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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

You had me (or not) at hello.

I was people-watching recently...that's what we women leading lives of leisure do in our spare time. Anyway, I was people-watching the other day and I noticed how different people greet those they come in contact with.

The Hugger: This person offers a warm hug as a "hello." I would like to assume that Huggers only hug those whom they know. However, I'm willing to bet that there are some Huggers out there who've never met a stranger.

The Air Kisser: This may seem kind of like the Hugger. However, Air Kissers are not as genuinely friendly as Huggers. Rather they are falsely amiable and somewhat pretentious. Either that or they have a really big fear of germs.

The Hand Shaker: In my vast research (which for this post can also be called "my opinion"), men are primarily the ones who fall into the roll of hand shaker.Some may offer a single hand. Others offer a handshake augmented with a wrist grasp by the nonshaking hand. Hopefully all these hand shakers are also diligent hand washers.

The Hand Waver: The role of Hand Waver is really a secondary role. I've never seen anyone wave at someone standing right in front of them. But some people will wave at someone they see across the room, which is polite but doesn't take the energy that actually walking across the room to say hello would require. I would venture to guess that most Hand Wavers also fall into one of the other categories when saying hello to someone within close proximity to them.

The Head Nodder: Head Nodders as a rule are aloof and stand-offish and really don't want to say hello to you, but are only doing so with the nod so as not to seem extremely rude. Occasionally someone may resort to the head nod if they are in the middle of a meeting or a church service or some other place where it would be inappropriate to make an audible hello. In that case, if the person doing the nodding is generally not a Head Nodder, they will accompany the nod with a smile. But a nod without a smile? That's someone saying "stay away from me." You would be wise to acquiesce because those kind of people aren't any fun anyway.

So, what are you? (I've made it pretty hard for you to 'fess up to being a Head Nodder, haven't I?)

Sunday, September 26, 2010


When my husband was 16 years old, his parents would not allow him to get his driver's license until he passed a typing test. My mother-in-law called it "linkage," linking something Mike wanted with something his parents wanted for him. Sounds like a good idea.

But the linkage I'm offering today is a little bit different. These are links to other blog posts that I think you should check out. Some have been written by me. Others are ones I just enjoyed and thought you might too. Let me know which was your favorite -- and don't forget to leave some link love on the other end as well.

My daughter, the vegetarian  This is my contribution to FitCity Indianapolis this month. Did I tell you all that Annie has gone vegetarian?

Titanic exhibit at Indiana State Museum is a definite must-see Wow! Can I just say that about this exhibit? 250 artifacts from the wreck site. Real stories about some of the people who were on board. If you are near Indy, you have to get yourself there. If not, I hope it comes to a museum near you soon.

For better or for worse Beth at Beth: A Work in Progress is doing a two-week series on marriage in honor of her milestone wedding anniversary (#30, I think!). I sent her links to a few posts I've done on the subject. I sure didn't expect her to use all four, but she is. The first one is "For better or for worse." Follow Beth's blog to see the others, which are all expected to run this week. Really, go back and read all the love & marriage posts. It's great to see what others have to say on the topic.

Can't sleep? Just reading THIS will make you tired. It's a post on my sister's blog about musical beds -- see, it runs in the family!

Who would bully HER kid? My friend Beth (different from the one above -- this one I actually know in person), wrote a post about bullying. I don't know if her choice of profile picture, the one located immediately adjacent to the bullying post, was intentionally selected, but I'm pretty sure I would not bully anyone whose mother carried one of those around. While you're there, read this insightful post.

Picture your panties...the ones you are wearing right now. How's the elastic holding up? Do they have holes in them? Be honest now. Leticia at U 8 My Crayons wrote a great post about how most women -- or at least most mothers -- often put off buying things like new underwear because there's always something that someone else needs.My cleaning lady (and good friend) once bought me new underwear for Christmas. She said "I've been folding your underwear for months now and let me tell you, you need some new ones!"

Friday, September 24, 2010


Mommy's Idea

Today I thought I'd dish up a few video/visual frags as my contribution to Mrs. 4444s weekly Friday Fragments party. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

This first clip is my niece, Kate. I thought the funny part was her singing -- until I got to the "interruption," which just cracked me up!

