Thursday, October 30, 2008

High School Musical 3

My kids love the High School Musical movies. I don't even know how David first discovered them because he typically watches Nickelodeon stuff. But somehow, these kids these days just discover things on their own. They must telepathically transport information from one brain to another as they pass in the hallways at school. So he loves it. There is a little diva in him, though I must admit that scares me. But with the fine dramatic talents of his mother and all (ahem... Best Actress two years in a row in high school myself - granted, it was a very small high school, and it was really my only talent, but it was so much fun... I digress in parenthesis a lot), he really can't help but be attracted to the dancing and the singing and the acting. All that said, he loves the movies, and of course his sister does too because her brother does.


So, we joined some friends at the movie theatre on Tuesday afternoon for a viewing of High School Musical 3. Cause that's just what normal folks get to do when they don't have football practice every day. David was so excited he could barely contain himself. After viewing HSM 2, he perfected the knee slide. You know - running and sliding across the carpet on both knees, then bouncing up and doing some more dancing and repeating the knee slide. He got really good at it, and we had the holey kneed pants in the trash can to prove it. So I was a little apprehensive about what new move he would add to his repertoire after viewing HSM 3. But I should have been more worried about my little girl.


For those of you that don't know, the main characters of the movie and plot line are Gabrielle and Troy. Of course Troy is the high school jock - star basketball player with perfectly quaffed hair and flawless complection. He lead his high school basketball team to two state championships without a single zit and stole the heart of the equally perfect Gabrielle in the meantime. And I mustn't forget the softer side of Troy; he dances and sings with effortless grace.


At one point in the movie, I turned to other two moms I was with and said, "Should we really allow our girls to watch this stuff?" There are no Troys in real life. There were no Troys in my high school. The boys were (and still are) clueless. They sweat immensely, and they stank and had zits on their face because of it. None of them danced and sang, especially not to or with a girl. And it just doesn't work out the way it does in these movies, you know. All perfect and sweet and beautiful. High school is full of heart break and confusion and awkwardness. Not Troy and Gabrielle singing to one another in the tree house about how they just want to be together.


I kept looking back at my kids, watching them with mouths open and eyes glued to the mystical world on the screen. Do you tell them, "Dude - it is sooooo not that way." Or do you just let them figure it out on their own like all of the ones before them have. Life is no song and dance. And certainly not with Troy.


But I will admit the one part that got to me. Troy was all out of sorts. Gabrielle had been accepted to some program at Stanford and was not going to be able to attend the prom with him. Heartache. So I turned again to my fellow mothers there and told them, "Heck. I'll take one for the team. Troy, I will take you to your prom." He is hot. I know I'm old, but Troy is still hot, whether real or not.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Can we vote today, please?

I don't know about the rest of the country, but I will be so glad to flip my lever or fill in my bubble or whatever method we have around here these days. I am so sick of listening to the campaign coverage. I think I have made myself perfectly clear that I like neither men, though they both strike me as incredibly intelligent people and I am sure one of them can step on in there and make just as much a mess of things as anyone else.

Last night, on our local news, they did a segment where they go to various small towns in our fair state and talk to the voters. Spectacular journalism. I forget where they were last night, but it is safe to say that it was a tiny Alabama town - a quaint little old village atmosphere behind the young voter they were interviewing. She had just registered to vote that day, coincidentally, and spoke freely about her candidate of choice and about the importance to vote.

When asked about the candidates, in her reply she said, "I mean, Senator Palin just don't have the smarts for the job." Of course, I am paraphrasing somewhat, but it is shockingly close to her exact words, grammar and all.

Hmmm. I don't know much, and I have been a registered voter for a few days more than she perhaps. But I could have sworn that Sarah Palin is the only one in the race that isn't a Senator.

Well, whatever she is - Senator, Governor, Maverick, or Hockey Mom - she don't got the smarts for the job according to our fresh voter. And said voter don't got the smarts to make a decision about the job.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Knock, knock

Madalyn's knock, knock joke with herself in the car (Madalyn talks to herself quite a bit right now, but perhaps telling jokes to yourself is carrying it a bit too far):

Knock, knock.

Who's there? (questioning self)

Banana.

Who banana? (again, questioning self)

Just banana.

Followed by lots of laughter and a run through of every fruit she knows to exist. Oh to be in the mind of a three year old.

Light Hearted Post

I realize that my posts have been a little on the deep side lately. So here's a good, old-fashioned, light hearted, Crazy Mama post for my old faithfuls. Wait - do I have any old faithful readers? I'll do it anyway...

Finally got around to watching the latest Grey's Anatomy episode last night. A few days late, mind you, but leave it to football season to jack up my TV watching. My neighbor and I currently hold four shows in our repertoire: Grey's, Desperate Housewives, Brothers and Sisters, and Private Practice. I know, I know. It is a lot. But we have held down the fort pretty well with all of them - until now. We are in the rears something terrible. We didn't watch a show last week. She's been working a little extra, and we were both inhibited by Auburn's attempt at playing some college football on Thursday night. We both looked at each other during the third quarter and said, "We really should have watched Grey's tonight."

