Sunday, May 31, 2009


40 years.

My parents have been married 40 years today. That's something, isn't it? I went to a wedding shower today for a former co-worker and she is so happy. It's been ages since I've been in the "wedding" state of mind. The last real emphasis on marriage was probably when I got married -- which was about the same time that the rest of my (admittedly few) friends were married. All the memories just rushed back. Each time my former co-worker cut a ribbon today I flinched, as I remembered the old tale that for every ribbon you broke, you'd have a baby.

I do remember that during my own showers (about 17 years ago), I made a concerted effort to break no more than 2 ribbons in all. That took some doing, considering the fact that we had almost 500 people at our wedding. ( read that correctly.)

Isn't it funny how we make such efforts to control our destiny? It's almost cute - as we convince ourselves that the ribbons we cut or the china for which we register is what truly determines our future. Life is so much more than ribbons and china. It's BETTER than that, of course...but it's also much, much more difficult than that.

I'm enjoying this small foray into matrimonial remembrance because my next big dose of lace and cake might be my own daughter's wedding. Or that of her friends. I'd like to think that she'd wait for a few more decades, but the truth is that she's probably too much of a romantic to wait. Just as I was.

In the meantime, I have to admit that I LOVE "love." It's fabulous. Difficult, crazy, and unpredictable (of course) - but really it's what life is all about, right? If I had one wish for my children, it's that they will know love. As much as I want them to have academic and even professional success, it pales in comparison to my hope that they find true love. I suppose love doesn't pay the bills. But it makes everything else worthwhile. You don't even care about the bills if you don't have love.

Ok - I admit it. Now I'm sounding like the Beatles.

But they did have a point, didn't they?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Excited About Setting Myself Up For Frustration

I wanted to title this post: "Excited about setting myself up for failure" but that seemed a bit too negative. So, here's the story, in oh-so-convenient bullet point format:

* I am visiting with two non-profit boards to find a good match. I really want to be on a board. Right now I'm fighting down my tendency to say yes to both of them because even I realize that would be insane.
* I am doing other major career-type things because I'm very energized about the idea of someday leading a non-profit as its Executive Director. So I'm trying to grow, learn, etc. To that end, I've recently joined an awesome professional organization for women and volunteered to serve on their public relations committee.
* I'm also going to my first "glass fusing" class tonight. A friend at work (who's very busy but single with no kids, so probably not someone whose schedule I should attempt to emulate) highly recommended it and I decided it was a great idea because an art class would probably be therapeutic for me. Of course, I have no idea what "glass fusing" is - I just know that the stuff she made looks cool.

I'm very excited about all of these new things in my life. And yet, quite inconveniently, there are still only 24 hours in the day. And all of my "old" things haven't gone anywhere. Which led me to fall apart last night, going on and on and on to my (very patient but confused) husband about how I can't get a handle on anything such as organizing my closet, or my kids' rooms, or even just remembering to get them out the door with the correct items in the morning. That, in turn, led him to pat my arm until I fell asleep. But the problem with that was that I then forgot to sneak his anniversary card into the bathroom as a surprise for him when he woke up. (It's 19 years of dating for us today....I know. I'm not actually all that old - we started dating when I was 18. Seriously.)

So the cycle continues.

I'm reading ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life. One of the key suggestions is to be strict with yourself and not put anything new in your life (or your closet) without first finishing or removing something old. I underlined that sentence because it (theoretically) seemed like a really good idea.

But at this point I think the only "old" thing that's leaving my life is any semblance of sanity I used to have.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Kids and History

Tonight I finished reading a short kids' biography about JFK to my little boy. He has been fascinated by our 35th president. I must give his older sister credit on this one because, at one point this weekend, as we were driving around town, she pulled the JFK bio out of the pocket in the backseat of our car and started telling him about Kennedy's PT 109 heroics.

It involved war, guns, and bravery. So my youngest was hooked.

Tonight, as we finished up the biography, I was really put to the test as I had to explain everything from Catholicism to Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby. That was interesting.

My youngest is able to read without a problem, but he's not yet at the point of WANTING to read for himself. I can't believe I've missed the obvious for so long. There are tons of great biographies out there about war heroes and great men and those stories are probably just what he needs to decide it's worth it to do this reading thing on his own. I think I'm going to go on a hunt for such bios. My husband suggested Audie Murphy. Hmmmm....surely there's a kid bio somewhere out there about him, right? Who else...oh - I should get one about the Alamo! He absolutely loved visiting the Alamo this year and looking for bullet holes.....

I love the way that girls and boys force you to look at the world and parenting in totally different ways. It will be interesting to see which historical character captures my son's interest. For years, my daughter's favorite person was Clara Barton (founder of the American Red Cross, and a seriously brave person in her own right).

Well....I suppose my major in History will come in handy after all!

So this is a new thing????

I can't help myself. I have to facetiously point out that one of the postings from a local TV station's political blog is: Lawmakers Get Verbose.


Because up until this latest debate on the top 10% rule (which doesn't appear to be all that much of a debate, compared to some, you know, health care for children....) - the lawmakers weren't verbose at all. Oh, no. They were total wallflowers. You had to simply pry the words out of those guys.

