 7th inning, so we missed the highlights such as Aaron Miles being thrown in as pitcher (whereas he hit his first batter and served up a homerun to his second). Poor Miles. I'm proud of him taking one for the team because last night he shot his ERA all to hell. Can you imagine the conversation in the dugout?

Tony: "Well, this sucks worse than Barry Bonds' ego trip. Damn, the bullpen's fartin' around playing jacks or Uno cards or something. Aaron? What're you doing? You busy?"

Aaron: "Um, no, sir. I was just catching up on some reading. What's up?"

Tony: "Go out there and play catch with...let's see...I already pulled Molina, and Bennett beat me at poker the other night so I promised him a shot at first...Stinnett's available...yeah, Stinnett. Go play catch with Stinnett. Oh, and try not to bean anyone standing near the plate."

So the Cardinals' chance at the playoffs is pretty much nonexistent at this point, unless something catastrophic happens like the city of Chicago being taken out by a meteor or overrun with aliens. And yet, we should all remember that until the last game of this year's World Series, we are indeed still the World Champion St. Louis Cardinals.

From what I can tell, Cardinal nation is actually gearing up to cheer for the Cubbies to go all the way. Huh. What d'ya know. Pigs really may fly over a frozen hell.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

My First Reader would hate me right now

I just wrote a whole bunch of crap in this space, re-read it, decided it was lame, and started over.

A story on NPR this morning contained an interview with an author. The reporter started by saying how some writers need to be surrounded by their favorite things, or need to sit in certain locations or whathaveyou in order to write. But this particular author didn't need any of those things...she just needed her First Reader. And it was said just like that, with the capital F and capital R heavily implied, like it's an official government title or something.

Apparently a First Reader is, well, just that. The first person who reads what you write. He or she is the person to whom you give your carefully crafted words, expecting encouragement and brutal honesty and constructive criticism in return. The author from this morning has had her First Reader for 18 years, and she serves as her First Reader's First Reader.

I'm intrigued. I never knew there was such a thing as a First Reader. I mean, yeah, someone's gotta be the person who reads your stuff first, but I didn't realize that authors have, like, designated First Readers on whom they count for feedback and stuff. I don't know that I ever thought much about it, but it makes sense.

I, rebel writer, do not have a First Reader. Unless you count me, in which case I'm the writer and first, second and third reader, since I re-read everything I write about a bajillion times before posting. I like to tweak.

Then I thought to myself that it would be ridiculous for me to have a First Reader since, technically, I am not an author. I can't imagine, I thought, writing that much all in one place.

And then I realized that I have written that much all in one place. Here. Granted, it's more of a collection of completely random essays rather than an inspired literary work, but still. I wrote it, and it's here, all in one place. I wonder how long it would be if it were in book form. I freaked out back in March when Blogger burped and I thought I lost it all, and so I dumped everything to that point into a Word document. It's 503 pages. Do you think that would qualify as a book?

Or is it more of a manuscript? I love that word: manuscript. It just sounds so weighty and hefty. Like "look at manuscript...that I wrote." Manuscript has been one of my favorite words since about junior high, and I've always aspired to have one myself. Preferably written, you know, by me.

At the J-School, I had a professor named Henry. I loved Henry even though he was a curmudgeon who was from the Old School of Advertising that included three-martini lunches and throwing erasers at students he caught talking in his class. Henry, in an effort to keep our minds "loosey-goosey" and juiced up creatively, assigned us the task of writing a one-page letter to him every week about whatever subject we chose. I loved that assignment. It wasn't even like work for was fun. At the end of the semester, we had to pick our top five or ten favorites and turn them all in at once (which, now that I think about it, probably meant that he didn't much read the ones we turned in weekly, although, upon further recollection, he did always have some pithy comment written at the bottom of mine). I think I still have a few of them stashed somewhere in my memorabilia boxes.