Anywho - we decided last night to watch Grey's, and that we would probably have to do some solo viewing this week to catch up on the other shows. I am glad to see that the writers will finally allow Izzie and Alex to rekindle their love/hate relationship. I mean, that was a big plot theme in the very first season I think. It will be interesting to see how that evolves. And George - poor George. He just needs to grow a pair. Maybe he should look into those hormone shots to make him more fierce and sure of himself. And Meredith and Derek (how do you spell his name???), they are becoming more and more like a real relationship. They get along for an episode then fight for an episode. But at least they are staying together. But next week is when things will really heat up as Yang's rugged military man returns and she can blow off a little steam of her own. It's been a while since Burke hit the road, and I think she ready to move on.

If you didn't understand what I was talking about in this post, it means you don't watch enough TV,and I prescribe you stop what you are doing and run to your nearest video rental store and grab the disc sets of all previous seasons of Grey's. Hide out in your home and watch until your eyes burn or fall out from crying. Then tune in every Thursday for the drama. You just can't put a value on drama that is interesting but not your own. Know what I mean? Drama that is not real but seems real enough to captivate you. May sound pathetic to some, but it gets me through the mundane business of laundry and spelling words. Gives me and my neighbor a little something to look forward to and some good ole' girl time. And there's nothing wrong with that in my book.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Restoration

Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Psalm 51:12

I love the Psalms. It is my favorite book of the Bible, right next to Romans. Those are my favorite two. They are both so challenging yet comforting and full of possibility. I go through times in my life where I read more of the Bible. Lately, I haven't read at all. And it shows, inside and out.

Like most people who were raised in a church going family, in times of personal crisis, I pull out my Bible and read. Yesterday, I was embarrassed as I read. It had really been too long, and I know my ignoring of the scriptures is a big part of my personal struggles within. But as I read the Psalm I just randomly opened up to, I felt humbled. And spoken to. How does He know? How does He do it? I know He is God, and He knows all things, even those things we don't want to admit to ourselves. But how does it all come together the way it does in perfect timing? I know that it is His Spirit that threads it all together, but anytime I see it demonstrated, I am taken back by it and amazed.

I am in need of an overhaul. Crazy Mama needs a restoration. She needs to bathe herself in the joy of a salvation that is there for me but I have never been able to wrap my hands around. I've been grasping and searching and running and hiding and pushing and pulling and kicking and screaming and wanting and ignoring and just existing for too long. And it is just time for me to work on myself in a deeper way. Work on my faith. Work on my purpose. I know I need to make a lot of changes, but I will have to do it one step at a time. I told you all I was crazy. At least you know that honesty is not a weak point in my character.

I don't know how much of my spiritual journey I will blog about. A lot of it is entirely too personal to share amidst stories about baseball and what I ate for lunch. But I know that by typing these words there are a handful of people - really great, remarkable, God fearing people - that will include me in their thoughts and prayers. And I know we all need that - lots of prayer.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Oh, happy day!!

Today must be a good day. It really has to be a good day. Three reasons:

1.) I just sent out the last email to my football parents. Hopefully the last. PEE WEE FOOTBALL IS SO OVER. And I am so glad.

2.) I lost three pounds during the last week of my Weight Watchers endeavor. That's ten pounds total. Not too shabby.

3.) Everyone is well. You really take for granted this concept of wellness. But when three of the four people in your family have been sick in the last two weeks, your nerves begin to fray and you just think it may never resume the crazy normalcy you have grown to love. But we are back there - at the crazy normalcy. My kids are fever free, and my husband is only half as grumpy as he was while he was sick.

So, all in all, things are good today.

The weight loss thing is getting a little easier. It helps that my addiction to food has really been curbed. I don't really think about food that much anymore. I am not really craving things like I was. My appetite has definitely diminished. Finally. It has just taken a back seat to the rest of my life. Which is good. But I think that food has been my source of comfort for so long and that could be the reason for my emotional upheaval. I liken it to Madalyn's blankie and David's kitty (yes, my seven year old son still sleeps with a stuffed tiger named Kitty - has since he was about ten months old - but please don't tell his friends). When you comfort your emotions with food for so long, it becomes unconscious behavior. The other day Madalyn fell asleep in the car. When I was getting her out of her car seat, she did this weird thing with her hands, and I tried to figure out what it was. I finally discovered that she thought she had her blanket in her had, and she was passing it from one side to the other so she didn't have to take her hands off of it. It is her one constant source of comfort - her blanket - and she just assumed she had it in her hands. So my blanket is lost right now. I am shaking the habit of food. And it is a struggle. Because when I am lonely or frustrated or angry or sad or happy or whatever, I like to eat. And that is simply unhealthy. So now I have to find a way to deal with all that crap in a healthy manner. Hence my unstable emotional status as of late. I don't know what to do with my loneliness, frustration, dissatisfaction. But I will find out. It may take my whole life to do it, but I will figure this life thing out. I will find my way. And I won't get fat doing it!!

As for the football deal, I am so glad it is over. No more happy looking team mom. No more chipper emails about practice and games and gate duty. I have been relieved. No more rushing around everyday to get to practice, get home, shovel food into my kids' mouths and push them in the bed. We can all relax a little. I think we need it. And I am so glad to report that David does not desire to play again next year. At all.

