Thursday, January 29, 2009

::treadmill casualty or reason no. 89 why I hate the gym::

Well, if I'm going to laugh when other people get hurt, I guess I have to laugh at my own dumb ass. And share it. Because god knows if it happened to anyone else in my general vicinity, it would end up here.

So my friend Laura (who is running the marathon with me) and I went over to the gym to get in our daily workout. We were on side-by-side treadmills and at one point, I hopped off to go turn the fan on, and then stepped back on to continue my run.

Only I forgot that I'd left the treadmill running.

As soon as my foot hit the moving treadmill, I was down. I swear it happened in slow motion: me casually stepping on and then slowly going down...down...down onto my side, where I could not move because a) the damn treadmill was moving so there was nothing to grab on to and b) I was too stunned and laughing too hard. So I just stayed there laughing while the moving rubber gave me a road-rash on my leg.

The very best part? EVERY ONE IN THE WHOLE GYM SAW IT HAPPEN. The cool, young, athletic attorneys...our administrative director who competes in Iron Man competitions....the gym staff....the ex-Marine who works in my program. Ooooh yeah, no one was able to miss me, laying on my side like a beetle and Laura laughing so hard that I think she peed her pants a little bit. My saving grace is that because it was still running, it eventually spit me off the back end.

Oh, I wish I had the video from the security cameras. I'm pretty sure that's going to be a classic in the gym-staff break room.

Gratuitous injury photo: they are both actually MUCH worse than they look. I swear.

Oh, and then Laura had to go and tell me that once? She knew someone who got a scrape like this and that person ended up spending a week in the hospital with a raging staph infection and the doctors thought they were going to have to amputate her leg. Isn't that a great story? I tell you, Laura's the person you want by your side when training for a marathon.

Oh man

Look at this: paragliding on Maui. Eeek! I may have to do this...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

::soaring with birds::

I don't have many regrets in my life; but one of the things I've always regretted is not trying Paragliding when I had the chance.

Who doesn't dream about flying, soaring with the birds? I've long thought that some day I want to try sky-diving. But as I get older, I realize that there's just something inherently WRONG about jumping out of a perfectly good airplane. Paragliding seems not only considerably safer, but much more like actually FLYING as opposed to just hurtling toward the ground at 180 mph.

When Eric and I lived in Pacific City and owned our coffee-shop/bookstore, every summer Saturday morning a group of Paragliders would meet at Migrations for coffee and to establish their plan for the day. Pacific City, specifically Cape Kiwanda, was a GREAT place to Paraglide due to the safety of the sand-dunes and the wind currents coming up off the ocean. One young couple were the instructors, and they told me that they would take me up for a tandem-flight any time I wanted, for free, for "allowing" them to use our shop as their meeting place. At first I was busy working every Saturday morning...and then I was pregnant....and then Eric convinced me that I would be a baaaad mother to risk orphaning our small, helpless child.
Whatever. It totally would have been worth it.

But I'll NEVER forget this one day: It was during what would turn out to be our last year in Pacific City. It was Mother's Day and Eric was working. So Anna (who was two and a half at the time) and I climbed up to the top of the highest sand-dune overlooking the ocean. It was a glorious, uncharacteristically warm and sunny day. We could see for what seemed like hundreds of miles out to sea. We wandered down to a little saddle between sand dunes where there was no wind at all and it was just the perfect temperature. We were laying on our backs, looking up at the beautiful blue sky....when all of a sudden, out of nowhere, a Paraglider with a beautiful rainbow-canopy came soaring right over our heads. Anna squeeled with delight and the guy gave us a big smile and wave...and he was gone...soaring out over the Pacific ocean. It just felt sooooo magical.

Shortly after that we moved away from Pacific City forever....and I never got to take the instructors up on their offer.

Someday? Now that Anna is able to feed herself and, according to her, doesn't even NEED me anymore? I am going to Paraglide.

Anyone want to join me??

