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Friday, January 30, 2009

Mockingbird sings a powerful song


Most couples with kids can define their lives in two parts: BC and AC -- before children and after children. In our BC life, Mike and I did lots of cool cultural things, like going to the theater (the kind where the floor is not sticky with spilled pop). Tonight we had a BC date and went to see "To Kill a Mockingbird" at the Indiana Repertory Theatre (IRT).

After we picked up our tickets at Will Call in the IRT's new lobby, we checked our coats (and Mike's ever present Indiana Jones hat) before being led to our third row left seats. Mike had gone to see the show on Thursday with Annie's class and sat on the right side of the house, so he was glad for the different perspective.

I perused the progam to refresh my memory about the plot and to see if any of the actors have appeared on "Law and Order" -- (yes, two of them). I read To Kill a Mockingbird in my freshman honors English class in high school. But considering that was 24 years ago, I didn't remember much -- except going to the Marianists' house, where our teacher Brother Jim Brooks lived, to watch the black and white film version of the novel. Even so, all I remember of that night was that Jay Flynn used the old "I'm just reaching for the popcorn" trick to put his arm around me. Guess the swooning erased the memories of the storyline from my mind even all these years later.

Quentin Toetz as Jem, Tessa Buzzetti as Scout,
and Joseph J. Mervis as Dill (left to right)
Credit: Julie Curry

Set in Maycomb, Alabama in the 1930s, much of the first act involves the Finch children -- Jean Louise, known as Scout, and her older brother Jem, as well as tagalong kid Dill. There is talk among the children, the Finch's black housekeeper/nanny Calpurnia, and their white neighbor Miss Maudie first about Boo Radley, the mysterious recluse who lives nearby, and then about the fact that Atticus Finch (the children's father) is representing a black man -- Tom Robinson -- falsely accused of raping a young white teenager.

A handful of tertiary characters -- Sheriff Heck Tate, grouchy ailing neighbor Mr. Dubose, Gladys Kravitz-like Miss Stephanie, the stuttering Mr. Cunningham -- all add layers and color to the story.

Probably due to the difference between greenhorned actors and seasoned actors (it felt a bit as though Scout should have been called "Shout"), it wasn't until mid-way through the first act when Atticus made a more lengthy appearance that I forgot I was watching a play and began to lose myself in the story which includes themes of prejudice, race, poverty and justice.

Melissa Fenton as Mayella Ewell, Mark Goetzinger as Atticus Finch,
and Jonathan Tremaine as Tom Robinson
Credit: Julie Curry

In the second act, which opens in the courtroom where Tom Robinson is on trial for his life, I found myself leaning forward, searching for some foreshadowing of the outcome (though my knowledge of American history should have led me to it sooner). I think I must have fallen asleep during that movie at the Marianists' house in Dayton because I really didn't remember what happened next.

And I will not tell you here what does happen, because I think you should do one of three things.

First, go see the play. If you live within reasonable driving distance of the Indiana Repertory Theater, you have 15 more opportunities to see the play there. It is such a great venue -- small enough that the actors don't even need to wear those annoying mini mikes taped to their foreheads, but professional in every sense of the word. Except that there are not kiosks at which people are hawking overpriced souvenirs to theater-goers who can't live without a t-shirt or some other trinket to remind them of their experience.

Second, if making it to the IRT is unlikely for you, watch for it at a theater near you. Sure you can rent the movie, but it won't hold a candle to live theater.

After the play was over, Mike and I stayed for a post-show discussion with the actors. Many of the audience's questions were directed toward the young actors who, other than exhibiting some typical young actor affectations, did a better-than-respectable job in their stage roles. There was also some honest and enlightening interchange with some of the older folks, especially Jonathan Tremaine who played the accused Tom Robinson. If you have a chance to stay for the post-show discussion, do.

My final recommendation, read the book. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee will be packed in my carry-on bag next week when I leave for a much anticipated vacation with my sister. I'll likely be highlighting quotes I'd wish I'd written, like:

"One thing does not abide by majority rule -- your conscience."

"We've given him the highest tribute you can pay a man. We trust him to do right."

"Courage is knowing you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway."

and the one I'm going to use on my kids when they say "Everybody is doing (whatever it is they want to do and I don't want them to)..."

"Everybody less one."

Harper Lee was 34 years old when To Kill a Mockingbird was published. She has never published another book and lives in relative seclusion. Maybe she is waiting for society to embrace the lessons put forth in her Pulitzer Prize winning first effort. If so, thank goodness for the IRT and other theater companies around the country who continue to give voice to her message.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Economic downturn hits home for cookie lovers

I've watched the news and seen the headlines about companies closing and workers being furloughed. I've noted the proliferation of frugal living stories on shows from Oprah to the Today Show. I've quietly acknowledged the higher prices at the grocery store. But I can be silent no more...

I read this story on tonight:

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Eating a box of Girl Scout Cookies in one sitting will be a little bit easier this year: The Girl Scouts of the USA confirmed Wednesday that it has reduced the number of cookies per box to save money because of rising transportation and baking costs.


When with this madness end? If I'm going to pay $3.50 for a box of Thin Mint cookies (x5), then I expect to get maximum Thin Minty-ness. That means 32 cookies, not 28. How am I supposed to be satisfied with one sleeve of Thin Mints when the sleeve only contains 14 cookies?

I'm going to write my Congressmen and I suggest you do the same. We need government intervention. My right to a truly full box of those delicious thin wafers covered with a smooth chocolatey coating is being infringed. We need a bailout for the Girl Scout cookie bakers!

As citizens of the United States -- and those of us who are inhabitants of one of the fattest states in the union -- we cannot take this sitting down. This year it's the Thin Mints; next year who is to say it won't be the Tagalongs?

So please, find your cookie voice and use it to speak out against this travesty. It may not just be your Thin Mints you can rescue. One day your grandchildren may thank you for taking a stand.

Rough week for the 4th Frog losers

Workout Frog

Popping in quickly to say this was a rough week for the 13 women who are participating in the 4th Frog Biggest Loser contest. This week's round-up:
  • 3 losers
  • 2 people with slight gains (under a pound)
  • The remainder stayed the same.
This week's Biggest Loser is Annie who lost 2.2 pounds! The secret must be in those yummy smoothies.

Tracey and Smoochie Frog each posted a small loss as well.

This week's challenge: Let's go green -- Eat at least one green food every day this week. And no green M&Ms and mint chocolate chip ice cream do not count!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Biggest Loser: Knock, knock?

Biggest Loser logo

Knock, knock?

Who's there?


Orange who?

Orange you glad the orange team got sent home?

I am. It was a tough decision, for sure. And Tara's minor freak out before voting was a little over the top for me. But I guess I just felt like a.) Dan had been given a "mercy" chance before and b.) if he stayed with Jillian, she was gonna work him into the grave.

Besides, there is just something so likable about the brown team, Mike and Ron (even if I can't watch when Ron weighs in).

Though I'm glad they got sent home, I could identify with both Dan and Dave. When Dan said he never thought it was possible to not be fat because it's all he knows, my inner me was waving its arms, saying "Me! Me! That's me!" And when Dave said in the elimination room that his commitment was at the ranch, but not his heart, I could hear myself in that statement too.