Yeah, yeah...I know. Pot calling the kettle black, here. But I woke up on the wrong side of the bed for some reason and it seemed safer to be snippy about this odd title than to be snippy about other things. Although, to be fair -I think that anything's subject to my snippiness today.

You have been warned.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

I always think of my husband's namesake on Memorial Day. You see, his uncle was killed in Vietnam two weeks before he was born (I can't even begin to imagine what it must have felt like for my father-in-law to be grieving his best friend at the same time he was naming his first born after him). That uncle was named after his uncle (i.e. my husband's great uncle) who was killed in WWII.

So, as I tell my husband, I'm very glad he broke the tradition of men with that name being killed in battle. Neither of his namesakes were married - they were both so young when their lives were taken. As I leave the age when my life (or more likely, my husband's life) would be put at risk during battle and I enter the age when my children's lives would be at risk - I have to say that I grieve even more on this day. It's only at this time in my life when I can really begin to understand what it must have felt like for the mothers who saw their sons graduate from high school and go right into battle. I'm quite sure that I would simply scream for days on end if my own son was taken from me in that way.

I am truly grateful to all the veterans who paved the way for us to live safely. My own cousin made it back safely from Iraq and I consider it a minor miracle that he's back home - since his job was taking apart roadside bombs. He's now happily married to a medic he met over there and they are expecting their first baby. I know we're so lucky and I know that we live in an imperfect world which causes death and destruction. We have to have the military. I absolutely understand that. I'm going to keep doing my teeny tiny little efforts to bring peace - even if all I can do on any given day is give a dollar to a homeless veteran...and I'm also going to hope that someday we stop killing each other abroad and in our own backyards.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

More Mother Angst

After we saw Hannah Montana: The Movie today, I took my daughter over to The Domain to try to get some lunch, thinking that a mother/daughter outing would be nice. We ended up at Jasper's because the tea room was crazy busy and she'd said she'd eat calamari. I find it very interesting that she likes calamari because she's a very picky eater.

And I give her a very hard time about her pickiness.

And I feel very guilty about giving her a hard time about it.

Anyway - the $12 Jasper calamari didn't so much hit the spot for her.

I told her I'm kind of tired of taking her out to eat and making her food that she won't eat.

Now I feel really bad - like maybe I'm propagating my own eating issues by pressuring her about food. Is there any way to be a mom without screwing things up?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

My Experiment

Oops. I wrote this post a few days ago and just realized that I never hit "publish...." (I'm no longer 3 pounds down....but am hoping to be down again soon...)

I was debating whether or not I'd blog about my current experiment, but the initial indications are that it is having positive decided to blog it.

As you know, I'm a vegetarian.

As you also know, I've inexplicably gained at least 20 pounds over the last year (the exact number sort of depends upon when, exactly I started keeping track).

And finally, you might notice that I'm reading Jillian Michael's book, Mastering Your Metabolism because it's rather upsetting to not be able to fit into a bunch of my clothes when I haven't really changed anything about my diet. Ms. Michael's book has really inspired me to try something new. Her theory (or one of them, anyway) is that one should not delete any macronutrient from one's diet. We should eat in moderation, of course, and she's a HUGE believer in only purchasing organic food (which is grist for the mill, as far as I'm concerned since I've always been a big ol' fan of organics), but she points out that if we completely cut out carbs, or fat, or veggies (heaven forbid!) or even meat, then we screw around with our hormones - which, in turn can easily cause us to pack on the pounds.

She also lists many other symptoms of hormone imbalance which sounded suspiciously familiar to me (failure to sleep well being one of the most obvious ones). So....I felt "called" to put meat back into my diet temporarily for two weeks. I'm not really eating very many ounces of it each day (it doesn't take much for my stomach to go...."whoa, dude! I'm majorly full here!!") - but I have to say that the differences I've noticed are stunning.

For one thing, on the days when I try my best not to go more than 4 hours without eating a little something (kind of hard for me to do because if I did all my meals that way, I'd eat them all by myself at work - which is quite depressing...) and I'm eating a little meat, I am not hungry AND my energy level is much better. The "not hungry" thing really blew me away. I didn't realize that I was constantly a little bit hungry and dizzy all the time until the last few days....when I noticed their absence. I still believe there's a "right" way to do vegetarianism and I probably wasn't doing it in the best way. my mom pointed out...I'm hypoglycemic. So maybe my body just struggles more with it. Who knows?

Here's the really amazing thing, however...I have no idea if this is a fluke but I don't think it is because I've been stuck at my weight forEVER...I decided to get on the scale today, and I have lost 3 POUNDS since starting to eat meat on Sunday.

I hate to admit it....but this theory of making sure I get all my macronutrients might just be what I need. We'll see....I'm still trying to be pretty scientific about it and withhold judgment. But I have to say that I feel much better, over all.

The Cute One

Do you remember how my son said he wanted to take "the cute one" to dinner with the principal? Here they are, walking into Outback Steakhouse last night.
Cute and sweet but very, very scary at the same time....

