October 30, 2005

A Marathon is 26.2 Miles, People!

Those of you who already know that a marathon is 26.2 miles are probably thinking, "Duh, I already know that a marathon is 26.2 miles!" But my mother-in-law used to tell people that I was "always running marathons" - almost every weekend, in fact! What she was referring to was the 5K, 10K, 15K, etc... races that I entered. But I only ran ONE marathon in my life. It was the year I turned 40. I'm not really even sure that you could truthfully call what I did running as it took me SIX HOURS AND ONE MINUTE to finish! But what happened to me in the three or four years that I was a "runner" was that I was inspired to write little quips about me and the sport. I've saved them and included some of my collection in this post. Too bad I am too ignorant to figure out how to play some "Chariots of Fire" music for you to listen to while you read them. Oh, by the way, I swiped that photo from the internet. Those are the "front of the pack" girls, whereas I always had the task of tearing down and packing up the finish line after I crossed it.

  • The last few years I have taken a stab at "running". I've entered everything from 5K fun runs to the 26.2-mile marathon. I hope those people that run really fast appreciate me entering their races. I mean, how would they know that they are fast if they didn't have slow people like me to compare themselves to?
  • I hate those race photos they take of me in the running events that I enter. The high-speed film is wasted on me; I always look like I'm standing still. The grimace on my face would make you think it takes a great effort to run that slow. The only proof that I really am moving is that it’s apparent that my boobs are in motion. Obviously I prefer for the photographer to catch them on the "upswing".
  • I hate it when I prove that my brain is not really wired to the rest of my body. My brain thinks it's in charge, but the other body parts just laugh at it and do what they want. Brain makes a simple request of Hands: "Here, can you hold this for a minute?" But Hands just let go and drop the item. Brain tells Legs: "Hey! Pick your knees up, this is a RACE and we just got passed by Hoss * a 90 year old man – on crutches!" but Legs continue to shuffle slowly in defiance. Brain says, "Don't eat that!" but Hands and Mouth double-team to rebel and snarf down that donut.
  • I have lost a lot of sleep trying to compose a song. I already thought of a really cool title: "No Matter What I Do, I'll Always Be Just a Pickup Truck in the Porsche Race of Life to You". Catchy, eh? A local Porsche club held a fund-raising event that allowed any type of vehicle to participate in the time trials. There was actually a pickup truck that competed against all those fast little cars. One day I was really depressed about my lack of athletic abilities; I kept coming in nearly last place in all of my running races. My friend compared me to the driver of that truck - he was never going to beat any of those Porsches, but he was doing the best he could with what he had. So am I.

*(Sorry, Hoss, couldn't resist. Don't hurt me too bad, please)

Friendships

These are true, and heart-worming warming stories of some very special friends of mine. Tales of people who have shown their strength, amazing feats, inspiration, and bravery. I just get choked up remembering these moments. If you don't have a box of tissues nearby, I would highly recommend you go fetch one before you read on.

I couldn't sleep last night because I was thinking about how friends can give you a helping hand, and how that may sound corny or sappy, but it's so true! Where would I be now if not for the helping hands of my friends who pulled my body the rest of the way into a moving cab? Three of us were on a business trip and my two friends got into the back seat of the taxi first, and slid over. I got one foot and one butt cheek in when the driver pulled away from the curb and out into traffic. Fortunately my friends pulled me in to safety. The driver heard the door shut about a block away and she turned around and said, "Oh! I didn't realize there were three of you!" Thank you, dears. You may have saved my life! (or at the very least some road rash and a $6 pair of pantyhose)

I was standing around at the gym before a workout chatting with two of my buddies and a pesky fly kept buzzing around us. (Well, come to think of it, maybe it was after the workout.) Oh well, the point is that my friend who was speaking just casually un-crossed her arms, reached out with one hand and snatched this fly out of the air. She coolly brushed its lifeless body off with the other hand without so much as a pause in her story, the slightest hesitation, or even a loss of eye contact. Just went right on talking like it was no big deal! How cool is she? My other friend and I looked at each other, mouths hanging open. If I had done something so spectacular, I can guarantee you that I would have yelled out to everyone, "Hey did you see that?" Or at the very least screamed "Ewww!" at the bug guts on my hand. Thanks, dearie, for showing me that conversations between friends are important and should not be interrupted. You amaze me.

One day during a break at work, two of my friends were describing their "so-called" dirty houses. "I haven't vacuumed since that last homeowners' association meeting that was at my house!" said one. "Well I had to do a whirlwind dusting job the other day before you two came over!" said the other. Listening to them inspired me; on my next day off, I dusted my vacuum cleaner! Thanks, dears, for inspiring me to grow and improve my life in so many ways!

A long-time dream of mine finally came true last year. I got to visit New York City! I learned some very valuable lessons on that exciting adventure: If you are going to starve yourself for three weeks before a big trip so you can get into your skinniest pants, don't pack JUST your skinny clothes. If you eat like I normally do, you should throw in some elastic-waist pants and maybe a maternity top, or two for later in the week. And although it is perfectly reasonable to want to try things like New York cheesecake, pizza, and bagels while you're in that city, it is not necessary to sample some of each every three or four blocks. And finally, if you are going to walk down Broadway at midnight gaping open-mouthed at Times Square, blissfully unaware of imminent danger - it's nice to have a street-savvy size 4 girlfriend alongside (armed with only a travel umbrella and an attitude) to fend off the mugger. Thanks, dear, I really owe you. Not only did you save that knockoff Louis Vuitton handbag, but quite possibly my life!

October 29, 2005

Halloween Dogs on the Brain

One of my tasks today included this request "Mom, please! Don't you have any dresses from when I was a baby??? All of my clothes are too big for Sara's dog!" Huh? What are we talking about here? Oh yeah, the Halloween Costume Contest at the pet store that my Baby Girl and her best friend are dressing up their pooches for. Well I have quite a lot of trouble when more than one thought is going through my mind at the same time. Actually my brain was "aswirl" (moving with a whirling motion) a word I thought I'd made up, but Trucker Bob told me it's been around quite awhile (he's right, it's in my 1973 dictionary) .

