Thursday, December 25, 2008

Caffeine-free days: 5; Monstrous workouts: 1

I went to the doctor for a check-up this week, and she let slip a small bomb: apparently, new recommendations for exercise are up--way up. Apparently, we're supposed to get 90 minutes of exercise, five times a week. A quick web search turned up an article backing up that fact--but I didn't see anything on the American Council on Exercise's site about the new recommendation. It is always harder to swallow the news when the person delivering it is thin, most probably due to genetic makeup, and makes you feel bad for carrying 25 extra pounds. But I'm letting that go. The recommendation is there.

Since I had the day off yesterday, I dutifully trudged to the gym, after spending nearly two hours trying to reset at least a few of the rooms in my home to "zero." Present-opening and two full-time, working parents have made keeping the house picked up a challenge, and I needed at least one or two rooms to appear "picked up" in order to function.

According to my running schedule (which, up until yesterday I thought was plenty of cardio work in and of itself), yesterday was an interval training day. A couple of lurkers either here or on FB have asked about intervals. Although I am probably the farthest thing from an expert on the subject, I can say that my intervals are 90 seconds of running at a pace that gets my heart rate up near my max, followed by 90 seconds of running at a normal rate to get my heart rate back down to a more normal, working out level. Then I repeat the cycle five more times. Currently, I am walking at a brisk pace rather than running on the recovery portion of the intervals, as that is the only way to bring my heart rate back down within 2 minutes. I am doing all of this to get faster. I am a very pokey runner, and after three weeks of intervals I am seeing some small amount of improvement, which is encouraging.

So intervals. I walked five minutes and jogged five minutes to warm up, then did the intervals and walked to round out the 30 minutes.

Then I hopped on over to the elliptical machine and alternatively listened to my ipod and watched cnn to kill the boredom. my pace was definitely in the "fat-burning" zone. ho-hum. When those 30 minutes had crawled by, I picked up a People magazine from September 2008 and got on the recumbent bike. For 30 minutes I paged through old celebrity news and pictures of Ellen and Portia's wedding (at home, 19 people, calm, collected, blah, blah, blah) and kept my heart rate in the "fat-burning" zone once again.

After the 90 minutes of sheer bliss, I called it a day. Some light stretching and then off to shower and grab lunch with DH. And I was STARVING. I couldn't wait to get my hands on some chicken. I needed fuel in the worst way.

And I was tired. I wondered how I was going to get through the rest of the day (it being 1 pm when I finally emerged from the locker room). The thought of doing that five times a week while trying to fit in 40 hours at work, be a mom, and put meals on the table and clean clothes in the closet was enough to make me want to dive head-first into the nearest plate of Christmas cookies--which would defeat the entire purpose of the monstrous workout.

So I have decided to try 60 minutes instead of 90. I still don't know how I'm going to get 60 minutes of cardio in on days that I have resistance training (tomorrow), but I'm off again tomorrow so I can afford the time at the gym.

It's enough to make me want a grande white chocolate mocha. Oh wait, I've given up caffeine. And that mocha is about 8 or 9 points. And the sadist--I mean, doctor--told me to try to reduce my points as well.

The upshot? Other than the extreme fatigue yesterday (which eventually faded once I ate a meal), and some residual muscle soreness from the intervals, my heart is fine. I mean, I got through all that cardio. The last two segments were boring. I felt a little like I was working, but not so much. Not compared to running. If it weren't so boring... If I could do it while working... then it might not be so bad.

Then again, I'm off today (workout-wise). I bet I'll feel different in the morning, facing the resistance and 60 min cardio. But that's tomorrow. I'm going to try to enjoy today.

Oh, and for those of you who observe--Merry Christmas! May your season and New Year be filled with sweat, white chocolate mochas, and plates and plates of Christmas cookies.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

She would have been 63

Next Tuesday... in one week... my mother would have been 63. It is hard for me to imagine her at that age, since she is eternally frozen at 44. She was very gray in her 40s, so I can only imagine that she would have gone completely gray by then. Would she still be coloring her hair? Her mother did until the day she died, so I can only imagine.

Although she had some age lines, as we all seem to accumulate across the 30s, she wasn't overly marked. She had beautiful Mediterranean skin. Would it have been wrinkled? So hard to imagine.

I was only reminded (not that I will ever truly forget) because an engine that reminds me of birthdays and anniversaries sent me an email, reminding me of both my brother and my uncle's birthdays (all on Dec. 23--she was a twin). Seeing the number "Your Uncle will be 63 on Dec. 23" was a bit of a shock. I know that it's been almost 19 years, but the idea of my mother at 63 isn't something I've pondered before.

Sixty-three. I wonder if she would have accomplished all that she wanted to, or if there would have still been dreams and goals unfulfilled. I wonder if she would still want to ski. I'm sure she still would have loved golfing, and playing with my kids.

She would have been 63.

Monday, December 15, 2008

so who knew pandora uses up bandwidth?

i certainly hadn't thought of it that way. it's a shame, really. the tech guy in da howse has been threatening to crack down on our use of itunes and pandora. i can see itunes, as it's a client, but pandora is not a download. apparently, though, the customization takes its toll on the server--and, weirdly, on the ftp site. not sure how all that works.

killing time until i can leave. a mere six hours today. sigh. is that even respectable? but there are only so many assets i can meta-tag, and so many lessons i can read against the chapter before my brain starts to go mushy. and only so many times i can listen to colleagues who are ill loudly clear their throats and suck their respective snot back up into their nasal cavities. lovely sound, truly.

but at least i have a job.

i want to knit curb girl a pair of wristlets, but by the time i would finish them, it would be the heat of summer. i am sending her warm vibes and safe space heaters.

congratulations to my stepsister, who apparently eloped this week (or is eloping this week). thanks for not making me deal with a wedding or formal dress for my family! i hope she will be happy.

read some of chuck lorre's vanity cards today. the censored ones were funny. i really like The Big Bang Theory. it's one of the only things on tv that my dh and i can agree on.

okay--enough time wasted???