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Dating Non-Profits

One of my major life goals, as you may remember, is to join a non-profit board. Recently, I went to a Greenlights Board Summit and met representatives from many non-profit boards here in town. I narrowed my interest down to two boards and today I met with each of them. (Well - not everyone from each of them....but you know what I mean...)

It's been an extremely interesting day. I've learned a lot about myself and what I want in life. Specifically, I apparently want challenges and I'm happiest with the idea of jumping into a less planned situation. Let me elaborate...

Both of these boards have missions which really matter to me because both of them have to do with serving kids. One of the boards is for a pretty well-established non-profit here in town with about 37 staff members and a big budget. The other board I'm considering is for a much smaller board with only one staff member (the very dedicated Executive Director).

It's clear that the board members on the bigger board are very devoted and I liked everything I heard there.

But....the smaller board is really in the process of remaking itself and they are extremely eager to get some board members on board who are brimming with ideas. I can tell that the smaller board probably has fewer processes and systems - but they want to develop them. I was much more excited about starting with the smaller board. It's interesting because I'm sure fewer people have heard of that board but I get the impression that they really need me and I would love to make a difference in that way.

Now that I write all of this out, I guess none of this is very surprising - but before I went into the personal meetings today, I'd assumed that I'd be choosing the bigger organization, if given the option. Turns out that I'm much more into the idea of joining up with the smaller organization if they'll have me.

Who knew?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Manolo Envy

I have this friend at work. She's so cool. She's in her 50's and is the ultimate in fabulous-ness. Plus she's really, really nice to me, extremely brilliant, and very supportive. She's the one who convinced me to shop at Cole Haan for my shoes and purses and I knew she was my kind of woman because once, as I was talking about the SATC movie in passing and mentioned that one scene in particular was my favorite she said: "Oh, I love every scene in that movie!"

So -that's the background for this story....

Here's our conversation when she came into my office today:
My Cool Friend: " will not believe the shoes I got this weekend."
Me: "Where did you go? What did you get???"
My Cool Friend: [dramatic pause....] "I got my first ones..."
Me: "You got Manolos!!!"

Yup. She got Manolos. And you can see that we are on the same wavelength since I was able to guess exactly what kind of shoes she bought just from the phrase "her first ones." She went on to describe the gorgeous things and I have to say that I was practically jumping up and down in excitement for her. Now this is weird because just a few years ago I was so un-into shoes that my mom and sister-in-law would refuse to be seen in public with me in some of my ratty shoes. Now, I'm still pretty rough on my shoes - but I finally get it. Shoes are cool.

Oh, my gosh! I'm going to see the Manolo Blahnik Sillouhettes live and in person!!! I'm very proud that I controlled myself and did NOT ask My Cool Friend what size shoe she wears....I could not bring myself to borrow shoes that cost that much because I would do something horrible to them like scratch the leather. (Shudder....double shudder....)

She got Manolos! I really am happy for her. As much as I'd love to wear a pair....I really don't want to spend $800 on shoes. Call me crazy, but....that just wouldn't be a wise investment for me. Now....if I could just find a free pair....or a super discounted pair. But I don't think TJ Maxx carries them.....bummer.

Should I link with Barack?????

Dude....Barack Obama has a LinkedIn profile.....I kid you not. I was looking for someone else and in that sidebar they have where it says "Viewers of this profile also viewed...." I saw that Barack Obama was listed. (His present position, President of the United States of America, is much more impressive-sounding than many other positions out there, especially those ambiguous ones like "Driven entrepreneur with powerful connections" or something like that. I always think: "Well, yeah...but what do you DO??")

So Barack's profile is nicely put together. This got me to wondering, is George W out there? There are 2 profiles I found but I will hope that they are not legit because they are really wimpy profiles and one even has weird grammar. ("President at US Government" - huh???)

Barack has 500+ connections, as one might expect. I don't think I'll send him an invite to "connect" because that just seems like it would be an odd thing to do. But it is very interesting to ponder. Hmmm..... Wonder if I could get him to write me a reference? (hee, hee....)

That does remind me, however, that I have a friend from law school who is an up and coming politician. I'd bet good money that he's on LinkedIn too. I'll have to look him up.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

My Marauder's Map

Do you know how I know my son loves me? He spent tons of time working on something for me but didn't let me look at it. So I tucked him into bed as he was still working on it and went to take my bath. When I got out of the bath, I found this waiting for me on my pillow.

It's the Marauder's Map! Complete with Harry, Ron, Hermione, Percy, Snape, Peter Pettigrew, and Professor Lupin marked on it in little dots. It's probably one of the best gifts I've ever received. I especially love the kindergarten phonetic spelling of all of the names. (Not too bad, really - I could easily read all of them.) I want to frame it or something - I was just so touched that he spent all that time on it, then left it on my pillow.

He is growing up. You know, he wants to take "Ella G." to dinner with the principal on Tuesday (in the silent auction, we'd bought him dinner with the principal, just as we had for his big sis when she was in kindergarten - and he gets to bring one friend). I wasn't sure which of the two Ella's in his class was "Ella G." since neither of their last names began with G. I showed him the yearbook so he could point her out to me. He practically rolled his eyes, pointed to one and said "I want to take the cute one, Mom!"