Anyway, if you're interested... I've had time to settle down as that was hours ago, and decided I would try to sort out all those thoughts. These are listed in no particular order, their ranking has no significance because, as I said, they were in a whirling motion.
  • Baby dresses, baby dresses, there used to be some but where?
  • How cute! How did they turn Crystal's tail pink?
  • Did I save any baby dresses or give them all away?
  • Oh look, Mitch's football helmet in the top of the closet! I should call him to come get that.
  • What kind of horrible mother am I that I didn't save any baby dresses?
  • What the heck is Iowa supposed to be? She looks like a hobo. (Oops, I said that one out loud. The answer was that our black lab was dressed as MeeMaw, Sara's grandmother)
  • I wonder if my mother saved any of my baby dresses...
  • Oh that's where I put my blue wind pants. I haven't seen those in ages!
  • I'm a horrible mother, I haven't even finished their baby books and one is grown and gone...
  • Oh, that dog is going to trip over those sleeves, they're too long!
  • Wonder if they'll fit me still. I love the swishy sound they make when I walk.
  • What was I looking for?
  • Is it too early to have a glass of wine?

The little dog ended up going with a pink bow on her head and a pink collar and tail. I think she was a naked Barbie. I couldn't even find the velvet dress to pull off the Christmas bunny we have somewhere.

Number Two On My List is a Nap

If I could just get more than ONE thing done today. Sigh... Besides for finally getting to the early voting location (after each one directed me to another until I got to the right place on the FOURTH try) I have pretty much done everything half-assed today. I am jumping from one thing to another leaving almost everything undone. I decided I was going to try to stay off the computer some today. But it kept drawing me back. So I set up the easel and all my paints and a brand new canvas out on the back porch. I was determined to get some fresh air and some more practice on my portraits. The whole set-up was outside for about 4 hours. Canvas still stark white as I flitted around to about fourteen other things. One of them was attempting to update the look of my site. After only a couple thousand tries, I finally got some things rearranged and some links to work. I can't even count the number of times I had to put it back like it was because I screwed it up. I think I will just pay someone I found on a webpage to design it for me. I think I saw Hoss and Chris and Lois as sites in their portfolio. I have a look in my mind that I can't translate to html. It might as well be Japanese. I think on one try my site was in Japanese! Until I restored it again. One thing for sure, html is a four-letter word. Sort of. To me anyway. Oh poo... I just thought of something I might be able to accomplish - a nap. And unless (or until?) the phone rings I just might be able to finish it.

I will leave you with this deep thought that I wrote a few days ago since Hoss (slacker) is taking it easy on weekends.

Today I was standing on the curb waiting for a bus. I looked down in the street and thought, "Ah! There’s a lucky penny!" Then it occurred to me… just how lucky can it be? It’s been thrown down or dropped, deemed unworthy of someone’s effort to reach down and pick it back up, obviously been run over by several cars… and now if it’s really lucky, I’ll pick it up and put it in my smelly shoe?

October 28, 2005

You Should See Uranus - It's So Cute!

I know I'm posting a lot these days. I'm reminded of that tee-shirt my daughter used to wear that said, "Help! I'm Talking and I Can't Shut Up!" But there will soon come a day when I can't think of anything to post... and things will all just even out, you know?

Traditionally in our family my husband has always driven the "you-know-what" out of his automobile and then he would buy a new one and I would inherit the clunker. Well not this year. Things were a little different! Things were bound to change, you know... because Super Heroes don't drive the Crap Mobile!

One day this past spring I left the house with my daughter in search of a brush. A round hairbrush that my stylist said was on sale at Sally's Beauty Supply, and would solve all my bad hair days. (I've used it only twice, by the way... turns out a hair dryer and some skill is also required) Anyway, on the way home from buying this hairbrush, we took a detour and bought a car. My husband was astonished (and a little ticked off) when we got home. He lectured me about how impulsive that was, and that’s NOT the way you buy a car. You research, shop around, and bargain with the salesperson, etc... He was worried what kind of example I was setting for our daughter. I told him that while it was true that we pulled into the lot and bought the very first car we saw, we had done a very important test drive. I reassured him that we got in the car, opened the sunroof, and checked to see if we looked sexy in it. We did, so we bought it!

A funny thing happened to that car after I signed all the papers. It shrunk. Just like the clothes in my closet have been doing lately. This little car is really difficult to get in and out of. I certainly don’t remember experiencing this during our test-drive.

My tiny new car is a Saturn, but my friends and I have affectionately (juvenilely?) nicknamed it Uranus simply because that’s a much more fun word to substitute whenever speaking about it. Try it; you’ll see what I mean. For example, I can tell my daughter, "Let's take Uranus up to the car wash." Or I can request that she, "Get the groceries out of Uranus." Ahhh… this brings back memories of the fourth grade. Sometimes it can be so much fun to be a goober.

October 27, 2005

Skip This Post If You're Looking for Humor

If, by chance you heard that I was funny... This particular post is not meant to be funny - it breaks my heart. If it's humor you want, just go on to the next post, please. Tonight my 14 year old daughter started her own site that has her original poetry. Keep in mind that even though I do not know most of you very well, and knowing that there is a possibility that you may think less of me... I am going to tell you anyway: this summer I attempted suicide. Without a thought (at the time) about how that might affect anyone I loved. As I helped my Baby Girl set up her own site tonight... I realized the effect I may have had on her. Please drop by and say hello to my baby: QRM - I THINK that "Never Let Go of the Past" and "Never Close Your Eyes" might be about me. I know that "Grow Up" is about my soon-to-be ex-husband (effective November 1st). Next post I'll be my old self again, because things are really looking up for us. Right now all I can think about is the pain that I may have caused someone that I truly love.