Shattered

This blurb reminded me of 80s nights (wednesdays?) at Shattered.
Other randomness--
When doves cry
Sweating it out over a fever pitch
Watching others buy me drinks
crowded bathrooms
black walls

And now, i probably couldn't even stay awake long enough to go out to an 80s club....

Wordle

This is a very cool site that makes pictures like I used to make in France, when I had no TV or computer to eat at my time. The wordle it makes for my blog isn't so accurate ("Farmer" and "Dell" featuring largely into the mix) but I will hit it again sometime soon.

Thanks to Anna for calling it to my attention!

Friday, December 12, 2008

My son is going to be a cardiologist

Or maybe he's secretly been listening in to Grey's Anatomy from his little bed.

This morning at the breakfast table, he sang:

"The farmer in the dale
The farmer in the dale
Heigh-ho the angio
The farmer in the dale."

Thursday, December 11, 2008

i wonder if it's the money

It's supposed to help those who suffer from the "winter blues."

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

i need good workout songs

if you have any residing on an ipod somewhere that you want to tell me about, that would be great. i'm getting a little tired of the 40-odd on my running list on my nano. i need new blood. and as it's a completely different feel to the pandora channels i have set up for work, i am at a loss for inspiration.

inspire me!

test post

just testing a new piece of code.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Thankfulness

Since work is slow (thankfully), I thought I'd put together a little list of what I'm thankful for right now, at this precise moment:

1. I'm thankful for my son's ability to make me laugh. His giggle is contagious and it never fails to shake me out of a funk.

2. I'm thankful for my daughter's love of reading. She reads to herself, and she reads to others, including her brother. The times that I read to her are the most peaceful moments between the two of us, and I treasure that time together.

3. I'm thankful for my husband's even-balanced nature and willingness to be a partner in our relationship.

4. I'm thankful for Pandora, for keeping me company on long, boring work days.

5. I'm thankful that gas is hovering around $2/gallon, meaning our trip back to Cincinnati won't break the bank.

6. I'm thankful that I have more than enough to eat, and that my legs work and take me outside to run off the excess that I consume on a regular basis.

7. I'm thankful that I have a job in this economy.

8. I'm thankful that my friends have remained my friends even though we don't share a zipcode anymore.

9. I'm thankful for the relative peace in my world--both inner and outer. I know there are many, many places on earth that are not peaceful right now, and I know I am lucky to have the peace that I do. I hope that those who are not as fortunate as me have peace soon.

10. I'm thankful that members of my extended family want to see me and my immediate family over the holidays. In lots of families, that isn't the case at all.

Happy Thanksgiving to my three or four readers. I wish you a full table, a comfortable belly, and a peaceful day with as much (or as little) football as you care to watch!

Monday, November 17, 2008

I shall give you roses

Phantom fragrances tickle my nose
Ghost-like fingers send icy shocks up my spine.
The powdered floral scent—
Always yours—
mixed with perspiration and undertones of high school angst
rubbed off on you when embracing your graduates, your alumni
who came to visit
like homeless pigeons
back to the sanctity of the nest,
the safe haven of the wooden floor, painted black
dim lights
orange couches
stuck-on chewing gum
and years of whispered secrets couched between the folded, cushioned chairs.

Your pale blue eyes
devoid of life
are closed now,
entombed in the pasty white of your stony face.
The chance meeting over oranges or potatoes is firmly in the past,
where you always wanted the past to stay,
but the ring of
“Hi Sweetie! Hi Cutie!”
still peals in my ears.

The last time I saw you—who knew it would be the last?—your clear eyes were tired,
the lines on your face more deeply-carved.
Your hug was still as warm,
but the bald head hidden under a black baseball cap,
the tell-tale one-sided sag of your sweatshirt told me.

I’d said my good-byes
Formally
when you had bid farewell to the life you’d once known
destined to go on with someone else at the helm.
And yet,
here I sit—it feels like a lifetime later—
immobile
as images from my history flicker by on a screen
reminding me how far I’ve come
and how much further I’ve yet to go.

The bubbled-up catch in my throat,
chokes my breath.
I swallow it down once more
and turn back to the task at hand,
mindful only until the next time the faded powdered roses float by,
plunging me back into memory
of you
of all that came before.

awj
17 nov 08

Sunday, November 16, 2008

i agree, i agree, amen

From Carolyn Parkhurst's novel, Lost and Found:

No one ever loves you the way your children do when they're young. No one else will ever cry when you leave the room. I try not to spend too much time thinking about those days, because I know they're perfect only in memory, and I know I need to focus on the girl I've got in front of me right now. But sometimes I can't help but give in to it, to live inside the warm hues I've colored those moments with. To remember what it was like, back when she smiled just to see me, when she needed my help to move a spoon to her mouth or to walk down a flight of steps. Back when she had to reach up to hold my hand. Back when she thought I could turn on the sky.

Some days, I miss my babies.

Not every day, but some days.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Nasty

It's nasty outside, and it's nasty in my chest. They match. And I can assure, it's not intentional.