But neither of them has let those feelings hold them back. Dave has lost 46 pounds -- I sure would take that. And Dan has lost over 100. He has got to feel invincible!

Other Biggest Loser thoughts...

  • Joelle was definitely representin' tonight. I think she knew Carla was coming back and was gonna kick her Jo-normous butt if she didn't lose enough to keep Carla on the ranch.
  • Anybody else feel a wee bit guilty when Sione said, "I used to say 'I don't have time to exercise' -- but I had 3 hours a night to watch TV."
  • I happy Blaine got to go home for his baby's birth. But I really thought they would name it either Bob or Jillian.
  • Only 991 calories for chicken wings? Seems kind of worth the sacrifice...and I wonder why I'm shaped like the little teapot -- short and stout.
Can't wait for next week to see the at-home partner weigh-ins!

If you're part of the 4th Frog Biggest Loser contest, don't forget to send me your weigh in numbers at 4thfrog70 at gmail dot com.

All around the blogosphere...

It's 2am. I've had my 8:45pm-1am nap, did the dishes and mostly cleaned the kitchen, and straightened up the TV room. What else would there be to do but catch up on what's going on in the blogosphere and report it back here to you:

* Frequent Frog Follower Annie is a double blogger. I mostly follow her Junior Mints and Reese's blog. But she also has a Flyin' Annie blog that details her efforts to follow the FlyLady. She's holding her first give-away that includes some adorable and useful decorative magnets. Go over there and check it out, but don't plan on winning because I already called dibs on those magnets.

* Annie is also the one who clued me in to the gadget giveaway at Pennies in My Pocket, where they are giving away a Smart Shopper Electronic Grocery List Organizer. Need mayo? Say it into your Smart Shopper. Need TP? Talk it up into the Smart Shopper. When you go to the grocery, hit print and Smart Shopper spits out a list of everything you've told it -- organized by grocery store departments! It'll also keep a to do list for you. If only the Smart Shopper could actually go to the store for me and then put the groceries away when it gets home. Anyway -- if you don't want to take your chances on winning, you can also visit Pennies in My Pocket (I was going to abbreviate that, but this is a family-friendly blog) to get a coupon code for $25 off the Smart Shopper.

* I recently stumbled on Mrs. Furious' blog. She doesn't pretty frequent video blogging, which I might do if I get some decent results from the peer, motivation of the 4th Frog Biggest Loser Contest. Anyway, Mrs. F. served up a link to a YouTube series on Depression Cooking (which is NOT baking brownies and eating the whole pan yourself because you're feeling blue). Ninety-three year old (where do the hyphens go in that? I write for a living and I don't know.) Clara demonstrates Depression-era cooking from her circa 1920s kitchen. Even if you don't try any of the recipes, you've got to check this out.

* It must be giveaway season in the blogosphere, because Shannon of Gabi's World is giving away Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace Revisited book. Even if you don't need the book, check out Shannon's site...the pic of Gabi adorned in a hot pink boa is sure to make you smile.

* Got me some link love from Liz. Thanks Liz! I'll pass this along to :

Butterfly award

* I tend to laugh in situations where it's not really appropriate. That's why I can totally identify with Kristi's sister in her blog post about her habit of falling down. Head on over to Not Quite What I Had Planned. If you tend to wet yourself while laughing, go to the bathroom first.

Ok. Enough for tonight. Tomorrow is Biggest Loser night (and American Idol Night and the premiere of the Duggar's 18 and Counting show). If you're playing along in my Biggest Loser contest, but sure to e-mail me your fabulous new weights.

If I hurry, I can get 3 more hours of sleep before I have to wake up!

Monday, January 26, 2009

See? He's a normal boy...


If you look really closely, you'll see that Robbie was feeling creative yesterday and tried to color Dungy's rear end purple. See? All boy!

It could have been worse:

Cat shoot

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Looking out for my cub

mama bear

It's not even 7:30am on Sunday morning and my Mama Bear is already on high alert. I just completed an assessment sent to me by the township school district psychologist for Robbie. We're working on getting some services for him at school, including occupational therapy and some reading support services.

Our conference with the team of assessors from the school district, our school's resource director and Robbie's teacher (both of whom have been very helpful this year) is Thursday. So I sat down to complete the assessment and immediately felt my defenses go up when I saw the title of the form: "Asperger Syndrome Diagnostic Scale."

We have already had him tested thoroughly at the very highly regarded children's hospital here. They determined that he does not have autism or Asperger's and gave him a vague diagnosis of pervasive development disorder-not otherwise specified. Which, I think, in the era before every behavior set had a label would have just been considered "quirky."

But because completing the form is part of getting him the services, I forged ahead. And let me just tell you if you have never had the privilege of completing one of these assessments regarding your child, there's nothing like one of these forms to make you feel like your kid might be a freak:
  • Talks excessively about favorite topics that hold limited interest for others (Hell, I do that!)
  • Exhibits few or inappropriate facial expressions (Robbie doesn't do this, but isn't that what's made Jim Carrey millons of dollars?)
  • Frequently becomes anxious or panics when unscheduled events occur (He gets that one from his dad.)
  • Lacks organizational skills (Hey, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.)
  • Displays an unusual reaction to loud, unpredictable noises (Is that so unsual for a small child?)
  • Has a restricted diet consisting of the same foods cooked and presented the same way (So he likes chicken nuggets and baloney.)
The survey then goes on to say "At what age did the unusual behavior begin? Does the unusual behavior occur in all settings?"

And I'm sitting here thinking, this is who he is. He's not unusual. He's Robbie. He is quirky and generally happy and somewhat manipulative -- being the baby of the family and all. And I'm offended by the repeated term of "unusual" because in my head it's a euphemism for "freakish."

Which of course triggers the guilt buttons in my brain (and heart). We shouldn't have let him watch TV when he was a baby. We should have delayed vaccinating. He's my only kid to have spent time in day care and maybe that in some way damaged him.

From there I go to the "what ifs?" What if he never graduates from high school? What if he can never live independently? What if he never gets married? Mostly far-fetched, I know. But when my brain gets going, sometimes its hard to stop.

I just want to scoop up my bear cub and his adorable smile and his infectious giggle and his fear of the electric hand dryers in public restrooms and move to some hillside in Kentucky where we can run barefoot and learn about life on life's terms in our own insulated bubble.

But we don't live on a grassy hillside and our life's terms include school and assessments and using the resources at our disposal to help our kids achieve their highest potential. And so I slip the now completeld assessment back into the envelope and, thinking ahead to our conference on Thursday, pray for the best.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Now that the NYSE is closed...

Diet Coke Free

I have an unlikely announcement to make. I'm glad that the New York Stock Exchange is closed because I would hate for this announcement to cause anyone's stock to plummet (including mine).

It has been 10 days, 9 hours and 17 minutes since I've had a Diet Coke.

Gasp! Can you believe it?

I didn't start out with an intention to give up my most favorite form of bubbly caffeine. True, I did reduce my consumption a few days before Tuesday, January 13 in an attempt to boost the iron in my blood so I could donate platelets. Despite my efforts, my hemoglobin (isn't that the iron measure?) was still too low to donate. So I left and immediately pulled into the nearest McDonald's for a large $1 fix.