Next up, if you're not a football fan, let me give you a little background. Last week the Indianapolis Colts played the New York Giants. Peyton Manning is the quarterback for the Colts. His younger brother Eli is the Giants' QB. The Colts (happily) trounced the Giants. This is a picture of Eli at the game:

Eli whines

Saw this one on Facebook yesterday. I sure don't miss the crying days, but I miss the cuddly days. Don't worry, the crying stops at about :52

Ok, the dog. She has chewed (beyond repair) my favorite pair of black sandals, Annie's flip flops, at least a dozen pencils, numerous Legos and who knows what else. She steals any food that is not guarded by the Secret Service. She is most definitely NOT housebroken. But she's staying because of sweetness like this:


That's it from here. Hope you have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

10 things that go up

  1. Airplanes
  2. Hot air balloons
  3. The price of gas
  4. A zipper
  5. Umbrellas in the rain
  6. Eyebrows
  7. The hair on the back of your neck
  8. Your hand when you know the answer
  9. An aroused fellow
  10. My weight
Ugh! I knew this post was a possibility. Heck, I might have even known it was a probability. But now, it's a reality -- one that I need to face and then to change. I have gained about 12 pounds since the beginning of summer.

It started with an interruption in my gym routine. It gained momentum with the "it's too hot to cook, let's go out to dinner/order in" phenomenon. But what has really done me in is the rash, often secretive, emotional eating that I've given into with increasing frequency.

I can feel the weight gain in the way my clothes feel. My newer, smaller clothes are snug. My old, fat clothes don't swim on me the way they did in May. It shows in my face (and likely my butt, except thankfully, I don't have to look at that.) I don't have as much energy. But I do have a renewed resolve for getting back on track.

In just 8 days, a camera crew (well, probably one dude with a video camera) will be at my house to interview me for a 4-part web series that IN Shape Indiana is working on. If there's one motivation to pass up the fries and hit the treadmill, it's that someone will be holding a camera in your face, asking about how you work to develop healthy habits for you and your family. And I'll be honest -- which is what they've told me they want. It's a struggle. It takes planning and dedication and an ability to see the possibilities on the other side of the mint chocolate chip ice cream.

So there. I've spilled my secret (which probably wasn't a secret to anyone who has seen me recently). And now I'm going to do something about it. With some hard work, and a little bit of luck, soon enough I'll be blogging about 10 things that go down.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Severing (cable) ties

A few weeks ago, after several months of  thinking about it and threatening to do it, we canceled our cable TV service. I think the kids were shocked that we actually did it. I was shocked that Mike agreed to it.

My timing was not very good, though, because our first day without cable was the day that Camp Rock 2 was showing for the first time on The Disney Channel. Oops. No worries, however, because the two kids who really cared about it made arrangements to watch it at friends' houses.

The next several weeks went along ok. Oh, I missed "Chopped" on the Food Network and Annie lamented the loss of "Wizards of Waverly Place," but for the most part, television without cable wasn't so bad. We purchased an HDTV antennae, which gave us all the local channels, plus weather and, according to Charlie "some dumb horse and church channels."

On the downside (besides the horse and church channels) is that kids' programming is harder to come by when you only have network TV to choose from. The upside is that the kids are watching less TV in general -- not by much, but as they say, every little bit helps.

Our first real concerns about not having cable came last Sunday while we were watching the Colts game. The signal of the local channel carrying the game, kept blinking out from time to time. Not for long durations, but long enough, Mike pointed out, that we might miss an incredible play (as if they don't show numerous replays during the game, at halftime, and for the next 24 hours after the game). Fortunately, no amazing passes or unbelievable tackles went unseen and my "no cable" banner was still flying by the end of the game.

But today, I really, for the first time, grasped the magnitude of the decision to cancel the cable. Both "Glee" and "The Biggest Loser" premiered tonight. Both at 8pm...on DIFFERENT channels. And me, without a DVR to capture all the toe-tapping, scale-tipping footage. Arghhh!

Add to that the fact that we had company in from out of town and watching either show just wasn't in the cards. So, for the first time in two years, "The Biggest Loser" premiered without me standing by to blog about it. And when the office water cooler chatter turns to "Glee," I'll be without knowledge of Sue Sylvester's vengeful antics and Mr. Shue's convoluted love life.

You know what? Really, I'm ok with that. Not having access to certain shows either as they are aired or later shown online feels kind of freeing. I can't promise I'll feel like that forever. But for now, cutting the cord works for me.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


It's raining!

Did you hear that? The sound of rain doing a tap dance on the roof.