Listening to my "new to me" ipod with lots of fun stuff I uploaded yesterday. And I only used one gig! Whee-hah. Unfortunately, though, with the clarity of digital, I can now hear how incredibly scratched my older cds actually are. I will have to repurchase (or repurpose or re-something that is not hyphenated by Websters) my World's Best Opera Album Ever! Not that it really is, but it's a start when I'm jonesing for an aria (and coping with the fact that I'm no longer studying and no longer have a piano at my disposal). It's amazing how much you don't appreciate what you have until it's gone. So people--appreciate your musical instruments, because one day you will down-size and poof, they will evaporate like the mirage of wealth that was the stock market.

I'm waiting for my project manager to arrive (she never appears much before 10:30, and I'm usually here by 9:15--but I can't stay until 7 or 7:30 like she can) and tell me what she wants me to do with the audio files she dumped in my inbox last night at midnight. They are apparently elementary school level stories, and I am supposed to make sure that the text on the screen matches what students hear. Fun times. But at least it's not the Civil War. I was ready to pick up my own smooth-bore musket and hit the ground with Grant so that the damned war would finally end. And after one horrendous chapter, it has. So has Reconstruction. It's amazing how times flies when you're reading about the past.

To that end, I started Wicked a couple of days ago (got from Paperbackswap--love it!) and this time, I actually like it. I think the last time I tried to read it, I was too close to having given birth to cope with the way the adults all shun the baby with the green skin. But now I'm beyond that, and Galinda's idiocy is a real treat.

I also wanted to spread the word about this great song "One Sweet Love" by Sarah Bareilles. I discovered it via Pandora and it's a new favorite.

Just signed up for NaNoWriMo, which starts Saturday. I know, I'm completely insane, especially since I'm allegedly working full-time at the moment, but it might give me something to fill the empty hours with at work. So now I'm kicking around novel plotlines and characters. I know what I don't want to write about (war, politics, the election crap, medicine, plotlines from Friends) but not what I do want to write about. I've milked kids, Starbucks, my grandfather, my eating issues, my college years....maybe something corporate, like a story set in an office, temping.... boring, boring, boring. I hate plot. Does anyone else want to write plot for me? I can always great stellar characters and make them really quirky and fun, but plot...sucks. Maybe something about my Motley Fool interview process? I think I hit on interviewing in another story I started but didn't finish. Can't remember now. I haven't written consistently since I left Ohio. But there is time.

Okay, I'll stop subjecting you all (all two readers that I have) to my psycho-boredome waffle. Enjoy your Tuesday.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

talking heads

Live debate blog:

Is Joe Plumber related to Joe Six Pack? I can only imagine who has the better body.

"i know how to save the taxpayers billions...." Okay, Sen. McCain. How are you going to reverse the deficit? I don't buy any of this. Blah, blah, blah. I wish I had a hatchet right about now. A scalpel wouldn't be bad either.

"Sen Obama, I am not President Bush." Well, not in name, but your policies sure as hell are looking like they're in line with his. Would you be okay with Bush Lite?

Woulda, coulda, shoulda--the bottom line is that this campaign is all blow-hard bs. Can someone please just direct these guys back to the economy and foreign policy? enough he said-she said and name-calling. what are you going to do to turn this ship around?

I miss Bill.

Bob, do your job. Please redirect these guys back to the issues. Who watches or listens to tv ads anyway? Who cares about personal attacks? Please just talk about what is going to happen if you get the job. Why should we elect you?

No. Seriously. He just brought up ACORN? Until a little while ago, ACORN was all about McCain. Sigh. Do we need to have permanent ink fingerprints at the polls? Is that the only way to avoid ballot box stuffing and other election corruption?

When I was eight years old, I hung out with Republicans' children. Has it influenced me in the slightest? Not at all.

Oh, our buddy Joe the Plumber is back.

McCain is really fighting hard. But he's coming off a little desperate. He's fighting for his political life.

Ooo goody. We're going to get to Sarah Palin. Schieffer, that was a loaded question. Of course Biden is a better running mate than Palin. Point to Obama, without even opening his mouth. Actually, McCain should get a point because the question is so underhandedly stacked against the Republican ticket. The "moderator" (and by extension, the media) needs to be impartial. Cmon. Give it a try. They'll fuck up on their own (the candidates).

Palin? A role model? Seriously? Not so much.

Senator Government? That was funny. Freudian.

Too boring to even go on....

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Ostrich-like behavior observed outside the Beltway

I am going to have to stop listening to the news. It's just too depressing. I came away from my morning run today feeling sad and beaten down, rather than energized. I just can't start the day that way anymore.

I need some escapism. The Great Depression had (affordable) films. What will we in the 21st century have? And please don't tell me YouTube. I avoid it like the plague.

My question following the ho-hum debate of platitudes last night:
Both candidates, how do you intend to finance the tax cuts/government takeover of struggling homeowners' mortgages/other campaign carrots you are throwing out to win the election?

And don't use the old "I'm going to go line by line through the budget and eliminate pork barrel spending and programs that aren't working." I don't believe you. You only have four years in office and it will probably take at least two to read through the budget itself, much less writing a new, amended one and getting that budget through a sharply-divided, I-won't-cross-the-aisle-and-even-if-I-do-it's-only-to-look-good-to-my-constituents-so-I-can-be-reelected Congress.

Why would either of these guys want to inherit the quagmire anyway? Who would actually want this job?

I want a solid plan with definitive details. I want to know that you are going to be responsible with the money you have been given to get us out of this mess. I want transparency on the Hill.

[putting head back in sand]
That's all for now.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

the snorefest that was the emmys

Yes, I watched, since there wasn't anything else on and I was knitting. Have to have something to take my mind off the monotony of stockinette stitch.

