Under the Quilt

I'm here. You're here. Let's talk amongst ourselves.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Good Deed (aka: what could have potentially put me on the front cover of the paper)

I still remember the film strip (yes, I'm that old. It was not a VHS but a real live film). The setting: Driver's Ed class in high school. The movie was, I'm guessing by the style of clothes and the types of cars, set in the '70's. The message was still quite clear. DO. NOT. EVER. PICK. UP. HITCHHIKERS. No matter if it's an 80-year old granny with her white, poofy-haired poodle. She might look innocent, but she also might be toting a gun under her granny smock.

Today, I picked up my first one ever. Although it wasn't an innocent grandma. And I wouldn't exactly call them hitchhikers. As I'm sitting at a very busy intersection, innocently on my way to my very boring knitting group, out of the corner of my eye I spot a woman and two children crossing in the area that should be marked with a crosswalk. I say 'should' because, in fact, there is not designated crosswalk in this VERY busy intersection. How is that possible? Are people not supposed to walk on streets anymore?

Anyhow, as they crossed in front of my van the woman approached the passenger side. She had a crazed look of desperation (this will come up later) on her face and my defenses immediately went up. Crazed lady. Approaching van. Driver's Ed film. Need to get away. Instead I listened to her request of getting a ride home for herself and her children. Apparently, their car had been towed (sounds typical, right?) and they were stuck. The children were each carrying a 7 lb. bag of cat food. One of the bags had a rip in the bottom and so they were struggling to not spill it. Did I mention this is a VERY busy intersection and the light has now turned green and I'm first in line to go? I had to think quick. Ultimately my mom instincts took over. I know I've had that same look of desperation on my face as a parent. I also did not see any large bulges under her shirt so I was pretty sure (going on blind faith) that I was not going to get shot up and left to die.

I asked where they were headed and it was sorta kinda on my way. It actually ended up making me 30 minutes late but I didn't mind. I agreed and they hopped in. (Quick sidenote: in the whole line of cars behind me, not one person honked their horn in annoyance. Only in Ohio) Along the way, the mom started to calm down a bit and the kids made themselves at home. Mom said that they'd driven over to the nearby lake and then stopped at the grocery store. When she came out, there was a police officer writing her a ticket for expired tags and making the call to have her car towed. I'm not sure if I believe this story. I'm inclined to think she was telling the truth because our local police like to pick on people like this. I've heard first and second hand stories of officers pulling over girls late at night in an attempt to "hook up". And other such things. But that's beside the point. I was, at this point, trying to get a feel for this woman. She seemed ligit. She also hadn't made a move for my purse sitting on the console, wide open with a wallet full of credit cards. So I figured I was pretty safe. The Driver's Ed video was slowly fading from my memory.

Mom said that they had been wandering, literally in circles, on this road. She said she felt delirious at one point. I know the feeling. As a parent, you instinctively want to keep your kids safe and then the rug gets pulled out from under you. And then you find yourself hitching a ride home. I wonder if she specifically came to my car because she saw a woman in a minivan. Would she have asked some rough looking guy in a beat up truck for a ride? Who knows. She said at one point (during their wandering) that she dropped down to her knees and prayed for help. So, essentially, I was sent from God this afternoon. It's a good feeling.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

I can't wait 'til Monday

What do you get when you match up two people with very different upbringing and very differing communication skills? Lots of misunderstandings, yelling, and hurt feelings on both ends.

I grew up as the "baby" in my house. Typically, you always think of the last child as being loud and obnoxious just to be heard in a household of adults and older siblings. I was never like that. I repressed feelings of never being heard, because every time I did try to speak I never felt listened to. This angered me. A lot. To the extent that I got in the habit of only speaking when I felt I had something really important to say. And then when I did speak people better listen or else I would get extremely irritated and angry.....and supress it.

Now that I'm an adult I have tried to change this really bad habit. Not only because it's damaging to me, but to those around me, specifically the people I live with. How have I attempted change? For one, I don't let people interrupt me when I am talking to them. This can be sometimes awkward because there is a natural ebb and flow to conversations. But if someone tries to interrupt mid-stream, I will most often finish out my thought even though they are obviously trying to interject their point of view. It's not that I don't want to hear their point of view. But because I so often let people stomp on my views and allowed them to not let me finish my point, I am more than determined now.

That's why I love blogging.

That's also part of the reason why, in Home Depot this afternoon, the conversation quickly changed from what tools to use to scrape paint to me making someone feel like an idiot. Because I want to (and am obsessively determined to) get my point of view across, it does not mean that I think everyone else's views are idiotic. And even as I write this, it sounds like I'm again trying to sound like I'm the one with the correct logic or that I'm "right". I know I'm not. I know that I have so much of my own "stuff" that needs to be worked through and have no idea how to begin.