Alrighty, then. Thanks for clearing that up for me, son.

My sweetie. Not at all a baby anymore but I have no regrets, because babies can't draw Marauder's Maps for their mom.

Bar Hopping

I went bar hopping last night and it was so much fun. (Although the headache is beginning now...which is, of course, much less fun than the hopping was.)

I never did the bar hopping thing in undergrad or law school, and of course - there's "no day but today" - so I regressed just a bit and went out with my super cool friend who knows all the great places. Hopefully that was enough to get it out of my system, because this morning my 37-year-old body is definitely asking me what the heck I was thinking AND I'm also getting ready to do the Jillian Michael's super duper healthy eating plan. I can't imagine that the mussels dripping in butter (Cru wine bar), queso nachos (from another restaurant/bar in the 2nd street area...the name escapes me), and various glasses of wine, margaritas, and mojitos did good things for the old metabolism.

So at this point, I think I'll go lie down for a bit and read about my new healthy lifestyle....or maybe I'll just nap.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

No Day But Today

All I wanted today was a Rent t-shirt. The show was AMAZING. I left it in tears. Of course - the music and story is so amazing and I have to say that all the performances were fabulous.

What was really cool about this production is that Anthony Rapp (the original Mark) and Adam Pascal (the original Roger) were on stage, keeping their original roles alive. I was wondering if it would work, thinking that they must be getting old, but it totally did. And the Maureen was the BEST I've ever seen! (Sorry, Idina....)

Then, when I got back home, I looked Anthony and Adam up to see just how "old" they were. Well, that sure taught me not to turn over any rocks that I don't want to inspect....they are my age. Technically, I'm a month older (almost to the day) than Anthony and Adam is only one year older than me. So....I probably shouldn't have assumed that they were old. They were just in NYC, beginning their careers on stage when I was graduating from law school. Wow.

The only problem with the whole show is that I was, apparently, dancing in my seat and wiggling to the beat of the music. Which was, as one might imagine, rather distracting to my date.


I calmed down a bit in the second half of the show. Of course -I was crying all through the second half anyway. So....wiggling through the first half, crying through the second half. Whooping and cheering after every single song. And, of course, moo-ing when Maureen asked us to moo. Have I ever mentioned that I tend to get pulled into the experience of art?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Live Long And Prosper

Jealous? I know you are.

Some of you have probably seen the new Star Trek movie (and I'm quite jealous of that) BUT you don't have Spock and Kirk bobbleheads from Burger King, do you? Who's jealous now???? Hmmmmm????

They even talk:

Spock: "A rescue attempt would be illogical."

Kirk: "Kirk to Enterprise."

Oh, yeah. Who said there aren't any perks to being a mom? I might never get to the movies, but I get french fries and bobbleheads. Who could ask for anything more?

another bberry post

I'm @ the dr office, waiting to get an x-ray for my daughter. On monday evening she popped a finger out of joint - my mom popped it back in (yes, this would be the same mom who pulls my kids' teeth and cut their nails for me when they were babies). I figured it would be sore for a while but it's been too many days of soreness and swelling now.

Anyway- I let my son bring his nintendo ds since I figured waiting would be involved (does that make me a bad mom?) Then I found a brochure about puberty which I handed to my girl when she complained about being bored. She is now obsessively reading this pamphlet. Weird.

So I got bored once my kids were occupied - so I'm blogging. Oh, she just finished with the pamphlet and I just glanced at it. No wonder she was interested. Yikes.

Ok now I have company again so I'll stop blogging.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Generational Stuff

I've always been rather intrigued with generational concepts, generational know, stuff like that. Lately I'm noticing articles and blogs about generational issues everywhere - but it's probably just that it's more on my mind than it normally is.

At various points in my life, I have not always had the best self-esteem. (You guys can totally stop snorting with laughter....I can hear you all the way down here in Austin, you know.) BUT... I have made astounding strides in that regard over the past couple of years. I have to say that, for the most part, I can see that I have a lot to offer the world. I've got my flaws, but I'm working hard on them and when it all comes down to the wire, I'm really not a bad apple. What's really cool is that by discovering this about myself, I've kind of discovered it about my generation as well. You see, I now realize that for most of my life I'd bought into the stereotypes that other generations (ahem, Boomers, I'm talking about you guys...) put on us. (You know...."slackers" because we don't commit to a particular religion or career for our whole lives and "poor communicators" because we get straight to the point and don't beat around the bush with a bunch of political fluff.) Now I see us taking the lead and it's great.

I recently joined a great professional group - it's called Executive Women in Texas Government and it is truly made up of some awesome women. Most of them are a generation ahead of me and have been in state government for decades. What's neat about these groups is that the Boomers are totally there for the X-ers and Y's and, in contrast - we have a lot to offer to the discussion as well! For example, just this week I went to a mini-course that was all about LinkedIn. Someone else presented and did a really good job. When she opened the floor up for discussion, I ended up sharing a lot of knowledge and almost felt like a co-presenter (nice phrase)/attention hog (mean phrase) for the last few minutes. (I've recently become quite focused on my LinkedIn presence - which is, apparently, a very Gen X sort of thing to I had tons to say.)