And I wanted a glimpse of Jon Hamm, a fellow Mizzou alum whom I did theatre with occasionally.

Anyway, loved this recap by Heather Havrilesky on Salon:

"Ah, but justice is never served during these torturous times of censorship, rampant idiocy and national decline, haven't you noticed? That's why, after HBO's "Recount" wins Emmys for made-for-television movie and for directing for a miniseries, movie or dramatic special, "John Adams" writer Kirk Ellis is cut off midway through his acceptance speech (writing for a miniseries, movie or dramatic special) just for thanking a few people "for giving me this amazing opportunity to talk about a period in history when articulate men articulated complex thoughts in complete sentences. They used words ..." Cue chirpy promo for the next segment. Yes, articulating complex thoughts and using words are strictly forbidden at these 60th annual Emmy Awards, just as in the mainstream press coverage of this presidential election. If you can't speak entirely in empty clich├ęs, America doesn't want to hear it."

Sadly, so true.

Heroes is on the dvr, waiting for me tonight. Thank god the fall season of tv has arrived. I never thought I'd be saying that, but look, here I am.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Update!

Fairfax, VA--Knitting books unearthed in large, heavy box buried under two strollers, a bike rack, and a boxed surround sound system.

Owner ecstatic with news; immediately picks up needles and casts on full-length, intricately detailed, lace-weight cabled sweater.

------

Okay, maybe not the last part. But they have been found!

Sound the alarm

I don't know which to be more alarmed over--that she was using Yahoo for official business, that hackers were able to get into her account, or that the media is trying to use this whole thing to discredit her. There is enough to discredit her, I think.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

what i lost in the move

lots of things, i'm sure, along with my resolve to eat more healthfully, but at the moment, the most pressing loss is my collection of knitting books and knitting patterns.

i have been through the storage closets and shelves in the three places in the house where we stashed stuff when we moved in, and though i can find boxes of toys, stuffed animals, hotspur bobbleheads and programs, videos, empty dvd cases, teaching textbooks, literature paperbacks, and more books on judaism than either one of us would ever want to read, i cannot find my knitting books. this is alarming to me; i feel as though i have lost an arm. i'm trying to put it into perspective and say, "well, at least it wasn't a box of journals." but i am hopelessly stationed between one sock syndrome and start-itis, and i was looking for a quick felt project to kick me in the ass. alas, i cannot find the books or patterns. i have a few i've downloaded, but one in particular, from One Skein is haunting me. i haven't given up all hope; this weekend i plan to enlist reinforcements to go through the video/dvd/book boxes and search again for the knitting and crochet books.

on another note, what does it say about me as a parent that both my children have voiced that they want to go as pumpkins for Halloween this year?

oh, the henry costume. must look.

and i suppose it is all normal and good that my son says that my daughter doesn't like him--and he wakes up in the middle of the night saying "no, Sydney, leave me alone! get out of my room!" and he's only half-awake.

freud would have a picnic with us all in this madhouse.

off to find henry. maybe i'll find the books in the meantime.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The pull of the tides

One of my closest writing friends, whose words have nurtured me for more than three years on an almost weekly basis, wrote in her blog of the pull of the tides. It was ironic, a bit, as I too felt a pull--back to Cincinnati, to the space in Silverton where women write, read, listen and breathe; where ritual is queen; and where for two and a half hours each Monday night, there is freedom to transcend the now and glimpse the essence of your soul. I miss Monday nights. I miss Annette and Inga, Naomi, Rita and Peggy, Eve, Sally--and all of the women's voices I have grown to love to listen to over the semesters.

This is a time of transition--one that I feel I should be documenting more closely in my journal or on my blog--as my oldest goes to Kindergarten, my younger one approaches potty training, I embark on a new career, and I learn to love a new city and a new home. So much change.

We just returned from a trip to Chingford to visit my in-laws. It was remarkable to me how much things have changed from our visit two years ago. There are more grey hairs and creakier bones. Smells that were once erased by vigorous cleaning have taken up permanent root in the fibers of the home they have owned for more than 30 years. Local shops have shuttered or been reborn, hocking new wares that no longer feel necessary to scoop up and carry home. Even the West End--usually one of the highlights of the trip for me--lost its luster this time. Perhaps because it was August--typically a holiday month in Europe before the onset of autumn and the new school term. Maybe everything was overshadowed by the Olympics and Russia's quick-quell of the Georgian rebellion. Maybe I've grown jaded, or maybe more cosmopolitan in my months' inhabitance in an international city (I doubt it seriously). Or maybe I'm simply preoccupied with all of the change in my life.

It was an enjoyable two weeks; it went quickly but not too fast. Enough time to reconnect with family and a few friends, to take stock of our new lives, to watch our children fall in love all over again with English chocolate and crisps, Nanny and Per, Uncle Pemper and the rest of the extended family.

We had a private tour of Abbey Road studios and photographed ourselves (like idiots) crossing the crosswalk as the Beatles did. My husband took our nephew and had a tour of the new Wembeley stadium. He went to a football match and was towed away... making it the most expensive match he's ever attended ($600 all told).

And today, when a toy played "Jingle Bells," my daughter sang:

"Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle all the way.
Oh what fun it is to see Tottenham win away...."

without batting an eyelash.

I surpressed a laugh, and listened as she and her brother plotted out a new track for the trains on the train table, and then crawled into her bed. He asked if he could read her a story, and she said, "no, you can't read yet," and then relented--"well, you can try if you want to." He thinks he is going to Kindergarten with her next week, and no amount of explanation will convince him otherwise.