I can't wait 'til Monday when I can ignore feelings and confrontations and stupid paint for at least a few hours.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Log the Jog

I'm two days into my new venture of training for a race. OK. Let's be honest here. It will probably be at least a year or more before I am ready to enter a race and have any hope of actually finishing it. But at least I'm trying!

My first day I really had no idea where I was headed, but I knew I wanted a different route than my typical one I go on for biking and walking. New scenery for a new mode of transporting my body from here to there. I mistakenly did not wear a watch so I had no idea how long I had been gone. I only have an hour in between Jesse leaving for the bus stop and when my first daycare parent arrives. On my way home I was positive that I had been gone for longer than an hour, so I attempted to jog the whole way back. Even though I knew for sure that I was keeping an anxious parent waiting at my doorstep, I could not pull out enough energy to do it. I alternated between jogging and walking until I arrived home not quite gasping but definitely dieing of thirst and exilerated (not to mention, sweating up a storm). Luckily, I did not spot anyone in the driveway. Whew! When I got inside and checked the clock, it told me that I had only been gone for 30 minutes. Really? Could have fooled me. Tonight I used my handy dandy Microsoft Streets program to map out my path. I was shocked to see that it was almost 3 miles. Woo hoo! Of course the second day I was too sore to jog more than a few songs worth and the rest of the time was spent speed walking.

I went shopping this evening for some actual running shoes as the ones I've been wearing have seen better days and don't have much support in them. Hopefully my feet and shins appreciate the new shoes. The new path I have chosen for tomorrow is 2 miles long with a few hills thrown in just for fun. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Body Image and Awareness

Like most females, I've always had a skewed sense of my body. When I was in junior high, I remember weighing 99 pounds for the longest time. I was at or close to my current height at that time, 5 feet 9 inches. Basically, I was a bean pole. Then puberty really kicked in, I got hips, boobs, the whole shabang. I don't remember obsessing about my weight in high school (thank God) or ever worrying about not eating something because it would make me gain weight. Although I ate my fair share of junk food, I also ate lots of fruit and veggies. And I was always active. I don't remember stepping on a scale at anytime during my high school years (although I must have more than once) except for my sophomore year in gym class. It was part of the Presidential Fitness Testing thingie. I weighed 141 pounds. In my eyes, I felt big. In reality, I was fit and in pretty good shape.

After graduating high school, I know I began to put on a few extra pounds although at the time I didn't really notice. I wasn't concerned. Got married. Got pregnant. Couldn't tell you how much I weighed at the beginning, middle, or end of the pregnancy. No clue at all. All I do remember is the one prenatal appointment when the nurse weighed me and then went back to make sure she had the correct file. I had gained 15 pounds in one month.

After that pregnancy I was extremely motivated to get back in shape. I bought a few Cher exercise videos and danced my butt off (literally). Even though Cher's outfits made me sick to my stomach, and I was constantly thinking 'how can someone sweat in all that glitter and sheer fabric'), it did the trick. Also, I took baby Nate for walks everywhere. We walked to the grocery store and park every day. We walked through the mall. And it worked. I didn't weigh myself at all through that process. I couldn't even tell you what size pants I fit back into. All I knew is that I felt really healthy and that was important to me.

I started taking a water aerobics class and loved it! No more sweating and boobs bouncing around during workouts! And I always felt exhilarated at the end of each session. And no sweat! I had finally found some type of exercise that I actually enjoyed. I continued taking the class through my pregnancy with Jesse. The last class I attended was 3 or 4 days before she was born. Since I knew I wouldn't be going in the water for at least the first 6 weeks after she was born, I asked the gym to waver my fees during that time. "It's not in our policies to do that." So I got pissed and cancelled my membership. Not a smart idea, but I was going to show them! Well, guess what? Yep, it was not the smartest decision I ever made as far as my health is concerned. Although I probably hadn't gained as much weight with that pregnancy, it took a lot, lot longer for it to come back off. Years. Not only that, but I gained and gained throughout the next few years until I finally realized I was huge and completely out of shape. Sedentary and eating too much junk and huge proportions. Not good on the waistline at all. I still didn't know how much I weighed, but I knew I felt horrible. I couldn't believe what I looked like in pictures even though I looked at myself in the mirror every day. How is that possible? I finally decided I was NOT going up another pant size and, by the way, the size I was wearing (18) dug into my waist and were extremely painful. Ugh. I finally decided I'd had enough.

I broke down and bought a scale. Time to face reality. The result? 231. Ouch! Time to put my plan into action. I started eating better. Every morning I'd wake up at O'Dark thirty and go for a very brisk 45 minute walk. During the daycare kids naptime, I did my 60 minute pilates DVD. I started to be able to breathe in my clothes again. It took me about a year and a half to drop down to a size 12 in pants and 175 lbs. Even though I don't want to obsess about actual numbers, stepping on the scale every week or so keeps me in check. I continue to take my water aerobics class, which I love. And I try to go for walks and bike rides in the neighborhood as often as I can. I really need to start doing my pilates during naptime again. It's a great time to do it since no one else is in the house to tease me about farting during this one pose (I did it ONCE and Jesse will never let me live it down). The pilates really helps strengthen my back and keeps the waistline from bulging which has always been a sore spot with me. (note: pooch still left from stretched out tummy skin)

I love watching The Biggest Loser as it is great motivation to keep myself in shape. It really is inspiring how drastically some of those people change their lives. Nowhere near what I accomplished. Hard work and perseverance. It'll take you far (someone slap me, I'm starting to sound like a motivational speaker).

