Friday, August 31, 2007

Dude, you woke me up!

I love my husband, really I do. Sometimes though, usually in bed at night, I'd just like to smother him with the pillow. Usually about the time his snoring keeps me from going to sleep. Last night was a whole different story though, Gman woke me up with a FART. You know, tooting, passing gas, blowing wind, cutting the cheese, let 'er rip. Yes, it was SO loud that it woke me up. It sounded like a gun shot. It had my adrenaline racing. Really, what did you eat man?! He'd have won this contest hands (pants?) down!

If you'd like more entertainment from the nether regions, go over and read about our Dr. 90210 watching experience.

Blog Blast Make a Move on Me (WIN FREE SHOES!) Featuring my dancing queens

Over at Parent Bloggers Network we are celebrating all our little dancers for a chance to win shoes. I mean, reeeeeeeeeeeeally, who doesn't LOVE free shoes. Post pictures of your dancer and a name for their moves and then e-mail your info over to You'll be entered to win up to four pairs of sponsor Stride Rite's shoes. Why the dancing, its all about disco, baby. Actually its Baby Loves Disco a cool weekend activity for families currently in 18 cities. You can check out PBN member experiences with Baby Loves Disco over here. The Best Little Dancer in America contest supports Alex's Lemonade stand a children's cancer charity. If you live in or near one of the 12 stops on the audition tour, check it out!

Here are my dancing queens, doing what they do best. When Mommy leaves Daddy blasts the stereo and it is DANCE PARTY time. We don't know where PDQ learned her pole dancer moves but were pretty surprised the first time she did them in front of the entire church! We like to call the whole routine, dance party groove.

In other, non-dancing news. The campaign for MILF-ness is back on! Check out Mom-0-matic the queen of the MILFs and her latest progress. This week I committed to doing the Ryka Iron Girl Triathlon next summer. In order to do that, training and eating better are on the agenda. Since Monday I've lost 3.2 pounds! I walked 7.7 miles and put in 15.77 miles on the bike. Tomorrow morning I get to go back to the gym for cycling class with Esmerelda and just hope the kick butt teacher is back from his trip to South Africa! This weekend is Boobah's birthday party and I ordered the smallest cake I could get away with so I don't have leftovers haunting me throughout the holiday weekend.

If you like gross, go check out the discovery behind the dashboard in our new car over at ManOverboard!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

A tale of two pods

When I picked up Boobah yesterday her "how was your child's day" slip said she ate almost all her lunch but wouldn't touch her snow peas. I laughed since I hadn't sent snow peas but edamame. While she won't eat sandwiches with crust or jelly, Boobah loves edamame and figuring out what non-nut foods I can send that she actually likes and are good for her is a bit of a challenge so I went with it. Later I asked her about it and she told me her teacher wouldn't let her eat her fruit roll-up until she ate the green part. Boobah apparently told her you didn't eat that part but the woman finally convinced her she had to and she managed to choke one down. That child SERIOUSLY wanted the fruit roll-up. This morning I put a post-it on her edamame (or as she likes to call them--Mommy beans) explaining what they are and how to eat them. I am just a tad worried that Boobah is off to a bad start with her "primary caregroup" teacher since they've already argued about lunch and its only day four. When I asked her about the transition yesterday she made a comment about getting upset when someone asked her to do something she didn't want to do but she didn't elaborate.

Yesterday morning as I got ready to ride I got out my iPod. I realized that I only pulled out the headphones and figured I had lost enough time getting my tires pumped up and just threw the ear buds back in my bag. Last night when I got home I realized that I didn't have my iPod and hoped it was in the van. No such luck. I did find it this morning. In the parking lot at work, right beside where I parked yesterday run over. Serious, serious bummer. I told Gman this morning and of course his response--save it so I can take a picture!