Off to finish the bedtime routine. There are more stories to be told, I am sure, but the pull of the children is stronger now than the pull of the tide, and I must obey.

Monday, July 28, 2008

hello mcfly?

In this miasmic mess of fossil fuels, rising gas prices and the like, I sit and wonder:

With all this concentration on alternative fuel sources, E85, hybrids, etc., why has no enterprising individual followed the lead of Dr. Emmett Brown in Back to the Future and figured out a way to provide fuel for cars and homes on garbage. Surely the technology can be created? Somewhere? Composting is one thing, but how much easier it would be to just chuck all of the weekend's non-recycleable waste into the trunk incinerator/disposal and fuel your commute to work?

Or what about solar powered cars? We wouldn't need constant sunshine--just enough to get the battery to turn over. As mine bakes in the driveway under sunny skies and 90+ degree heat, I've given up worrying about paint and bird droppings. Shouldn't there be a way to harness the sun's rays that beat down on the car, and turn those rays into energy? We do it for homes, after all. Why not make the roofs of cars solar panels? It would eliminate the need for a sunroof, right?

I guess all those who love their convertibles would be SOL then.

Thanks, curb girl, for getting my brain jump-started this morning.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Trash twice, recycling once and a lot less gasoline

Not a manifesto on what the government needs to do (or not do) to solve the "crisis at the pumps" as the media has titled it.

rather an oddity about life here in Northern Virginia, which, according to callers on the Kojo Nnamdi show last week, is a completely separate entity from the rest of Virginia, I am learning.

All trash collection here is privatized. Odd. There are companies competing for your trash business. The result is that they pick up trash two times a week and recycling once a week. Lawn and yard debris is on an entirely different day. At least the company we're with now picks up recycling the same day as trash (Trash is Monday and Thursday, recycling is just Thursday). The other company, who wanted $150/quarter for service, was "trash on Monday and Thursday, recycling on Wednesday." Marc's job just got infinitely harder, he says.

One of the perks of being here is that I am definitely driving less. Whereas in Dayton I used to fill up the minivan every six days or so, I can now go two weeks between heart attacks at the pump. No treks into Cincy to see my friends (sniff, sniff), and the kids go to school and camp right around the corner, instead of 15 minutes away. Of course I'm probably spending the difference on public transport but at least I'm saving the environment (or something).

Tuesday I met a friend in DC proper for lunch at Les Halles. Yum. Adult conversation and good food that I didn't have to prepare. It wasn't cheap but nothing is here. Then we headed over to the Newseum for a couple of hours to gaze on artifacts and headlines of bygone times, a twisted news antenna from the top of one of the WTC towers, a car that was blown up with a journalist inside and other random things that were decisively "historical." I wanted to spend a lot more time there, but unfortunately, had to get back. It was a $20 admission ticket--one of the only DC museums that isn't free--which I thought was expensive, even by DC's standards. I can become a member for $75 but as I would probably have to go alone, I'm not sure about that one. Entertainment dollars (?) can be finicky.

So while I didn't drive into the District, I shelled out $4 in quarters for on-street parking at the metro station and $6.50 for a round-trip metro ticket. That would buy me two to two-and-a-half gallons of gas, which was probably less that it would have taken to get into DC. But then there's the problem of parking. I will, at some point, figure all this out.

What preoccupation. I must go read, edit and proof--not my own stuff, unfortunately. That languishes in the drawer, waiting for me to rediscover it.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

note to self

for characters, present and future (paraphrasing James Lipton in Inside Inside, who is paraphrasing Sandy Meisner, I believe):

What is the glue?

Example: Two brothers want different things in life. One wants to study art in Florence, Italy. The other wants to be an MLB player. Problem? They are Siamese twins.

What forces two characters who want different things to share the scene, to stick with it?

The answer lies not in plot, but in character--depth of character. Key to remember for writing or for acting, but not directing. Not the job of the director (or editor, or even reader, methinks). Job of writer.

Now back to our regularly scheduled program.

Monday, July 14, 2008

new yoga studio

Found a new yoga studio that does work exchange! This is very happy news, as a class runs about $120 for an eight week session. There is one work exchange slot left for the summer session (Sunday nights from 5:15-7:15) which would probably work fine. Lots of classes to choose from, although I will still miss Jennifer horribly.

Also corresponded with a fellow raveler today about a knitting group in fairfax. this was happy. yeay community!

jobs, anyone?

patience, daniel-sun (or as amy f. used to call me "daniel-daughter"). it will come.

in the cave

i am in the cave (basement or lower level) of the house, where we have set up our offices (ha! if you can call them that) and i am trying hard not to freak out over:

1. the lack of light in the house. lots of mature trees means lots of shade, which is great on some fronts but not for natural light (the stuff, not the beer) lovers like me. it is actually affecting my mood.

2. the closed-in feeling of being in said cave and trying to be creative and/or work.

3. that i don't yet have a job or really, any reliable job leads. i need to network to someone and i'm not quite sure how to make that happen. i've been talking to just about everyone i meet and making sure i tell them what i do. i had my temp interview and that went find, but now the recruiter isn't returning my calls, which does not bode well with me.