At work we have bottled water, so it's pretty easy to drink that most of the day. And I've been packing my lunch more often, so that cuts into my Diet Coke intake as well. We recently implemented a "milk or water" rule for dinnertime beverages, which cut out another daily hit.

And then before I knew it, I'd gone 30 hours without a Diet Coke. And then 48. And then 60. Incredibly, I didn't get a killer headache. And I didn't have any other side effects like extreme fatigue (other than my normal level of fatigue) or irritability (other than my usual impatient self).

Then it became a personal challenge. Self-denial is not exactly a strong suit of mine, but I'd made it almost three whole days without one of my chief addictions. Sadly, that was a bit of an ego boost.

The idea that I might be doing my body a favor was only a fringe benefit. I never really believed those people who claim that something in Diet Coke turns to formaldehyde in your body. Even if it is true, I figured I'd be so well-preserved that my family might get a discount from the embalmer on the occasion of my demise.

Anyway, back to my newfound freedom...Amazingly, I don't even miss it that much. I do get cravings for the bubbles from time to time. So I indulge in caffeine-free Diet Coke from time to time (which means I can be friends with Chick-fil-A again!).

Now, while I offer my apologies to the shareholders of Coca Cola, let me assure the Ben & Jerry's corporation that they have nothing to worry about.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I need to get out more.


I have a doctor's appointment this morning, so I'm hanging out at home until it's time to leave. Which means I got to watch the Today Show. It's not as good with Meredith, but I still like it.

Anyway, this morning the Academy Awards nominees were announced during the show. Do you know that not only have I not seen any of the nominated films (except Wall-E, which was a total waste of my time), but I hadn't even heard of most of them.

I did recognize some names of actors that I like, namely Anne Hathaway, Kate Winslet and Meryl Streep.

I think they should come up with the Academy Awards for People Who Need to Get Out More. Nominees would include:
  • Best film to watch while trying to stay awake and monitor the slumber party
  • Kids flick most easy to stomach
  • Movie most worth taking a sick day to stay home and watch without interruption
  • Best vintage film (for movies released more than 1 year ago)
What other categories would you include? And who would you nominate?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

And we're off!


This is the first weigh-in week for the 4th Frog's Biggest Loser Contest. We have 14 contestants playing along. Sorry for the delay in getting this post up.

Seems like several of us got off to a slow start this week. No worries. Progress, not perfection, right? But two gals must have done something right this week:

Ruby's Mom lost 1.62% of her total body weight -- that's more than Damien lost on The Biggest Loser last night. Way to go Ruby's Mom!

But as great as that accomplishment is, it's not quite enough to name you this week's 4th Frog Biggest Loser.

That honor goes to Jennifer L. who lost 1.89% of her body weight! Congrats Jennifer!

It would be great if both Rubys Mom and Jennifer could leave a comment giving us some tips on what went well for them this week.

And if you didn't do as well as you'd hoped, no sweat. The great thing about this contest is that no one gets kicked off at the end of the night.

If you have been on the fence about joining our contest -- jump off now and join us. E-mail your current weight to 4thfrog70 at gmail dot com.

This week's challenge: The weather here has been cold and icy, so getting outside to exercise has been tough. This week's challenge is to come up with some kind of physical activity you can do for at least 10 minutes at a time in your house or at your office. It could be climbing the stairs. Or turning on the radio and dancing. Once you figure out your activity, do it two to three times a day. Come back here and let us know how it's going.

Have a great week!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Biggest Loser: Do I smell gameplay?

Biggest Loser logo

How gullible can I be? Were you?

Did you feel like this whole show was just baiting you along, leading you to believe that Joelle was going home and tomorrow's headlines would have Carla knocking her senseless with a dumbbell?

The exchange between Carla and Joelle back in Detroit proved good comedy. I think my favorite line was when Carla told Joelle "This competition is about being the biggest loser -- not the biggest whiner!"

But Joelle's life was spared -- her life on the ranch and her actual living, breathing existence -- in what I think was the first hint of gameplay we've seen this season. Think of it, if you are playing the game would you want Damien -- a guy with lots of weight to lose -- or Joelle -- a reluctant participant with a lackluster history of weight loss -- to stay on as your competition?

So Joelle was spared tonight, only to be casted off in the next week or two. And boy didn't she look irritated?! Clearly, this woman wanted to be sent home.

In other BL news tonight...

I just love Filipe! His reaction on the scale tonight was awesome.

Does anyone else find it curious that Tara, the former model, is the one who is always throwing up? And really, do we have to watch it?

In case you didn't catch Jillian's 3-step workout advice, here it is:
  • Jump squats: 10x
  • Bicycle kicks: 20x
  • Jogging in place: 3 minutes on, 1 minute rest.
Repeat the entire sequence twice.

If you are part of the 4th Frog's Biggest Loser Challenge:
  • We have 13 players right now. If you haven't signed up yet, e-mail me at 4thfrog70 at gmail dot com with a full body pic and your starting weight.
  • If you've already signed up, please be sure to e-mail me your weight. I'll post the week's winner and challenge tomorrow.
  • To review the details of the contest, click here.

The "I" in Inauguration

It seems like I shouldn't let this day pass without some commentary about today's Inauguration Ceremony in which Barack Obama became President of the United States. I'm usually decidely quiet about political matters, but for some reason feel compelled to break my silence -- briefly -- today.

I did not vote for Barack Obama. My vote had nothing to do with race or with single-issue politics, rather an opinion formed over the course of the campaign. But that is neither here nor there now.

I eagerly watched the ceremonies over lunch -- I, the lone dissenter among a table full of Barack Obama supporters.

I watched because from the moment of his "so help me God," I am a President Obama supporter in as much as I love this country and I want it to be strong. I want whomever is at the helm to lead with confidence and justice, with humility and a desire for the common good. I want leadership pledged to serve that which is right, not that which is popular.

While I did not find his speech to be one that will go down in history as one of "the greats," I did find words that give me hope.

Hope that we will re-awaken a sense of personal responsibility and abandon a propensity toward reactive blame:

Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age.

Hope that our national leader and other elected officials truly mean "all" -- from the smallest and most vulnerable to the oldest and most forgotten:

The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

I found myself filled with a sense of honor and privilege that I live in a country where I can say "I did not vote for this man" without fear of retribution.

I found myself imagining the day from the perspective of his two young daughters, who must feel a bit that they've stepped into the most wild of fairy tales.

I found myself irritated with a media who seemed to be too quick to elevate our new leader to the status of Lincoln and Kennedy, when all he had done so far was to take an oath.

And I've found myself having said enough. God bless President Obama. God bless the United States of America.

Is it all downhill after "I do?"


I have six kids in my house right now -- twice as many as I am accustomed to. Four of whom are playing "Colonial War," which apparently involves running around the house shooting each other, careening dangerously close to the brick fireplace, and falling with a forceful thud when they've been hit. And two silly pre-teen girls who insist on talking to each other like dopey sounding cartoon characters.