I rode 8.29 miles in just under 50 minutes this morning. It was actually a little cool when I got started. I was more confident (less brakes) and felt strong but a little sore from yesterday. I did better at stretching today so hopefully I'll be less sore tomorrow. I managed to get up one of the hills this morning but the second one is around a turn and caught me by surprise again today. My comfy bike isn't the most efficient for getting up hills, the suspended seat raises up with you and standing and pedaling is nearly impossible.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Reporting In

Beginning of School Report
PDQ: Came home the first day to inform me that there is PE on M, T, W and no dresses, no clogs and no flip flops. She has decided that her teacher is good--the reasoning, she is best friends with her teacher from last year. Thus far the only "work" that has come home is a picture she drew of someone that they cut into parts and re-assembled (glad they are using the glue sticks!). She says that none of the parts are her.

Boobah: Came home the first day and lectured me that I didn't send sunscreen, she needs sunscreen, it needs to have her name on it and I need to fill out a form. See a pattern here, my children might just be as directive as I am! I also got a dissertation on the cot arrangements for rest time, when she "restes" but she doesn't sleep. I was really worried about her transitioning to the new place well considering she's spent her whole life with the same few kids and provider. I am still a little sad about saying good bye to the wonderful, calm Lois. Boobah told her on Friday she'd never see her again. Lois and I both ended up in tears and Boobah was oblivious.

Beginning Tri Training Report
Training: I walked between 2-2.5 miles at a 15-17 min/mi pace both Monday and Tuesday, for that effort I ended up with sore shins and achy feet. I was definitely right about not being able to run until I am a bit lighter. This morning I did my first bike ride, I did 7.57 miles with an average speed of 10.1 mph on the Patuxent Ridge Trail (I love my little bike computer, thanks Gman!). It was a relatively flat ride, just enough people to make me feel safe but not so many people that I worried about hitting someone. The ride was reasonably comfortable, there were a couple of hills I just misjudged and couldn't get up them without falling over because I was messing with the gears--definitely something I need to learn to do better. Other lesson, check all your equipment before you ride. I got to work this morning, got the bike out, helmet on, only to discover that my tires were too low to ride on. Resolving that cost me 20 minutes of ride time and keeping me from riding the whole route.

Boobah's Birthday Report
Boobah's birthday is Labor Day and we are having a small party at our house on Saturday afternoon. The theme is Strawberry Shortcake. I spent an inordinate amount of time last night driving all over God's green earth trying to find the appropriate cake and filling for the goodie bag. I am ordering pizza for lunch and praying it is nice so they can play outside the majority of the time!

Monday, August 27, 2007

I've committed

Or maybe its I should be committed. Ever since Es started training for a triathlon I've had thoughts about how cool it was and maybe I could do that. Other times I thought I am a big chicken and there is no way I am riding a bike at 25 miles an hour with the chance of crashing into the pavement, swimming with a bunch of other people swimming over top of me or running. period. Watching her and 2000 other women in the Iron Girl changed my mind. Just watching them was fantastic, I want to be one of them. I was surprised at the shapes and sizes the racers came in. I know I need to be healthier, I know I need to exercise, I know I work better if I have a goal. Now I have one.

So, today it was just a 30 minute fast walk but I started exercising with a goal in mind. I know running is going to be the hardest part, I am just not built to run and with my failed MILF-dom exercise right now I would be risking serious joint pain. I am going to try to be patient and not stress my body too much in the beginning. Before starting to run I want to get my weight down a bit. I have nearly a year to get there and I will get there. In addition to Es I've found other inspiration mainly Slow Fat Triathlete--definitely the first book I am going to read on the subject.

School Daze

I said I wanted this weekend to be laid back. I wanted to get everything that needed done for back to school done, I wanted to sleep and relax. What do you think the chances are that happened? If you guessed between slim and none, you win!

Friday afternoon was PDQs end of skating camp show. Boobah was a complete PITA, running all over the place, I finally got her to sit still and was watching PDQ skate when the woman 3 rows down tells me that PDQ is kicking her repeatedly. I put PDQ on my lap and the woman says she was fine--obviously not if you had to tell me about her 30 seconds ago. I left wanting nothing more than to climb into the cave and climb out on Monday morning.
Friday night Esmerelda hosted her second annual back to school BBQ and backyard sleep out. I have to admit that by the time 5PM on Friday rolled around it was really the last thing I wanted to do. I knew once I got there it would be fun and it was. I definitely perked up with the good food and good friends. The acupuncture must be doing something because I even tolerated the difficult people rather easily (not always something I do well--or at all!). It wasn't a particularly restful night, we got up, had fabulous pancakes and bacon, cleaned up and came home.

