Tuesday, February 27, 2007

How to Cross-Country Ski without Skis

Saturday afternoon, Dorothy picked up Lola, Astrid and me in her husband's truck and we met Starr and Cookie for a trek to the lake for some cross-country skiing.
It's been years since I cross-country skied. Definitely before Thing 1 was conceived, so it was early 2003 , probably. Ski pants...waaay too tight. But I refuse to buy more, even as I stuff another Oreo into my face. I wasn't sure where all of my gear was, even. Gloves and hat...found...appropriate underclothing...found, in the form of old running tights with holes and a too small thermal undershirt. Who the hell cares?! I'm going out!!! No kids!!!! Ski boots, found...I trip over them in the basement every once in a while, so that was easy. Skis and poles...hmmm. Darling hubby, in his eternal efficiency (or attempts at such) has stored them in the basement rafters. After moving a large pile of crap and balancing on a chair, I free skis and poles from the bondage of the rafters. Put them on porch so as not to forget. Lola meets me here...Dorothy picks us up. As we skip to the truck (okay we weren't skipping, but our glee at being out sans children was pretty evident nonetheless) We meet the others and make the trek to the lake, about a half hour away. Woo-hoo!! We unload the truck...skis for Lola, skis for Dorothy, skis for Astrid...no skis for me. They are on the porch...at home...a half hour away. I am tempted to drive all the way back home (even though neither of the vehicles at the lake are mine) and retrieve skis. But that's ridiculous. They'll be done by then. I envision myself sitting on the gate of the truck in my ski boots, drying my tears as I watch the others ski into the distance, when Astrid pulls out a pair of snowshoes and saves the day. I have never snowshoed before, but it beats being the only attendee at my pity party, and it means I can accompany the x-country ski group. Yipee!! So off we go, me with my tennis racket feet and them with their skis (Star with her vintage skis, circa 1900, which Dorothy was required to repair in the middle of the woods when the bindings burst off) .
The snowshoeing was fun, and I must say my fears of falling and bursting open my skin-tight ski pants while peeing on myself (again the lack if Kegels haunts me) were dispelled. Apparently I became too relaxed, because, despite no skis, I fell twice. Once I was walking sideways on a slope. Understandable. The other time I was talking to Dorothy and swore I caught sight of a handicapped sign on a tree in the middle of the woods. Intrigued, I turned only to discover it was merely a blue and white trail marker, but stepped on my own snowshoe in the process and fell, much to Dorothy's amusement.
Apres ski, we proceeded to a lovely English tavern ( we are located in rural upstate New York.) There is something very wrong with that. The menu was a virtual contradiction of itself, offering such authentic fare as the Middlesex sandwich, intermingled with Steak-umms and Dynabites. My dining companions felt that Dynabites were in order, and we were served a smallish plate festooned with about 8 or 10 Dynabites and a small cup of Ranch dressing. I jokingly dared Cookie to drink the Ranch dressing, and tempted her with the reward of a crisp dollar bill. She declined, but counter offered, telling me she would give me five bucks to down said dressing. Ah, Cookie, ye have only known me a short time. Were Andie with us, she'd have warned you. After dramatic pauses for prep time, perhaps invoking images of an Olympic diver on the platform readying herself, I ceremoniously drank the dressing, all at once, shot-style. And Cookie promptly paid up. Good thing, as I was short on cash (see entry regarding wallet loss).
The novelty of being out without children had yet to wear off, and after Dynabites and dinner, we proceeded to a diner for dessert. Yummy. We amused the waitress with obnoxious and inappropriate comments about things. And finally, as all good things must, our evening came to an end. I can't wait to do it again, but this time with my skis!!!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Holy crap!