I was such a nerd as a kid - such a people pleaser - that I think I was just trying to be a miniature Boomer. You know - trying to be exactly what the adults around me expected me to be. It's weird to just now be figuring out who I truly am but it's also a joy because my parents are right there beside me, cheering me on. I think they are probably even prouder of the little risks I'm seeking out now than they were of the straight A's and perfect behavior in high school. Go figure. All I had to do all along was just be myself. Thanks Mom and Dad.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Almost Friday...

It's almost Friday, which means my husband is almost home again. I'm so ready to be a two-parent family again because, as I'm sure you've noticed from my postings, I REALLY do not do the whole "running a household" thing very well. Seriously. And I'm convinced the house knows it and is plotting against me and laughing at me behind my back. (As I write this, I realize I'm sounding very Shinto here. All I can say is that if my house does, indeed, have a kami - then I don't like it.)

Why is it that I do so much better if someone else is taking care of "stuff?" I often tell my husband that it's because I'm lazy but - to be fair - that's not really true. I'm actually a pretty hard worker. I don't think many people would use the term "lazy" to describe me. Unpredictable? Yes. Distracted? No doubt. Mildly annoying in the way that I constantly jump from one idea and project to another? Um.....totally. But lazy I ain't. (And I have the LinkedIn references to prove it...)

I'm beginning to realize that household issues (for lack of a better word) are like Chinese water torture for me. Each tiny little thing that goes wrong (or that just exists and forces me to deal with it) feels bigger and bigger as time goes on and as I face a whole bunch of them. I have to give my husband credit - nothing seems to phase him. And, as a result, it's as if everything just flows. In my case, I'll most likely freak out about the ants on the counter as I attack them with organic cleaning spray, then (while I'm still a bit shaken up over the ants) I'll end up spilling the cookies my mom bought today all over the kitchen floor. Oh - and these would be the cookies covered in powdered sugar. Which, of course - is a real help in regards to the ant problem.

Finally, finally I am starting to get it. This is me. I need to keep trying to improve, I need to make time for things that are important and try to organize my life - but I am NEVER (and I do mean NEVER) going to be someone who directs the household in a calm and orderly fashion as I send my kids to school with pre-packed lunches (they've bought their lunches almost every single day this year). I'm truly grateful, however, that I don't live in an era where that would be my only choice. It's not a bad choice. I definitely see the appeal of domesticity. But thank goodness I'm not forced into it by either society (well, most of it....) or my family.


I accidentally bit my lip at some point in the last 24 hours. I'm not even sure when it happened - it just wasn't a big deal at the time but now I have this huge spot that I feel all the time, I can't do anything without aggravating it and making it worse - so now I'm thinking about it all the time, even during business meetings.

During my drive over to yet another meeting (I got here early - thus the quick bberry post...)It occurred to me that this is exactly what happens to me in regards to emo/feeling-type issues. Something starts - and it's so subtle that I'm almost unaware of it. Before I know it, however, it's become this huge deal. I usually make it worse by pretending it doesn't exist (Oh, I don't feel that way. Oh, that person has NO effect on me. Right.) Finally, I'm forced to deal - all the while thinking: "How the hell did I end up in THIS situation???"

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

the stupid house hates me

As if the washer weren't the kitchen smoke alarm is freakin' chirping at me.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Self Reliance

I am so frustrated...I've GOT to be more self-reliant. About the basic things, you know? When it comes to professional stuff like writing policies, reviewing contracts, and even managing people - I'm not half bad. But when it comes to regular household stuff - I am SO pitiful.

I'm so tired now that I suspect I'm well past the point of coherency as I try to explain what I I certainly wouldn't blame anyone if they decided to stop reading right now.

Really, go ahead. Stop reading. Turn the computer off - I don't blame you.

Even though you (wisely) stopped reading, I'll keep writing because it's moderately therapeutic.

I will begin by the horribly embarrassing confession that I do not know how to change a tire. Seriously. I am 37 years old and I can't change my own car's tire if I get a flat. Well - WHEN I get a flat because it's bound to happen sooner or later - probably at the most inopportune moment.

And then, of course, we have the washer situation. (SIGH.........) About 13 years ago, we received a washer and dryer from my husband's grandparents. It was an awesome gift because I don't think we'd have had a chance in heck of affording them on our own at that point. Well, they've been chugging along faithfully all these years. Lately, I've been seduced by the new-fangled front-loading, energy efficient, super expensive washers. HOWEVER, I figured that if I really am the environmentalist I claim to be - then I should use those suckers out until they DIE.

The only problem is that our washer has some sort of issue. It stops mid-cycle. Now - I'm lucky enough to be married to a man who understands appliances and all sorts of technical stuff. We have a number of "riggings" throughout our house because he's able to fix things on his own. (Remind me to tell you sometime about the fact that our heater/AC is rigged in such a way that wires have to be moved when the weather that sometimes I worry that if he has a heart attack right before a cold snap, I'll turn the heater on without switching the wires and burn the whole place down...but I digress....)