OK, I can't actually hear it because I'm sitting in a Panera Bread where the blessed sound of the rain is being drowned out by the ice maker, the oven fans, the at-an-acceptable-volume jazz music.

But honest to blog (I stole that one from Juno), it is really raining a parched-ground-quenching, oh-crap-are-my-windows-open-drenching RAIN!



I just wish I was home in bed to really enjoy it. 

Saturday, September 18, 2010

What would you do with an hour?

Charlie's football practice this morning is only an hour long, which means there was really no point in driving all the way back home just to turn around and pick him up. So I packed up my laptop, dropped him off and headed to a free WIFI zone (ok, it's Dunkin' Donuts, but I did NOT eat a donut, I swear) to do a little blogging.

As I'm sitting here, though, looking at the sun streaming in through the windows, it struck me that though my default setting for free time is getting online, there are plenty of things I could have done with this hour. Perhaps the next time I have a free hour I might:

  1. Go for a walk (with or without the dog) -- today would have been a perfect day for it.
  2. Read a book.
  3. Go into the church and spend some time with God.
  4. Get an oil change.
  5. Make a menu for the week and a corresponding grocery list. 
  6. Visit a friend (one who wouldn't mind a drop in visitor).
  7. Take a nap in the car, though amazingly I'm not tired this morning. 
  8. Wander Target or the Hallmark Store, practically a vacation when no one is pulling your elbow saying "Mom, can we buy this?!"
  9. Go to the post office and mail my niece's birthday gift and a card to my mother-in-law.
  10. Swing on the playground. I'm serious. At 40 years old, I still love to do this. 
If you had an extra hour all to yourself, what would you do?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Talk money to me, baby

Mike and I attended our first Dave Ramsey "Financial Peace University" class last night. I read Total Money Makeover two or three years ago, but never got Mike to read it and never really made an attempt to go through the steps Dave outlines for 86-ing debt and building wealth. Every six months or so, I would log on to, look at the list of classes near us, then move on to Facebook or some other site not nearly so depressing.

But a few weeks ago, I found that a class was being held at a Catholic church near us and I decided now was the time. I didn't really give Mike a choice to agree or disagree, though for the record, he didn't put up a fight.

We stopped on the way the class to grab some dinner, which of course made me feel guilty thinking about WWDD -- what would Dave do? When we arrived at the class, I was surprised at the number of older couples in attendance. At age 39 and 40, Mike and I were probably right in the middle of the age range. 

I saw that a DVD was set up and I worried that we were in for a long and boring two hours. Turns out that Dave is a pretty funny guy. (The professional writer in me wonders if he writes his own stuff.) Mike was laughing and seemed to be enjoying himself. We looked at each other with a been-there-done-that look when Dave said something about the transmission going out being an emergency. We had to introduce ourselves and give a brief statement about why we were there. Well, duh...

Anyway, as I was sitting there next to my husband who was clearly engaged in the subject, watching a DVD about finances of all horribly boring subjects, I felt a strange sensation. I was getting a little turned on! And though I do sometimes have a thing for bald men -- Patrick Stewart (of Star Trek: The Next Generation),  Sean Connery, Cuba Gooding, Jr. in "Jerry Maguire," Dave Ramsey's chrome dome doesn't really do it for me.

What had me going was the realization that Mike and I were on the same page, with the same goals, and the same desire to get a handle on a situation that was created over time by a bad economy, a layoff, destructive spending habits and a lack of vision. But here we were, ready to work together to achieve what will ultimately give us peace of mind and security. There was definitely something sexy about that.

After class, as we got into the car, I told him that the idea of paying off debt, building our savings, investing more and working on it together had me feeling a bit frisky.

"Really?," he said. "I just feel gassy," which he then demonstrated, as if to underscore his point.

Talk about a buzz kill. Maybe next week, I'll head to class with our budget and a bottle of Tums.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

10 things a hypochondriac would say

Hey there. I'll be the headache working again. If you hang around my Facebook page, you're probably tired of me complaining about my aching head. Being the hypochondriac that I am, I've come up with several possible diagnoses as to the origins of this headache:
  1. Brain tumor (may as well start big)
  2. Brain aneurysm
  3. High blood pressure (leading, of course, to #2)
  4. Displaced vertebrae in my neck 
  5. Tension headache (of offspring or spousal origins)
  6. Sinus infection
  7. Sleep-deprivation related pain
  8. Caffeine overload
  9. Caffeine deficiency
  10. Overactive imagination
Tomorrow, I'll dust off my medical degree from Google University and figure it out once and for all.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Choose your attitude

When one of my kids gets up on the wrong side of the bed and comes downstairs all grumbly and crabby, I'm known to say "You can choose your attitude."