So I lost my wallet...a story for another day. Someone found it and was kind enough to call me and tell me. I went to the projects, where she lives, to pick it up. The woman, who seemed very nice, was admiring (well, maybe she was just commenting, but I like to think she was admiring) my girls. She then somewhat casually stated, " I'm a mom of fifteen." It took me a second. I wasn't sure if she said "I'm a mom of fifteen" or "I was a mom at fifteen." Either one would be a bit of a shocker, but I realized, when she called several of them downstairs (how the hell big is this duplex??) and then proceeded to pull out pictures of the others, that she meant "a mom of fifteen." No twins, triplets or otherwise. I commented "Wow, so you've been pregnant fifteen times." "No, I've been pregnant twenty times." (which I guess is to be expected given miscarriage rates.) When she told me how old her oldest was, I realized she may have also been a "mom at fifteen." Either she missed some vital lessons in biology, or she is a glutton for punishment.
Everything was in my wallet except for the $30 in cash. I don't know if she took it or not, but hell, if she did, she probably needs it more than I do.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Pony up...

..more fun at the fitness center folks!
This morning, my friend Andie and I went to the fitness center for their advanced step aerobics class. Andie has been to this class before. I have had every intention of going, but have been thwarted by sick children, sick self, birthday parties, out-of-town trips, etc. But finally, I made it! And let me tell, you, this was more than just a fitness class. This was, yet again, entertainment combined with fitness.
The instructor of this class apparently takes this whole thing very seriously. Dare I say too seriously?? When I arrive, a few minutes early, there are several other attendees already there, including said friend Andie. She directs me to the closet where the steps and weights are. I grab three pound weights because they are a nice bright green color and color is the most important factor in deciding which weights to use, is it not? Next time I might try purple.
The instructor is fiddling with her Britney Spears headgear, which appears to be attached to an Olivia Newton John Physical-style headband. I am green with envy as I wonder if I can get one for my karaoke machine. It would so free me up to include my more intricate dance moves. But I digress. When Britney/Olivia (or shall we call her Brolivia?) spots me, she approaches, clipboard in hand and asks me if I've been to this class before. I tell her no, and she inquires if I've been to any step class before. I reply that I have, and she says "Okay, cuz you know this is an advanced step class. I won't be going over the moves." I nod and smile, assuring her that I'm aware of that. She thrusts her clipboard in my hand and waits for me to sign it. I assume it is merely a sing-in sheet and oblige her. Ah, not so, but I don't know that until later.
Andie and I are directly in the path between Brolivia's step and the sound system, so we are ripe for reminders about the apparent many rules this class has, and hoe we are breaking them. Brolivia breezes by "weights crossed girls." Yes, all weights must be crossed in from of your step when not in use. Does it look more lady-like? Whatever. The other newcomer, who apparently has not attended step class before ever, anywhere, is escorted to the front of the room so she can follow along more closely. I am spared. Just as Andie begins to inform me of all said rules, the music begins and we are instructed to march it out. We spend the next hour doing cross-overs, ponies, crunches, bicep curls and countless other moves, none of which are explained to me, but, amazingly, I catch on and appear to be in no worse shape than the others. I must say, I truly did enjoy the selection of 70s music that accompanied the instruction, most notably "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?" and an inspiring Donna Summer medley.
Intermittently we stop aerobicizing and do heart rates...everyone counts then shuts out numbers. One sixty, one seventy. I'd love to scream out "three!" but I don't want Brolivia to kick me out. About halfway through the class, we change gears from a toning/sculpting/ step routine to strictly step. We are instructed to put our weights away, and then Brolivia circles the perimeter of the room, instructing everyone to remove all remaining mats, water bottles, clothing items, keys, (dust bunnies, imaginary friends) and any other item that could be a tripping hazard, from the floor. Balance all personal affects on the barre...mmm..safe place with all the bouncing going on. Now the real fun begins...ponies and cha-chas and over and under and around the step, wind and unwind and thigh lifts times three and hip extenders to the corner and everything else abound. The real advanced part has started. And ends after seven minutes. Cool down...WTF???
Heart rates everyone. Apparently, if yours is above 30 you can't go home. I don't know how long we counted for, so that could be 30 beats a second, a minute, an hour. Who the hell knows. I'm at thirty, so I just pass. No heartrate hostage session with Brolivia for me today.
We thank Brolivia and leave, and Andie and I discuss the true level of this class...definitely not advanced...intermediate on a tough day. But we broke a sweat, and that's what we had hoped for. Better than nothing.
As we're leaving the building, Andie informs me that the paper I signed was not simply a sing-in. This is apparently a franchised class, and I have signed indicating that I will not be copying their moves/classes, etc. I think if I did I might be subject to fines. Dammit. My black market aerobics video fortune is not to be. But what about the rules? Are they franchised?