Monday, January 26, 2009

::grace of small things 2::

1. Beautiful blue sky and sunshine for the first time in weeks
2. Listening to This American Life podcasts on my IPod...
3. while running 4 miles today! Whoohoo!
4. red licorice
5. It's hardly a small thing, but I am so blessed by David's HUGE love of both Anna and me. (see his comment on my previous Grace of Small Things post). Seriously, how did I get so lucky?

Friday, January 23, 2009

::grace of small things::

1. Laying in bed with my daughter's long legs draped over mine as we each read our books
2. Flannel sheets the color of dark chocolate
3. Feeling strong during my daily run
4. Listening to Story-Corps every Friday morning during my drive to work
5. Strong, organic coffee in a heavy crockery mug

Wage your own battle against embitterment and participate in Grace of Small Things

Thursday, January 22, 2009


On the day of the inauguration, my sister issued a challenge . She made the point that while our new President is certainly inspiring, each and every one of us needs to get involved to make a difference in our world. It's true: change starts with each of us. No one person nor a new administration can fix all that is wrong. We must each be willing to do our part.

As many of us are struggling to buy groceries, to make the mortgage or rent, not to mention the luxury of health insurance it is easy to say "What can I do? Hell, I need help myself!" The challenge is to look outside yourself, past your own struggles and to realize that you do have something you can give. Each day, opportunities present themselves for us to make a difference, to show kindness to our fellow man. It can be, as my sister said, gathering your extra blankets or gloves or coats and dropping them by the park where homeless people congregate. It can be taking a moment to help an older person load her groceries into her car. You can surprise an elderly neighbor with a warm home-made meal. Perhaps your kids have outgrown some of their clothes or toys; donate them to the local shelter for women and children. If you are crafty, use your talents to knit or sew hats or blankets to donate to the local hospital or cancer-care center.

This morning on NPR I heard a story about veterans coming home who have not been given the government assistance they need. They have had to resort to relying on the kindness of strangers and there is a website you can visit. Needs range from money to help pay their mortgages to baby items to a washing machine requested by a soldier who suffered terrible burns.

The challenge is to go out into the world each day with an open mind and an open heart and find opportunities to make a difference. Change begins here, now.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

::wonderful day::

*I am so grateful that I work for an Indian Tribe so that I got to watch the Inauguration LIVE!

*I am so PROUD that Dr. Martin Luther King's words about "judging a person not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character" came true today.

*I am proud that we elected a leader who is smart, articulate, capable and, I believe, genuinely wants what is best for ALL Americans, not just the wealthy, white ex-frat-boys.

*I loved seeing people of all colors on that stage today.

*I love that he flubbed his lines during his oath of office.
*I was stunned and pleasantly surprised that Obama acknowledged that we are a nation of Christian, Muslims, Jews, Hindus....and non-believers!
*I believe that, while President Obama has a huge mountain to climb to "fix" things in this country, he is going to work toward making this country what we all hope it can be.
*I LOVED just seeing images of "W" boarding a helicopter to take him back to Texas where he belongs. I am thankful that I never have to hear that man speak again.

*I believe that this country will never be the same after today. In a very good way.

*I am excited that for the first time in my life, we have a leader that I believe in.

It's a glorious, beautiful, hopeful day.

Friday, January 16, 2009

::things I learned from my mom::

My sister posted about the things she's learned from our mom, and asked us to share some too. Of course I learned most of the things she posted about (Maresie Doats! YES!!! I love that song!) but here are some of the most important things I learned from our mom:

1. Handmade gifts are more satisfying to give and more appreciated than store-bought.

2. READ. Anything and everything.

3. The difference between "putzying" and "puttering".

4. That you don’t need to spend $60 on moisturizer at Macy's when Oil of Olay works just as well.

5. That mothers are surprisingly FAST when you've uttered something you shouldn't have.

6. That a good dog is as much a part of the family as the people. And often preferable.

7. That when working around the house, if you TROT you can get more done in a shorter amount of time. And then you get to sit down.