When they come home from school with scowly faces because the backpack is weighed down with homework, which somehow translates into snapping at everyone around them, I pull out the old "choose your attitude."

When there was not enough playing time on the football field or I won't take them to buy new Legos or teenage hormones are running amok, it's time for "choose your attitude."

So today, I'm going to take a dose of my own medicine. We overslept. Laundry has taken over the house. My headache is creeping back in. And I should be on my way to work instead of blogging in my pajamas. Any one of those things could set the stage for biting sarcasm, irritable retorts or downright mean-spiritedness. But today, I'm going to choose an attitude of gratefulness and good cheer.

The kids still got to school on time. The abundance of laundry is a reminder of how fortunate we are. There are people facing much worse things than a headache. And I have a job to go to.

It seems lately that my default setting has been set on "snarky." Not today. Today I'm going to think before I speak. Will what I'm going to say add unnecessary negativity to the world around me? If so, I'll keep my mouth shut (or, in the case of Facebook, my fingers still).

I can't promise or even hope to be perfect in my pursuit of positivity. But I can -- and will -- try.

What attitude do you choose today?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Where were you?

This is the third September 11th that has passed since I started blogging. But this is the first time I've talked here about the events of that day.

I don't have a personal connection to the horrors that took place at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon or in a field in Pennsylvania. Like many Americans, my connection to the day is the memory of where I was, what I was doing, when the images first started rolling across the television screen.

I was home with Charlie, who was just a little over a year old. Mike was on his way to take Annie to preschool. We'd seen the first tower struck before he left, but at that point no one realized it had been a deliberate act. When the second tower was hit, I called to tell him. He was on his way to the office, but came back home to watch. We sat in front of the TV in the basement, unable to wrap our brains around what was happening.

After an hour or so, I got in the car and went to pick up Annie early from school. I wasn't afraid that she was in any danger, but the thought that something might happen and we would be separated for an extended period of time was more than I could handle. I went to Mass that evening and we all slept in the same bed that night. I remember how eerie it seemed that the skies were quiet and void of planes for several days following the attacks.

I took in as much of the news footage as I could handle over the days and weeks. My father-in-law put together a "go" bag for us with emergency supplies that we could grab in the event of another catastrophic event. I stocked up on baby formula and diapers and bottled water and rolls of plastic, though Mike kept insisting it was unnecessary.

I don't know when -- I don't think it was very long --  but life got back to normal. We took a pre-planned vacation to Disney World that December and remarked how un-crowded it was because people were still leery of traveling.

The first anniversary of 9/11 came. I watch the news programs, read the magazines, that commemorated the event, but moved on within a week of so. Then the second and subsequent anniversaries. I don't really remember them. And now today, it's the 9th anniversary of the attacks on the U.S. There were numerous festivals in Indianapolis today -- the Greekfest, an art fair, a village market fair, a French market. And I'm sure a few memorials as well, though none publicized as well as the celebratory events.

And maybe being celebratory is an observance in and of itself. That the U.S. will not cower in fear, that our spirit will not be broken. I watched a 9/11 documentary called "The Falling Man" on YouTube, but I didn't talk to my kids about the day.

But I did find myself wondering about how those directly affected by the tragedy spent the day. Those who lost loved ones or who were involved in the clean up efforts. I imagined that it might be something (on a much larger and more painful scale) like we experienced just after Charlie was born.

He had been home from the hospital for 48 hours. A nurse came to check on him and me and noticed his color was a little too orange. Long story short, he had severe jaundice. We had to take him directly to the NICU, sign releases for transfusions and hear all the bleak things doctors have to tell you when someone you love is very sick. Later that night, Mike and I went to dinner and were numb. We remarked about how strange it was that the whole world was going on around us while ours had stopped. That no one realized what we were feeling inside. I remember it feeling as though I were in a bubble.

And so today, I wondered if that's how the 9/11 survivors feel -- now 9 years later. Did they look around at the people going to festivals and the laundromat and out to dinner and wonder how could they be doing such "normal" things? Did they think to themselves that their world had come to its annual halt and how could others be approaching and moving through the day so emotionally unencumbered?