My Baby Boy

Wonder what I did to deserve an awesome kid like this? Just lucky, I guess. This is an old picture of him, but if he doesn’t like it, maybe he can email me a new one from his cell phone. He is my oldest. The one I experimented with and learned from. Actually I learned quite a lot from him. See what I mean:

I had to learn to be more careful just how much emphasis I put on some of the things I said to my kids when they were little. For example, every time something bad would happen in our house while I was out, I would always demand, “Just where was your father at the time?” Oops, turns out my son then thought that dad’s whereabouts were a very important element in every story. So one day while peeking over a booth seat at Denny’s, my son was asked by the diners at the table behind us how he got that perfect little circle burned onto the end of his nose. Before getting to the part about how he had pressed his little 5-year old nose up to a hot light bulb, he began the story with, “Well, my daddy was downstairs poopin’…”

I learned new definitions to old words. One day my son walked into the house and immediately announced, “Oh mom, you’re so ghetto!” I didn’t quite know what he meant, since in my dictionary ghetto is a noun, not an adjective. But maybe I don’t have the latest edition. Anyway, he took a moment to explain that he made that statement simply because I was drinking wine from a measuring cup. Can I help it if that was the only glass that was clean?

I learned little-know scientific facts: One time my teenaged son told me that I have the attention span of a goldfish. No, wait - I think he said I had the short-term memory of a goldfish. Yeah, that was it because he even brought up some facts on the Internet to prove to me that a goldfish can only remember something for three minutes. This whole conversation came about because supposedly I repeat myself every now and then. My son wanted to know if I ever get tired of asking someone, “Have I told you about (blah, blah, blah)” and they say yes... two or three times already! I then accused my family of being in a conspiracy to make me think I'm crazy. Here’s one recent example: my husband claims that twice in one month I told him he smelled like rotting flesh. That does not sound like something I would say. I asked him was I drunk at the time? No? Was he? I don’t even know what rotting flesh smells like. Maybe I said rotting fish. But the point is – wouldn’t I remember if I'd said something like that? Hey, speaking of fish, did you know the average goldfish has only about a three-minute memory?

Love you, sweetie, you're a wonderful boy! Thanks for all you've taught me.

Cowboy George

My cat, Cowboy George, has been keeping a very close eye on me lately. For example, I noticed that for the past two mornings he has been standing outside my shower watching me through the see-through curtain. Pervert. Right now you might be wondering to yourself, "Why does she have a clear shower curtain?" If so, I'll bet your next thought is: "Oh, she must be one of those people who never got over the movie Psycho." Actually, I never got over the early years of my marriage to a man who thought it was hilarious to dump freezing water on me when I was least expecting it. And maybe a touch of claustrophobia. But anyway, I have gotten way off track here from my original thought. Cowboy George was also watching my every move as I cleaned his litter box this morning. Something he's never done before. And that got me to thinking... "Wonder what he's thinking?" So I did a little research, and this lady, for $300 for a half hour session could probably tell me! Or I could make some guesses on my own for free.

Watching me in the shower, I can almost hear him thinking:
"Disgusting! She only bathes ONCE a day. Why, when I am not SLEEPING, I'm GROOMING! Sometimes I even clean myself to sleep! Hmmmpphhh"
or:
"What I wouldn't give to be able to get a pitcher of ice cold water right now and dump it on her..."

What about when I'm cleaning the litter box... what is running through his little kitty head? Maybe it's:
"Snap to it, woman! And don't you leave a single clump! Hmmmmpphhh"
or:
"Oh, SHE cleans that thing??? I was under the impression that the litter box fairy magically appears and does that every day... wait til I tell the kids there's no such thing!"

October 26, 2005

No Truth in Advertising Here

OK, the other night I couldn’t sleep because I was feeling so guilty. I had been shamelessly flirting* with a man on the internet. (not really, children, your mommy would NEVER do that – I'm just embellishing this story in a desperate attempt to make it sound more interesting.) Anyway, in the course of the conversation with my next husband this gentleman… it sort of slipped out that my profile picture is, uhhh… a little out of date. Like by about a year. And several hundred pounds. Since I can’t figure out how to get pictures from my daughter’s digital camera onto the PC, you just have to use your imagination. I think if you will hold a picture of Shamu up close to your monitor, right next to my photo… then just stare blankly until your eyes kind of cross and they merge into one. (The pictures, not your eyes) Sort of like those magic eye things in the funny papers. See it yet? Still don’t see it?

Before I gained all this weight I didn’t have much of a chest. Or as my mom would have said, "Not only the president of the itty bitty titty committee, I'm also a member!" If someone by any miracle had ever said to me, "Nice boobs!" I would have replied, "Why thank you, I got them at Target!"

Whenever my husband saw me wearing something that I hadn’t already worn fourteen hundred times, he would say, "Oh, when did you get that shirt?" One day after asking that question about a gray sweater (that was, by the way, already several hours old) he said, "That sweater sure makes your boobs look big." I answered, "No, honey, it’s my padded bra that makes my boobs look big." He then claimed, "Well, that’s false advertising!"

*uh uh, Peter, don’t you call me a jezebel! no no no!

My Baby Girl

Look at this sweet, angelic face. Would you ever guess in a million years that a darling like that would have so little sympathy for her mother? The other day I was griping and complaining about my back pain (very loudly, I might add… I find it gets more attention). Here’s an actual word for word quote: (I only wish I had it on an audio file so you could hear it for yourselves)

ME: (whining pathetically) “Ohhhh, my back hurts SO badly! If I end up in a wheelchair, will you push me around?”
DARLING DAUGHTER: (deadpan and without a second’s hesitation) “Down some stairs.”


Why would I expect any different? This is the same child who, when placed in a playpen against her will at the age of 13 months old climbed out of it, picked it up over her head and threw it at me.