I remember one being about the fact that I couldn't talk about the "M word" to my boyfriend at the time (the "M word" being "marriage" and the boyfriend being M...ironic, no?) and having to post an 8.5"x11" sign in my apartment that said "NO M WORD" to remind myself while I was on the phone with him. He was squeamish about glad he got over that.

Another was about M's hair smelling like Spaghetti-O's since he was using Flex shampoo. I don't exactly remember what all I wrote, but the fact that I could get an entire paper out of Spaghetti-O Hair is still impressive to me.

Lately I've been in sort of a slump. A writer's block, if you will. Nothing fun or fanciful or witty or clever. The pirate stuff yesterday was a much-needed inspiration and got me "loosey-goosey," but today I'm feeling rather tapped. Again. Ugh.

I guess I'll go home tonight and get a whiff of M's hair and see if something there strikes me.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Today is National Talk Like a Pirate Day, which raises a ton of questions in my mind, at least.
  1. Who determines that it's National TLAP Day? Is there a National Federation of Pirates? United Pirate Workers of America? National Association for the Advancement of Pirates? Did they actually lobby the federal government for a National TLAP Day? And win?
  2. What is the need for a National TLAP Day? Are pirates misunderstood? Under-represented? Discriminated against? I'm pretty sure I haven't seen "No Pirates Allowed!" signs anywhere I've been recently, even on the coast where, I would assume, pirates would be far more prevalent than here in the midwest.
  3. When was it determined that September 19 would be National TLAP Day? If this is a tradition stemming back from the days of actual piracy (and I use that term in the old definition of the swashbuckling craggy old guys with peg legs and hooks for hands and eyepatches and parrots on their shoulders) then, okay, I can see that. But if this is some new-fangled thing, I'm thinking it's a bit too late. There are no old-school pirates around to enjoy it, after all. And the new definition of "piracy" doesn't really lend itself to celebration. By that meaning, talking like a pirate would include, "Dude, score me your copy of Microsoft Office so I don't have to shell out 600 smackers for it."
Given the appearance of old-school pirates, it's no wonder that career wasn't too popular. Can you imagine the job description?

Are you a people-person? No? Well, we've got a job for you! Wanted: full-time pirate. Salary includes minimum wage plus commission. Commission is based on whatever you can pillage and steal. Perks: your own ship, a mutinous crew, the joy of the open sea. Must be willing to relocate and possibly lose major and/or minor appendanges. Excellent night-vision a plus, and good communication skills required. Applicants will be tested for personality, character, and ability to swashbuckle. Apply on-line, stop by one of our many locations, or call Bill at 800.555.HOOK.

In celebration of National Talk Like a Pirate Day, I'll leave you with my two favorite pirate jokes. Okay, I have only two pirate jokes total, and one of them I just picked up off the radio this morning, but hey, I figure two pirate jokes is probably two more than most people have. Bear in mind that hearing them in person is way better than reading them here. It's the sound effects, you know.

First Pirate Joke:
Why couldn't the little pirate get into the movie?
It was rated aaarrrrrrrrrgggghhh.

Second Pirate Joke: (warning, this one is a bit, shall we say, below-board)
So a pirate walks into a bar with a steering wheel on his hoo-ha (for lack of a better term...this is a family-friendly blog, you know). He sits down and orders a drink. The bartender serves it to him, and waits a few minutes before saying, "Okay, I can't stand it anymore. Why on earth do you have a steering wheel on your hoo-ha?" The pirate replies, "Aaarrrggghhh, it's drivin' me nuts!"

Yeah, okay, so that one's pretty bad, but still, it cracks me up. I heard it from my old boss back in my not-for-profit days, and it made the rounds so much that if anyone said, "Aaarrrggghhh" there was a chorus from the office staff of, "It's drivin' me nuts!"

Okay, mateys, off you go. Ahoy!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Still no news...which is not a bad thing, really

It's a great feeling when you realize that you can effect change. That your efforts can make a difference, and that you can lead people, lead a company, towards greater profitability and a good environment for people to come to work.