Thursday, February 15, 2007


Woo-hoo...someone found my blog through a search for "sneeze bladder."
Do you think I'm what they were looking for?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Hey Carly

I was eating a chocolate covered strawberry tonight and the chocolate all fell off in pieces onto my shirt. My darling hubby reached over, picked some off, and ate it. Twice.

Asian tourists

Just a disclaimer...this blog will never, ever be politically correct. Consider yourself warned.

Yesterday, it was about a zillion degrees below zero and some friends and I decided to meet at the New York State Museum to walk with our strollers and then give the kids a chance to play. There is a great discovery area for children and then a fantastic carousel that you can ride for free. They "suggest" a donation, but we're all stay-at-home moms...we're poor. The parking by the museum is rough on a good day and apparently Tuesday is a busy day there. We had all circled the museum numerous times to find a spot. I got a great spot and then pumped almost all of the quarters I stole from my husband's dresser into the meter, giving me nearly three hours to enjoy some exercise, some playtime and some lunch. Two of the other moms had found one hour spots, so they probably pumped the same number of quarters into heir meters and they'd need to run out hourly to move their cars. Another poor mom marveled at the great spot she found a the top of the hill. She was crushed when we told her it was a tow-away zone. We were discussing our options (stay...walk somewhere else) and wondering exactly what made the museum so popular on a Tuesday, when then mother of all frights appeared....a bus load of Asian tourists . I have been to enough tourist destinations, and seen enough bus loads of Asian tourists descend. I have never wanted to leave a location so quickly. I could not get my poor toddler buckled into the safety of her stroller fast enough. The tourists began rushing the lobby, cameras in hand, shoving anyone and anything out of their way. My maternal instinct reared up as if we were being chased by a grizzly. I feared my two small daughters would be caught in the stampede, their little lives compromised for a photo opp in from of the info desk (better take a picture in front of the poster of the carousel, before we head to the real one three flights up). I lost 2 1/2 hours of meter time. Small price to pay for my life.
I had a recent experience in Gymboree (the kids clothing store) with an Asian woman...maybe a tourist, maybe not, but definitely a transplant. I was scouring the clearance rack, since I can only afford Gymboree clothes on clearance (see above reference to free carousel). The local Gymboree has a small store and an even smaller clearance rack, but they manage to cram things on it pretty good. I was holding my baby, who was probably nine months old at the time, and this woman came barreling around the rack, whipping stuff off of it. She scared the living daylights out if me, and when she nearly impaled my daughter with a plastic hanger, I high-tailed it out of there. Asian tourists scare me. They move in swarms at lightning speed and plow down anyone in their path.
There must be a lot of nightclub fires in China.

The only experience worse was when my husband and I hiked up Cadillac Mountain in Maine. We had opted to hike rather than drive because we thought would appreciate the view better. Respectable, eh? We set out, up the mountain, passing judgment on all of the carloads of people who were driving up there; trudging our elitist selves up the mountain; gloating about how much better the view would be for us. We arrived at the top, basked momentarily in the amazing view that we had so righteously earned, and turned in time to witness the disembarking of a bus load of Canadian teenagers. Lunch bags in hand.

"Take your cat...

...and leave my sweater."