I've found a handful of blogs written by people who've had weight loss surgery. It is really quite amazing as they log their progress, some with photos to document. Some people would say they took the easy way out. I say it's most likely out of desperation that they have chosen to alter their insides in order to get their life back. I mean really, who's going to go into something like that nonchalantly? Along with their actual weight in pounds/kilograms, they often talk about their BMI (body mass index). Out of curiosity I calculated mine. OK, I know I'm still no where near thin, but I was kind of shocked to see how much weight I'd need to lose to be in the middle of the target healthy range for my height. 25-30 pounds. Really? I'll tell you one thing. I'd rather add lots and lots more exercise to my daily routine than give up my chocolate. No one's taking my chocolate away! (really, I don't eat very much but I do love it)

Remember how running in a race was on my list of "wants"? Maybe that can be my motivation to get my butt into action. Also, I don't care about getting any trophies or medals. I just want to finish without dieing, passing out, or losing bladder control. That last one might be kind of hard. Also I think it would be an awesome feeling to be running amongst all those other racers. We shall see. Maybe I'll start logging my progress to keep me motivated. Hmmmm......

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Bad hair day like no other

This afternoon we had sort of a "hairbrush incident" at our house. Jesse was brushing her hair with one of those round hairbrushes and, oops, got it tangled up. Next thing you know (of course I'm not at home at the time) she has half a bottle of conditioner on her head trying to get the hair to slip off the brush. No such luck. She calls me on my cell phone somewhat panicked. I tried and tried and tried to loosen it off the brush, but no such luck. So she gave in and said go ahead and cut the brush off the hair. Before doing so, I explained to her the options which were very few. Go to the hairdresser to see if they could find a style to fix it.....or live with a hairbrush dangling from her head.

After leaving the salon, she was quite unhappy. I think it looks cute although her bangs (the portion that had to be cut drastically) are still long enough that they fall into her eyes and she thinks pulling them back with a barrette looks stupid. So I told her tomorrow we can go back to the salon and, very nicely, ask that they trim on her hair some more. She asked the girl to give her layers, which didn't happen. So we'll see what the end result is tomorrow.

Boy are so much easier. Just get the buzzers out and take it all off every coupla months. No prob. ARRRGGG!

On a happier note, one of the local meetup groups that I belong to is planning a two-step dancing night, free lesson included. Yeehaw! Think I can convince Ron to go with me? Not bloody likely but I shall try. :)

And on another happy note, I may be getting an infant in the next couple of days. Not just an infant, but a newborn. As in one or two days old newborn. Details to follow............

EDITED TO CORRECT: The meetup is swing dancing, not two-step. I'm sure that will make a huge difference whether I have a partner to go with or not. ;)

Friday, September 07, 2007

Stupid, stupid, stupid

I should know by now to always, ALWAYS go with my first instinct. For instance, a couple of weeks ago when a prospective daycare parent meets me for the first time and decides to leave her children with me after a five (if that long) short minute conversation. Not only did she complain about having to pay me at the end of the day (sorry, I don't do two for one deals....two children=twice the work), but I just received a copy of her bounced check from my bank. Yeah.

Or like the night we were on our way to the Rush concert and one of my daycare parents, upon finding out who we were going to see, mentions that Rush is one of his favorite bands. Instead of just thinking of offering him my ticket, I should have actually acted on that thought. Don't get me wrong. I had a good time. But it would have been really nice to do that for someone. Even though I had a nice time seeing my husband enjoy himself and reminiscing over old times, I probably would have gotten more joy allowing someone else over 3 hours of musical bliss. I'm guessing he also would have gotten more pleasure out of witnessing the underage drunken, almost threesome right next to us.

Or like last Saturday when the thought passed through my head, "Hey, you're white as a ghost. Put on some sunscreen. You KNOW the outcome will be very, very bad if you don't. Don't give me any back talk either!" Guess what?

Actually, my back had the least amount of damage. Somehow I deleted the one of my shoulders.
At least I was partially brown on my shoulders and neck area for about a week. Until yestereday when I began the peeling process. Now I just look like a freaking lizard in the molting process.

I had Ron take the picture so that next time I plan on being in the sun for an extended amount of time (longer than 30 minutes), I can look at this to remind myself that I do not tan. I was not born to tan. And no matter how much I try to convince myself, it will never happen. On the other hand, I am definitely going to be a candidate for skin cancer.