This is the same precious face that came to my bedside one night when she was about 6 years old mad at me for some reason. She leaned in toward me, pointed a finger at my nose and through clenched jaws, with eyes glaring, quietly warned me: “You have to go to sleep sometime.” I didn’t that night!

Enough of the silly stuff and on to the sappy: I love this girl more than you can ever imagine! And I'm not just saying that because I'm afraid of her. She’s the kind of daughter I should have been. The kind of person I would want for a friend. She’s held me in her arms when I was crying, yet she can also tell me when I need to can it. I love you, baby girl. Now go do your homework.

October 25, 2005

Armed (with grocery list) and Dangerous

I may have mentioned before that I used to have this very homely looking personal trainer. The following is an old email I dug up that I once sent to a friend relating an experience I had at the grocery store. Central Market at Lovers Lane & Greenville Avenue in Dallas if you're into details (or a stalker trying to collect clues as to where I might be found). The letter describes how excited I was about starting on a new diet that my trainer gave me. He wrote down everything I should eat every night for the upcoming week. See if you can detect hints of how my great enthusiasm eventually turns into an extreme hatred for Central Market, cooking, my trainer, and everyone else in my path. Just to protect his identity I have changed this trainer's name all the way through the post. I think I will call him.... Sexy Trainer Dude. Or... just STD for short, OK?
Dear MM, (<----another name changed to protect the "somewhat innocent") I took the new diet that STD gave me, keyed in all of the ingredients on a word document brilliantly organizing each item under clever headings like "Cheese and Dairy" and "Fruits and Veggies". (I only had to refer to the dictionary twice!) A very impressive grocery list I must say, complete with little boxes instead of bullet points to make checking off each item easy. I headed out to the store, daughter in tow, and list in hand with great enthusiasm. I am going to buy a week's worth of food, and I am going to learn to cook! Just try and stop me! STD's diet reads more like a menu at a fancy restaurant, making my mouth water just reading it. If I were dining out I would have a hard time deciding which entree to try. But I get to eat them ALL, because WOO-HOO - I am going to learn to cook!
I made it through the produce section just fine. They have big signs that I've never noticed before that help identify strange and exotic things - like cucumbers for example. So, section one: CHECK! Got it all, my enthusiasm level is still high!
On to the meat department. I peek over at the salmon and it's just a little too intimidating. So I'll start with the shrimp. That's an easy one because STD's menu tells me specifically what kind to buy. Hmmmm... first nagging doubt: the sign says that the shrimp is already cooked. But that's probably a good thing, right? Maybe I won't poison my family! Ignore the salmon for a minute longer and lets turn around and get chicken. I can do that! Piece of cake, I've bought chicken before. Check! OK, on to the ground sirloin. Ah! Another sign that reads 96%, exactly matching STD's instructions. God love him! Narrowing my choices down to one helps me a great deal. Enthusiasm level is back up. Turn around, Susan Ivy, look at that salmon, you can do it! I start out pretending to be a sophisticated shopper carefully trying to select the best dead fish. All the while thinking, how the hell do you cook salmon, and is that ewwww, scales on one side? Can't I just go out to eat that night? Immediately giving up my sophisticated act (I don't have enough experience to draw from to keep it up for very long) I ask the guy, "what about those pretty little pieces right there?" He tells me they're stuffed with rice and various other things. I didn't hear the rest. I quit listening knowing that eating rice might likely be breaking the 11th commandment or something. I can just see STD's face if I told him I bought that. So I did what any respectable big fat liar would do, I told the guy, "You know, I'm really not in the mood for salmon tonight after all. I'll come back later in the week." Enthusiasm takes a slight downward turn.
Winding my way through the aisles searching for things I've never even heard of like: balsamic vinegar, ciebatta bread, ricotta cheese, tabouli, capers, I was overwhelmed by my choices. My daughter was complaining about the unbelievable amount of time I would spend searching for something. She begged me to just ask someone. I wanted to know "Where are all these Central Market employees that STD says are so attentive they won't let him alone when he shops?" The way he tells it they practically take the things off the shelf and place them in his cart. Why would they waste their time on someone like him who already knows what to buy and where to find it? My daughter asked, "Mother, by any chance are they all WOMEN?" With every item, aisle, and choice I got more and more depressed. Enthusiasm level: rock bottom. I have reached the end of the store and I don't have everything on my list. I have a crappy attitude now, and proclaim my defeat: "I give up. I quit and I'm leaving right now". My daughter tells me that I remind her of the girl on her softball team that only had negative things to say. She is mad at me now, and says things like "Quitters never win." and "You're just going to walk out? Just like that with only half the things for each recipe?" Wise-ass. So I wound my way back through the store almost to the very beginning of it. OK, fine. I'm no STD but by golly, I have money to spend here and I have a mission. I'm going to seek help.
Finally arrive back home at nearly 9:00 p.m. Put away all the groceries and wonder... Can I really cook? Or will all this stuff just rot and stink up my fridge before I actually get around to it?

Love ya, MM!
Signed Susan Ivy

October 24, 2005

Not Your Run Of The [Tread]Mill Drama Queen*

I used to have a personal trainer at the gym (who my husband described as a European male model - REALLY???? I hadn't noticed!) Anyway, the point is that this guy tried to kill me once or twice a week. I used to think it was because he cared so much that I get a really good workout and just wanted to "whip" me into shape. HA! I have since discovered that he carried an insurance policy on all of his clients. He can say all he wants that it was just for liability, but I couldn't sleep at night wondering if he was named as beneficiary.