Was today a day of overwhelming sadness? Or is it hard to distinguish the sadness of today from the sadness and grief they feel on any other day without their loved one? I wondered if I did a disservice to the memories of their loved ones by not making a more formal observance of the day.

Did you mark the 9th anniversary of the attacks in some special and deliberate way?  Where were you nine years ago when the world, at least momentarily, stopped turning?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Key facts

Usually on Wednesdays, I post a "what in the world Wednesday" picture on the 4th Frog Facebook page.But I didn't have a good entry for today, so I decided to play a new game. I asked readers to guess how many plastic loyalty card things are on my keychain.

Sheri T. won with her guess of 8, though my friend Lainie won the overachiever prize when she reported she has 18 on her keyring! Anyway, that got me looking at my keys. Because we've been playing musical cars this summer, I haven't been carrying a full set of keys. Usually, I just grab the keys to the car I'm planning to drive and leave the rest behind. But now that all that drama seems to be settled (for the moment, anyway), I decided to put everything back in place. That's when I realized that I'm carrying around a softball-size wad of keys in my pocket or purse everyday.

I used to have a great pewter Butler bulldog keychain that allowed me to show support for my alma mater and provided personal protection against anyone who might want to harm me -- I'm pretty sure one whack in the forehead with that thing could have knocked out even the biggest of scary criminals. But I lost that keychain somewhere along the way.

Now I'm left with 2 bulky car keys and their companion door-locking fobs, neither of which work thanks to dead batteries; a house key; two office keys; those 8 loyalty tags -- at least two or three of which I probably only use once or twice a year; and one ugly plastic keychain for a business I've never even heard of.

Consequently, I've spent way too much time tonight contemplating how to simplify my key situation. I could take the loyalty tags off and put them in my purse. Except that sometimes I run to the store with just my debit card and my keys, which would leave me missing out on some big savings or something else if I didn't have the tags with me. 

I could take the big door lock fobs off, but I keep thinking I'm going to get new batteries. Plus, I don't want to misplace them, which is a distinct possibility for someone of my organizational disabilities capabilities. I guess I could even separate them into personal and work keys, which would take some of the bulk out of them.

Then there's the question of the keyring. I loved my bulldog keyring. Maybe I'll head down to campus to find another one? I like the idea of a keyring saying something personal about me. It seems like that's a girl thing. Most men I know are happy to have their keys hooked together on some plain metal, utilitarian ring.

But my keys are kind of an extension of who I am, so I think they should reflect me a bit. Wonder where I can get a Diet Coke-ice cream-Scrabble-Catholic-mom keychain?

Are you a keyring minimalist? Or should your keychain be registered as martial arts weapon? Does yours dangle a picture of your kids, your initial or something else that reflects you? Or could you care less?

Word to the Wide 6.0

(or, I suppose, to the formerly wide...)

Do not quit going to the gym and give all of your fat clothes away. If you do both, it could present a significant wardrobe challenge in the morning.

For more Words to the Wise, see the links to the right.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Images unavailable

We had a great Labor Day. One of the best holidays I can recall in a long while. I took Gabby for a two-mile walk at 5am, then fell back into bed until 10am. We all  lounged around the house until about 1pm, when we set  out for a local park.

I didn't want to mess with packing a picnic, so we ate lunch here first. Then headed out with the dog, a football and a bag of stale buns to feed the fish and the ducks. Though the park was busy, there was plenty of room to roam and play. We found an open space in the grass and scattered to toss the football, playing keep away from the dog.

The sky was so blue. The kids were laughing. The dog was wagging her tail. It was then that blogger's remorse began to set in. I did not bring a camera with me. I could blog about the afternoon, but there would be no cute pictures of Gabby and Robbie going after the football or Annie with her hair blown every which way by the breeze or Charlie happily dripping wet from the water sprayers at the playground.

Soon enough, I got over myself and just enjoyed the time with my family.

Then later tonight, I was chatting with my sister-in-law, Erin, on Facebook. Today was my niece's birthday. (Boy, how fast those 6 years have gone!) I told Erin I'd love to see some pictures of Camryn's big day.

"I'm a bad mom. I only got a few pictures. The camera battery went dead," Erin tapped out via instant message.

I thought about it for a minute. Why do we think that way? As a former scrapbooker, I used to never be caught without my camera for even the smallest "occasion." I bought Annie a new outfit once because it matched a little scrapbook cut out I had and I could just imagine the adorable layout I could create. But I've come to understand and to believe something that I shared with Erin.