I recently hit that after two years here at the spa, and 11 years in the workforce. It's like I'm finally, finally, hitting my stride. This extends into my personal life, too, and literally. I did my hour of cardio this morning, my usual 30 minutes on the elliptical (up to resistance level 7...yeah!) and then 30 on the treadmill. Only this time I ran for 20. Normally I just scoot along at a brisk pace.

So, all is good, but quite boring, as evidenced by no post yesterday. Weekend was relatively uneventful...balloon glow Friday night, ballgame Sunday afternoon complete with pictures of Zoe with Fredbird and the World Series Trophy (turns out the girl loves Tiffany & Co. already, since she tried like hell to grab one of the little shiny flags on the trophy) and shots from her last Run the Bases of the season. Nope, don't have 'em downloaded yet. Maybe tonight. M spent most of the weekend playing in the dirt, getting ready for the concrete guys who are coming Friday to pour the pad for the outbuilding guys who are coming mid-October.

I really should get some pictures up here, since I don't hardly have anything to write about these days. Sigh. In the meantime, I'll send you along to the site of my most favorite photographer in the whole entire world. He rocks the house. I love love love his peppers.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Reps and Sets and Rest, oh my!

I had my complimentary fitness orientation at The Lodge yesterday afternoon. A personal trainer took me around and showed me how to use the machines, which is very handy given that most of them look like medieval torture devices. "Your knees bend and your ankles hook over this bar, then you use this lever to adjust and lock the pad down to your leg. After that, line up your elbows with these red spots, resting the back of your upper arms on these pads, and grip the handle here. Now...push!" Wait, my knees go where?

I realize that it only seems overwhelming because it is all new, but damn. Like I don't look like a moron enough when I go to the gym, now I get to make a complete ass of myself trying to remember how to effectively use all these machines.

It is exciting though, and I try to remember that it took no time at all to feel comfortable with the machines at Curves. And my new machines are way better than those; I can adjust the weights and my exercises will grow with me.

When we got to the pec machine, the trainer studied my arms before flipping the pin out of the weight deck entirely, effectively defaulting the machine to 20 pounds. Oh, thanks. That's a real blow to the ol' ego. Then I climbed in and started. "Um, does it go lower than 20 pounds?"

Hard as it is to start something new, it will be a nice addition to my workout three times a week. Strength training is very important, and I know this, so I shall at least attempt it. My trainer asked what I'd like to accomplish by coming to the gym. I skirted the issue at first, saying the stuff I figured a personal trainer would want to hear. I'd like to be healthy. I'd like to have more energy to keep up with my child. Blah blah blah. Then I gave up and cut to the chase. I need to get rid of these hips and I want my arms to be friggin' ripped. Or at least not wobble when I wave to someone. That's when he smiled and showed me exactly what I need.

Since I didn't get to go this morning due to a staff meeting at our Chesterfield location, I'll be bugging out early and going this afternoon. Look for me there, I'll be the one all tangled up in a Nautilus machine.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Nuthin. Nada. Zip. Big goose egg.

When one has nothing to say, one should say nothing at all, yes?

Not much going on here. Busy at work. Busy at home. M is back in town. Doodle is great.

Haven't been feeling particularly creative as far as blogging goes the past few days, although I have been quite creative at work. That must be it...I can be creative only so far. When I'm tapped out, I'm tapped out. If you'd like to see my creativity, you'll have to come to work with me.

Since I doubt you'll do that, I guess just stay tuned and we'll all hope that I'll get to feeling darn witty here sometime soon. Or that I'll see something/hear something that inspires me to write. Like trucksticles.