Gman worked on Saturday so I mowed the lawn--yes, I did man chores! It was really hot but I enjoy doing it every once in awhile, especially since I only did the mowing, no trimming or weed whacking (I am such an uncoordinated wuss I can't get the weed thing started). I did laundry and tried to take a nap. Soon enough it was time to head to our last trip to the community outdoor pool. Then dinner with Es and the boys to help eat up the leftovers. Then I ran off to stamp camp. Somewhere in there I realized I hadn't been to the grocery store and school started today--I knew that yesterday at the mega mart would be something I couldn't. So at 11PM on Saturday night I did the grocery shopping. Other than many half empty shelves it was far more pleasant than any other time I've been in there. So after the activity all day I should have been able to sleep--right? WRONG. It was 3 attempts and 4:30 AM before I finally managed to doze off into dreamland. Needless to say getting out of bed yesterday was a chore.

Sunday morning it was church with a great substitute pastor. Then home to get ready for the afternoon activities--pool and birthday parties! They were both fun but I was dragging, big time. We got to spend time with our former neighbors who have spent the last year in England while she works on a degree in Victorian Literature. It was nice to catch up with them.
By the time we got home I was toast. Gman, thankfully, went running to get chicken wire to finish the trellis for my fall pea crop. I spent time in the basement trying to find a crib sheet for Boobah to take to school for her cot. I also had to sharpen a dozen pencils, find a picture of our whole family and put it in a frame, get a decent picture of Boobah for a school project and make sure everyone's bags and lunches were packed for this morning. I went to bed exhausted and thankfully slept.
Check out Gman's pictures of the first day of school here.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

What HE said

You can read about last night's adventure in the yard over at Gman's, he does the whole thing justice including great pictures. And for the record, I am a whimp who proudly wears the pussy title when it comes to sleeping outside in the humidity on the ground. I'll be the pussy in the bed, in the air conditioning. I have no problem admiting it. Although please don't believe it left me well rested, I was in the kitchen until after midnight catching up with another of the moms and then I flopped around in Es' bed instead of my own.

Thanks Es, the food and the company were great as always!

Friday, August 24, 2007

My Honda Odyssey--Mom-mobile extrodinaire

Dear Van of Destiny,

I have to admit, I wasn't quite ready sign up for driving you. I used to make fun of people who drive minivans. I declared "I will not, under any circumstances drive one." Just like my declaration that my children would never watch Barney that has fallen to the wayside and I realize you both make my life easier even if you are sometimes annoying. The final straw, four kids. Even our last SUV couldn't haul us all at one time and forget bringing along friends!

So why did I pick you out of all the minivans in the world? First, your Honda cousins have never steered us wrong. The Civics and Accords that came before you were always there for me, always ready to go whenever I needed them. Reliable is the first thing I needed in my vehicle of choice. Second, Gman was drawn in by your cool (for a minivan) features. The remote sliding doors, the cargo net in the back, all those cup holders, the rear outlets for gadgetry and don't forget the DVD player. It doesn't hurt that around here it seems everyone drives on of your siblings, on our street alone there are 5 Odysseys and if they aren't driving you they are driving your cousins, there is a Honda in almost every driveway which leads me to believe that people like me drive you (as much as I hate to be a conformist, this is one of those times I'll go along with the crowd even if it did get Gman surrounded by police thinking he'd stolen you). Finally, the price was right. Honda was offering a sweet lease deal on you and we couldn't pass it up and even after the lease was up we decided to keep you, we know you'll be with us for over a hundred thousand low-maintenance miles.

I do wish sometimes you could morph yourself into a new color, really the gray is getting old. My other complaint, what is up with the radio controls on the steering wheel that sometimes change the channel and sometimes the volume. Keeping me guessing? Same with the gas gauge, really should it be telling me you are empty when there is still a quarter of a tank--is that you trying to get me to quit living on the edge?