Recently while training with him, I jumped off the treadmill after a grueling two and a half minutes - just in time to prevent a nasty heart attack. As I leaned forward to wipe my sweaty forehead on my arm (it was too great an effort to lift my arm up to my forehead – you know, being the one that loses control during heart failure) my trainer said the strangest thing to me. He said, "They have a name for people like you: DRAMA QUEEN". I don’t understand his lack of compassion. Surely if he were dying, he too would want everyone around to know it. Oh, and I’d like to thank The Academy…

*Oh, and a P.S. THANK YOU to
FTS for helping me think of a title for this post :) (shhhh, don't tell, but we were drinking wine together all evening)

Am I Allowed More Than One Post a Day?

I already posted an entry today. But here's the deal: If I get any kind of idea in my head, I either have to write it down, tell someone, or act on it right away. If I don't, then that idea just wears a hole in my mind. Then my brain becomes like Swiss cheese and all the new ideas just fall right through the holes.

So today I thought of a few things that I would like to say. And I need to say them now, or I won't be able to sleep tonight!

ONE: Thank you,
Hoss! You answered the email I sent you and were patient, and very willing to help me get started with my own b**g page. Not only that, you were kind enough to send lots of your faithful readers my way! (uhhhh, have you not ever noticed the influence you have on them? I can't imagine what it's like to know that many people who will do whatever you request them to do. So there's how you make your pile, hon.) Heh. Ivy 1, Hoss 0.

TWO: Thank you to everyone who listened to Old Hoss and came to visit me. Thank you for the comments, and thanks to those of you who referred to me in YOUR sites! I'm very flattered! I'm trying to visit you all!

...and finally, number THREE: being a Goober is not contagious. So please come back and see me again, OK?

Oh, wait! There's a number FOUR: Remember I had this great idea that I would draw a comic book with me starring as the super-hero? I went around asking my friends for permission to put their likenesses in my book and asked whether they would rather be a sidekick or a villain. One friend said I could put her in my comic book as long as I drew her with big boobs. Well... OK... I guess so, sure.... as long as they're not bigger than mine!

October 23, 2005

Mother Of The Year? Doubtful...

Well, I guess I won’t be awarded "Mother of the Year" again! One of my best friends deserves that title, though. Despite my best efforts to shield my children from women like her, my son found out that meals can be prepared in other ways besides pouring milk in a bowl, or setting the timer on the microwave. A couple of years ago, she and her son took us camping. For days afterward my son kept raving about all the FOOD we ate and how great it tasted. Fearing that he might expect me to actually start cooking that way, I put one arm around his shoulder, lowered my head and tried to look a little sad. "I know, honey, it’s too bad food like that can only be prepared outdoors – OUTSIDE of the city limits."

My son moved out at the age of 17 – just a couple of weeks after high school graduation. As I sat with him and his roommate, signing papers at the leasing office, the apartment manager reminded the boys that technically I could have a key to their place since I was a co-signer* on the lease. It seemed to me that my son stopped breathing – I don’t know, maybe he was just concentrating really hard on the fine print of the forms. His roommate made funny jokes like – "If you had a key, Mrs. Smith you could come clean our apartment, or fill the fridge with groceries." Was it my imagination or was my son willing himself to become invisible? I turned to the roommate and asked, "Why do you think my son is moving out? I never did any of those things at home!"

*Big mistake, big, big mistake. How many of you out there are saying, "I could have told you THAT!"

Super Susan Saves The Day

I worked part time as a hotel front desk clerk for a few months earlier this year. I wanted to make extra money to take my son to New York City for his birthday. My only previous experience with hotels had been on the other side of the counter. I realized what a perfect guest I have been for many, many years after I took this job. It might surprise some people to know what all is in the job-description of the front desk clerk. I know it did me. This was a very small hotel, and quite often I was the only employee on duty at the time. One guest called me crying, "I'm extremely acrachnophobic!" I felt like saying, Geez lady, you’re only on the third floor, but instead I told her I’d be right up to squish the spider for her. When I got to her room, she was standing on the bed pointing. She had greatly exaggerated the size of the spider, though; it was only a two-tissue kill.

In some odd way does this qualify me as a super hero? If so, what would I be? Hmmm... that's going to require some thought. Maybe I'll write a comic book - The main character will be an ordinary hotel clerk by day... and possess all kinds of super powers. Now all I have to do is think of what I want my costume to look like!

October 22, 2005

Peeing in the Wetsuit

I've had lots of people wonder why in the heck I would pee in the wetsuit. OK first of all, I have the teensiest bladder in the world. That's the first thing you should know about why I did this. Second is: the urge to pee hit me within four seconds of entering the water for my open-water dive test in Table Rock Lake somewhere in Missouri. I KNEW it would be quite a while before we would get back to shore, and based on the incredible difficulty getting INTO that wet-suit, I correctly surmised that getting out of it would be even more of a challenge. Being the only girl in a class of about 20 men, I didn't figure they would have the patience to wait for me to run up the hill to the cabin to peel off that wet suit and get some relief. (only for it to last until I ran back down and jumped in the water again). And I'm betting, based on the website I researched, that all of those guys peed in their wetsuits, too! Because (just in case you don't feel like clicking on that link) divernet.com says that 50% of people pee in their wetsuits. And the other 50% LIE. So there! To me, that is proof I'm not alone. I read it, so it is true. Signed, Ivy: Admittedly a goober, but refusing to feel guilty about it :)

Hit Me, Baby, One More Time

Last night my daughter was trying to teach a very unwilling student how to hit a golf-ball at the driving range. After much whining and complaining, I finally walked up behind her and tried to pretend I was interested in learning. That’s when she whacked the side of my head with a very hard swing from one of her clubs. Felt like the 8-iron, but what the heck do I know? And that got me to thinking: Oh, man! I sure hope I have a black eye tomorrow! And what a letdown it was to feel no blood trickling down my cheek. Damn, no stitches required. And of course, this morning after careful inspection in the mirror: nothing to show for the pain! Figures. It’s just like the time the softball hit me between the eyes, and the time I got hit on my nose by a can of shaving cream at church camp. I just don’t bruise easily enough. One of my friends at work has something new every month: a bandage, a splint, or an ankle brace. He gets all kinds of sympathy! It’s not like I want to be seriously hurt, but think how cool I would look with an eye patch!