"You're not a bad mom," I said. "Sometimes it's better to be present in the moment than to be watching it happen in front of you as you look through a camera lens."

So, dear readers, imagine an ocean-blue sky, cotton ball clouds, crunchy brown grass and a very still pond. Picture a family wobbily tossing a football from person to person as the dog alternately tries to get the ball and to get away to chase an unseen scent. Let your mind's eye see the growing-up-so-fast smile of a six-year-old who just got her ears pierced today.

Because those are the only images available. Except for the precious pictures attached to the memories already filed away in our joyful hearts.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Fringe benefit

One of the fringe benefits of being married to Mike is knowing his grandmother. Mike and his brother and cousins have called her "Buck" for I don't know how long and it seems to suit her. Growing up, Mike lived just three houses away from Buck and her husband, "Baa Baa (who passed away in 2000)."

Stories abound about Buck, making it quite clear that she has always been a strong, determined woman and a force to be reckoned with. Like the time that she almost thrashed Baa Baa with a hot fireplace poker for being a poor sport on a family Christmastime trip to Williamsburg.

For New Year's Eve 1999, she went on an African safari and ended up in the hospital with some weird illness, but says that it was the best New Year's she's ever had. She struck up a conversation with one of the Beastie Boys in Chicago, without even knowing who he was, and has a list of gentlemen callers who escort her to events on her very busy social schedule. 

A few years ago, when the Old Navy commercials featuring Carrie Donovan came out, I said "Mike, your grandmother is on TV." The resemblance is funny, aided mostly by the big black glasses. Buck's hair is swept up on top of her head, while Carrie Donovan's falls toward her shoulders. Mike used to tease that Buck kept chopsticks, spare keys, scissors and who knows what else tucked in her hair.

Photobucket  Photobucket

When I was co-chair of the solicitation committee of the school auction, Buck easily provided a quarter of the donations -- everything from quirky wine bottle openers (though she's a teetotaler herself) to jewelry to art. She loves having the kids over to play and gets a kick out of the 30+ year old Fisher Price Sesame Street playset being the best loved of all the toys, even now. And she kept six card tables of Mike's Legos set up in her basement until after Annie was born.

She sends me the samples and free gifts from her purchases at the Clinique makeup counter. (Unlike me, Buck is never seen in public without makeup.) And she could give Barbara Bush a run for her money in the pearls department.

I had the good fortune to go to Chicago for four days with Buck a few years ago. We shopped, went to see Wicked, got in-room massages. It was divine. 

I love my own grandmothers -- NaNa, who passed away three years ago (how could that much time have passed already), and Grandma. But I think because Mike's family is so small and because he is so close to his grandmother, I'm close to her, too. We talk probably once a week.

Buck turned 91 years old last May. And let me say, I hope to be in such good shape at that age. (Heck, I'd be lucky to reach that age!) I guess when you're 91 you have earned the right to say pretty much whatever you want to say. These were a couple of the things she came up with this weekend while we were there to visit:

To Mike's mom: "Did you know that Amy is a modern woman? Yes. That's why she's showing her boobs." I promptly pulled my shirt higher up toward my neck.

To Annie during dinner: "Do you know what a lesbian is?" Before Annie could answer, I think I choked on my mashed potatoes.

Buck has sometimes wondered out loud why she is still around. And I like to think, in some small way, she's still here for me.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Is it just me?

...or does anyone else sometimes wonder if random comments left on your blog are ways for terrorist insurgents to communicate with one another?

Is it just me?
...or does it feel like sometimes you just need to get your hands dirty -- in the dirt, in dough, in fingerpaints or something similar where you can really feel the stuff  sifting or oozing through your fingers and the mark of whatever it is is left in the wrinkles of your palms and under your nails even after you wash your hands?

Is it just me?
...or does anyone else find that tween boys are a bit emotional and unpredictable, too?

Is it just me?
...or do you have a hard time leaving a zit alone when it appears on your face?
Is it just me?
...or does a 3-day weekend still seem too short?

Is it just me?
...or does it seem like a long time between the sweaty hot days of summer and the cool crisp days of autumn?

Is it just me?
...or has anyone else started thinking about Christmas yet and will admit to having started making a list or even (gasp!) tucked away a gift or two?

Is it just me?
...or do you sometimes harbor a secret desire to unplug and live offline for a week or two?