So all in all, it is a good day today. It's a good day.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

All I wanna do is clean my carpets...

All I have wanted to do since August is get my carpets cleaned. My grandmother had most of her carpet removed a couple of years ago, and she gave me her carpet cleaner. So one would think with your very own machine that getting it done wouldn't be so difficult. It just seems like it has been one thing after another lately. And needless to say, the carpets stay last on the list.

I had it in my head to get them done this week. Madalyn was sick last week and missed two out of three of her days. So I just knew that this week would be perfect. But now David is home. Still. Still running fever and now complaining of his throat. And still has the most foul smelling substance coming out of him. I didn't realize someone so small could smell so bad. For days and days.

When I called the pediatrician this morning, of course they are booked solid and can't see him today. So we will be off to the Doc in a Box to spend two hours for a throat swab that will either reveal he indeed has strep or that it is just that lovely little virus thing that has to run its course.

On top of that, someone got pulled over right in front of our house this morning around 4:30. I awoke to the blue lights and the conversation between cop and citizen. I couldn't go back to sleep. Just thoughts racing through my mind. I don't know what is up with me lately. I just can't seem to quiet the thoughts. Is it a midlife crisis? I would think I am too young for that. Do I just need some sort of a change in my life? I'm sure I need several changes. I don't know what's going on. But I think I am about to start the cleaning of the carpets and send David away to his room to rest. At least I could get the basement done. And he needs his rest anyway. He may or may not be really sick. Doc in the Box to reveal soon...

Monday, October 20, 2008

Pass the Lysol Please

My home has been invaded by germs. Last week, Madalyn was down - well, not really down, but could not go to preschool - with fever. Just fever, and she said her throat hurt. Of course, I pulled out my little white coat and flashlight and examined her throat and found no sign that we should visit a real doctor. She was better in a couple of days. Then Saturday morning, when David woke up, I could tell by looking at his eyes that he wasn't well. By mid-afternoon, he was on fire. So he is home from school today with fever still but no other symptoms except for an upset stomach.

And my husband - the one solid rock in the house that is seldom ever effected by any crazy illnesses or plagues that make their way into the house - woke up yesterday morning and said the words I thought I would never hear him say: "I don't feel good." For him to actually say this out loud is big - really big. He never gets sick. He never talks about how he feels. He has only had a fever like two times in our almost ten years of knowing one another. And early this morning was one of those times. I woke up to him trying to find some ibuprofen in the kitchen. He got back in bed and was shivering. I felt so sorry for him, because I do believe that is one of the worst feelings anyone can have. Fever and chills.

Anyway. The germs are all around me, threatening to attack. And I know what will happen. On Wednesday, when everyone else is well, I will be the last to fall. I am always the last to fall. Oh dear.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Rainy Friday

Oh, it's raining here today. Like coming on down rain. Like hasn't stopped since I woke up rain. Madalyn slept until almost nine. Why doesn't she ever do that when the rest of the house can sleep in? It just doesn't work that way.

I am so glad this week is near completion. The brightest light in my life right now is that pee wee football season is almost over and I will finally be able to delete a host of addresses from my Gmail. And hopefully not ever be team mom for a football team EVER AGAIN. We have one more game and our team's night to work the gate for a home game and then our end of the season get together. And then I will be free from the chains of football!!! A dad last night said to a few of us parents, "I just don't know what we'll do after this is over. What will we do with our time?" Ummm, I have a few thoughts. Live a normal life. Take my kids somewhere to eat maybe every once and a while. Play outside on a beautiful fall afternoon. Maybe the kids can get crazy and ride their bikes or something. The possibilities are endless. And I am counting down the days.

Another week of Weight Watchers is complete. No loss this week, but no gain as well. I sort of fell off the wagon I guess you could say. I ate Mexican food twice - like out at a grease ball Mexican restaurant. And pizza. I just really didn't adhere to the guidelines very well. So I was grateful just to maintain this week. But I am back on track. It is just so hard to be so good most of the time. So hard. But I really want to see my goal weight. So I will just have to keep trucking along. I really wish I could snap my fingers and I would be there. And that I could eat as many M&Ms as I wanted along the way. And Cheezits. And so on.

I guess my mood has lifted a little over the past couple of days. It is just so weird how your past creeps in to haunt you without any warning. I heard a song yesterday on the radio I really love. And old song by Fleetwood Mac - "Landslide." But yesterday, I truly heard the words for the first time. Isn't that strange how you can sing along to a song for years and know the words, and then one day you hear it and understand. In the first verse are the lyrics, "Can the child within my heart rise above." I guess that's the question we all face. Whether we believe it or not, we are all trying to reconcile our present life to one in our heads, checking and balancing along the way, noting the surplus and deficits within. Boy do I notice a ton of deficits within me. My life looks nothing like I thought it would look fifteen years ago. Not that it's bad - because it's not. It just looks different. Can anyone tell how truly crazy I am now?? How I internalize things entirely too much and over analyze beyond comprehension?? I know my dad is smiling right now... he knows my pain. Another frustrating trait I think I can blame on him.