4. that i have nothing on my to-do list today (well, other than laundry, which i don't want to do right now, and going to the dmv to register cars etc, which i have to wait for marc to do so we can go together, and pick up the kids from camp and feed them, etc. because marc has a late meeting). i am idle and it feels uncomfortable. wwfac-ers would tell me to write about that uncomfortable feeling. it feels like i have bees buzzing in my fingers. they are itching to get out and fly away, but my skin is holding them in. i don't want to sit still. i don't want to read or knit. i don't want to do anything. except find a job so that i know that we will be able to afford to live here.

calm down. breathe.

i need to find a consistent yoga class. i miss jen at the y! i have been following my run-walk program consistently, but now that yoga is missing, i find i really miss the balance. i was counting on yoga at the j, but it is only offered on monday nights and marc has monday night meetings every other week. that in and of itself feels like an intrusion of sorts, as monday nights have always been "my nights" away for writing class, etc.

i need to find friends. i have been looking into knitting groups. now i suppose i should check out writing classes. but gainful employment seems so much more pressing. i know there are jobs out there that i can do, be successful at, and enjoy. i'm just not sure how to find them.

big sigh.

took the kids to the national zoo yesterday. it was fun, but i won't be repeating that experience in a hurry. very hilly, sydney refusing to get out of the stroller and walk, even though sam really needed to be in it, heat was 90 degrees plus and sunny. i am not a zoo person, i have decided. i have never been an animal lover (or hater, for that matter). i am indifferent. and i don't feel the need to trudge around in the heat, pushing a five year old in a stroller (who is TOO LAZY to get off her ass an WALK!), gawking at elephants throwing straw over their backs, or meerkats or prairie dogs or hippos. i just don't care that much.

sometime i will write in a more positive way about my experiences of moving here, but the zoo is too fresh in my mind (and muscle memory--ouch) to do so. i will have to snap some pics of the wooded areas around the neighborhood that make me sigh with contentment when i pass them on my almost-daily walk/runs.

i am not miserable nor depressed. i am just a little bored. it will pass. so i keep telling myself, anyway.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Vote for GEAR

Cool art campaign in Kansas City area. There are four days left to vote (you can vote once a day & have to register email addy to do so). Read GEAR's statement under his billboard submission; vote for that if for no other reason. How cool would it be if the 'Nati did something like this???

http://artthevote.com/view-and-rate-billboards/

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Best exchange of the week

This made Marc and I laugh out loud.

Syd: Daddy, what are those hooks for, on the ceiling?
Marc: For hanging plants. Like baskets of flowers and things.
Syd: Oh. (Long pause) I thought Captain Hook lived here.

Gotta love the 5 year old mind.

you know you've entered the digital age when...

You text GoogleText for the nearest Costco store, and then use your GPS system to find it.

God bless Garmin.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

sleepless but not in seattle

it's way way waaaaaayyyyy past my bedtime and i've crossed the realm of tired to exhausted to too revved up to sleep. so much to do, think about, see... sigh. facebook flashes long-forgotten faces in front of me, and i begin to wonder--what happened to chris lucas who moved into the district in 7th grade and was in my science class? where are all the really smart people working? what are they doing? what about the ones who were off-kilter and not concerned about it? are they still off-kilter and still not caring? are the fat ones skinny and the skinny ones fat? who is married? divorced? what happened to my crushes from high school? college? the hot guy from the pool that one summer?

and what about my camp counselors? teachers? older friends of friends? younger siblings of people long ago forgotten or off the radar? did chris become a writer? a teacher? an engineer? is josh still out west smoking pot and driving a delivery truck (as was rumored at our 10 year hs reunion)? is julie in politics? what did maude decided to do with her life? what about weighlifter matt? and footballer matt? and techie rebecca who was "bests" with gina? what are they doing? did vanessa make it big time on the stage or screen like jon? did dan ever stop looking like dudley do-right? who moved to chicago? new york? l.a.? minnesota? are they happy there?

and do they ever wonder about me... what i've become, who i've become, what i do to fill my days? or does my face never cross their minds, forgotten in the abyss of memory that for some reason grows sharper still every day in my own person.

the memory of frozen turkey slices, aluminum covered burger king crowns, musty acorn books, white pillars and green letters... all sharper in focus than they were yesterday.

does wendy still make puppy chow and keep it on top of her fridge? what did julie do with her peace studies major? did elena ever move back to the states? is jennifer happy with lily and natalie?

still tired, still awake. still remembering....

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Gratifying

Sadly, seeing this article "in print" on the web is gratifying for me. Don't know why. And ironically, we are setting off on a road trip tomorrow morning. Guess I should take my own advice, eh?

Sucks that it isn't signed, but "them's the joys of freelancing."

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A Web Site for Avid Readers

I found this today and immediately signed up. It sounds almost too good to be true, but if it works, I'm way excited!

Why Starbucks Costs So Much

I'm sure fair trade has something to do with it. But consider:

When I went to Starbucks today to get a tall skim chai (no foam)--Yes, Lucy, we were of one mind today, apparently--there was a trainee barista working on the chai. She asked her trainer how much milk to pour in to steam for the drink, and was told "a little more than that, since she doesn't want foam."

Chai made, the trainee asked her trainer what to do with the extra milk in the silver container used for steaming milk. Her trainer said "throw it out."

My eyebrows shot up. Milk in the grocery store is now $4/gallon for non-organic in our neck of the woods ($6/gallon organic if it is on sale), and I've heard nothing but bad news about food prices due to shortages world-wide. I'm not sure if milk is included in those shortages, but there has been lots of talk about the price of milk, eggs and of course, rice, going up.

"Throw it away?" I asked in horror.

The trainer looked at me, somewhat apologetically. "Yes," she said. "We can only use milk for one drink. So we have to throw it away."

I was beside myself, but it dawned on me as I floundered, dumbstruck, trying to find the car, that this might be the reason Starbucks is so unbelievably expensive, especially with their non-drip coffee drinks. I hesitate to think how much milk they are throwing away.