8. Laughter really IS the best medicine.

9. When cooking, take time to dance in the kitchen. It makes the food taste better.

10. You can endure just about anything if you have a friend to sit in sunshine and laugh with.

11. Regardless of how many porcupine quills you’ve pulled out of a dog’s nose or puppies you've delivered or how many scrapes, bruises and gruesome accidents you’ve handled as a mother, if your daughter chooses “natural childbirth” it’s best to stay in the waiting room.

12. Offer advice only when asked for it; otherwise offer only quiet support. (ok, I'm STILL working on that one.)

13. Whatever you have, SHARE it.


Now dear readers, what have you learned from YOUR mom?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Marathon training is going FINE, thanks for asking

I just HHAAAAAAD to go open my big mouth and invite my friend Laura to run the Portland Marathon with me. Ironically, the very same weekend (and unbeknown st to either of us) that I decided to do Portland, she decided to do one in Las Vegas. We are both marathon virgins. So I talked her into running together. She agreed, and NOW SHE IS TRYING TO KILL ME BY ACTUALLY MAKING ME RUN. And LIFT WEIGHTS!!!

After several days of hurting in places I'd long forgotten I ever had, I finally feel great today! Unlike other times when I vow to start running again, this time I am pacing myself and taking it slooowly. I'm sticking to the training plan and only doing what the professionals recommend. This is going to be my key to success, I can feel it.

And then Laura, who rolls her terrible eyes and gnashes her terrible teeth at me whenever I so much as mention a day of rest...well, she'll be eatin' my dust.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Go get some kleenex, then watch this.

(sorry about the ad at the beginning; no avoiding it...)

Watch CBS Videos Online

This is a beautiful message.

(Thanks, Cole, for sharing it!)

Monday, January 12, 2009

If only I could find a pony that wouldn't crap in my living room

Text message sent by Anna to her dad on the way to school this morning:

"Hi dad. Ive been a real buger since you left. Mom says shes gonna trade me in for a pony."

Saturday, January 10, 2009


I've gone and done something slightly mad. I signed up, this morning, for the Portland Marathon. I have never run a marathon in my life, so what possessed me to think it was something I could or even should do?

I have always had body-image issues. In my teens and throughout most of my 20s, I was too skinny. Now, before you think "Oh, boo hoo, Olive Oil", my sisters and I can tell you that being too thin is just as painful as being too heavy. In high school in the early 80s, leg-warmers were in. I got some and wore them UNDER my levis (pulled aaaallll the way up to my crotch) in order to make my legs appear less stick-like. I did not wear shorts in public until I was 20 years old and then only because I was in a foreign country where I didn't know anyone. My oldest sister has NEVER worn shorts in public and she is 52. I was actually called Olive Oil by certain mean-spirited people, and I HATED it. I once had a girl corner me in the bathroom of a bar, when I was 21, and DEMAND that I admit to being anorexic. If only she knew how desperately I wished I weighed 10 or 20 pounds more.

Then, in my late 20s, my wish came true. Suddenly, I started gaining weight. Friends who'd known me all my life could NOT believe that I was no longer a string bean. I know they secretly LOVED it. And I did too, for awhile. I actually liked having boobs and curves in places I'd never had them before. For the first time in my life, I felt like a woman instead of a 11 year old boy. I had always been a size 4...and then I was briefly a six...and then and 8...and now I'm a pretty solid 10. For awhile I was pretty comfortable in my skin, feeling like a "big girl" and being ok with it. But I'm not anymore. I am sick of putting on clothes and feeling like they look a size (or two) too small. I am sick of looking at darling clothes (like the ones in my post below) and thinking: "If only I were a couple sizes smaller, I would buy that and it would look great on me!" My thought-process now, when shopping is "Will that hide my stomach?" And I'm sick of it.

I went from feeling too skinny to look good in clothes, to feeling too heavy to look good in clothes. I have never been truly happy with or in control of my weight or my body, and it's time.