So what's a mom to do but find solace in Facebook. Ordinarily, I visit Facebook to update my status, post a blog link and maybe comment on one or two other people's walls. But today, while I was trying to stay visible enough that the kids wouldn't run completely wild, yet removed enough to maintain my sanity, I ventured beyond the first two or three updates and read on down the page.

That's how I came to ask myself the question, "does romance really go downhill after the 'I do's?'"

I saw that my brother-in-law had officially declared himself "in a relationship" with the woman of his current dreams. Following the link to her page (she'll be sorry she friended me now), I saw that he had given her several virtual hugs -- from the all-natural hug to the sunny hug, his affection for her is clearly spelled out on her Facebook page.

"Hmmm..." I thought to myself, "I wonder what Mike has sent me?"

Usually, I let all those Facebook requests and invitations collect in the pending box on my page. Then when I've got a bunch of them waiting there for me, I ignore them all in one fell swoop. What if I've been unknowingly deleting his tokens of affection?

So I opened my Facebook page and searched all those waiting invitations. Nope, no hugs for me from my beloved. Instead, what was there awaiting my acceptance was an invitation to join him in Mafia wars and an R2D2 icon. I thought about that for a while.

Is that evidence that all the romance is gone? Perhaps. Or, after all these years of marriage, maybe I can recognize words like "Mafia" and "Star Wars" as part of my husband's language of love.

The G Post


As I promised earlier, this is the G post. That's P-O-S-T. Not to be confused with the S-P-O-T for those of you who might be prone to dyslexia or reading trashy novels. This post is my entry into an Alphabet Game being played over at Eternal Lizdom.

My instructions were to name 10 things I like that start with G. So here goes, in no particular order:

1. Grover. He's like the blue-headed stepchild of Sesame Street. Not as popular as Elmo. Not as tall as Big Bird. Not as intriguing as Oscar. Not as controversial as Cookie Monster. His waiter sketches are my favorite.


2. Grandparents. I'm almost 38-1/2 years old and I still have 3 grandparents living. I know what an amazing blessing that is.

3. Gorgonzola. Yummy cheese that's fun to say.

4. Green liqueur. When I was in college, many of the girls in our sorority would go out to the bars after chapter meetings on Wednesday nights. It was at the Casba that I was introduced to the Midori Sour, a drink that tasted like liquid apple Jolly Rancher. I don't have it that often, but I like it enough to include it on my G list.


5. God. Probably says something about my faith life that God didn't make it to the list before number 5. But God IS good and so He made my list.

6. Gopher State. Do you know which state that is? High five to you if you said Minnesota. That's where I was born. I left when I was something like 6 weeks old and have never been back. Not even to the Mall of America. But the place still has a soft spot in my heart.

7. Girls. Not in that way. But I love getting together with the girls and, as Mike says, "clucking like a bunch of hens." Clucking over Midori sours is even better.

8. Geeks. Well, one geek in particular. I mean how can you not love a man whose browser this morning was opened to the Wikipedia entry for "the galactic timeline?"

I heart my geek.

9. Gridiron. As in football. Specifically NFL football. Mostly the Indianapolis Colts, even when they get eliminated from the playoffs in the first round. Friggin' Chargers. GRRRR!


10. Good night. Even night owls like me have to sleep once in a while. Given that it's approaching 1am, now seems like a good time to say good night.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The incredible shrinking woman

Remember I told you about You upload your picture and through the magic of Photoshop, you lose 50 pounds!

full fat Skinny me

Now if someone could only figure out a way to do that in real life (other than that pesky calories in, calories out scheme).

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Minding my own business

A few weeks back, my sister Shelley, who is pregnant with her third child, called and asked what I thought of a name she and her husband are considering should the new baby be a boy. Let's say the name is "Jehosephat."

Since she asked my opinion, I gave it to her.

"I think it sounds like an Amish kid who gets his haircut with a bowl on his head."

Fast forward to last night when my sister Angie and her daughter Ava were over for dinner. I can't remember how the topic came up, but Ang and I started talking about names for our possibly new nephew. We decided that Oliver was totally cute, would fit nicely with our sister's other kids' names, and did not bring to mind barn-raising, electricity-shunning people.

So, Angie called Shelley and left a message that we thought Oliver would be a great name for our nephew. She even helpfully suggested some middle names to go with Oliver.

You know, we didn't stop to consider the fact that a pregnant woman typically has hormones surging through her body that make her let's say...sensitive. Oh, we got our reminder for sure. When I opened my e-mail late last night, here's the message Shelley had sent to both Angie and me:

Anyway...I've been thinking, about you 2 reside to the fact that this is not YOUR child and we will name OUR child whatever we want to?!?!? I get it that you don't like the name. Fine. Maybe I don't care for your kids' names! So, there!

Yikes! I immediately replied our suggestion was all in good fun. (Though we wouldn't have argued if she'd said "I love it! Thanks!") I reminded her that several family members had plenty to say when we chose the name Mary Safrona had Robbie been born with girl parts. And I added that of course we will love her baby no matter what its name is.

Apparently, I've been in this situation before. Though I don't recall it, Angie said that when she suggested Ava as a possible name for her baby-girl-to-be, I said "You can't use Ava. That was the name of Hitler's mistress." Now, I don't think that I even knew that fact, so I don't see how I could have said that. But Angie insists that I did.

And when my sister-in-law solicited opinions on the name Camryn for a girl, Angie said that I replied "It sounds like a fat girl." Which, I theoretically might have said, though I don't recall it for certain.

Now I really do have nieces named Ava and Camryn -- neither of whom is a mistress or a fat girl -- and I love both of them to pieces. So if I end up with a nephew named "Jehosephat," I will love him completely (and I won't even buy him a baby-sized black brimmed hat).

And the next time someone asks me what I think of their chosen baby name (or pet name for that matter), I'll smile sweetly and say, "If you like it, then I'm happy."

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Weekend Update

Long and slow's Friday night! The crazy busy work week is over and I've got about 48 hours to re-charge, despite the fact that I've got plenty on the to do list. But that will have to wait for tomorrow. Tonight, it's me, my laptop and TLC on the boob tube.

Thought I'd toss a few random selections out here:

Mom Rap
In case you missed my link to it earlier, Liz sent me the file to share her Mom Rap:

Over at her blog, Liz also has an alphabet game going on. She gave me the letter G. I'll be back later this week with my G post.

Quick craft
Annie over at Junior Mints and Reese's posted this adorable quick craft. I'm thinking it would be a great gift for my Annie to give her 'tween friends.


4th Frog's Biggest Loser Contest
So far, I have 8 people signed up for this great contest. If you're trying to lose weight, why not join us? The first weigh in is Tuesday. Click here for contest details.

If you need some extra motivation, check out this site that Shannon found. Upload a picture of yourself to and they'll show you what you'll look like after you've lost up to 50 pounds.

The only bummer is that it takes about 48 hours to get your pic back. Although learning to live with delayed gratification is probably a useful lesson for weight loss.

Have a terrific weekend...I intend to!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Going green

Green with envy, that is. All this booger-freezin' cold weather has me longing for the days when I was a stay-at-home mom and being envious of those people who still are.