Does anyone out there in the blogosphere know why they have to throw perfectly good milk away? I know that in other coffee establishments, like Barnes and Noble (which "proudly serves" Starbucks coffee, but is not a Starbucks franchise), the milk is saved for a period of time, and more is added to the carafe as needed for the next drink.

I wonder if there is a way to stop this wastefulness--especially with the cost of milk on the rise. I know that my boycotting the institution won't make the slightest dent in their bottom line--I only go there once a week at most, and it's usually just for chai, as I think their coffee is bitter. I am much happier with the local institution Boston Stoker, and once we move, I will try to find a local coffeeshop (when I can't/don't have time to brew at home) to patronize.

But I just had to share how shocked and surprised I was by this practice, by a corporation I have long-admired for their practice of extending healthcare to employees without them having to work 40 hours a week.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Nothing nefarious after all

The black pick up belonged to a neighbor, who was very apologetic and moved it yesterday afternoon. So we now have a free and clear view of the house and the sign.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

hello little blog

I've been absent, I know. Please forgive me. It has been a rocky road the last few weeks (months)--not in a bad way, just in a busy way. The kiddos are happily watching Cars for what seems like the millionth time, so I thought I'd take a minute (or four) and update on various parts of the craziness that is my life at the moment. And I'll do it in a list, since everything I do seems to be in lists now (Cue music from Ragtime, "You left me lists, everything in lists, but your little lists aren't very helpful, I fear").

1. We are moving. Again. MOVING. As in, 13,000 lbs. of stuff on a huge truck driven out of state. It is sudden, exciting, crazy, stressful.... The last move (less than two years ago, ahem) was more or less local. This one is to northern Virgina, which I am quickly learning is abbreviated NOVA by locals--a suburb of Washington DC (but again, DC or "the District" by locals). New job for DH, hopefully a full-time job for me, new schools for the munchkins, and some sort of new abode for us. I don't yet have a forwarding address but hopefully I will after Memorial Day, when we all pile in the minivan for a short eight hour hop over to NOVA to search out a suitable dwelling place that won't break the bank. Good luck.

We have lots o crap to get rid of before we head out, so if anyone out there in blogland is interested in two full-size arcade games (Track & Field, Circus Charlie), a full-size pinball machine (1976), a full-size slot machine (Japanese), a recumbant exercise bike, or other assorted furniture, please let me know. They are all for sale, and we can hopefully make enough to buy a new flat screen TV for our NOVA pad.

2. My step-grandfather died yesterday. He was 89, sick, had pneumonia, hospice, etc, but it is still sad. He is hopefully at peace now, but I feel for the wife of 50+ years he left behind, and the extended family who have memories of him in a better time. His death is of course making me think about the others I have lost (mom, grandpa, nona, david, leslie) and making it harder to swallow those feelings back down.

3. DH is in Miami at a conference. Single parenting sucks, but fortunately I have great friends who are allowing me to lean heavily on them and go in for some "group parenting" with their children.

4. Sleep. Or lack thereof. We sent DS's pacifiers to the "babies who don't have binkies" last Saturday, via US Mail (thanks to the kind lady at the window who didn't bat an eyelash at our request and took the unmarked envelope full of eight used pacifiers and actually smiled and told my son what a "big boy" he was), and allegedly, via train after that (because all things train-related are comforting when you've said goodbye to the binky). This has resulted in a week of little to no consistent sleep. I thought he was doing better--he slept 13 hours without waking on Friday night, but last night he returned to his former ways and was up at 2, 4, 4:30 and 6:15. Ack. At least we don't have to show the house today, so I can take it slow and easy.

5. The black pick-up truck. It has been parked in front of our house since Thursday, with, apparently, no intention of moving. I wrote down the license plate, but I am unwilling to fork over $30-79 (depending on the site) to determine the ID of its owner. I am planning on knocking on neighbors' doors when the hour becomes a little more sociable (and perhaps after church time--we are a very church-y neighborhood, well, town, it would seem) but my brain was telling me at 4 this morning that the extended cab pick-up is there to hide our "for sale" sign from passers-by. This seems nefarious, I know, but as there are an insane number of houses for sale in our neighborhood (and lately, on our street), I think people will use any tactics to take out the competition. If I can't ID the owner, I will be calling the cops. I want the thing gone by the time open houses are in swing this afternoon (2 p.m.) so that potential buyers can actually see that our house is for sale. Yes, I am slightly freaking out about this. It's the coffee.

6. I miss Miss Doxie. Where oh where has your little blog gone?

Everything else in life is on track. I am writing, both for profit and not, which is why I haven't been blogging much. Kids are good, other than the binky thing. I am making time for yoga and cardio occasionally, filling in with DDR when I can't get to the gym or outside to walk/run. I am trying to eat right and sleep enough, and I'm using my pedometer like a mad woman. Packing is, for the most part, under control. Grey's Anatomy is back on TV, which gives me a welcome respite on Thursday nights. I'm almost done knitting the second sock of the pair I started a while back, I've done one baby sweater for a friend who is due in the next few weeks, and I'm almost halfway done with a second one for another friend who is also due in the next few weeks. I'm regularly checking MLS and Craig's List for affordable rentals in our target area, and Monster for possible jobs opps. I need to revise my resume. And sleep. Sleep would be good. And fewer baked goods would probably make my fitness goals easier to achieve. But.