Anyway....our washer is rigged. Or, rather it WAS rigged. There was a rope hanging from the front, doing something (I have no idea what) to keep the washer going. Well, I may have neglected to mention this in the past - but I have a VERY curious and typical 6-year-old son. He sees a rope and what does he do? Well....he tugs on it, of course. And pulls it out of the washer.

Which would have been fine EXCEPT for the fact that I started a load of laundry late tonight (kickball games two nights in a of course I have to wash the uniform) - forgetting (of course) that the washer would not complete the cycle without this mysterious, magical rope. After a mere seconds of looking at the rope and the washer, I realize that I have absolutely NO IDEA what this rope did. As a matter of fact (unlike my husband) I have no idea WHY the washer was stopping in the first place.

I call my LA. I interrupt him at a movie. I feel horrible. He's trying to explain that I need to unplug the washer before I do anything else to try to fix it (of course, all the while missing his movie) and I tell him - never mind. I'll get out the kickball uniform and rinse it in the sink. I'll worry about the myriad of towels and other kid stuff tomorrow. He thinks I'm mad at him...I'm not...I just feel really bad about interrupting his movie and too tired to fix the washer so I figure he should go back to his movie. But of course, I'm tired (like....REALLY tired....) so I'm probably not expressing myself as well as I should.

Seriously. I am completely worthless with home stuff. I feel it even more because I have a number of single friends. Do they change their own tires? YES. One of them even fixes her own pool! ( be fair, she did shock herself mildly and I forbade her from ever working with electricity in her pool again.) And I have married friends who are much more competent than I am. So I can't even use the excuse that I'm married.

It's just a bit discouraging because I should be able to handle house stuff for ONE WEEK while he's in L.A. It hasn't even been 48 hours yet and I have a washer full of water (which will be rancid by the time he gets back Friday evening) and Lord knows what else will happen tomorrow.

Not that I'm trying to be negative or anything....

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Guilt = Great Wine

Last night, my husband I attended an awesome event and it was all for free - thanks to the glory of guilt!

Let me ''s too long....let me sum up......(Princess Bride)

Saturday evening, our orignal plan was to have one of my couple friends from work over for dinner. But another friend of mine, who's on the Mobile Loaves and Fishes board, gave them tickets to this fancy smancy wine tasting fundraiser. I cornered him in the hall and told him I was mad at him because I had TOLD him that they were supposed to be at my house Saturday and now he'd ruined my dinner plans! (It was all in good humor - I wasn't really mad but it was fun to give him a hard time about it.)

He immediately remembered that I had, indeed, told him that. Felt bad and insisted that we take some tickets to the event. I tried to refuse and told him I wasn't really upset but he insisted that he had like 5 or 6 more to give away and he didn't have them planned for anyone and was really hoping we'd come. Well - ok then! What was awesome is that we got tickets to the pre-event tasting of some wines which were (supposedly) very expensive and fancy.

So it was really fun. Of course, me being me, I spent the first hour of the evening taking notes as Miss Jane the sommelier taught us all about wine terms, etc. I also took notes about which ones tasted great and which were kind of ick. The funny thing is that the wine which was, apparently, the biggest deal - the rarest and supposedly the best - was really not that great. None of us at the table thought much of it. The final red of the evening was awesome and I liked the white a lot too - it was a completely different taste than I've ever had in a white. (It was a Viognier from a vineyard in California which escapes my memory at the moment....) I might have to do a posting sometime soon about the wines we tried and what I thought. Just for the heck of it. I'd love to find out how much the bottles would cost but I didn't have much luck with that during a quick internet search today.

The most unique wine, however, was one that I didn't even know existed! It was, by far, the most fun wine I've ever tried. It was an Australian Shiraz (my favorite kind of Australian wine) but it was bubbly! I kid you not - it was bubbly like champagne and served cold. All I can say is that it was a blast to drink - very tasty, very fun. I will definitely be tracking that bottle down. (Unless of course it's some obscenely expensive wine....)

Well, my husband is in LA tonight through Friday evening - so D, I hope you're having a good time! I'm a wee bit jealous that you and the guys will get to have fun, find the good bars, etc....but that's ok. You deserve it. (Of course, I do too...!!) Luckily, my mom was kind enough to come live with me and the kids for a week - she's a lifesaver. At least she can relax in the morning, but starting at 2:45 each afternoon, it's a madhouse of picking up the kids, feeding them snack, getting them to swim team then getting my eldest ready for kickball games (on Mon and Tues). Ugh! It was great to see her on Mother's Day and I'll do my best to not completely wear her out. Well - I want to begin my new book tonight and I'm about to fall asleep right now - so I guess I'll sign off.

Friday, May 8, 2009

My Daughter's Non-Date

My daughter is only 10. She is, obviously, too young to "date." She is NOT, however, too young for me to take her and one of her best friends (who happens to be a boy she's known since Kindergarten) to a movie.

Nor is she too young for me to sit in the row behind them.

He bought her popcorn and candy with the money his mom sent (since I had bought the tickets for them already).