So, van of destiny, thanks for the last three years. School, work, soccer, ice skating, camping, and long trips to grandma's house you've been there for us through it all. Thanks for never making me wonder if you are going to start or if I am going to get stranded somewhere. I appreciate the fact you are always there for me even when we pack you to the tail-lights with people and things. I hope you appreciate that GMan lets me park you inside every night so you don't have to face the elements. I'll try to get the kids to be a little neater but you know how that goes. I'll also try to get you to the car wash a little more often, I know you like to look your best inside and out.


Have your own car story to tell? Join in the Blog Blast love fest, write your own letter to your car today and send the link over to Parent Bloggers ( to be entered to win one of FIVE circle bags in conjunction with Ask Patty. If you register at Ask Patty the women friendly car people give you additional chances to win stuff and I know you are all about winning stuff so go check it out. The Ask Patty site was reviewed on Cool Mom picks last year and is debuting CarBlabber.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

My beautiful flowers

Hey, I am not completely telephonically challenged, I managed to get the picture off my cell phone, into my e-mail and saved on my PC. Not bad for a mornings work.
Again, big, wet, sloppy kisses to Gman who totally rocks!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

My very own trash heap

I persuaded Gman to build me my own compost bin for the back yard over the weekend. I have grand plans for a fabulous garden next year and having good dirt is a big part of a great harvest. As you can see from the picture I think it even looks good enough to pass inspection in suburbia. I've now gone completely over the edge, next on my reading list are Let It Rot and Great Garden Companions.

I've added to our store of yummy stuff for the winter including finishing up the bright green pickles and two batches of Peach Hot Pepper Jelly. The version I put together yesterday and today used bright red Anaheim peppers that give a little heat and fabulous color. The jelly is a beautiful orange color with bits of peach suspended throughout. The debut of the jelly over the weekend was a big hit. I am thinking of doing a fancy lid and nice ribbon to make holiday gifts of jelly.

Jamlady's Original Hot Mango Jam (Hot Picante Peach Jam variation)
5 cups sugar
2 3/4 cups peeled, chopped peaches
1 cup seeded or unseeded chopped jalapeno peppers
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 1 3/4-ounce box regular powdered pectin
2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice or lime juice or 1/3 teaspoon citric acid
1/2 teaspoon butter (optional)

Blenderize the peppers and vinegar. Mix the lemon juice, butter, chopped mangoes, pepper mixture and pectin in a pan and boil for 1 minute. Add the sugar; boil for 1 minute more. Check the set. BWB 10 minutes. Hot Picante Peach Jam - Use peaches instead of mangoes and ripe, red jalapeno peppers (I used anaheims since I couldn't find red jalapenos). The resulting jam will be orange-colored.

Check out my review of Printakid's personalized kid books over at Maven Says. The short story...PDQ loved it!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Another reason Gman rocks

It has been a long couple of weeks. I haven't been sleeping again. The stress of school starting and trying to accomplish the 1ooo and 1 things I've committed myself (or us t0) has been taking a toll. Then there is work--its work, enough said. Today I got beautiful lillies (and if I were tech savvy enough to get a picture OFF my phone I'd show them to you) from Gman, just because. What a guy, serious husband points there hun. Love ya!

He even read a book and wrote about it for me this week, serious stuff at our house!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Things that make you go hmmmmmmmmmm....

I ordered a couple of things from Amazon last week, I got the shipping notice. It supposedly shipped from somewhere 45 miles from my house and its estimated arrival date---SEPTEMBER 5, 2007. How exactly does THAT happen?

On the way to daycare this morning
Boobah I broke the TV.
I turnoff the radio and ask her "what?'
Boobah: I broke the TV in the basement, but it still works.
PDQ: Yeah, I didn't do it, it was Ellie but Daddy took care of it
At that point I stopped listening the two of them launched off into some other totally unrelated conversation. I didn't remember until hours later to call Gman and find out WTF.