Last night David and I went to dinner with our friends Sarah and Carla. Carla is on a very strict "eating plan" and she has lost 120 pounds in the past 2 (I think) years! She is so cute; she brings a little scale to restaurants, orders a plain chicken breast (NO sauce or oils) and a side of steamed vegetables. Then she whips out her scale and weighs it all and eats only her allotted portion. I KNOW that I do not have the discipline to diet, and so before I get to that point I need to get moving. Anyway, at dinner, Carla and Sarah were telling us that they are going to do the Portland Marathon; they are going to walk it. And so, after I'd had a glass of wine (or two) and I got fired up and declared "I'm going to do it too!"

I have been an off and on runner my entire life. I actually LOVE to run. But I enjoy it only outside; I can not stand gyms or treadmills. I have run a few 5ks in the past and I do better at sticking with it if I have a goal such as a race. So a couple of times a year I'll start running for a week..or two...maybe three...and then I stop because my hips hurt, or my knees hurt, or I have a cold, or it is snowy get the picture. If there is one thing I excel at, it's QUITTING. I am a champ. I can't tell you how many unfinished sewing and knitting projects I have in my sewing room.

But this has to be different, and that is why I am announcing it to the world, to be accountable.


And along the way I am going to get fit and healthy and I hope to stop having the reoccurring dreams where I am so weak that my legs don't function. I am going to show my daughter what it looks like to set a goal and achieve it. I am going to lose weight and I am going to feel good about my physical being for the first time in my life.

And so I need all of you to hold me accountable and ask me how my training is going so that I stick with it.


PS. It's time for another edition of "Celebrities: WHAT were they thinking??" Head on over to Hair Thursday to read my post there.

Friday, January 9, 2009

I want to live inside the Mad Men set

Oh my. I did not need to discover this on-line shop. It's called Mod Cloth and sweet baby jesus, I want one of everything. And it's not expensive. It's all modern but with a very retro look.

I'm envisioning myself 20 years younger, 5 inches taller and 30 pounds thinner, living in NYC with a fabulous job in publishing. This would be my wardrobe.

This dress is my favorite. Oooh my. LOVE these shoes.

This coat? I'm really not sure I can live another day without this. NEED this.

Sigh. I was born 30 years too late.

Happy Friday everyone!

parenting epiphany

I was just reading Alice's Finslippy post entitled "Notable Moments In Exceptional Parenting part 64". Damn that woman is funny. You know how I laugh my ass off when people fall down? Her post is the parenting equivalent of that. Only, I am laughing with her, not at her. Well, mostly. Because the thing about parenting? No matter how smart we think we are, we ALL have those forehead-slapping moments.

Anyway, in her post (which you really should read in her own words) she tells how her young son has suddenly been having problems sleeping. He is tired and irritable and seems distracted at school. The teacher mentions this to Alice and wonders if there is anything going on at home. That could be keeping him awake at night.

Oh, you mean, aside from scaring the bejeebus out of him every night by reading Harry Potter as a bed-time story??

It reminded me of my own parenting epiphany recently. As you know, my (only) child is 8. EIGHT. And it just recently occurred to me that when she is unreasonably moody and snappy and behaving generally like the Tasmanian Devil? You might try FEEDING HER. Just toss a bagel or a banana her way (careful not to stick your fingers in the cage!) and within 10 minutes or so, peace will be restored to the land.

I know! Who knew??

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Well the good news about all these f*ing snow days is that I have more time to contemplate my navel and then spew forth with my thoughts via this here blog thingie.

My wonderful niece, Heather, wrote a post today about religion. Like me, she is a non-believer, although unlike me, she feels a hole left where the comfort of believing in a higher power used to be. She also mentions, briefly, the challenge of answering when your child asks "Who is God?" This struck a chord with me because the weight of explaining religion to your child has been troubling me lately.