Her buddy is one of the sweetest, kindest, most gentlemanly young men I've ever met. They are also two peas in a pod and always have been. During our ride back to his house, the two of them discussed ADHD at length (since they both have it). It was so much fun to be an observer of two 10-year-olds who are great friends, but are starting to realize that they might be mini-soulmates. (Not that they'd use that word....but they just "click" and it's really sweet to see that click-a-bility before the cynicism of the teen years hits.)

I hope she is always drawn to the sweet guys. Like me, she might make one or two mistakes - but with any luck she'll end up with an honorable one in the final act.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Just Can't Get No....Satisfaction

I'm always pushing...pushing for something new and different. I realize that's one of the reasons I'm a hard worker and very driven - but I also know that it keeps me from stopping to enjoy the roses a lot of times.

Right now I'm so anxious to find ways to fulfill my dreams of throwing myself into the non-profit world that it's almost all I can think about. It's good that I'm pursuing my dreams - I know it's the right thing for me - but I can tell I'm in this phase where I'm beginning to fool myself into believing that it will fix everything if I can just do this, or do that...or accomplish something else. The truth is - I'll be happy when I get to the top of this mountain...but there will always be another mountain on the horizon.

So once I get up there...I'll be looking to the next challenge.

Oh, well. I can't help it - it's who I am. And I am getting better about cherishing all the moments with my kids. They are the most important roses in my garden so I intend to enjoy all my time with those two flowers.

Monday, May 4, 2009

You thought I said WHAT????

Have you ever had one of those moments when you worry...just a little bit...about a profession which is integral to our society and (more specifically) is responsible for life-and-death decisions? Truthfully, I would argue that most professions fall into that category at least at some point in time - and if you're a parent, then guess what Buster? You are TOTALLY on the hook for life-and-death decisions every single day of your sleep-deprived life.

Anyway...I digress. I'm sure you're wondering what inspired this rant. Well, that would be a call I made to my OB/Gyn's nurse this morning.

You see, a good friend of mine pointed out to me this weekend that a certain medicine I've been taking more-or-less religiously for the last 6-12 months is known to cause weight gain. Hmmmm. I am very grateful to her for pointing this out but I'm wondering why I didn't know this earlier...

You might remember that I posted briefly about my unexplained weight gain before my glorious trip to Walt Disney World. In the spirit of full disclosure, I must admit the posting did not capture the full extent of my angst on this issue. Let me be clear: I have gained AT LEAST 20 pounds in the last year. That would be a 2 followed by a 0....TWENTY....pounds, people. I'm a vegetarian, I don't eat sugar, and I'm pretty good about exercising regularly. So this increase is relatively disconcerting, to say the very least.

I will be the first to admit that a year ago I was PERHAPS just a WEE BIT under-weight. (Which is why I can still wear MOST of my clothes although they are no longer as comfortable.) I will also admit that my exercising has not been AS REGULAR this year. But honestly - there's no reason for this amount of weight gain. Which is why I mentioned it to my OB/Gyn when I saw her before my WDW trip. She sort of blew it off and told me I was getting old. Ok, then. Fair enough. Since I'm not really one to argue with doctors I packed up my false teeth, grabbed my Ensure, and got on a plane to Florida.

Come to find out (over lunch with a good friend, NOT at my annual exam when I specifically mentioned the weight gain to my doctor as a concern AND asked for a re-fill of that prescription....) that lots of people report weight gain with this med. I decide to conduct a Jenn-hunt on the internet to see if this is true. Lo and behold...I find out that it's practically a GIVEN that you'll gain weight with this type of medicine.

Hmmm.... what to do?

More internet research...that's what! Luckily, within a few minutes, I've located a possible substitute medicine which does NOT have the unfortunate side effect of a 20 POUND weight gain. (Sorry to keep pounding those numbers home, but 20's completely annoying.)

So I call the nurse this morning. (Yes, yes....I am FINALLY getting to the point of this post - just hang in there, ok?) I explain that I've gained 20 pounds and I think (after my internet research, including research on the ACTUAL WEBSITE for the drugs) that it would be a good idea for me to try Wellbutrin and, if it's not too much trouble, would my doctor pretty-please consider changing my prescription?

I hear back from the nurse this afternoon. She says the doctor is fine with switching my prescription but she doesn't think Zoloft could POSSIBLY have had that effect on me and she thinks I should go see my primary care doctor. This is a little surprising to me, considering weight gain is plastered all over respectable websites as an expected side-effect. But, again - whatever. I figure she's giving me the new drugs so ...ok.

Here's where it gets interesting. The nurse goes on to jokingly tell me that she's going to start taking Zoloft herself because she WANTS that side effect. She says: "As a matter of fact, I might just start having to take 2 or 3 every day!" I say nothing. I'm rather baffled because I can't figure out why anyone would WANT to gain 20, or 40 or 60 pounds. Was this woman just rubbing it in that she was so thin she needed to gain weight?

Then she clarified by saying: "Yes, I'd love to lose at least 20 pounds!"


"No, no, no" I say. "I GAINED 20 pounds. I've gained it even though I'm a vegetarian, I don't eat sugar, and I exercise at least every other day. I gained 20 pounds." (See, even when the conversation is verbal - not written - I can't keep myself from focusing on the number - 20.)