Way back then, I would have entered hibernation mode about Tuesday night when the snow started falling and the temps began their nosedive. I would have let Mike drive the kids to school on Wednesday and again today. Yes, a little more than three years ago, I wouldn't have emerged until this Saturday when the temp is expected to reach a balmy 29 degrees.

But that was then and this is now. And now I have a job that I enjoy, but that requires me to haul my hinder (as my Wisconsonite boss refers to the rear end) out of bed, get dressed and actually cross the threshold of my front door morning and late afternoon.

And today while I was at work, I missed all the excitement that happened on my back porch. I called home to let Mike and the kids know what time I would be at home. Annie answered.

"Mom -- there's a hawk on the back porch and it's chest is open and it has guts hanging out. Dad's going to get it off the porch."

"Is it dead?"

"No, it's alive and it's trying to get out, but it keeps running into the screen and Dad's afraid it's going to shred the new screen, so he's putting on big gloves and going out to get it."

"Tell Dad to call Animal Control." Which she did and which Mike immediately casted off as a bad idea because our screen porch would be ruined by the time Animal Control can get there. I told Annie I would be home soon and then hung up.

And then I thought -- this will make a great blog! So I called back to tell Annie to grab the camera and take pictures. Except Mike answered. And seeing as he was ready to do battle with a chicken hawk on the back porch, he wasn't exactly in any mood to be photographed or conversational.

So no pics of "Man vs. Beast." I do have a ton of feathers and rodent guts on the back porch -- turns out the bird wasn't injured. It had snagged some small animal and intended to use our porch as a dining room.

In the end, the prey lost its life, the bird gained release and Mike was left with a couple of scratches on his gloved hand and a great story to tell. And I find myself thinking, "I am glad I was work today!"

Check out Mike's haiku about the incident.

Don't forget to sign up for the 4th Frog Biggest Loser Contest! Click here for details.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

This one's for the Moms

I hesitate to categorize myself as a "mommy blogger" because I feel like I am about so much more than just my children. But certainly, there is a definite mom-bent to my blog. And that's ok because I like being a mom and I'm grateful for the joy and laughter my kids bring to my life.

However, as kids do, they also bring laundry, dishes, and the need to be driven to practice and games (volleyball, volleyball, cheer, basketball, volleyball, cheer, basketball this week). They sometimes whine and argue and talk back. At least that's what I hear from my friends and neighbors.

Sometimes all of that leads to a little daydreaming about life where sleeping in exists. Where I get to eat dinner while it's still hot. Where I don't have to say such ridiculous things as "because I'm the mom and I said so."

And then, as if on cue, I happen on something that makes me smile and remember, "Yep. It's good to be a Mom."

Thanks Liz for that fun reminder today! Be sure to visit Eternal Lizdom for your reminder.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Biggest Loser: Goodbyes and curse words

Biggest Loser logo

It's age discrimination, man! Say it ain't so! JERRY! Jerry! You're such a sweet old guy. I don't want you to go. Doggone it. I'm going to quit naming my favorite teams after the first show. It seems to be the kiss of death.

But did you see Jerry and Estella at the end of the show? Holy cow! I think AARP needs to sign them up as fitness spokespeople. Or Disney should invite them and all their grandkids to be Grand Marshalls in their parade. Or I don't know what else, but those two deserve more than two weeks on the show.

I understand why everyone chose to vote off Jerry over Daniel. I get it. But I love Jerry! I guess getting to stay at the ranch is small consolation for the humiliation Daniel must have felt to be have to be pushed and pulled up that mountain. But it was totally cool that he finished on his own.

(Was anyone else freaked out by how close they were teetering to the edge of that mountain?)

Let's talk trainers for one second. Jillian is a total nut job. I thought for sure Dane was going to blow out his knees when she had him lifting all those weights AND Blaine with his legs. Jillian is addicted to inflicting pain, I think.

And then Bob... Who knew he had it in him? I was laughing to watch him drop a squadron of F-bombs at Joelle. If Daniel could run 7 miles an hour, Joelle certainly could have kept up pace for 30 seconds.

(BTW -- Did anyone notice Bob's t-shirt in the gym? Pizza Bob's? A gym full of fat people who would kill for a pizza and that's the shirt he wears. Maybe Bob is not so emotionally sensitive after all.)

I hope tonight's weigh in was a wake up call to Joelle to close her mouth and open her mind to getting serious about losing weight. If she had gotten voted off, I'd be really afraid that Carla might do Joelle some serious physical harm -- right after she finishes pulling up the crotch on her workout pants!

Best quote of the night: From Joelle -- "I just beat the oldest and the heaviest. There's no glory in that."

4th Frog Biggest Loser Contest
Wishing you were at the Biggest Loser Ranch? Me, too! But since we're not, join me in the first ever 4th Frog Biggest Loser Contest. Rules and other points of interest are listed here. I promise, I won't wear a Pizza Bob's t-shirt.

Are YOU this blog's Biggest Loser?

It's Biggest Loser night! And here I am again, sitting on the couch blogging about other people losing amazing amounts of weight. Hmmm....seems like something should change. But what? I need to find some motivation to eat less and move more.

You too? Well, aren't you glad that you stopped by my blog tonight?! Because tonight is the first night of the

4th Frog's Biggest Loser Contest

Here are the rules:

1. All entries will be based on the honor system.

2. All participants must e-mail a current full-body picture of themselves to 4thfrog70 at You can send a photo in TBL weigh-in attire (gym shorts and no shirt/sports bra) or in street clothes. Your photo will not be share unless you are the 4th Frog's Biggest Loser -- and by then you'll be so skinny you won't mind what you used to look like.

3. Include your current weight in the e-mail. Your weight will not be published. I'll only publish # of pounds lost and % of weight loss. And yes, I know that some math whizzes out there could easily figure out your starting weight. But we're not gonna worry about those nerdy types.

4. Every Tuesday, participants must e-mail their current weight to 4thfrog70 at On Wednesday evening, I'll post the week's results.

5. At the end of the Tuesday TBL updates, I'll post a weekly challenge for contest participants. Feel free to stop by the blog later in the week to leave a comment telling us how you're doing in the challenge.

6. BONUS for BLOGGERS -- If you have a blog, take the button to the left and add it to your blog. If you do so, you'll earn a ONE POUND BONUS off your total weigh in. So if at the end of the contest, you've lost 17 pounds, you'll get credit for losing 18 pounds.

7. The final weigh in will be Tuesday, March 10, with the 4th Frog's Biggest Loser announced on Wednesday, March 11.

And what does the 4th Frog's Biggest Loser win? (Besides better health and more self-confidence!) A prize pack including:

Photobucket and Photobucket

The winner will also be featured in a Q&A with Before & After pictures on The 4th Frog Blog.

And just to show you that I'm in this too, I'll post a picture of me that Mike took yesterday (don't worry -- I'm wearing clothes!):

full fat

In this picture, I weigh 527 pounds. PSYCHE! Do you think I'd really post my weight here? People I know read this blog for cryin' out loud!

You can do this. And I can do this. And we're gonna do it together! So e-mail your pic and your weight to 4thfrog70 at, copy the code below to your blog (1 pound bonus!) and put yourself on the path to be the 4th Frog's Biggest Loser!