Anyway. Enough about crazy me. I am going tomorrow to visit with my mom, and I am glad for that. I need desperately to get out of this house and do something besides watch sweaty stinky boys run around and tackle one another. And I am supposed to take the kids to my mother in law's house to spend the night so that we can visit with a couple of our friends in Prattville. That would really do the soul well. Hope everyone has a great weekend. I think the weather is supposed to be spectacular. Fall is finally here!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Seventeen

Seventeen - it has been my favorite number for quite some time now. The first time I went to a casino, I learned to play roulette. Well, I played roulette, because, let's face it, what's there to learn really? You just pick a number, put your chips down, and wait for the little ball to stop. You either win or lose; pretty simple. No talent or skill - just luck. I bet on seventeen nearly every time, and the professional gambler seated next to me noticed it. He was betting the same number every time along with other numbers of his choice. He also had a little notebook, and every time the ball would stop, he would write down the results. He asked me why I chose the number seventeen. The only reason I had was that it was the funnest year of my teens, and since then, it had been my favorite number. He clued me in that he was a professional (which in and of itself is fascinating to me - a professional gambler playing roulette seems pretty hysterical) and had kept up with the last umpteen times he had played and that seventeen seems to be the most common winning number. He gave me the percentages, but that was too many years and way too many cocktails ago. He just told me to keep on betting seventeen and I should walk out a winner. He was right. I walked away that night with over $400. It could have been a coincidence because the next time I went to a casino, I tried the same strategy. Not so lucky that time.

But seventeen is still my favorite number. If I were to go on Deal or No Deal, I would pick case number seventeen. And it is still my favorite year in my life - well, of my early life, my teens. I had so much fun that year. I had my first real boyfriend. Granted, it only lasted a couple of months, but it was real nonetheless. He liked me, and I liked him. We exchanged class rings, a fact I tried to hide from my parents as I knew they would not pleased I had given the ring they just payed for to an idiot teenage boy. But it ended as quickly as it began. Of course he broke my heart, along with an endless string of others that would leave small scars on my heart as well. I was a tragic case - the girl who was cute but didn't know it. The girl who was fatally attracted to all the wrong boys. The girl who guys liked to date for only a short while because, how do I put this delicately, I wasn't much fun to a teenage boy after a few dates. I didn't participate in any of those extra curricular activities that most of the boys I was attracted to liked to participate in, so I most often found myself tossed to the side for another girl.

Fast forward almost twenty years to a random Sunday afternoon birthday party for my nephew at the Pump It Up in Montgomery. When I pulled into the parking lot, I literally said to myself, "Oh, crap." The lot was full of minivans and SUVs with stickers in the window from my old high school. I just knew I would walk in and find myself surrounded be memories. Thank goodness I never really dated anyone from my small school, but I just wasn't in the mood for memories. I had been at the ball park in Millbrook since 8:30 that morning watching baseball. I didn't look my best, and I certainly wasn't prepared to impress. I walked in, and saw no one in the foyer area. Madalyn watched her instructional video (of which I am certain she retained all the rules and regulations of Pump It Up for all of eternity), and we stole away to the safety of our play room.

When play time ended, we went to the party room for cake and gifts. I found myself in the corner talking to my nephew's first baseball coach. My sister in law walked over and talked with us a while, and their conversation turned to something and I tuned out until I heard a familiar name. So I stopped the man and repeated the name and said, "I know him." Of course the "how is he" and "what is he up to now" ensued, and the guy points out and says, "There's his boy right there." Sitting next to my daughter at the table eating birthday cake. Too strange. Too weird. Now this guy wasn't my first love, and I really wouldn't consider what we did to be serious. It was a little summer romance, of course when I was seventeen, that didn't make it very far. I don't remember the details, but I am certain he broke my heart, as they all did. As I allowed all of them to do. And that's what gets to me - one simple name brings me back to a place in my heart that was so tragically sad. My poor broken spirit inside that had no confidence in myself. My childish need to be loved and adored and chased and wanted by someone - by anyone.

It is the same seventeen year old spirit that landed me in my failed first marriage. Oddly enough, one of my first red flags about my first husband not being the one for me involved this guy who I talked about above. The story is complicated and confusing, but let's just say that I should have known at a very early point in my dating relationship with Tom that he was not worth my time. But I didn't. And I vividly remember telling this guy Chris that I didn't want to lose Tom. I didn't want to lose him. How pathetic. How terribly sad. I was more concerned about losing someone - a someone who did not deserve me or my love - than I was about my own happiness. I just don't get it. I just don't understand.

So I am now in this weird frame of mind. In this weird state of memories that I just wish weren't there. You know, you go about your life, and you live the most of it in the moment and kind of forget how you got to be where you are today. Until something so small and insignificant brings it all flooding back. It is an uncomfortable feeling trying to reconcile who I was then and who I am today. How I allowed myself to be hurt and wounded by so many. But mainly by the one. But the one was just the biggest symptom of my problem.