Incidentally, on a final note, there was an NPR call-in show on Friday afternoon about words and linguistics. It had something to do with the campaigning and primary season, etc, and I didn't get a chance to listen because I was in the dr's office for an hour (routine check up--all is well), but they were asking for listeners' thoughts about words, language and phrases and how well people are using them these days. This actually interests me (sadly?), since I am a closet linguist, and since I couldn't call in, I thought I'd post my comment here.

I AM SO TIRED OF "IT IS WHAT IT IS." I wish people would stop using this phrase. Seriously. (That's another one that's getting old, but I use it, so it would be hypocritical to complain about it.) The Buddhist thought that spawned this evil offspring has been so far corrupted. I would go as far as to say "It is what it is" is what is wrong with our country (mounting soapbox)... People use it to remove themselves from the responsibility of caring for what is going on around them and for actually doing something about it. Yes, it's true that there are some things we are powerless to control (thank you, Aristotlean Primary Unmoved Mover and company), but dismissing children's behavior, general lack of social or customer service skills, sad news, twists of fate and other things that occur in life as "it is what it is" is a cop out. I am working on what I will say to someone the next time I hear this (be forewarned). So far I have come up with:

It is what it is not.
Why must it be so.
(Yoda voice) You think. So it is not.

Other suggestions?

(stepping off soap box now--incidentally, when is the last time anyone actually saw a soap box used for public fora? wasn't the last one used for firewood back in 18-- when William Jennings Bryan went off on his last opponent?)

(tossing camera in air, a la Austin Powers)
I'm spent.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

blog tag

Tagged by Caryn. Sadly, this will probably be the most interesting part of my day.

Two names I go by:
1) Allyson
2) Al

Two things I am wearing right now:
1) Socks
2) Pedometer

Two of my favorite things to do:
1) Sleep
2) Write (I'm so boring!)

Two things I want very badly at the moment:
1) For my house to sell at a good price
2) A big hot fudge sundae with no consequences on the scale

Two favorite pets I've had:
1) None
2) None--i'm not an animal person

Two things I did last night:
1) Made spaghetti bolognaise that went UNEATEN
2) Worked on a sweater I'm knitting for Shoshi's impending arrival

Two things I ate today:
1) Fiber One with milk
2) Banana

Two people I last talked to:
1) Marc
2) Sam

Two longest car rides:
1) Cincinnati to Ft. Myers FL (ugh)
2) Cincinnati to Columbia, MO

Two favorite beverages:
1) Venti Caramel Frappaccino (again, with no scale consequences)
2) Alice White Lexia

I tag (if you haven't been tagged already): sidewalker eater, legion, these darn writing shoes, lucy

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Sam-ism....

The kiddos had a "Passover Experience" at school today and came home with "plague bags," which had plastic bugs, stretchy frogs, sunglasses and rubber-like large stones/pebbles that are to represent hail.

Which led my two year old son to ask "What the hail?"

Monday, March 03, 2008

The Mother's Decathlon

The Mother’s Decathlon

Event #1: Five Plate Dinner Dash: Prepare five different meals for five picky eaters, in less than thirty minutes.

Event #2: Creative Cookoff: Create as many meals as possible from one bowl of pasta, using ordinary ingredients. Bonus points for including a green vegetable. Triple bonus points if children actually eat the food presented.

Event #3: The Hurky-Jerky: Simultaneously haul two children from minivan to sidewalk and back again, without letting their feet touch the ground. Repeat for the number of errands in any given morning.

Event #4: Supermarket Sprint: Select and purchase one week’s worth of healthful groceries with two children in tow, before naptime, without giving into the “cookie chant.”

Event #5: Shower Skill: Shampoo and condition hair, exfoliate body, cleanse face, and shave legs in between commercial breaks on the Disney Channel or Nickelodeon (or between baby’s cries, if child is under the age of one).

Event #6: Morning Sprint: Clothe children in clean articles suitable to be worn outside the home (e.g. no pajamas), provide breakfast, pack lunches, eat something yourself, and kiss husband, in less than 30 minutes.

Event #7: Bath Balance: Bathe children and shampoo hair while avoiding tantrums for getting water in eyes and fights over squirty bath toys. Bonus points for staying somewhat dry and for getting older children out of the tub before the water temperature dips below 70 degrees.

Event #8: Seatbelt Samba: Strap children into carseats before they successfully remove cotas, hats or mittens. If any article of clothing is removed, you must begin again.

Event #9: Music Mayhem: Maintain sanity during two hour car trip with children listening to one CD (their choice) the entire time.

Event #10: Motherhood Marathon: Complete events 1-9 every day for ten (or so) years.

Awj
3 march 08

Sunday, February 24, 2008

I can't wait for Monday

I know that's an odd title, but the last five days have held (in no particular order):

1. Two sick kids who were home from school Wednesday-Friday
2. A trip to the ER
3. Lots of ice and snow (conveniently coming at the same time as the trip to the ER)
4. A kidney stone
5. A trip to the pediatrician, resulting in antibiotics for 1/2 of the family
6. A trip to the Newport Aquarium
7. More TV than I need to ever see again (Amnesia, anyone?)
8. Copious amounts of carbohydrates
9. No cardio or weight training
10. A visit from the plumber to replace a water heater

On the (happy) flip side, tomorrow I can look forward to:
1. Writing time
2. Gym time
3. A voice lesson!!!! (maybe)
4. Writing class
5. Menu planning (to put an end to #8 on above list)
6. A nap
7. A quiet house
8. Scouring my kitchen
9. Washing sheets in hot water
10. A nap (so important, it had to be on there twice)

Ah well. Back to kid TV, supervising color projects, and doing laundry.