<a href=""> <img src=""></a>

PS -- Thanks to Shannon for making the contest button and code!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

This doesn't seem right...

...and other thoughts to start the week...

Every year after I take down my Christmas decorations, I put out a little snowman decor that will carry through until the Valentine hearts make their appearance. This year, however, my snowmen decorations just don't seem right in the downstairs bathroom.

In years past the snowy white guys fit nicely into my blue bathroom. But the bathroom is not blue anymore and the snowmen just seem out of place:

Triple snowmen

Snow sock

With all that sunny bright yellow, it seems as if my snowmen would melt in that room now.

In more NFL sadness, the New York Giants lost to the Philadelphia Eagles today, leaving the Manning brothers eligible for nothing more than the Oreos Double Stuff Racing League.

The Giants' loss was tempered slightly by the fact that the Chargers (the Colts' playoff nemesis) also lost. I don't love the Steelers, but I like them better than the Chargers.

We are facing a quandry in this house. Tuesday night is the next episode of The Biggest Loser -- and it's the first episode of the new American Idol season. Sorry kids, AI will have to be watched on DVR. Because I'm the mom, that's why.

If you're a fan of The Biggest Loser, be sure to check back here on Tuesday. Not only will I have my thoughts on Tuesday's episode, but I will be making a fun announcement as well.

Workout Frog

It's gonna be flippin' cold here this week. Please in the name of all things woolly, please let the kids' school principal cancel school on the day that the high temp is supposed to be 11 degrees.

Hope you all have a great week! I see you here later.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Life imitates sport

Since he was a very little boy, Charlie has watched sports -- on TV and in person -- and imitated what he sees.

During the 2002 Winter Olympics, we were watching bobsledding. Charlie ran into the toyroom and began dumping toys out of the storage bins. Before I could yell at him, he was back in front of the TV with an empty bin in hand. He put the bin on the floor, began pushing it and running after it, then tried to jump into the empty bin as if it were a bobsled.

When we had people over to play cornhole, Charlie got right up close and very intently watched as people tossed corn-filled bean bags across the yard, then lined up to work on the techniques he had observed.

But the sport that he watches and emulates most is college basketball. That was clear this afternoon at his basketball game.

He plays in a league at a local Christian church. It's not ultra-competitive, but Charlie likes it because they have uniforms and they play actual games -- two things the training league he played in last year didn't have. We like it because they only have one practice a week and the league fee is ridiculously reasonable.

Because Annie didn't have a cheerleading or volleyball commitment today, both Mike and I were free to go to Charlie's game. He had a great game, scoring 8 of the team's 22 points and making some nice passes (which always pleases me, as I've been drilling "share, Charlie" since he was a toddler).

But almost more fun than watching him score and give the ball up to teammates, was watching Charlie in his "college point guard" mode.

He called the plays and then before making his move, gave a little head fake. Later, as he was bringing the ball up the court, he would look up at the electronic scoreboard as if clock management was at play.

When his team got possession of the ball with about 14 seconds left in the game, they were up by 4 points. Charlie brought the ball across the half court line, gave a quick glance to the game clock and then started dribbling the ball back and forth from the top of the key to the sideline.

Mike and I started laughing when we realized that he was holding out for the last second shot. How old is this kid?! With about 1.5 seconds left, he hoisted a shot up toward the basket. It missed, ended up in the hands of one of his teammates and the buzzer sounded, signaling the end of the game.

I don't know if the other parents thought Charlie's antics were amusing or annoying. But I don't really care. They were quintessential Charlie.

And who knows? Maybe some day, some little boy or girl will be imitating him.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Honestly Officer...part 2


This is the second in what I hope will not be a series of false alarms in which the police are summoned...

Mike was out tonight at a basketball game. The kids were in bed -- the boys asleep and Annie reading. I was watching Grey's Anatomy on the DVR when all of the sudden I heard a wail outside the window.

I turned the volume down on the TV and listened. The wailing seemed to get a little louder and sounded like a baby on my front porch. But it also seemed to be cyclical, as if a recording were being played over and over.

I sat up, called Annie downstairs and muted the TV. She heard it too. An e-mail I received at some point in the past few years popped into my head. Hardened criminals place a tape recorder on your porch and play a recording of a baby crying. When the concerned homeowner opens the door, said criminals attack the homeowner, force their way into the house and commit innumerable heinous crimes.

I'm not making this up. Check it out here. Never mind that this link says the story is false. Just go with me here.

At this point, I'm freaking out a bit. I tried to peek out the window, but didn't want to come face to face with my ill-intentioned killer. So I did what every scared-for-her-life citizen would do, I picked up the phone and dialed 911.

I told the dispatcher about the wailing baby sound I heard outside my window. And I told her that my husband wasn't home. And that it probably wasn't anything, but I'd feel better if the police came to check it out.

Thankfully, the dispatcher was understanding, told me she'd send an officer out, and to call back immediately if I did see someone or if the sound seemed louder or closer.

Of course like a car making a funny noise stops when the mechanic gets behind the wheel, the scary wailing baby noise stopped as I hung up the phone. I looked outside to see Mike pulling in the driveway. I told him what happened and he went to check things out while I waited for the police, who arrived about a minute later.

That's when Mike and the police discovered the cat footprints -- our cat's footprints -- on the front porch, right below the window where I was sitting.

At least the officers did a really nice job of trying not to laugh until they got back into the patrol car.

Not as fresh as I thought

I went to McDonald's this morning to get my sugar-free caffeine with bubbles and a fruit and yogurt parfait. When I pulled up to pay, the cashier said to me:

"Hello sweetie!"

"Hi," I said, waiting for my total.

"Hello sweetie!" he said again in his south of the border accent.

"Hi. How are you?" I said, thinking "just give me the total already."

Finally, he looked at me quizzically and said again

"Hello sweetie."

Only this time he said it slower and I realized that he was not being fresh or flirtatious with me. He was asking me if I had ordered "a large sweet tea?"

And right there in the McDonald's drive-thru my brief fantasy of being propositioned by a Latin lover was crushed.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

An unlikely pair


I came downstairs tonight after getting my pajamas on and thought I might watch a show or two I had DVR'd. However, Mike had beaten me to the TV and was already watching a show on PBS.

Not wanting to flex my bossy wife muscle and forcefully take over the TV, I sat down to watch his show. After catching about 30 seconds, I started to laugh. How in the world did the two of us ever end up together?

I had come downstairs hoping to watch "Private Practice" or maybe a Food Network Challenge. Mike was watching a show called "The Atom Smashers" about the search for the Higgs Boson.

What? Never heard of it?

Let me allow Wikipedia to enlighten you:

Higgs boson
Composition: Elementary particle
Family: Boson
Status: Hypothetical
Theorized: 1964
Spin: 0

In particle physics, the Higgs boson is a massive scalar elementary particle predicted to exist by the Standard Model.

The Higgs boson is the only Standard Model particle yet to be observed. Experimental detection of the Higgs boson would help to explain how massless elementary particles can cause matter to have mass. More specifically, the Higgs boson would explain the difference between the massless photon, which mediates electromagnetism, and the relatively massive W and Z bosons, which mediate the weak force. If the Higgs boson exists, it would be an integral and pervasive component of the material world.