That has got to be the most asinine song lyric ever.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Kegels please

So Carly and I, after our volunteer stint tonight, decide to go out. We go to the mall so I can exchange some things, and we hit Pizzeria Uno. Yummy pizza skins and dessert. I'm wondering if they get commission based on the urine output of their customers, because I never asked for a refill, but I think I drank four diet Cokes. We leave Unos to shop some more, and realize, as we're abut to leave, that not using the Unos restroom was a stupid move. A discussion of the state of a womans bladder post-childbirth ensues. We marvel at the dread we feel when faced with the urge to sneeze. I also remarked that my fitness class required jumping jacks the other day, and it was pretty scary for me. Carly mentions Kegels. Now, I know what Kegels are. But seriously, when would I remember to do them? When I think of toning my muscles, I think, gee, my stomach needs work, wow, my arms are getting flabby, I could stand to work out my legs, butt, etc., some more. I do not think, gee, I think I'll work out my vagina today. I'm not saying it wouldn't help, but hell, I can't see it. It's not flaunting its poor state at me every time I look in the mirror. Outta sight, outta mind I guess. Anyone out there who remembers to give the ole who-ha a workout, I commend you. And I congratulate your partner on finding such good fortune. Perhaps I should suggest a Kegels class be added to the class offering list at the fitness center I recently joined. Bring your own equipment. I would definitely have to make that suggestion anonymously.
Now Carly thinks that a vibrator would do just fine for serving the same purpose with added bonuses. I tell you Carly, I googled Kegel +orgasm today and found no evidence that they have the same benefit, only that doing the one (Kegels) can help improve the other (orgasm). Sorry, hon. Did you keep your receipt?

Today is my younger daughter's first birthday. Happy Birthday, Thing 2! I'm not sure I'm allowed to blame you anymore for the pathetic state of my body. You're off the hook baby girl.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

procreation required

Check this out:

I-957 would require married couples to have kids

Gotta love our country. Initiatives that are never meant to pass.
This could spark some highly interesting debates. I wonder if it will accomplish what it's intended to accomplish.

By our three-year anniversary, we had experienced a miscarriage and were about 12 weeks pregnant with our first daughter. Would that have counted or would our marriage have been annulled and me forced into single parenthood??
If you are conceived during pregnancy, but actually born outside the confines of marriage, does that mean you are still a bastard?
So many things to think about.

Sunday, February 4, 2007


I am the world's worst typist. Not for lack of training. I did take a typing course in high school, at my mother's insistence. But I seem to be unable to get my hands and my brain to move at similar speeds. I also blame my somewhat small hands. I know exactly where all the letters are on the keyboard...I just can't seem to get it right. So one of these days, I am going to write, then post without spell-checking. Just to amuse myself.

Mom blows me...

...all the time

Yes, the little boy in the locker room at the rec center actually said this. Now, I knew he was looking at the hair dryer my daughter was dragging around the locker room bench, but I can't promise you the people in the next aisle did.
So hubby convinces me to go to the rec center for their "Get Fit Before You Sit" pre-SuperBowl workout. I was more than a bit apprehensive (apparently the promise of end-zone dancing and best cheer didn't send up as many red flags for hubby as it did for me) and reserved the right to leave if it was lame. We dropped the girls off in the baby sitting room and rushed into our sneakers (no outside shoes allowed in the gym) and in we went. We were greeted by the backs of about 30 people in street clothes, including coats, who weren't moving at all. Quite motivating. We worked our way farther in, just a little, to find a somewhat older woman wearing a pink Giants t-shirt (new team colors for 07-08?) and sporting her Britney Spears headgear so she could instruct the handful of middle-aged women and the 20 or so tweens in cheerleader uniforms. Oh, and the one lone thirty-something guy. We left. But wanting to workout anyway, we went up to the track, which is conveniently elevated over the periphery of the gym, so as to provide a birds-eye view of the "workout" we had just left. We were just in time to observe the "bubble wrap stomp" as we walked briskly around the track. We also got a nice show when the "run fast enough to keep this paper plastered against your chest" portion of the workout took place. I remarked to hubby that this was the perfect workout. Entertainment at the expense of unknowing others while we burn calories.

Hey Carly, think I'll get any hits from the title of this post??

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Who needs a firefighter?