A couple of weeks ago, Carrie posted about cardboard confessions. I had never seen them before, and it was really moving to me. I have always been fascinated by the stories behind the faces, mainly because I know how deep my story runs. I learned through my young marriage and divorce that every person has a story, and I would dare say that few tell the whole thing. There is always the obvious story that everyone knows via observation and gossip. I have always imagined the conversations that occurred about me: "Hey, did you know that Tamara got married to that guy and then she got divorced within the first year. I would have never pictured her doing that." Then there is the more personal story - -or, should I say, the real reasons behind the life events. What brought you to the cross roads is usually quite different than what people believe to be the truth. And Carrie's post got me to thinking about what my cardboard confession would be. First, I recognize that it just wouldn't fit on a piece of cardboard. Perhaps a billboard or two. Then I realize I am not comfortable sharing my story yet. I am not quite comfortable letting people in that much - letting them see the fragile soul beneath the sarcastically sassy shell. I think the world would be in shock to see what lies beneath it all. A lot of unfinished business, I assure you. A lot. Not with lost loves or silly boys, but with myself and with my God. He has done an immense amount of work on me, I know. But there is so much left to do. So much more road to travel.

Seventeen will always be my favorite number. In so many ways, I think my inner child has frozen at that age. Yes, I believe in the inner child. Never did until after the divorce, but when I experienced it first hand in a $90 an hour therapy session, I became a firm believer. We are all just kids inside. Those memories, the good and the bad, are still there inside of you, molding and shaping who you are and your reactions to life's daily events. And my poor little girl inside is feeling weird today and wanting to shove those memories back down deep inside and forget about them once more. A few days and I will be alright. Not that I am not okay, but I would actually like to feel thirty-one again. And I am looking forward to the day my inner child grows up a bit, too.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Longest Mile


On Saturday, I walked the longest mile of my life. Well, it took the longest amount of time, I should say, as I think we all know that a mile is a mile. My mom and Madalyn and me (is it I or me in this instance? - heck, I don't remember) went to the Birmingham Race for the Cure. It was kind of a last minute decision to go. I would have loved to have walked the 5K, but I knew my mom would not be up to that, so we opted for the one mile walk instead. David had baseball practice that morning (imagine that - my son had practice), so I dropped him off with his coach and we headed to the walk. Us three. Just the girls.

I didn't really know what to expect as I had never been to anything like this. I had been told by a fellow baseball/football mom that had been several times that it was an amazing experience. And she was right. There were so many people. Thousands. Those who had signed up for the race as a survivor wore pink shirts, so you could clearly differentiate them. It was amazing to see all the different women of all ages, shapes, and types that had all survived breast cancer. And then there were those who walked in honor of someone. Many had bright pink paper pinned to the back of their shirt that said "In Celebration of..." and they would write in the name of their loved one who had lost their battle. I saw several women who listed their mother and grandmother. What a tragedy to lose both strong female influences on your life. The coolest celebration tag I saw said, "In Celebration of: ME!"

One that touched me the most was a little girl who appeared to be about eight or nine years old. She had a large sign on her back, and it was a picture of she and her grandmother at a Race for the Cure a few years ago. You could tell as the little girl was visibly younger in the picture. Then at the bottom it said something to the effect, "In honor of my Grandmother who is in heaven now." It was touching as I sat there with my mother and my daughter realizing how fragile life really is. How no matter how hard we try to control the human body and fix its problems, we will never be fully successful. And how no matter what we do or say or how many dollars we raise or miles we walk, not everyone will be cured. There are just some things in life we will never understand and never be able to cure.

Saturday night, after I had bathed Madalyn, she was sitting in my lap before bed. And I asked if she had fun that day. Of course she said she did. Madalyn always has fun no matter what we do. And I told her that the day had been very special. She didn't understand it now, but one day she would know what a special day it was. Special in so many ways. To be in a group that large who are recognizing the significance of breast cancer was amazing. To walk amidst that many survivors was amazing. And to enjoy a day being grateful that my mother survived was the most amazing of all.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Cheese and Peanut Butter

I thought I would give a little update on my endeavor to lose weight with the Weight Watchers program. I must say that it has been a success. To date, I have lost seven pounds. That's a lot of weight when you think about it in terms of ground beef or bacon. Probably shouldn't have used such a fatty food reference when referring to my personal weight loss. But it does seem appropriate.

Anywho - seven down, fifteen more to go. I know that sounds like a ton of weight for me to lose when I am only a size 8. But most of my fat that has developed in the past few years is around the middle. I would credit the bulk of it (no pun intended there, I assure you) to my aversion to anything healthy during my pregnancy with Madalyn. No meat - it made me nauseated just to look at it. By the end of the pregnancy, I was so desperate to eat hot wings and like them again that I just ate them anyways, knowing full well that I would suffer in the end. I stood at the kitchen counter weeping about the fact that I didn't even enjoy the simplest of things because of the pregnancy. Hormones. Gotta love 'em. I didn't want salad or any vegetable, for that matter. So I lived primarily off of cereal (all kinds) and Little Debbie snack cakes. Oh - and powdered donuts. I particularly loved the powdered donuts in the Walmart bakery that came in a little plastic tub. They were just loaded up with powdered sugar, and when I had eaten all the donuts in the package, I would take my finger and eat all the powdered sugar left in the bottom of the tub. I am surprised I didn't enter into a diabetic coma during the last trimester. That was the true miracle of pregnancy to me. I remember eating my last container of donuts a day or so before Madalyn was born, and I vividly recall thinking I would never be able to enjoy them ever again. And I was right. I still can't stand to see them in my pantry. And when the kids want doughnuts, I strongly encourage them to get the chocolate covered kind because I don't have overwhelming urges to eat the entire bag full in less than five minutes.