The truth is, I am one of those people who believes that children in public schools should not recite the Pledge of Allegience. I strongly feel that God has no place in our public schools. I would be one of those parents who openly protests our children saying the Pledge of Allegience except my mother would disown me and I like my mom, and also, I don't want my kid to be "the one whose mother is a devil worshipper." So she says the Pledge of Allegience every day, putting her hand over her heart and reciting "One nation, under God..." even though that makes approximately as much sense to her as it would if they said "One nation, under The Easter Bunny..."

Or, as she recently told a classmate as they discussed the upcoming Christmas holiday: "I don't believe in Santa and I don't believe in God either." Now, this wouldn't have been a problem except that that child went home and told her mother, who then contacted the school's before-school-program (where the conversation took place) and demanded that my child be told that she was not allowed to say that.

(insert a mental image here, if you will, of me with steam blowing out of my ears)

This made my blood boil because it hurt Anna's feelings. She is very, very sensitive and felt like she was in trouble for stating something that is no more controversial than mentioning that she had Cheerios for breakfast. Second, THIS IS A PUBLIC SCHOOL, paid for by the taxes of not just Christians but also atheists, agnostics, Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Jews, Pagans and worshippers of the Flying Spagetti Monster.

I mustered as much self-restraint as is possible for me and I fired off an email to the teacher at the before-school-program, the person who "had words" with Anna. I made sure to explain that I trusted that she was simply appeasing the other parent, but reminded her that the very point of school is EDUCATION. Not indoctrination. Children attending public school are going to be exposed to ideas different than their own. I would have LOVED to been able to speak to the other parent, to remind her that Spokane is full of private Christian schools, and if her precious little angel is not to be exposed to "heathens" then perhaps she should fork over the money for a school where God will be presented as fact.

I later received a phone call from the director of the program and was assured that there would be a conversation with the children, reminding them that there are many, many different religions and beliefs and that ALL must be respected.

My struggle is this: we live in a predominantly Christian community; how can my daughter "fit in" with children who attend church and believe in God? Frankly, I'm surprised that they have these conversations amongst themselves in the second grade, but they do. Last night she told me that yesterday at school she was talking with some friends and when she mentioned something about evolution some of the other kids (although not all, I'm happy to report) got mad at her and and informed her that evolution was not true and that God created us.

What confuses and frustrates her (as the 8 year old that she is) is that she knows one thing (evolution) to be true and yet other people believe just as strongly that we were created by some dude with gray hair and long robes only a few thousand years ago?? She is a well-read kid; she is fascinated by science and she knows that people roamed the planet millions of years ago.

Now, before you get your unders in a bundle, you should know that I encourage her to learn as much as she can (and yes, I will help) about other beliefs so that a) she can have informed conversations and b) she may very well decide that something else makes more sense to her.

But as she said last night, as she recounted the conversation she'd had at school yesterday, "Why can't we all just believe ONE thing, like that humans just started falling out of the clouds?"

I thought that was a beautiful image. As long as no one got hurt, of course.

I wish, of course, that she could be shielded from these weighty issues for a few more years. I wish that we lived somewhere more progressive (Seattle, Portland...even Bend or Eugene) where my daughter, with her understanding of evolution, was the NORM rather than the minority.

I wish God would just tell me how to handle this.

out of the mouths of babes, part 2

I was just reading Imez's post about the plastic crapola that our kids (especially little ones) are given to play with. Everything is plastic, and 99.99% of it is made in China. Which reminded me of one of my favorite kid stories.

One day, my friend's 3 year old became distraught because she couldn't find one of her toys. She was throwing one of those 0h-so-fun tantrums that 3 year olds specialize in, the kind where there is NO reasoning with them so you'd better just go hide in the closet and suck your thumb until said child passes out.

My friend, tired of the crying and whining finally said, in complete exasperation: "Oh for god's sake. It was a piece of plastic crap made in China!!"

Her daughter, now more confused than ever, looked up at her mom and said "It was NOT made in my 'gina!!!"

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Tell me this:

Is it wrong to choke a co-worker who insists on using the speaker-phone for EVERY. SINGLE. PHONE. CALL??