Odd choice for a title, no? Why it never occurred to me that I'd need to pick a blog title, I don't know. I was pretty sure there was some kind of auto title thingie. You know, like when you're signing up for an email account and your ISP offers you some suggestions (lastname69). Maybe. But no, and at 9 p.m., when my mind is likely at it's lowest level of functioning, I must come up with some catchy, witty, title that hasn't been taken. Ugh.
So, I'm sitting here typing with a ginormous paper cut on my finger, causing me great pain as I type. And I have a hole in the sole of my foot because, like an ass, I tried to dig out a potentially imaginary foreign object from my foot with a safety pin. I'm pretty sure that whatever I thought was there wasn't there, but now I have a lumpy hole in my foot. It feels great. Kind of like walking on glass. But if you know me IRL, it's no surprise. I'm a spaz. And my discomfort reminded me of a story that sums me up pretty well.
My profession now is stay-at-home mom. It's a hell of a hard job, with pretty poor monetary compensation, but the benefits are better than any job I've ever had. I didn't marry until my early thirties and didn't begin procreating until my mid thirties. My first year out of college I had a roommate situation that didn't work out too splendidly and after about 16 months, I decided I was better off in my own apartment. This necessitated that I keep both jobs I had, and I was working about 60 hours a week. Left me little time to enjoy that apartment. Gift of the Magi? Anyway, my "day job" was preschool teacher. Wonderful job, except that this was preschool in a day care center. So the preschool you think of, with 3 hour sessions, twice a day, was not the preschool of my reality. I worked from 7:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. with same group of said preschoolers. Long day. Our mornings were spent engaged in activities surrounding a particular theme. These themes, of course, were to be preschool appropriate. Shapes, colors, letters, and other odd things that had relevance to a four-year old. One early October, we were gearing up to do a week on the theme of safety. Safety at home, safety on the playground, blah, blah, blah. So how does a preschool teacher prepare for safety week? Bring in a cop, trip to the fire station, a video on stranger awareness. Ah, but that would be so expected. Not when you come to my preschool.
Early that week, I was scheduled to attend a training conference. Just a day thing. I was excited to dress like a grown-up. I was leaving the paint-covered jeans and sweatshirts at home for the day and looking like the college grad I thought I should . I had a nice pair of dress pants and a blouse picked out for the day. This necessitated ironing. Not my favorite activity. And the ironing required advance planning, again not my favorite activity. So here I am the morning of the conference with a wrinkled shirt and a clock ticking away the minutes. I'm going to be late. I know it. But I must iron my lovely grown-up blouse. I begin the tedious task of pressing the wrinkles from my shirt. I reach over to turn the blouse and my arm makes contact with the searing iron. Ow. But the clock is ticking and no time for pain. So I continue to iron, as the inside of my forearm begins to redden, blister slightly, and cause me nothing short of great agony. But I cannot be late, especially in my grown up shirt. So I burn. By midday, I have a nice blistery welt and no amount of cold compresses will help. I'm in agony.
On the way home, I stop at the grocery store to grab a few things for the occasional few minutes I get to spend in my apartment each week. I need O.J. I reach back to grab some OJ on the shelf and as I bring my hand back out, it catches on the metal frame of a sale sign. Continuing the theme of the day, I decide I have no time for this and continue on my way. As I round the corner to the next aisle, I realize that, accompanying the stinging of my finger is a small trail of blood. Yup, my finger is cut, and not just a little. Fortunately, it's not grave enough to need stitches or anything dramatic like that, but it needs several band-aids and it hurts like hell. Any normal person would take the hint, and go home and crash on the couch with the remote. You can't hurt yourself with a remote can you? (I probably could, I once cut myself with a pool cue). But I decide I need to go home and make zucchini bread from the homegrown zucchini a friend has given me. I have never made zucchini bread, but I have a cookbook, I have a loaf pan and I have an oven. I decide the finest grate is necessary. I grip the zucchini and begin grating away on my metal box grater. I am making great progress, pleased with myself, when wham, I slip and my hand slides down the metal box grater, finest grate. I counted the little cuts on my fingers. There were over twenty, actually I think it was close to forty. (And everyone wanted to know what the secret ingredient was that made my zucchini bread so delicious. "A pinch of skin, splash of blood")
So, I showed up for preschool the next day, day one of safety week, with bandages on my arm, bandages on my right hand and bandages on my left. And a lot of stories about how not to be safe. Who needs a firefighter?