October 21, 2005

My Back Pack

Some people have made fun of me for carrying a big backpack around everywhere I go. Oh yeah, it’s SO funny until they need something like, say an Allen wrench, or a tire pump and I come through for them. Hey – I grew up watching “Let’s Make a Deal” after school. They don’t make purses big enough for women like me.
***
A man on the elevator this morning commented that I looked like I was ready to scale the building. I thought maybe I had actually turned into a super-hero, like Spiderwoman or something, but then I realized he was referring to my backpack. That backpack sure is a conversation piece. It reminded me of the time I was told that I looked like I was packed to jump out of a plane. And the time someone said I looked like I was ready to go on a mountain trek. These people don’t realize how much I appreciate their unsolicited opinions of how I look. They give me ideas…
***
One morning two women were talking loudly on the bus which made it very difficult for me to take my nap. I felt trapped in there and couldn’t escape the torture of their voices. I briefly considered the emergency exit, but we were on the freeway and I might get hurt jumping out. So I tore through my backpack looking for something to stuff in my ears and found a tampon. I shredded it up and put some of the cotton in each ear. Ahhhh, blissful silence. But now I couldn’t sleep because I wanted to come up with 101 uses for a tampon. How do those people come up with 101 uses for anything? I couldn’t think of more than two!

October 20, 2005

Have A Nice Fall, Part oooooh.

Sometimes I can’t sleep at night thinking of all the fun I used to have riding my friend’s horse. A saddle would have been nice - with a seatbelt. But I was young then, and healed fast. I’m not sure that horses are in total agreement with that philosophy of “getting right back on” when you fall off. Wonder if he admired my persistence? Wonder if he felt that same “closeness” the time he suddenly stopped and my body slid around in front of him, my arms still around his neck. When I looked past his nose, up into his big brown eyes, I felt like we really connected there for a moment.
***
Isn’t it amazing how much noise a body can make while tumbling down the wooden stairs of a big, old house? Even if the house has been turned into a popular restaurant/bar. The sounds of elbows and knees hitting steps on the descent can be heard above the kitchen noise, the chatter and laughter of the diners, and the music playing upstairs. By comparison, the crawl back up to retrieve the shoe that didn’t make it all the way down with me was eerily silent.

Proof I'm A Goober (as if any were required)

I was lying in bed, staring at the ceiling trying to figure out a way to transform myself from a goober into a sophisticated woman. From what I’ve observed, sophisticated women do not do stupid and embarrassing things. Things like reaching into your purse at the grocery store and having your bra jump out of it and land on the floor in full view of everyone nearby, or walking all the way from the car to the bus with a high heeled shoe hanging from the back of your waistband, or walking down a busy downtown sidewalk and having your shoe that is too loose fly off your foot and land about a half a block in front of you.
***
When I was 19 I signed up for classes to become a certified scuba diver. Know what happens when you strap a tank, fins, and mask on a goober? Well, I can tell you a few things that could happen. Not saying they did, but they could. Someone not paying close enough attention in class could think “ha, ha! I’m the only one that has to wear a weight belt in the pool”. That same person could eventually realize that the more body fat you have, the more you need a weight belt. Also, when everyone is standing around in a circle in shallow water and the goober thinks it would be neat to go underwater and look up at everyone, it is possible that the goober could become stuck like a turtle on its back and have to pull on the instructor’s leg to get back up. And during the open-water dive it is quite possible to pee in the wet suit before the instructors have a chance to ask everyone not to. Oops.

October 19, 2005

Still Learning

I don’t know if it’s true that you “learn something new every day”, but I do learn something new just about every year. Here are just a few examples: At age 8 I learned that a turtle turned upside down will pee on your dress. And if you happen to do this two minutes before your family leaves for church it will make your mother seem unholy. At age 18 I learned that you should know where your lips are. Don’t rely on a rearview mirror to watch where the lipstick is being applied, that’s very dangerous! Especially when the car you’re driving is moving and the one in front of you has stopped. At age 29 I learned that it hurts to be beautiful. At least that’s what my son, 5 years old at the time, told me as he yanked the brush painfully through mommy’s long hair. At age 41 I learned that no matter how hard I mash down on the passenger-side floorboard, it doesn’t slow down my teenage son with a 2-day old learner’s permit.

October 18, 2005

Fly On The Wall

I think this is kind of a goofy expression: “you can catch more flies with honey, than with vinegar”. I mean, I understand what it’s trying to say, but here’s what I say: Who wants to catch flies? The other day my daughter informed me that a fly throws up every time it lands! This is after one touched down on her sandwich and I promised her she’d live if she ate it anyway. I wonder if what she says is true. If so, why? Do they have motion sickness? Wouldn’t that suck to be a fly with motion sickness? Wonder if a “fly on the wall” is covertly listening to private conversations in the room, or just simply waiting for the queasiness to pass before it moves on?

October 17, 2005

Even Steven

A friend recently admitted to me that she has the same weird compulsive need that I have for things to be even. You know what I mean, like if I spin clockwise, I need to spin counterclockwise to unwind. If I walk across a checkered floor and my left foot hits the black tile one more time than my right foot I have to take an extra step. Each leg gets an equal amount of time getting to be on top when I sit with them crossed. But here's what I have been losing sleep over; I will never be able to even out the number of times the right rear tire of my vehicle has hit the curb in a right-hand turn.

Then I suddenly woke up in the middle of the night, my eyes flew open and I sat right up in bed. I realized that pushing the clutch in the truck with my LEFT foot balances out all those curb-checks with the RIGHT tire!