The insomnia from hell is back and worse than ever. This weekend I went to bed early, got up, went back to bed, got back up. I did get the pantry in the basement re-organized around midnight last night. It was 2:42 when I finally got in bed for the last time and at least an hour after that before I fell asleep. I put in the emergency e-mail to my amazing acupuncturist. He, thankfully, had an opening this afternoon. I certainly hope it helped get the energy flowing correctly 'cause I. need. sleep.

Check Out Maven Says for my review of Fathering Your School-Age Child: A Dad's Guide to the Wonder Years, 3 to 9 by Armin Brott featuring a little guest blogging from Gman.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Big Weekend Doin's

It was a "quiet" weekend at home this weekend, no traveling, no big plans, just us at home. On Saturday morning I got up early and headed to the farm. I picked peaches, blackberries and dug some potatoes. When I headed to another part of the farm for a few early season apples I was amazed to find a sign for blueberries. I thought we'd had the last of them a month ago. There were still some blueberry treasures hiding among the blasins (you know, like blueberry raisins). Once you lowered your expectations it was a fun treasure hunt and one I knew Boobah would love to eat! So I headed home with a little sun and a whole lot of produce.

Gman spent the day constructing a compost bin for me. He slaved away (and I am shocked didn't take a picture!) while I was gone and for several hours after I got home. Now we can have an even better garden next year with our very own trash. Pretty cool.

Today we all headed to the Columbia Iron Girl Triathlon to watch Esmerelda in the race she'd been training for practically all year. It was a cool-ish day for August in the Mid-Atlantic. Gman headed out early, really early for a Sunday morning so he could capture pictures of the whole thing. The girls and I ventured out later to cheer her on at the top of the last bike hill and to meet her at the finish line. Unfortunately in traffic we didn't make it to the finish line in time to see her cross it. We did make up for it with some pink flowers to match her hot pink suit. It was really interesting to watch all the elated women who'd done their tri that morning. There was a great energy in the air and everyone, amazingly, looked like they were having a great time! Way to go Es!

Friday, August 17, 2007

In a pickle

Somewhere early in the summer I decided I wanted to make pickles. I wasn't thinking any old pickle either. I wanted to make my grandmother's sweet pickles. They stand out in my mind as one of those things that makes me think of grandma and family gatherings. Not only did her pickles taste great but they were a bright green color that caused much giggling among my cousins and I.

Grandma is in a nursing home after a stroke last November (right after she got off the red hat float in the Christmas parade). She isn't quite who she was before mentally or physically and it has impacted me more than I might have thought. Part of me wants to make sure I can preserve (pun intended) our family history. Unfortunately, no one can find the recipe. I have scoured the Internet and found a similar sounding recipe and the wise ladies over on confirmed that their family recipes included green food coloring which they have since omitted.

I was originally a bit daunted by the prospect of making ANYTHING that takes 8 days. Really, my attention span is more like 8 minutes. I like to bake bar cookies because it takes less time. Like so much else, this has been a process and I've learned to enjoy it. Yes, you do something everyday for 8 days but the work isn't hard. The first 4 days I boiled water and poured them on the cukes. Yesterday I made the syrup, added my food coloring and cut the cukes into chunks. Tonight, it is syrup boiling and on Sunday the final canning of the pickles.

Just seeing grandma's crock in my kitchen makes me smile. During the summer it often sat in the chair by her back door. There was a smell of cucumbers and spices in the air. My first batch is a single recipe and it fills maybe one third of the crock, I remember hers being filled right up to the top and I realize how much work it must have been--I bought my cucumbers, she and my grandfather grew theirs in a rocky plot in the backyard. I have the crock, hopefully the recipe will be close enough that we can all remember the "good old days."

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Ah, Sleep

Last night I was worried I wouldn't sleep-AGAIN. I got in bed, Gman was quiet, I tossed and turned trying to get comfortable. Tossed and turned some more. Fell asleep. Woke up this morning when Gman's alarm went off. Wow, I slept through the night! Although I've been sleeping better, sleeping through the night unmedicated is pretty much unheard of. Of course it wasn't nearly enough sleep but it was wonderful and unbroken. Let's hope tonight is a repeat!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Back to the grind

Today I went back to the office after being off for 6 days. It was really hard getting back into the swing of things. Of course the girls didn't want to get up today although yesterday they were up and ready before I was, go figure. I had a meeting first thing this morning and then a slew of them this afternoon where I needed to know what was going on and be able to speak intelligently and on topic. I think I did okay but thinking took a lot of work. I would so much rather have been at home in bed catching up on my sleep! Last night was better but it was far from a good night's sleep. GMan and his snoring are driving me nuts, he'll be lucky if I don't put a pillow over his head tonight (JK, love ya, mean it!).