Seriously. Do we all need to hear you and your wife discussing what's for dinner you colossal douche-bag???

Just wondering.

Carry on.

Curious, George.

This is old news, but I just heard it, so forgive me. Here are the answers given by recent presidents, when asked to name the "best moments" of their time as LEADER OF THE FREE WORLD.

Jimmy Carter: "I think the best time was probably dealing with the Middle East issue at Camp David," he said, "and even better I think was the peace treaty that came along six months later. I made a very difficult decision over the almost unanimous opposition of my cabinet and my staff to take the initiative and to go to Egypt and to go to Israel to try to get Begin and Sadat to agree on a peace treaty. And when they did sign-both of them signed the agreement-I guess that was probably my best moment."

Bill Clinton said: "So many things have happened here at home that have been important to me; passing economic plan, passing the Brady Bill and assault weapons ban, so many things have happened internationally, the role that I was fortunate to be able to play in the peace process in the Middle East and in Northern Ireland, but this could have the biggest long-term positive consequences if we do it right." He then went on to mention things like, you know, peace-keeping missions, promoting freedom, democracy and human rights around the world.
How did our current esteemed leader George W. Bush answer the same question? He said that his “best moment” was catching a big fish in the lake on his Texas ranch. "You know, I've experienced many great moments and it's hard to name the best," Bush told the German weekly Bild am Sonntag when asked to name the high point of his presidency. "I would say the best moment of all was when I caught a 7.5-pound perch in my lake.
Later reports revealed that the largest perch ever caught was 4.3 pounds, and that Bush probably was talking about a large mouth bass.
Good-bye George. I'm going to miss you, you big meat-head.

Monday, January 5, 2009

out of the mouths of babes

Anna's friend stayed the night Friday and at one point she asked Anna and me "Is David staying the night here?" I explained that I am married to David now. That Anna's dad and I used to be married, but we got divorced. "I know", she said. "My parents almost got divorced because my dad cheated on my mom." I didn't know what to say...and she continued "It wouldn't have been so bad except he told us he was going out of town on business but he went on vacation with his girlfriend instead. He lied." Wow. Too much information to give your EIGHT YEAR OLD, no??

Last night Anna and I were watching Animal Planet (big surprise) and we were talking about Australia and how cool it would be to go there. Then we talked about Hawaii (where we are going in 31 days!!!! But who's counting?) and the Galapagos islands and other tropical locations where you can see cool animals and fish. Then Anna says "Oh! You know where I am DYING to go???" I'm thinking Africa, or the rain forest in South America or even Alaska...but she says "I reeeeaaaaallllly want to go to CABELAS!! They have a fish tank there the size of Grandma's house!"

Cabelas. That's my girl: aim high.

Friday, January 2, 2009

::reason number 846 why I love my commute::

I just saw TWO WOLVES. Oh yes I did.

Despite having spent the majority of my life in Idaho, I have never seen wolves in the wild.

My commute takes me from my home to Spokane (E. Washington state) down through the Palouse-country of N. Idaho to the Coeur d' Alene Indian reservation where I work. This morning I was on the lookout for elk and moose; when the snow is so heavy in the mountains they can often be seen at lower elevations looking for food. At one spot where I have seen elk herds walking along a ridge, something caught my eye and lo and behold, there were two big wolves bounding through the deep snow. They were MUCH bigger than coyotes, and had that distinctive tail. I came to a complete stop in the middle of the road and watched them run from one stand of trees to another. They were so beautiful it gave me chills. Eventually they disappeared into the trees and I started driving again...and as I'm driving along with my mouth literally hanging open, I come upon two moose about 20 yards off to the other side of the road, a mother and a yearling. Then around the next corner there were about 16 wild turkeys in the road.

Whenever people ask me how I can stand the 40-mile-each-way commute to work, I just laugh. I'll take this over 10 miles of bumper-to-bumper traffic ANY DAY.