I also had ths passion for Little Debbies. Every kind. I would buy them four at a time so I always had a variety. And of course I had to hide them on top of the refirgerator so that David wouldn't want to eat them all. I would have to be so discreet. If he heard the rattle of those wrappers he would find me and say, "What are you eatin', Mama?" And I definitely did not like to share. I will never forget the night Scott pulled down my basket form the top of the refirgerator and asked David if he wanted one. I was mortified. My own husband had outed me. Anyway - between the countless number of powdered doughnuts and Little Debbies and all the cereal, the weight from the pregnancy settled right around the middle. Not in my boobs, of course, because that would be flattering and desirable. Just right around my middle where your jeans button and the fat spills over.

So these are the pounds I am trying to lose. And the pounds I gained when I decided to try to be a runner and eat like a runner when I wasn't burning as many calories as a real runner would. So seven down. And I am feeling the difference. Things are beginning to feel better. The biggest difference, I would say, is in my hands. When I am eating a lot of crap - sugar and carbs, all the stuff I LOVE - my body retains a ton of water. And I always feel that in my hands and fingers in the form of tightness around the wedding band. My hands are feeling better, my waistline is getting smaller, and I do feel better.

I am still hungry all the time. But I am not nearly as grumpy about it. Food has become more of a priviledge to me, if that makes any sense. I get excited when it is time to eat instead of just eating whenever I want to. And I feel like that is a healthier way to live. But I do miss some things. I miss cheese. I didn't realize how much I loved cheese until I just decided it wasn't worth it to me. I don't like fat free cheese, and the reduced fat is still too many points, so I have pretty much eliminated it. Yesterday I had the brocolli, cheese, and rice casserole at lunch, and I sat there and just looked at the cheese like a long lost friend. And peanut butter - I do miss my peanut butter. I am an adult that could still eat a PB&J sandwich every day for lunch. And I love a good peanut butter and banana sandwich as well. But the first time I figured the points on those, I realized my relationship with peanut butter would have to change as well. These are the decisions you have to make. Especially when you know you are not giving up your Captain Morgan Private Stock with Diet Coke. He will still be in my diet, in moderation (of course) for multiple reasons. If that's my worst indulgence in this crazy world, I guess I am doing alright.

Here's to fifteen more pounds!!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Nine Years and Counting

Today, Scott and I have been married nine years. Nine years. It really seems like a long time. Yet I feel too young to have been married nine years and have two kids. So much has changed over the last several years. So much. We have been through a lot together, and we have both grown up a lot. And through it all, my husband still remains the one person I know I can sit down and talk to at the end of the day. We may not always like each other, but we have our own kind of love that works for us and our family.

All that being said - we went to lunch today in celebration of our anniversary. Why not dinner? Well because we will be at a pee wee football game tonight. So if we were going to do anything at all for the big day, it would have to be the lunch hour. I don't get out much. I know I say it, but I really don't think people understand that I mean it when I say it. I do leave the house - I go to the grocery store, Walmart, the kids' schools, sporting events and practices. But I don't go to dinner or lunch at all anymore. Not to a real place with metal forks and plates that break. And if I do go to eat somewhere, it is usually in my general small town area - not in Birmingham. So today, we went to a pretty old local meat-and-three joint near the downtown area. Scott warned me to know what I wanted before I got up to the line. The workers behind the cafeteria style line are all about getting you in and out. And I was surrounded by all these busy bees in ties (I even saw three bow ties - I didn't realize people actually wore them) and suits and high heels. I mean, there were normal people there, too, but the bulk of the crowd was busy Birmingham business people. And I just felt like I stuck out like a sore thumb.

And I have to mention that you have to drive through the middle of the ghetto to get there. Houses with wood over the windows. Trash everywhere. People standing around.

I turned to Scott as we were driving away and told him about how I feel when I am around other people - so out of place and in the way of these busy, important people. I am not in a hurry. I just have to pick my daughter up at 1:00. The floors and laundry can wait, I think. And I commented on the people just standing around outside housing projects, and I told him how thankful I was that I had a husband who wanted more for himself and his family than that sort of life. And then I told him that I still feel like I live such a sheltered life. Like I don't really know what's going on out there. I guess in so many ways I am fortunate not to know. It is just rare times like these that I realize what he does for me and my kids - why he gives up so much of his time at work and works so hard. I have been so blessed.

The lunch was so good. I had baked chicken with broccoli and rice and fields peas. And cornbread with butter. I guess there's no way to determine exactly how many Weight Watchers points were on that plate of food, but if I had to guess, I would say around 20. Way too many for one meal, but it's not like I do that every week. It was the best tasting food I had put in my mouth in weeks. And the most food I had put in my mouth at one sit down in weeks. It was the bomb. I am glad I enjoyed it so much because I may not get back out to lunch for another year.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Presidential Debate

I, like hundreds of thousands of people last night, tuned into the Presidential Debate. Even though I have already decided who I will vote for, I wanted to hear what they both had to say. What their vision for our fine country is. Their hope for tomorrow. And I was sorely disappointed by both.