I get to work from home tomorrow. The Verizon guy is coming (at least I assume its a guy, very sexist of me) to hook us up with FiOS TV. I'll admit it we are TV and gadget junkies. We've waited through a year of our DirectTV contract to get to this point--they have a bundle for the right price so we are going for it. For us the holy grail is the multi-room DVR. I can record in the living room and watch it in the bedroom. Yes, we are sick, sick TV junkies.

On Thursday my whole department is going to a training class on negotiations skills. My two fears, it is deathly boring OR the whole thing is role playing. I don't mind doing the role play with strangers but doing it with the people I work with makes me want to hurl. Yeah, stupid I know but me.

Okay, off to clean the TV shows off the current DVR before they disappear into never-never land!

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Three Falls of Our Vacation

Big Muddy Creek Falls
We spent the week in a fabulous house on the lake last week doing a whole lot of nothing! After a hellish week at work and three days of training for Logos, I was seriously toast. Given that, we took advantage of only a fraction of the fun the area had to offer. We did manage to visit Swallow Falls and Big Muddy Creek Falls and take a bit of a hike. Of course, being me, I managed to do a fall of my own. As we headed out mid-afternoon to visit the falls it looked like rain--pretty much like it had the entire time we were there. We decided to brave it. About 2 miles from the house the rain started, first big drops, then a serious down pour. As we wove up, down and around back country roads I was not feeling confident. Finally after paying our entry fee we sat in the parking lot debating what to do as really wet people emerged from the woods. Thankfully, less than 10 minutes later things cleared off and we headed into the woods.

Boobah LOVES her Baby Jogger and I have to admit its one of the few baby purchases we still use. I loaded her up and we were off. After a short walk we came to handicapped access to the falls. Given that I was pushing her it seemed like a no brainer. Apparently the no brainer would have been to read the slip and fall warning on the big sign more carefully. About halfway down the deck of the pathway my feet went out from under me and I landed on my rear pulling the stroller back on top of me. Boobah was just fine but surprised to be looking me in the eyes from flat on her back. Thankfully I had the loop around my wrist and she stayed right with me. After that Dad took over stroller duty. You can see him, my sister, Mom & the girls below. Also, the park is named after Swallow Falls but our view of it was much less spectacular than the other we saw.

You can check out my review of more vacation entertainment over at Maven Says, we watched Word World as part of our road trip and everyone was entertained. You can read what others have to say about it over at Parent Bloggers Network.

Insomnia Returns


I thought vacation was for relaxing and part of relaxing is sleeping. I forgot, I don't sleep well in someone else's bed. Even when Gman relocates to give us both some peace, quiet and room to stretch out. Every night I was up every couple of hours despite my usual herbal sleep cocktail. My two year old nephew was up bright and early every morning running laps around the house. This picture pretty much tells the story, he is a constant motion machine. Restrain him and its not pretty. (Gman's pictures of the trip are here.)

We came home and I was sure that the insomnia would clear once I was happily ensconced in my own bed with clean, fresh sheets. No dice! In fact, it was worse than ever. Saturday night I was up and down several times, finally resorting to bad TV in the family room. The last time I remember seeing the clock before finally sinking into a fitful sleep--4:00AM. We accidentally slept until 9:25 yesterday morning and did the major boogie to get to church by 10. After the week and Saturday night I was sure last night would be the night. Nope. I was a serious fish, flopping all over the bed so I went to the couch to give Gman a break. I eventually returned around 2AM. Still flopping around. Finally I got comfortable and slept sometime between 2-3 AM. I took today off as vacation recovery but the girls were up fighting over something early this morning so no sleeping in. I'm off to see if acupuncture can get me back on the right track. Please?