Yeah. That's what I thought it was, too.

I suppose it's a good thing I am a proton to Mike's neutron (does that even make scientific sense?). But I'd still rather be watching the Food Network.


Hey there!

Just a quick and not so interesting entry to point out a few things.

1. If you are here because you received in the mail an actual Christmas card from me directing you to read our Christmas letter online, you can find it here.

2. I did a little housekeeping in the blog roll column to the right. Not that I don't still like some of the blogs that used to be there. But I like to spread the link love a bit and wanted to change the lineup of blogs I think are worth reading. So treat yourself and read a few.

3. Hmmmm....seems like there should be a #3, shouldn't there? Oh! I know. If you're here visiting because you got a link to my blog from the school secretary, WELCOME. The latest Biggest Loser blog is right below this. I promise not to disparage any teachers in the writing of this blog (though I reserve the right to harumph about fundraisers and school projects from time to time).

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Biggest Loser: It's BAAAACK!

Biggest Loser logo

Tonight was the premiere of Season 7 of The Biggest Loser. As I said in a previous entry, I was really afraid it would be the Biggest Loser Freak Show. And in a few scenes, it was. But in general, it was not as bad as I'd feared. Here's my basic recap:

Bob's funniest comment: None of it means anything if you're going to sit there and eat ice cream while you're watching our show.

Jillian's funniest comment: Get PO'd 25 years of being a fat kid has got to make you angry.

Most endearing couple: Jerry and Estella (White Team). These two are the best love story the Biggest Loser has ever seen. Married for 42 years, the oldest players ever to make it on the show. They are grandparents, for crying out loud. How can you not love them?

Most annoying couple: The green team -- Laura and Tara. Evidently former models. Laura is too whiny and Tara too in your face.

Most interesting player histories: Ron of the Brown Team who had bariatric surgery and has gained all his weight back and Cathy of the Purple Team who is a recovering alcoholic.

Best comment by a player: "THIS is our Monday," said by Pink Team member Helen referring to all the times they said "we'll start our diet on Monday."

Player who most deserves to be whacked on the head with a frying pan: Blaine, for leaving his wife back at home not only with three kids, but also 8 months pregnant. Oh, he owes her some serious bling!

Player I'd most like to keep his shirt on: Ron. Sorry, that's probably really not nice, but how many surgeries has this guy had?

Worst moment of theatrics: Jerry collapsing in the gym. Looked a bit staged. Was that an unmarked ambulance?

Potential hookups: Tongo twins of the Blue Team (they are gonna be hotties!) with either the Green Team (annoying as they are) or the sisters of the Yellow Team

Product placements: #1: The Body Bugg. Hmmm...I might need that.
#2: Filter for Good bottle
#3: Brita water pitcher and faucet mounts

Thumbs up for charity: Pound for Pound challenge. For every pound America loses, TBL will donate 1 pound of groceries. Starting off donating 14,000 pounds for all of the pounds lost in the previous 6 seasons. Check it out here.

Biggest surprise of the night: NINE people going home! What the heck! Oh, that is WRONG man. Bring all those people there to do this together and then send 1/2 of them home? That is just WRONG! But there is a way back. The nine players are sent home for 30 days. If their tteammate is still at the ranch in 1 month, the player sent home gets to come back.

Most mixed realization: Given the crop of players on this season, I am not fat enough to be on the Biggest Loser. Which makes me happy and disappointed at the same time.

New songs to add to the iPod: "This is My Now" by Jordin Sparks, played at the beginning of the show. And "Courage is..." by The Strange Familiar, played at the end of the show.

Basic show stats:
  • 22 players to start
  • 13 players to finish
  • 3 product placements
  • 382 pounds lost
Tune in next week!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Visiting the church of O


I don't usually subscribe to the church of O -- Oprah that is. I know people who follow her religiously, watching or at least taping her shows every day, reading every books she recommends, taking on every challenge she issues.

But today's show was about Oprah's most recent weight gain, why it happened and what she's gonna do about it. So while I'm not a card-carrying member of the church of O, I am happy to fill a seat (or a seat and a half) when the subject is weight because fat girls know fat girls. And fat girls stick together.

For years, I've thrown money at my fat, hoping some of it would stick and melt away the fat. I'm a repeat offender at Weight Watchers. I've done NutriSystem. I sought out help from a physician and her team of fat fighters. I joined Jazzercize, and for four torturous months last year, got up at 4:30am five days a week to participate in a fitness boot camp. The result? I gained 3 pounds.

Yes, despite all of her money, Oprah's fallen off the wagon. Of course, I haven't managed to even climb aboard yet. So I DVR'd the show and sat down to watch.

She attributed some of her 50 pound weight gain to a thyroid condition. Oh, how often I've wished I had a thyroid issue -- something I could point to as a cause for my excess girth. But in reality, I have a "can't say no to chocolate or sugar or fried foods" issue.

"When you see me gain weight," Oprah said, "it's not about me pigging out. It's always about my life is out of balance. It's about what I am really hungry for."

Amen to that, sister! And if I can figure out what I am really hungry for, I'll be on my way.

Oprah said she felt like the thyroid diagnosis was a "fat" sentence. That she didn't have any choice but to be fat. I think about that too. I've been overweight for so long, I can't envision my body in any other way. But here's the rub -- I don't want to see my body in this way.

I'm not all about being a size 6. I just want an existence where I can walk up the 3 flights of stairs to my office without having to pause to regain breath before opening the door just so I can talk to the administrative assistant. I'd like to be able to eat Mexican food or Italian food or any food without thinking about whether I've taken my Nexium to ward off miserable heart burn. I'd like to walk into a regular store and just buy something off the rack.

Bob Greene "diagnosed" Oprah has having depression. Of course. Despite the jolly fat person persona that is perpetuated by Santa Claus, John Goodman and Al Roker, I'd venture to guess that more overweight people feel depressed more often than jolly.

The queen of daytime talk -- heck, the queen of all things media -- says despite all of her fame and wealth, she never really learned how to be happy. So 2009, O declared through my DVR, is about having more joy, more hopefulness. (I'll even forgive her for the veiled political "hope won" reference.)

And who knew? Oprah and I are of the same mind on that one.

I decided on my own, before Oprah's best life programming ever hit the airwaves, that this is the year that I am not going to live on the surface of life. I'm not going to invest time and energy in things that don't bring me joy or ignite my passion. It's not a resolution really. Just an investment in myself and my family. Whether or not that translates into a healthier body remains to be seen. But I think it will go miles toward a healthier me in general.

This is kind of a diversion from the normal frog fare I ususally serve up here. But if Oprah can go on national TV running on an elliptical, out of breath in a shirt that might have been a bit better one size up, I can expose my thoughts here.

Sunday, January 4, 2009



Well, it had to happen. The end of Christmas break. This was the first break I can recall where I exhibited total sloth-like tendencies.