In the meantime, I'll put this out to you: who are you rooting for...Kanye West or 50 Cent? If you don't know what I'm talking about, get on the 'net and google them. You'll learn right quick. I'm a Kanye girl myself, but it was funny as hell to listen to the two white anchors on NPR this morning discuss them. 50 Cent was called "Fifty Cent," which, if you're at all familiar with rap you know is completely wrong. It's "fiddy." Then, one of them referred to Mr. West and...Mr. Cent. At that point they realized that they were indeed two of the whitest people on earth and cracked up laughing. I laughed, too. And did a happy dance that Kanye is winning, so far.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Pour some sugar on me. Or not.

Eleanor Roosevelt said, "Do one thing every day that scares you." That's a pretty good idea, although it's hard to figure out something new for every single day. I'm sure it's easier when you're the First Lady, you know, because there are lots of things you can do in the White House that would be plenty scary. Like pushing the Red Button just to see what'll happen or taunting a Secret Service agent, stuff like that.

For me, though, a working mom living the suburban Lou, it's harder. I started yesterday with dinner, when I ordered something off the Chinese take-out menu that I had never tried before: Szechwan Bean Curd. The whole idea of "bean curd" was scary until I opened the container and discovered that bean curd is just tofu, which I've had plenty of. Huh. Learn something new every day. Anyway, in case you were wondering, Szechwan Bean Curd from Wan Fu on Manchester is excellent, and I highly recommend it (if you like really spicy veggies and tofu, which I do).

Part of me wonders about the decision to call it "bean curd" on the menu, as opposed to "tofu." Did they think that "tofu" would turn some people off? Because I gotta tell you, "bean curd" ain't that much more appealing. And I like tofu.

I haven't yet figured out what to do today that's scary, but we're going out to dinner for Uncle Milt's birfday so I may try the whole "something new off the menu" trick again.

"Something new off the menu" must be paired with my desire to eat extremely well, which is not scary but is indeed different for me. I've given up the beast called Coca-Cola, and that's been easier than expected (at least for now...check in with me again in a few days), and have been kinda sorta counting calories (really more like just keeping a running total in my head, which yeah, I know, isn't totally legit but hey, it's the best I can do right now) and drinking tons of water. Since I've started exercising for an hour each day, I've developed attitude that if I'm going to work this hard physically to make my body healthy, I'm not gonna pollute it by shoving all kinds of garbage in my piehole.

My Aunt P (which could stand for "progressive" but doesn't, although she is) brought in Vitamin Water last week and has been pushing it on everyone. When she finds something great, everyone benefits (see my Neti pot post from months ago...which I still stand by although M accidentally broke my pot and has yet to replace it, grrr), and her Product of the Moment is Vitamin Water. It's candy-colored water with interesting flavors and promises of lots of good vitamins. Healthy for you, you'd think. After all, it's water, right?

The marketing of Vitamin Water is pretty good, too. Here's an excerpt from the label:

"...we created this all-in-one product containing more of the nutrients you need, from vitamin a to zinc. think of it as a drinkable swiss army knife."

Catchy. (And made even more catchy by the fact that they chose not to use capital letters anywhere on the label, except in the Nutrition Facts section which is mandated by that pesky FDA). One could easily be lured into believing that consuming this beverage is a great alternative to plain water because one is getting more of the nutrients one needs.

And then one looks at the actual Nutrition Facts label and wants to vomit.

The flavor I have on my desk (which has one sip gone, done before I read the label) is multi-v (or lemonade in layman's terms). It has 13 grams of sugar in one serving, and there are 2.5 servings in the bottle. That's 32.5 grams of liquid sugar in a 20 oz. bottle. Just for reference, a 12 oz. can of Coke has 39 grams of sugar.

So what I'm saying is, Vitamin Water is pretty much as bad as a Coca-Cola, and if I'm gonna be bad, I'd much rather have the Coke. Or a giant piece of chocolate cake. Bye bye, Vitamin Water.

Maybe my scary thing for today was reading the label on the Vitamin Water. Well, it was, at the very least, shocking enough for me to stop drinking it.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Oops, I did it again

Have you ever been assigned a task that you think is so ludicrous that you grudgingly do it, half-heartedly, so the final result sucks?