It is all the same. And then more there of. And they all talk around in circles and dance around their opinions. The only thing missing is a strobe light and techno music. As I listened to their ideas on how to change the health care system, I realized that neither one of them really understands the ins and outs of its problems. They both discussed streamlining records and having them all transferred to digital files. I mean, that sounds great and all, but wouldn't that equate to higher charges for us?? Who will pay for the transfer? The individual hospitals and doctor's offices? Oh, or will the government subsidize the cost? Let's face it; our government already operates in the negative. So I feel certain that we, the tax payers, will ultimately pay for those changes to be made whether the government aids or the health providers directly pass that cost along to us in the form of higher fees. So who is that helping exactly? I guess it would prevent some mistakes form being made, but ultimately it will raise costs and not help average Americans save money or afford insurance.

I don't feel like either candidate knows what it feels like to pay for your own insurance and then be hit with high copays and out-of-network charges. Take for instance David's hospitalization last September. I first took him to our local emergency room around 4:00 am because his breathing had become labored and I felt I had no other option. It was either four miles up the road or thirty miles to Children's Hospital. Obviously, I picked the quickest choice. When they triaged him, his blood oxygen level was down to 86%. He was in distress. They immediately started the breathing treatments and took an x-ray to check for pneumonia. But they wouldn't treat him. Our hospital does not have a pediatric unit, something I was completely unaware of at the time. He would have to be transported to Children's by ambulance because he was dependent on oxygen. What I didn't know then was that a 25 minute ambulance ride would cost me $600 because the ambulatory service was out-of-network. Excuse me, what??!?? I didn't realize you should stop the ambulance driver and ask him if they are in your network. And then what would you do? Open the yellow pages and look for one that is? I don't get it.

To me, the answer in health care lies in the little details like I explained above. Our family pays $700 a month for good health insurance. And then one hospitalization cost me and additional $1000 between an ambulance ride and hospital copays. I think if our government truly wanted to help its people it would regulate the fees and copays charged for necessary services. Put a cap on things. Hold the health insurance companies to standards and regulations. Make them compete more with one another in a way that benefits us, not them. If there were more affordable private options out there, people wouldn't feel so helpless and violated. Because that's just how you feel when you open up those little statements that tell you what you owe - completely helpless because you know that you won't get anyone on the phone that cares about you or what you are going through, and violated because you have already given these people a large amount of money month after month after month yet they expect you to keep paying more and more and more.

When the candidates were talking about health care, I just got angry. Neither one of them are normal people. Maybe they were at one time, but it doesn't take long for you to forget. There they stand, perfectly pancaked and fresh for the cameras in suits that cost more than I spend on food for an entire month. Smiling. Good grief... has anyone seen Joe Biden's teeth? He is too tan and his teeth are entirely too white. I cannot trust a man who has a better tan and whiter teeth than me. Something isn't right there. And poor John McCain probably couldn't load music into an Ipod to save his life. And Barack... don't even get me started. I know these are the things that really shouldn't matter. But they do to me. Because I just don't feel represented in my own government. I don't guess I ever will. I don't even identify with Sarah Palin, and she would be the closest match to me I have ever seen. But why in the world would she want to step into this mess and expose her family to this lifestyle? She has a little baby and a daughter with a baby on the way. What is she thinking?

The gist of all this is that I don't like any of them. I don't think either one will change the world or make things better or achieve world peace. But I have to vote for the one who answered one question the same way I did. The great Tom Brokaw proposed the following question to both candidates: "Do you consider health insurance a privilege, right, or responsibility?" My husband and I looked at each other and answered immediately without hesitation. And then I was able to tell him how both candidates would answer. And I think however you answer that question pretty much determines who you should vote for because it truly represents the two parties well. In a nutshell.

And for the record, I must say responsibility, my friends. Responsibility.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Amazing

Who ever thought a weekend of absolutely nothing would turn out to be so amazing? I could definitely do that every weekend. It will probably be another year before we get a weekend just like that, however. I have not left my house since Friday evening when I pulled into the garage from football practice. And I haven't been bored or felt like I needed to escape. We just had such a great weekend doing what we ordinarily cannot do - relax. I did a few chores, like vacuuming the pool and cleaning up all the pool toys and putting them away for the winter. But other than that and a little laundry, it was just all relaxation. And the only ones who got on my nerves were my children. But that's completely normal; they always get on my nerves no matter what we are doing. Hey - at least I am honest.