Is it just me?
...or are there "classic" books that you somehow made it through school without reading?

Is it just me?
...or does anyone else love the way your body feels when it's stretching, especially early in the morning or late at night?

Mommy's Idea  I'm hooking this post up to Mrs. 4444s Friday Fragments today. Hop over there for more random thoughts from someone other than just me.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The story behind the Dunkin' post

As I sat at Dunkin' Donuts last night, I thought that it would make the perfect place for a psychologist or a social anthropologist to come and do research.

First, there was the guy wearing a Jimmy Johns hat, sipping from a Starbucks cup, eating his Dunkin' Donut. I totally regret not taking his picture.

Then there was the older gentleman who walked in, ordered coffee, and said in at least four different ways that he missed the day they were giving out free donuts. The manager handed him one and invited him to come back again.

It was hard to miss the three guys who seem to have missed out on how to either use a belt or buy pants that sit at their waist instead of the bottom of the their buns.

But the two characters who've gave me the most to chuckle at were two boys -- early teens I guess -- sitting a few booths behind me working on their homework. One minute, they were speaking in algebraic tongues. The next minute one of them was randomly hollering, "Can I get a free donut?"

That led to a conversation about what they would do for a free donut. One decided he would get a tattoo of a donut on his arm. The other said he would stand on the street corner and sing a song about donuts. When they weren't doing their homework or tossing suggestions of free donuts into the universe, they were making comments pseudo-under their breaths about the people who came into the shop. Nothing mean. Just immature, though I could tell that they felt very grown up indeed, sitting at Dunkin' Donuts doing their homework.

Until one of them picked up his phone and said, "Mommy, can you come pick us up?"

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Double D is not always a good thing.


I'm writing this from inside Dunkin' Donuts. This is a problem.

This particular Dunkin' Donuts opened 13 days ago. I think this might be the 5th time I've been here. And because I don't drink coffee and they serve Pepsi products, we all know that I'm not here for the beverages. Actually, tonight I'm here for the free WIFI...and the maple frosted donut...and the chocolate creme donut. This, as I said, is a problem. Well, not the WIFI. The WIFI works great. But the donuts...those are a problem.

This morning, one of the gals whose blog I read declared a "fast food fast" for the month of September. (I'd offer the link here, but I think the blog is private.)  I pledged to do it with her. My eating has been spiraling out of control -- how I wish I was one of those people who can't eat when she's stressed -- and except for a few pieces of broccoli on my General Tso's chicken (not a good choice, I know), my stomach hasn't seen a green vegetable in far too long.

So now I'm wondering, does Dunkin' Donuts count as fast food?

Calm down, I know the answer. I'm just trying to give myself a few minutes to rationalize. I know there is really no rationalizing this kingdom of fried dough and creamy innards. Oh sure, they have bagels here. But who goes to Dunkin' Donuts and buys bagels? Not me. Especially not when I feel like the stress in my life has been heaped on to the magnitude that Robbie heaps syrup on waffles.

Dunkin' Donuts is like edible Zen to me. When I was a kid, every Sunday we would go to Dunkin' after church and get two dozen donuts to take to my grandparents house. We'd eat donuts and drink OJ or milk out of hideously ugly, plastic, avocado green glasses. Then we'd run to the family room and watch the WWF while my mom and dad talked with my grandparents in the kitchen. Those Sundays at my grandparents' were one of the things I missed the most when I went to college.

Years before I left for college, someone (probably my mom) made the decision that hitting the Double D is not always a good thing and our Sunday breakfast fare went from donuts to scrambled eggs and bagels. Regardless, maple frosted donuts still say "Grandma's house" and can still draw me into a trance (that could possibly be a sugar coma.)

And do you know what? I don't think I even like the donuts all that much. If I really gave it some thought, I'd enjoy an apple or cold, crisp cucumbers just as much. What I like, I think, is the twisted feeling that the donuts are a treat -- something I deserve for the trials and tribulations the recent weeks have brought. I also deserve 30 minutes to myself at the gym or going to bed early even though there is still work to be done. I just have to convince myself that those things will feel as good as Dunkin'.

Now before the Dunkin' Donuts corporate PR people start leaving messages here that donuts are ok in moderation and that they have other items on their menu, I get that. I'm sure that this won't be my last visit to the old Double D. But it will at least have to wait until the end of September. Maybe by then, I will have figured out something better for me that says "you deserve this."