I've got one of those going on today, and I'm grudgingly doing it, but I must say that my final result sucks. It involves a lot of handwriting, and while my writing has gone downhill in the past 10 years anyway due to typing all the time, it's practically illegible today. I just can't get my heart into this project, and therefore my hands are refusing to cooperate, too. I'm addressing envelopes and I'm sure the PO will come and arrest me for gross negligence once they actually decipher the return address on the envelopes.

While I'm doing my task today, I have free mind time, which means today I'm thinking about Britney and her not-so-comeback on last night's VMAs. I find myself inexplicably drawn to the plights of the Three Bimbos of the Apocalypse: Britney, Paris and Lindsay. I wish I could say I came up with that fantastic name, but alas, I did not. Anyway, so last night was supposed to be Brit's big return to the world of Entertainment. I mean real entertainment (hence the cap E), as in using talent to amuse others, not the paparazzi-fueled entertainment America (i.e. me) has grown to love. Britney opened for MTV's VMAs. Because I don't have cable, I had to wait until this morning to read on-line that she pretty much crashed and burned. Okay, so she all the way crashed and burned. She not only didn't sing, she couldn't even lip sync the words all that well. Her dance moves were apparently taken straight from the choreography of "Cocoon," and her costume was, to be kind, less than flattering. She even appeared on-stage missing one fake nail.

I mean, come on. The girl has more money than I will ever see in my lifetime, and she can't get a last-minute fix on a French manicure?

I can't even explain why I am drawn to watching this girl self-destruct. I think it started when we were pregnant at the same time. I'm happy to admit that that's where the similarities end. Although I have been tempted to shave my noodle on bad hair days.

So one of my guilty pleasures is reading about what stupid thing Britney has done today and thinking, "I am so a better mom than her." I know, it's really childish, but still, it makes me feel good.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Random (and I do mean random) Thoughts

I heard something recently that at first made me laugh, and then made me go, "Yeah, you know, that's kinda dead-on."

Families are like brownies...mostly sweet but with a few nuts here and there.

Mostly, we are able to laugh about our nuts, but sometimes they cause us heartache. In that case, I think it's best to just try to remember that everyone has some nuts tucked away in their closets.

But enough about nuts.

Ahhh, Rick Ankiel. We hardly knew ya. Again.

M gets quite defensive about our newest Cardinal golden boy. I don't know what to think yet. I'd like to believe the guy got where he is today by good old fashioned hard work and perseverance, but who knows. I used to think Big Mac was a true baseball icon, until, "I'm not here to talk about the past today." Bonds is practically already in the HoF, even though we all know that he's as guilty as O.J. Baseball is quickly losing ground again, which is a shame given how long it took (and what it took, with a homerun race between Corky and McRoid) to come back from the strike so long ago. It's a game, people. A game. Perhaps if there weren't millions at stake, the players wouldn't feel so pressured to pollute their bodies in an effort to play better.

Sorry for no post earlier...was busy at work re-doing a bunch of the retail shelves. It's a dirty job (literally...I was covered in dust by the time I was done), but well worth the effort. And it's good to get out from behind the desk every once in awhile.

That combined with the fact that I've been going virtually non-stop since 5:15 this morning means I'm tired. As M would say, "Put a fork in me...I'm done." Yawn.

M, on the other hand, spent most of his day on a sand volleyball court, playing in the annual APC company-wide volleyball tournament. Yes, his job really does just keep getting better and better. The boy got paid today to eat barbecue and play volleyball. His team was called The Airheads, which I think is just hilarious. He even got a t-shirt out of the deal, which is orange and has the Airheads logo. Very cool. This was the first time he played ball since the shoulder got cut on, and he's doing fine tonight, so praise be to Dr. Rothrock for fixin' him right up.

It's raining, I'm's time for me to relax and, soon, call it a night.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

What's Latin for "quit thinkin' so much already"?