October 16, 2005

Have A Nice Fall

I’ve lost sleep some nights wishing I could do certain things over. Like that one night in 1977. If I could redo that evening, I wouldn’t try to sneak out of my sister’s high school graduation before the ceremony ended. It seemed to really embarrass her when I fell over the side of the bleachers. I think it was the weight of those platform disco shoes. And the well-meaning people that reached out to slow my fall only succeeded in pulling my dress up to my armpits.

October 15, 2005


Iowa

Pets

This is Iowa, one of our four pets. Iowa is almost perfect. She has a ferocious bark that would scare off anyone. I love it, I have seen the delivery man throw a package on the hedges and honk his horn until I came out to see it. I feel really safe and secure when she's there. I always tell everyone (pizza delivery guy, or whoever) "wait, let me put my dog up. " I don't ever want to say, "Oh, don't worry, she won't bite!" I want people to think she'll tear them to shreds. The only thing I don't like about her is that, dang, that dawg stinks! I bathe her, but I guess not frequently enough. Oh well, all pets are high maintenance in some way. Take my cat, Cowboy George for example. Sure, I don't have to bother to put out fresh water for him; he'd rather drink out of the fishbowl. But cleaning that litter box every day gets old. And my two fish; Captain Fantastic, and Messina Hoff are always dirtying up their water. Sigh.... You feed something and it poops. That's the way it goes, I guess.

My dad - 3rd from the Left

It's getting really close to what would have been my dad's 73rd Birthday. So I thought I would post a picture of him as a kid. At an age when you don't even think about dying. I'm sure he wasn't even thinking at the time of this picture that he would some day have a family. I doubt if it crossed his mind then that some day he would have a daughter who would love him, and miss him, and be forever grateful that she had such a great dad. And this same daughter would often kick her own rear for being an ungrateful little spoiled brat- also thinking he would live forever. Or at least not consider that he might die.

Ommmm...

Our yoga teacher made the class get in a funny position where we had to lie down on our backs with our legs thrown up and over us. My feet were behind my head, and my knees hugged my ears. The problem then, was that every one of my belly rolls came together to form one giant roll, which was right in my face! It’s hard to find calmness and serenity when you’re smothering in tummy fat.


My friends are all so relieved that I am wearing a helmet when I ride my motorcycle. Heck, people like me should! I sure wish I’d had it on the other day in yoga class. My instructor had me do this funny pose: I had to put both hands on the floor to the right of me, make a “shelf” with my upper arms for my right thigh to lean on. And then slowly lean to the right, raising my feet up off the floor. Let me tell you, I don’t care how much spinach I eat, or how much weight I can lift, my arms cannot support my body weight. I figured that out when my “shelf” collapsed and my head slammed into the floor!

Halloween Costume (I hope) Posted by Picasa

Halloween - Who/What are you going as?

One time I told a friend that Wonder Woman was my favorite comic book superhero. He said, ah, yes – she’s the one that can shoot bullets from her breasts, right? Uhhhh, I think she can deflect bullets with her wrists… not quite the same thing. If I possessed the superpower that he mentioned, I'd be in trouble. Considering where my breasts are aimed these days, some bulletproof shoes would be necessary.

October 14, 2005

Annoying? Who? Me????

I found a very rare treasure in life: A friend that talks just as much as I do during a movie. I’m not referring to annoying chatter at a public theater – this is just the two of us watching the TV in her living room. It is an intricate balance of our dialogue and that on the screen. It takes precision and timing, an art that you would think we’d taken years to master. But it is actually a talent we just discovered we both have the exact same amount of.

Sometimes I lay awake at night wondering how certain expressions came about. Here’s a weird one: “Go fly a kite”. What is that supposed to mean? I think flying a kite is great fun, so is that what they want me to do? Go and have a good time? But the way people say it sounds more like: “Get out of my hair”. Ooh, that’s another weird expression. If I’m really annoying someone and they want to get rid of me, why don’t they just say what my mom used to always tell me: “Go play in traffic”. At least that expression has a clear meaning.

My husband has told me repeatedly that I have an annoying habit of stating the obvious. Wonder if he means like the other night when I walked into the gas station wearing a motorcycle suit, boots, full-face helmet, and gloves, handed the clerk my money and said “Three dollars premium for the motorcycle at pump one.” Hmmm… I don’t know, he could have thought I was driving something else…

One of the many ways that I annoy my husband is to use phrases that bother him. He doesn’t understand why I would say that I “jumped out of my skin”. Well, duh… that’s the easiest way to be “beside myself”.

Some people seem to think that I talk too much and too often. But I’ve been very good lately at picking up visual clues that someone (particularly family members) has had enough of what I have to say. Subtle hints like the kids’ eyes rolling back in their heads just before they exchange annoyed glances with each other, or when they make little guns out of their fingers and shoot themselves with them, or there’s my husband’s excessive and increasing grip on the steering wheel. Occasionally I’ll get verbal clues like the time my son said, “mom, do you talk just to hear yourself talk?” or when my daughter asked, “mother, you know those collars they put on dogs to keep them from barking, do you think one would keep you from talking?”

Kayak, Schmayak - I'm afraid of fish!

I have some fears that I guess some people might consider "unrealistic." For example, I have a huge fear that a fish will jump into the kayak while I'm in it. I mean it really gets my heart rate up when I'm out on the lake. If I see or hear a fish jump, it scares me to death. I promise you I will die if one jumps in with me. I was relating this fear to a co-worker once and he said matter-of-factly, "That's not going to happen" I asked how did he KNOW that. He said for me to think about it, that if fish just jumped into people’s boats, the bait shops would go out of business. Oh. That makes sense.

The age of a tree can be determined by counting the number of rings on the trunk. I wonder what you can determine by counting the white, un-tanned stripes across the stomach of a 40-year-old kayaker. (Other than the obvious fact that I’m too fat to be wearing a two-piece bathing suit.)