Wednesday, August 8, 2007


We are away at Deep Creek Lake in Western Maryland for the week. Its slow--everything from getting going in the morning to the day to the dial-up internet. I haven't felt my usual vacation impatience of trying fit stuff in, just hanging out, not worrying about much of anything. We took the little kids to "Toddler Tuesday" for some hiking, animals and playgrounds. They even let them paint and cleaned up after them--worth every penny! Then we took Mom out for her birthday pizza and made homemade ice cream. Tonight we'll go to the park's weekly bonfire for roasted marshmallows, stories and drumming. Tomorrow is date night courtesy of the grandparents. Maybe a little kayaking on Friday. In all its slowness, the week is going much too fast!

Then there is a small world is playing in my head. We went to the weekly party thrown by the rental company, ran into someone we know from church here in Maryland. Her brother was with her and he and my brother-in-law know each other from their hometown in Pennsylvania--what are the odds?

Friday, August 3, 2007

It only takes one person

I went to a training program this evening for a youth program that we have at our church. The National organization is The Logos Ministry. As training goes I have to say it was one of the best I've ever attended--it didn't feel like training and the time flew by. It started at 5:30 on Friday afternoon the weekend we are set to go on vacation so I can honestly say that is an accomplishment! I've participated in the program for two years and can see the difference it has made in my church. The part of the program that is most appealing to me is the emphasis on adults in the church developing positive relationships with the kids in the church. I've enjoyed eating dinner with the kids and learning more about them but hadn't thought much more about it.

Tonight we saw a portion of a sermon by the founder of the program. He talked about his experience growing up in church. He was the youngest boy and didn't live up to the fine example of his three older brothers. He said no one called him by name, he was that fourth boy who was trouble. He was kicked out of Sunday School, he wouldn't have been there if he hadn't been forced by his parents, 52 weeks of the year, 2-3 times a week. When you think about it, that's a lot of time to spend somewhere that you don't want to be and they don't respect you. Finally a new pastor came. He put his arm around him and asked him to help him with something. He knew Dale's name. It was a seminal moment for the boy who went on to get a doctorate and start a youth ministry program that is now in 1500 churches across 20 denominations.

Hearing the story made me think long and hard about my relationship with the kids in my church. It also made me think about relationships that adults form with kids in general. I guess I hadn't given much thought to what my interactions with kids, especially teenagers, outside of my own kids really meant. We have a very active group of little boys in our church. I know there are days when many of us have to steel ourselves to deal with them. Hearing this story made me think I need to work harder at creating and maintaining a positive relationship with one or more of those boys. The statistic I have heard is that 8 out of 10 kids stop going to church in their teens. A time when we could all use some adult influence other than our own parents (having our niece here this week made that clear). No matter how much they love their parents and their parents love them the growing up process is not an easy one. Its a lot easier to be deal with an adult who doesn't have to love them and who they don't perceive as trying to control them.

We have very few teenagers in our congregation, many families have left to find places that engage their children. Thankfully we have this program and my kids started while they are very young. I hope that they will develop those relationships and when they are teenagers they will want to go to church to be with those people who they know care about them--even if it means getting out of bed and doing something Mom and Dad think is a good idea. It does take a village, or in this case a congregation, to raise a child.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

And then we got Naked

It is Restaurant Week in Baltimore, lots of restaurants offered a 3-course Prix Fix menu for $30.07, having our niece here for the week we took advantage of the babysitter under our roof and hooked up with Es for a night out on the town. We typically don't venture into Baltimore for a night out, somehow its always seemed like a major ordeal but I think tonight might have changed our minds!