Anima Sana in Corpore Sano

My father-in-law will be able to read that, but for those of you who don't know Latin, it means "a sound mind in a sound body."

Which is a pretty good thing to strive for, don't you think?

I'd never heard of that exact phrase until I bought my new running shoes, which, by the way, are awesome.

So I've been thinking a lot lately about what I need to do to have a sound mind in a sound body, and have come to the conclusion that I have a lot of work to do. On both counts. Sound mind and sound body.

Granted, I'm on the path. I'm now exercising for an hour every morning, and have eliminated my daily can of soda, and am becoming more mindful of how much I'm eating with each passing day. (Overeating is a huge downfall for me...even if it doesn't taste particularly good, if it's in front of me, it goes in my mouth. And now the habit of eating something sweet after lunch and dinner is haunting me, and is in the process of being banished. Stupid desserts.) I'm even a regular consumer of fiber now, even though admitting that makes me feel about 80. So that's the sound body part.

As for sound mind, I guess I'm on the path with that, too, learning to keep my emotions in check (although more often than not I fail miserably with that and get all worked up over virtually nothing, and I let other people's words and actions affect me way too much.) I read a lot, and try to be open to growth and change and learning new things.

And then sometimes I think that I overthink all this way too much. Isn't it enough that I simply enjoy a good pounding on the elliptical when I hear Kanye West's "Stronger," and that reading is not a self-improvement task but is instead pleasureful and relaxing?

I'm sure by now you're wondering what Anima Sana in Corpore Sano has to do with my new running shoes. That's what the tag on the shoes says is the name of the company: ASICS.

It's like when I learned that the word "spa" comes from the Latin Sanus Per Aquam, which means "health through water."

Cool, huh? Latin rocks.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

My good deed for the day

I've heard through the grapevine that one of my girls here at the spa is trying to get pregnant and is having some issues. I know from experience that this is an intensely and deeply personal issue, so I would never, ever approach anyone about it. I won't even ask people if they're going to have a child because you never know if someone is trying and having trouble (there are more people out there dealing with this than you think). Having been on the receiving end of that question while struggling with infertility, and the hours of ensuing pain and tears that it causes, I know I will never, ever inflict that on anyone.

So for several months now I've heard rumors that this girl is struggling. Today, amidst conversation with her and other girls, I let it "slip" that I have experience with infertility. It's quite easy to slide it into a conversation, like, "Because it took us two years to conceive..." Then I let it go. If she's interested, she'll ask.

A short time later, when it was just the two of us, she did.

I was able to give her the best resources I had in my arsenal, Becky Kuballa at P.A.R.I.N.T.S. , and Maria Carella, my infertility group therapist. I'm also going to dig out my old "coping with infertility" books, and have offered a shoulder to cry on.

Talking with her, and listening to her talk about her feelings, brought it all back to me. Coping with infertility is tremendously debilitating, and many people don't know it because those who are struggling with it don't exactly feel like shouting it to the world. My therapist, Maria, told my support group that struggling with infertility is the emotional equivalent of being diagnosed with cancer. If you haven't been through it, there's no way you can make that connection, but I understand it.

I would burst into tears at the mere sight of a pregnant woman. When someone at the office announced she was expecting (for awhile there, it felt like that was happening virtually every week), I'd have to put on a brave smile and offer congratulations before bolting to the bathroom to lock myself in and weep for 20 minutes. Every time someone would ask, "When are you going to have a baby?" it felt like a knife in my stomach. I couldn't attend baby showers, and it got to the point where I couldn't even go purchase a baby gift. Target gift cards are wonderful when you just can't bear to look at layettes and bibs and bottles any more. It feels like every woman in the world is pregnant except for you, and you start to wonder if you didn't do this to yourself. "Did I wait too long to try? What did I do to anger God?"