The days before Christmas I was busy baking and wrapping. But after that, I -- the whole family, really -- existed in survival mode. Oh, I had a crazy-long list of things I wanted to accomplish over the break, including:
  • Re-organizing the pantry
  • Cleaning out the Tupperware cabinet
  • Re-arranging the baking cabinet
  • Cleaning out our storage room
  • Getting a jump start on some projects for work
But in reality, here's what I did:
  • Slept in almost every day (today I didn't get up until almost 11am -- and Mom, we went to the 12:30pm Mass)
  • Watched a lot of Food Network and TLC
  • Stayed in my pajamas until mid-afternoon (or later) on most days
  • Did minimal amounts of cooking, dishes and laundry -- enough to make sure we had clean underwear
  • Mailed my Christmas cards on January 4
We were supposed to bring a vegetable dish to a New Year's Eve party, so I bought something from the grocery store's deli counter, dumped it in a bowl and collected the praise for how good it was. Another friend had the girls over for an afternoon of visiting and chatting. I was supposed to bring a snack to share -- a bottle of wine counts as a snack, right? I was even a little slow about blogging.

Oh, yes, I have definitely been a sloth. And you know what? It felt GREAT! Now, I may play "Mommy's legs are broken" from time to time. But that's only for an hour or so at a time.

I'm talking I didn't do much of anything for days on end. And neither did the kids -- and they didn't complain. I think we were just all so burned out on running from one practice to game to appointment, that we all just needed a little time to cocoon.

But alas, tomorrow, it all ends. So today, we got out the backpacks and the folders. We trucked on over to the library to check out books on polar bears and sea lions for this month's book reports (I refuse to feel guilty for not doing this over break!). We laid out the clothes, except for the socks -- I really should blog about how much I hate socks. We checked the lunch menu and looked over the volleyball and basketball practice schedules for the week ahead.

I am definitely de-slothing. And by tomorrow morning at 6am when it's time to wake the kids, (or by 5am if I am to stick to my "I'm gonna get up and exercise" mantra), I will be back to my usual taszmanian devil self.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Sour grapes, or blueberries as the case may be

If this post sounds like sour grapes, it is. The Indianapolis Colts just lost in the first round of the playoff to the San Diego Chargers. And can I say that just stinks! (I'd use some stronger language, but I know I have a few underage readers.)

First, can I just say that I want to break that freakin' Chargers' punter's freakin' leg? Yeah, I know, awesome night for him, but that makes me want to hurt him all the more...

Next, I am taking up a collection for Philip Rivers' diapers. He throws the ball to the ground just like a baby throws a rattle he doesn't want. I have NEVER seen a quarterback intentionally throw the ball away more than this baby-faced brat.

Then there's the coin toss at the start of overtime and the Colts call heads. Heads?! Hey, boys in blue -- haven't you ever heard "tails never fails?!" C'mon!

Shut up commentator who keeps saying "the best team won the game." How about those freakin' officials GAVE away the game? I'm sure tomorrow's paper will have a full listing of all the crappy calls. But I just know they did.

And talk about giving away the game -- THREE first downs on penalties? How hard is it not to hold a guy's shirt or grab his face mask? I mean aren't these guys paid MILLIONS of dollars not to do that? GRRRRRR!!!

I really should have taken my blood pressure medicine before this game. I can feel my heart pounding. Maybe it's a good thing -- for my health -- that the Colts' season is finished.

I'm sure in all the interviews Peyton and Tony Dungy will be good sports. But I'm not ready for that. Not yet.

So I'm just gonna leave with one final thought, a photo I'd like to title:

Winner or Not, I'm Still a Big Sissy!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2009 resolutions for other people

I'm feeling a little bit of (self-imposed) pressure to post a New Year's Day entry all about my hopes, dreams and resolutions for 2009. And I thought seriously about doing that. But the list of all the things I want to change or do differently is so long -- Mike calls it my "Litany of all things wrong" -- that I just can't face it right now.

So, I thought instead I'd do what I do best. Tell other people what to do. So here goes:

My 2009 Resolutions for Other People

Mike: Resolve to stop leaving dishes in parts of the house that are not the kitchen. I'm not going to tell a grown man that he can't eat or drink in front of the TV, but for cryin' out loud, take the dishes to the kitchen sink when you are done!

Annie: Resolve to say "Ok, Mom" in any situation where you feel that arguing a point is necessary. Two little words, easy enough. "Ok, Mom."

Charlie: Resolve to make me look like a good mom by bringing home your assignment notebook, completely filled in, every day. And doing the homework that's listed there.

Robbie: Resolve to start sleeping past 6:30am on Saturdays and any other day we don't have to get up early for school.

Denise: I'm good with your resolution to do a 5K, but Race for the Cure does not count. Do it, absolutely. It's a great event. But it is more of a social event/cultural statement than a race. So do RftC and one other 5K that involves a little more athletic output. (And when you do RftC, get there early enough to see the Survivors' Parade. Bring Kleenex.)

Beth: Resolve to yell. Just once. I mean really scream. I've never seen you mad. That can't be good for your chakras or whatever. And when you do yell, I'd love to be there (as long as you're not yelling at me).

Lisa: Resolve to play hooky one Friday and join us for coffee and "therapy."

Mary: Resolve to keep notes on your experience as a salesperson at a high-end store. I see a Nanny Diaries-type bestseller in your future.

Allison Sweeney (Biggest Loser host): Resolve to find a new stylist. I would swiftly ditch the one who put you in that hideous green dress for the BL finale last month.

Biggest Loser: Resolve not to jump the shark by turning the show into a freak show. There's fat and then there is freaky fat.

Burger King: Resolve to find a new marketing strategy. Simpson's kids' meal toys, Whopper virgins and cologne that smells like "seduction with a hint of flame-broiled meat" just makes you the trailer trash of fast food chains.

Mike: Thought of another one. Resolve to clean out the garage and keep it clean so we can park the cars in there.

The potential employer who hasn't responded yay or nay regarding Mike's interview: Resolve to hire him already. He'll do a great job!

Charlie: Another one for you too. Resolve to stop throwing clean, folded laundry into the dirty clothes. It'll save me a lot of yelling and you a lot of punishment.

Shelley: Resolve to take a walk on the wild side and let the kids out of the house once in a while in outfits that are not perfectly coordinated by Gymboree.

Robbie: Resolve to go to sleep in your own bed, all by yourself, all night long.

Annie: Didn't want you to feel left out with only one. So resolve to continue to stay out of all the cliquishness and cat fighting that seems to come with 6th grade girls. Be friends with who you want to be friends with and phooey on anyone who doesn't like it.

The producers of The Office: Resolve to bring back Holly. She was good for Michael and for the show.

Bill: Resolve to find joy in every day. Not necessarily all day long. But acknowledge at least one thing every day that is good.

Angie: Resolve to give me a new niece or nephew in 2009 (which means this is a resolution for Jason, too!)

Mike: One final one (at least that I'll post here). Resolve to keep me honest about exercising 3 times a week (why don't you join me?) and to stop enabling my fat by bringing me chocolate and ice cream. I know, resolve to have some fruit.

Now that wasn't too bad, was it? As for me, without listing the multitude of things I want to change, I'll say this:

I resolve to take control of my health, using the tools that I have at my disposal; to be more present to my family; and to try to bring more order to the chaos that is my life.

So how about you? What are your New Year's resolutions? Got any for me?