Another amazing occurrence this weekend was the conviction of OJ Simpson of armed robbery. And the irony that the conviction came down thirteen years to the date of his not guilty verdict for the murder of his estranged wife. Isn't it ironic? Don't ya think? I know the two cases are completely unrelated. But I can't help but think the idiot finally got what was coming to him. I don't think you will find many people out there who don't believe he had something to do with the brutal murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend. Kind of hard to not believe it knowing the abusive nature of their relationship and all the evidence that was presented during the case. And now we have his agent who has come forward and written a book exposing how OJ's inner circle helped him get away with murder, including the confession that OJ was told not to take his arthritis medication so that his hands would swell and the infamous gloves would not fit. I just think about what kind of child OJ might have been. I wonder if his parents ever dreamed that he would turn out the way he did. So much talent. So much wasted over the past two decades. I wonder what things in his life attributed most to his demise. What makes one believe that it is okay to strike the mother of your children? What makes one believe that it is okay to go into a hotel room with guns and men and take property, whether you believe it to be your property or not? I would love to know how the downfall began. Was the emphasis of his life what he could do on the football field and not out in the fields of the world? I don't understand how you reach that point, and I must admit that his story fascinates me. I just hope as a mother that I focus on all aspects of my children. And I feel I do. I feel that I challenge David to be of strong character not just a strong throwing arm. It is just such a sad situation. And now the great football legend will most likely spend the rest of his days behind bars.

I guess it just all goes to show that you have to make the most of each day as a parent. Whether it is a lazy weekend or busy week juggling school and practice and everything else. And that is what I try to do - despite the fact my kids get on my nerves from time to time. I try to take each day and find something new to instill in my kids. Little lessons along the way that are so vital when you are an adult. When David says, "But I don't want to do that." I respond with, "There will plenty of thing in your life you won't want to do. But you do them anyway." When Madalyn is sassy with me and tells me, "NO!!" Then I have to take the opportunity to explain that she does not speak to anyone in that way and she has to obey. I just hope I can get through to them. I just hope they are learning everything they need to learn. I just hope that when they are in their sixties, they are spending their time planning retirement, not sting operations with guns to get back an autographed football.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Normal Weekend

Warning: This entire post is based on my assumptions about what life would be like if my husband worked what I call normal hours and had weekends off.

I look forward to a very normal day tomorrow. My husband is taking the day off - yes, he works every Saturday, along with every stinking weekday until 7:00 at night, with usually two days off in a month (other than Sundays). So I am very much looking forward to a Saturday morning like most people get, involving not having to get out of the bed before 7:00 am to iron work pants for the man of the house and telling the kids to get their own freaking Pop Tart of the pantry. I mean, seriously. There are some things they can do for themselves while I lay in bed for a few extra minutes.

Later in the day, we will enjoy the beautiful Fall weather we are having while the kids play outside. It doesn't really matter what we do because we have ABSOLUTELY NO WHERE TO BE . Yes, you heard me right. No work. No football practice. No baseball practice. No tournament. No game. No nothing. I know that the last phrase was a complete grammatical nightmare. But that's just how crazy I am feeling right now knowing that I have no duties tomorrow. It is like a little vacation day for me in the midst of a life where every day feels the same no matter what day it might be because my husband is always at work and we have some sort of practice or game every day of the week. I am so excited, I literally might explode right in here in my pleather desk chair. But then who would clean up the mess? I need to simmer down.

So, tomorrow, we will pretend that we indeed are a normal family. We'll watch football and probably pull out the little blow up bouncy thing for the kids. They will ride bikes and Power Wheels. We will look as American as American can be. And probably, by late Sunday afternoon, I will be ready for the American family to leave me alone for a while. But I am looking forward to experiencing how the other half lives when daddy is actually home for more than a few hours.

Happy weekend to all!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Let Them Eat Chocolate

I have been trying to blame my horrible mood and anxiety on the economy or my kids lately. But I think today there is no denying that it is hugely hormonal - these feelings of aggravation, frustration, irritation, and homicidal feelings. Seriously, I think I could kill someone with one hand right now. And then, I would probably eat them because I am so freaking hungry.

Weight Watchers is going well. Or, I guess I should say that I am following the regimen well. My soul is not faring as well. I am a food addict. I have no doubt. I don't really look like one, I know. I am a respectable size eight. But no one can even fathom the amount of food I can sit down and eat. It is unbelievable. And the Weight Watchers program has made me realize how out of control my eating habits had become. So I am starting my fifth week today, and I am still hungry. Gnawing hunger. All day. I don't know what it means. Am I really hungry? Is it acid reflux? Am I a nut case, and is there some one out there right now preparing my bed at the nearest institution? I don't know...

All this comes together when I say this - I had to eat chocolate today. Don't get me wrong; I eat chocolate, in some form, every day of my life. And I will until the end, unless a doctor shows me cold hard evidence that I am severely allergic and it could kill me. Normally, I will just indulge in one or two Hershey kisses - usually the dark variety because that is just my fave. But today called for a higher dose of meds... 5 little mini chocolate candies (two mini Snickers, three mini Mars). Oh, and I can't forget about the half of a mini I had to eat because Madalyn declared she didn't like it after taking one bite. You didn't think I could throw it away, did you? That would be wasteful. It is times like these that if I hadn't been in the same room with her when she was born, I would have to ask where she came from. How can you not like anything chocolate? Unless it has coconut in it, and then I can excuse it. But chocolate, white fluffy nougat, and caramel all together - what's not to like???

Anywho. I have some monster snakes in my head right now. It is like this whole eating thing is breaking me down. I am losing weight - 5.5 pounds so far. But being forced into a different relationship with food is messing with my head. It is making me even more grumpy than I usually am. But I will continue on with a much healthier approach to my life. And hopefully as the pounds continue to come off, my dependence on things like chocolate will diminish. Maybe a little.