I remember when “Happy Hour” meant free hors d’oeuvres and two drinks for the price of one. My happy hours are very different these days. Any hour spent with my kids is happy, especially if we really talk. Any hour spent on my bicycle, in my hammock, or in my kayak is happy. An hour spent with my friends is happy, an hour of kickboxing class, an hour of writing, an hour of painting… well I could just go on and on.

You have not lived until you’ve tried windsurfing. That is the most fun I’ve had since I bought a motorcycle. And my fear of fish is great incentive to stay balanced on the board.

Allergic To The Kitchen

I have a friend whose fancy oven broke. She is in mourning over this thing! I mean she would pay anything, DO anything to get it working again! She even pulled it away from the wall and tried to fix it herself. My oven broke three years ago, and that’s just fine with me. It’s not as if I knew what to do with it anyway. I couldn’t sleep last night thinking of all the other things she could be using that broken oven for. It makes a great place to hide Christmas presents or dirty dishes.

After three years of having a broken oven, (hey, three of the burners on top still worked) we finally bought a new one. My daughter is baking brownies, cookies, and pies. My husband is broiling steaks, chicken and ribs. My son is enjoying eating everything that comes out of it! They are having all kinds of fun with their new toy. But I use that new oven way more often than all of them combined. In fact, I use it every time I walk into the kitchen. (Our old one didn’t have a clock on it.)

Some people don’t understand my aversion to cooking. I have to wonder… if they burned or cut themselves every time they attempted it, would they keep trying? And it’s not as if anything I’ve ever cooked is worth the pain and suffering. (I'm talking about MY pain and suffering, not that of those who try to eat the stuff.) I’ve trained my family not to expect miracles – you know the kind I mean… things like having the hot foods come out hot and the cold ones cold, or having more than one side dish, and bread that comes out of the oven at the same time as the meal rather than 5 minutes after everyone leaves the table.

I recently purchased some new clothes that (gasp!) require ironing. This was so I could make a halfway decent impression on some people I would meet on a business trip to New York, and then never see again. Maybe fool them into thinking I dressed nice all the time. Well the ironing wasn’t a big issue at the hotel (remember, I did learn SOME skills in that 8th grade Home Economics class, and hotels seem to have all the required equipment) – but once I returned from the trip, I had to BUY an iron and ironing board for my home! Well… only if I ever want to wear those new clothes again. I hadn’t had that stupid iron plugged in 5 minutes, when I decided I didn’t like the position of the board and pulled it to a prime spot under the light. That is when the evil iron (possibly thinking I was in the kitchen) threw itself at my bare belly and branded me! Note to self: stop ironing wearing nothing but bra and panties.

Pretty Important?

I couldn’t sleep last night wondering if I have a split personality. Because I think that looks aren’t everything, but I’m always worried about how I look. Why is it that I so desperately wish I could be pretty when I think being pretty is not important? This is not the only thing I disagree with myself on.

Ta Da Dump, Ta Da Dump, Ta Da Dump, Dump, Dump!

I had to take some things to the city dump one time. I was hauling stuff out of the back of our mini-van when some men that worked there took over to help me. I just thanked them and waited in the driver’s seat as they removed the items. Hours later after a long drive to go shopping with my sister, we went to the back of the van to put our purchases inside. There, barely pinched in between the doors hung a pair of my big, old white granny panties. Wonder why those guys didn’t put them back in before they closed the doors? I wonder if people on the freeway thought I was trying to slow down like those drag-racing cars with a parachute in the back. I couldn’t sleep that night wondering how that may have affected my gas mileage.

October 13, 2005

100 Things About Me

I wear makeup about 10 times a year
I blow dry and/or style my hair about half as often
I got the nickname Ivy from my junior high P.E. teacher. She shortened my last name every time she screamed at me
I did not take P.E. in high school
I admire anyone who can play an instrument
I love to hear piano music
I will buy a piano someday
I will resume the piano lessons I dropped out of in the 4th grade
I want to be buried in Hooker Cemetery. That amuses me
I want to be buried in my leather motorcycle jacket
I brush my teeth in the kitchen
I sneeze no less than 30 times a day
I love to buy gifts for people, more than I like getting them
I am mostly shy and self-conscious
I have felt fat almost my whole life
Even when I was skinny
I did a triathlon in Paris (Texas)
I stink at swimming
I can't stand for someone to touch my PC monitor
I can't stand for someone to touch my face
I took Wind-surfing lessons in my early 40s
I took sculling lessons in my early 40s
I hate it when somebody slobbers all over a piece of paper (the old finger-lick) before they hand it to me
I love it when something costs less than I thought it would
I don't like for my feet to be cold
I love to lay in my hammock on a pretty day.
I love the smell of the grocery store aisle that has the tortillas
I love Mexican food
I love Italian food
I love Chinese food
I request that my meal be made spicy
Even if the menu already says it’s spicy
I am not a romantic
I once cleaned my fingernails with my husband’s toothbrush when I was mad at him
I once cleaned my toenails with my husband’s toothbrush when I was REALLY mad at him
I felt guilty and went and bought him a new toothbrush
I bought a motorcycle when I was 41
I am trying to learn to paint portraits
I stink at painting portraits
I've been married once
I have been married for almost 21 years
I love to dance
I stink at dancing
Unless I'm drunk
I am often a poor judge of character
I have been fooled by many people
I love to do Penny Press puzzle books
Especially the cryptograms
And the acrostics
I stink at math
I've had many different kinds of pets
Cats are my favorite
That jumping rodent thingy was my least favorite
I love the smell of freshly cut grass
I like to sleep with my clothes on
I'm afraid of fire
I like to sing
I know the words to a gajillion songs
I stink at singing
Unless I'm drunk
I spent a bunch of money putting cool ring tones on my cell phone
No one ever calls me on my cell phone
I was voted "Most Likely To Succeed" in high school
Bwahhh HAAA haa!
At what??? They didn't say
I love Pay at the Pump gas stations
I wish they'd been around when I had sleeping babies in the car