Even though I've had my child for two years now, there isn't a day that goes by that I don't look at her and marvel at the miracle that is Zoe. Marvel that I have this joy, this gift, this long-sought for child. Zoe will probably never know the extent of my love for her, that I think is even more powerful because it will forever be coupled with the deep sorrow and agony that it took to get her. Maria told us that we will always carry the emotional scars of infertility with us, even after we conceive and have our children, and she was right.

So I've made it my one-woman mission to be a guidepost for other women who are struggling. I can't do much, but I can pass along the information I learned and hook them up with Becky at P.A.R.I.N.T.S. and hopefully let them know that they are not alone, and that their feelings are completely valid, and that there is someone who understands the completely irrational fears and thoughts and feelings that accompany this awful issue.

My girl here at work ended our conversation with, "I feel so much better. I feel like a weight has been lifted, at least for a little while." That makes me feel so good, and I count my blessings that I had Becky and Maria and the wonderful women in my support group, and I pray for all those women out there who are still dealing with infertility.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

5:30 a.m.? Piece of cake!

Long weekend that was, as usual, not quite long enough. Saturday was a family reunion and getting ready for Zozo's party, Sunday was the party, and Monday was cleaning up from the party and running a few errands. That last part culminated in the battery dying in the ZoeMobile, leaving us stranded at Kohl's out on Manchester.

Did you know Sam's Club can install a new battery in 10 minutes? Handy!

I love three-day weekends not only for the extra day, but also for the four-day work week that follows.

Last week I started my new exercise schedule of hitting The Lodge at 5:30 a.m. and doing 30 minutes on the elliptical and 30 on the treadmill. I love love love it. I woke up in a horrible mood this morning and within 15 minutes was at the gym. An hour later the bad mood was gone, replaced by a feeling of accomplishment, sweat, and general stinkiness. It feels great and preps me for the day, but by 9 p.m. I'm whupped and ready to hit the sack. I'm now sleeping a heck of a lot better than I have in years, and am inspired to eat better (and cut soda entirely from my diet - it's the whole notion of "why should I put a bunch of crap into my body when I'm working so hard to make it healthy?") I'm experiencing a general shift in lifestyle, I think.

One of the errands we ran yesterday was to purchase new shoes for me, due to my increased exercising. The cheapo Curves ones I had about killed my feet the first time I wore them to The Lodge, and my reliable Rykas have plum worn out. I found myself in Dick's Sporting Goods explaining to the shoe department manager, "Every day, I do 30 minutes on the elliptical and 30 on the treadmill..." when I realized that I'm pretty darn proud of that. I'm pretty proud of the fact that I do an hour of exercise every day and am soaked in sweat by the end of it.

I'd have never pegged myself to be one of those people. Ever. You know the type. Those gym people.

My first morning was good in that I managed to use the correct towel to mop up my face and that I was fourth in line to get in the door, granting me my choice of elliptical. The first dude in line was wearing a crumpled suit and carrying a gym bag. Hmmm. Plenty of speculation on that over the next hour, that's for sure. Who shows up at the gym at 5:30 a.m. in a wrinkled suit? Some guy who shacked up the night before, that's who. That's our best guess, anyway. Anyway, I was (and still am, actually) shocked at the number of people who are there at 5:30 in the morning with me. I guess they've all known for some time what I've just discovered.

That it's cool to stand in Dick's Sporting Goods buying a new pair of Asics because you really do need a good, solid shoe to stand up to your daily workouts.

Steffi, you'll be pleased to note that I got the white, silver and blue ones. Not a spot of pink anywhere on them. Only because they were out of the pink ones in my size.

My exercise routine will change up a bit when M's traveling, as I won't be able to leave the house at 5:30 in the morning with Zo still sleeping and me being the only adult there, but it's okay. I've got a plan. I'll keep my sleep schedule the same by still getting up early and getting ready for work, coming in early and leaving early to go workout before picking up Zoe. That way I can stay on schedule. And we all know how Amy does much better when she's on schedule.

Just don't call me after 9 p.m. any more, as I'm sure I'll be sound asleep!