Of course being us we didn't settle on a restaurant until sometime this morning and I suggested we might need a reservation. Apparently THAT was the understatement of the century--the first three places we picked all completely booked for the evening, although at a couple there were reservations available at 4:45 and at 10PM. Finally we (meaning I just finally stopped consulting and picked one) decided to try Hawaiian fusion. We ended up at Roy's Restaurant with Es chauffeuring us in her rental SUV. We slid right up front and took advantage of valet parking. We were early (yeah, like that has ever happened before) so we took a seat at the bar and I had the most amazing Pomegranate Patron Mojito, tequila and pomegranate really what more could I want? It was truly fabulous! Finally we took our seats and since it was my day to make the decisions I threw out some wine options and naturally we all agreed on Naked Riesling. Our waiter, with the seriously Bart Simpson hairdo, laughed at us and asked about our wild night. The wine was awesome, I'll definitely need to procure some to add to my stash right along side the Running with Scissors Chardonnay.
Next it was on to dinner. I was a bit bummed with my limited selection due to my shellfish allergy. Gman was kind enough to trade me a shrimp from the appetizer plate for the best spare rib I ever had--is that love or what?! Then it was on to dinner where I enjoyed short ribs while Es and Gman had shrimp pad thai and salmon in lobster cream sauce. Then it was on to dessert molten chocolate cake that nearly made us lick our plates, in fact writing about it is making my mouth water. The whole meal was fabulous but as always the company was better. I am sure we will be heading back, we've vowed to get out more often and try new places. This one was certainly a hit!

Feelin' like a million bucks

I have been totally unmotivated this week, tired, still a bit of a lingering cough and just kind of blah. Last night I went for my every other week acupuncture tune-up and it was amazing. I felt better last evening and this morning it wasn't such an effort to get out of bed (and its not because I got any extra sleep). I started off warm, not even really knowing it, by the end of the session I was much cooler and the acupuncturist had worked up a sweat. Seeing that exchange of energy was pretty amazing. It took awhile in the beginning to see results beyond the relaxing hour and a half with someone tending to me (just me). Now that I've been going regularly it is amazing to see the changes that can happen in that short period of time.

Overall I just feel better. I am sleeping better which was my whole goal when I started. I was a bit discouraged when things didn't start to change immediately but was reminded its a journey. Now that I have been going regularly for several months I can see the journey and all its benefits. I am generally calmer and things don't get to me like they used to--my boss has noticed and so has my husband. I feel more in control of my emotions too. Maybe NOW I can get back on the road to MILF-dom after this little side journey to get the rest of my life in order. Seeing the connections is really quite amazing.

If you've ever thought of trying acupuncture I encourage you to take the plunge. Really there is nothing to lose, there has never been more than a slight twinge of pain and that has been rare. Concentrating on your own well being is amazingly restorative. I know this probably sounds a bit like a testimonial and in a way it is. Go, do something good for yourself.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Rituals of the Past

I opened my e-mail account this morning to find the following e-mail from an old friend....

Greetings Recovering Housing Friends!

Waking up today was not stressful. As a matter of fact, it wasn’t until the news anchor noted the date that I realized it was even August 1st.

Everyone remembers the significance of August 1st RIGHT (or you wouldn’t be getting this email)…training started.

Yes, days and days of policy review, opening of school information, team building exercises, copying lots of stuff, finalizing late RA hires, eating lunch at the Schwebel Room, planning for the RAs to arrive and 1000 other things!

So, nine years after my last August 1st training day started, I can finally enjoy the day. Why? Because I’m NOT going to TRAINING!

Now, this doesn’t mean I didn’t like training, after all I was assigned nine of those years to coordinate some part of training (RA, RD, KIC and GA).

Yes, we still remember it, vividly all these years later. I worked as a Resident Director for 7 years. Seven years of safety and diversity and communication training for two weeks followed by another couple of weeks of passing it on to my own staff. Team building, did she mention the team building exercises? It had fun moments but in some ways it made you long for the craziness of the school year so you could wake up from the training haze. Every night after the numbing training sessions there were rooms to inspect and forms to fill out--ah, those were the days. The good news was 2 months off, or at least 2 months doing something slightly different and enjoying the summer slow down on the campus.

Sometimes I miss those days--mostly those school schedule induced breaks that don't happen in the corporate world. One day someone at work remarked about how calm I was in a crisis. I looked him in the eye and told him I didn't have to worry about keying into a room and finding a dead kid, no drunks threw up on me and the police never called at 4AM so as crisis went this was really nothing.