"Oh!" she says. "Well I guess that is different, then!" (Hmmmm...ya' think????) "I'll tell the doctor but she'll still be fine with the prescription change. You probably don't need to go see your primary care physician, though."

I'm pretty sure this is annoying me because I seem to remember that something like this happened during my pregnancy. The nurse TOTALLY wrote the opposite of what I'd called about. I don't remember the details of it now (good Lord, that was 7 years ago and I was in a majorly stressful job situation with an absent boss and 800 things in the air....) but I remember the feelings I had when it happened. And you know what? I'd mentioned this weight gain thing to my doctor. So shouldn't that have registered?

Oh, well. At least she wasn't texting while she was driving my kids in a school bus. Nor did she incompetently defend someone who was later executed because of incompetent lawyer-ing. (A particular pet peeve of mine, since it reflects poorly on my profession...not to mention our entire judicial system.) And, I know that I got my medicine. So what am I worried about, right?

I just wish that the nurse had written GAINED instead of LOST on her notes. (I know I said "gained.") And I also wish my doctor would have put 2+2 together. I'm also annoyed because I know that even if I'm correct about this prescription change - the weight isn't just going to fall off. I'm going to have to work at it. And that sucks. But don't tell my son I said it sucks because he got in trouble with his dad the other day for saying something "sucked."

But really - it totally does.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Reluctant Runner

I wanted to start a new blog entitled "The Reluctant Runner" to track my efforts to learn how to run (or, rather - jog while gasping desperately for breath...) BUT that name was already taken. I was stuck on "Reluctant Runner," so instead of a new running-related blog, I decided to blog-i-fy it here and track my efforts to follow "The Couch-to-5K Running Plan" on Two Steps.

My theory is that if I keep a side-bar going about my progress (like I do with books and movies) then I'll be more accountable. We'll see how that works, shall we?

For those of you who know me well, you know that I simply HATE running. I mean...I really, really hate it. Or at least, I always have in the past. For a few months, however, I have not been able to let go of the idea that I need to do this. It COULD be because I have a thing for pushing myself to the breaking point - but I have to believe that it's not ALL based on self-destructive tendencies.

I really am drawn to trying this. My first teeny-tiny attempt this morning was miserable during the middle of it but I've been on such an incredible rush for the rest of the day that I actually understand why some people get addicted to running. It is TOTALLY weird.

So anyway - I don't want to give up on this and it would be in my nature to give up because running is not an inherent talent of mine. (That's the disadvantage of perfectionism...when you're bad at something, you don't even want to try it.)

Plus...I need to get moving because my goal is to run a 1/2 marathon at Disney World for my 40th birthday. Although that's still 2 1/2 years away, I will need every one of those 800 or so days to get ready.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Play it where it lies....

The funeral I attended today was probably the most joyful celebration of life I've ever seen. I was profoundly touched - probably in large part because I found out that the gentleman who passed away used to write poetry for special occasions - just like my dad does.

The pastor used golfing analogies during his eulogy and, although I know nothing at all about golf (and have no interest in pursuing that sport) - one of his references just won't let me go. He said that one of the life lessons of golf is to "play it where it lies." How often in life are we served up what we expected, or hoped for? Not too often. But that's where the ball is (so to speak) so that's what we've got to work with. I tend to get so excited, so anxious - so ready to move forward to the next thing in life...that I forget to just take a deep breath and play that ball right where it is.

And, honestly - why would I want to rush through my life? Although Ihave certainly had a few blue moments...all in all - when I look at my life with 20/20 hindsight - I can tell that the ball ended up exactly where it was supposed to be. If I don't stop and pay attention, it will be over before I realize it.

After the funeral, I drove out to Spicewood to pick up my youngest (yea for my mother-in-law who watched him all day long!) and then took him to the church on top of the hill to play on the new playscape. We took turns taking pictures of each other, then drove home to put together a Welcome Home party for Dad (his dad, not mine...).

This afternoon I did it. I listened to my heart and remembered to breathe.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Early to Bed

Did you know that sleep makes all the difference in the world? Honestly - it does. I was able to go to sleep early last night and I also snoozed on the couch this afternoon while my son played with his Legos on the floor.

I feel like a million bucks!

Interestingly, I saw a story on the news this evening about a young man who was mis-diagnosed as ADHD when, in fact, he had a sleeping disorder. Once the sleeping disorder was treated, he was able to concentrate much more on his schoolwork.

I could almost hear God clearing his throat meaningfully as I listened to that story...(ok, ok...I get it...)

It's almost enough to make me take this sleeping situation seriously because there's just so much in life I want to accomplish. I'm glad that I committed my major life goals to writing because it's been enough to really get me moving in that direction. I've emailed the Ann Richard's School (although I've yet to hear back from them...darn...that means I need to follow up with a call), I've attended a Greenlights Board Summit and made first contact (sounds like a sci-fi movie, doesn't it??) with a few local non-profits that are looking for new board members, and although my daughter's room still needs a lot of work in the book/toy/art supply department - it is TONS better in the clothes department.

Who would have guessed that a blog is what would get me moving in the right direction?