Tuesday, September 28, 2010

No Dumping.

Last weekend, MiniMac and I hit the loop around our park for our traditional Saturday morning pre-sweltering fall day in Atlanta run. Because it is slightly cooler than the summer of 100+ degrees, there are many people out this particular morning. At one junction, there were more people on the sidewalk than passable so we had to slow down to a brief walk which was perfect for witnessing the following: A Mom, out walking with two adolescent kids, were heading the same direction we were. The son sees this sign posted down one stretch of the loop very near the river.

Upon seeing the sign, he exclaims, "How stupid is that. Like anyone would go to the river and take a dump."

His Mom, likely accustom to such things, merely said, "Trevor."
His sister, likely accustom to such things said, "Idiot, it means dumping trash or garbage. Not taking a dump." 
Trevor said, "Oh."

I thought: That is hilarious, TREVOR. Maybe you need a dictionary. OR better yet, maybe Daniel Webster can be your new friend on Facebook.
And then I thought: HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA. Adolescent boys! You have to love them!
And then I thought: Oh &$%#@). My toddler will one day be an adolescent boy! Oh no! No time like the present to begin working on his vocab. And noting the difference between bodily functions and littering.

Trevor likely thought: I wonder why that woman is taking out her Blackberry and taking a photo of that stupid sign.
If so, I would then think: All the better to mock you with my dear! 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Snack and Story

The last time I participated in a Snack and Story time was quite a distant spot from now. But I remember it well. The teachers who used multiple voices to bring characters to life were always the best loved storytellers. Someone's Mom would bring cupcakes or cookies and story time was a peak in the day. And also a great tool by which to keep children in line: misbehaving meant no story time for you.

I likely would not have even recalled Snack and Story times from yesteryear had one of our son's teachers not mentioned this activity in his classroom. Each week a parent is asked to bring a great book, treats for the kids, and spend 30 minutes with the munchkins.

Having a fairly limited schedule this time of year, I wanted to fit it in. MiniMac helped me make mini muffins the night before and must have told Daddy I was coming in for story time no less than a dozen times.

Often wondering how the teachers can possibly endure 14 toddlers at one time, I found that Snack and Story day brings out the very best in them. I read a book we were given by my Mom's doctor as a baby gift called Skippyjon Jones. It is fantastic.
As I read the book, all the kids sitting around me in a circle, with MiniMac on my lap I used different voices for all the characters, just like the best story-time readers did back when I was coming up.

14 faces mesmerized and captivated reminded me there was a time when something as simple, free, and easy as someone reading you a story was the best part of your kid day. And although it is far from a Golden Globe, the teachers told me I was the best parent story-reader. I will take that award.

And to be honest, seeing them so intently listening, and knowing exactly what that felt like, Snack and Story turned out to be the best part of my day too.

Monday, September 20, 2010

What is my excuse?

Let's kick off Monday with some good news. 

A 42 year old Frenchman swam across the English Channel this weekend. That fact alone is outstanding. Even as an athlete, swimming is not necessarily my gig. I can swim but have never swam 4 pool lengths, or across a lake, and most certainly not across the English Channel. But Philippe Croizon did and to that alone I say, "CHEERS!"

But, Philippe is not your ordinary man who likes to swim like a fish. Philippe is a quadriplegic. Sixteen years ago, he was electrocuted by a powerline and all of his limbs needed amputation. While in recovery, he saw a documentary about a swimmer crossing the Channel and suddenly, he had a new goal. 

So he trained for two years and finished the challenge only slightly slower than other athletes might. And he reported, dolphins swam along with him for a portion of the time.
The father of two said he wanted to complete the dare "for myself, my family and all my fellows in misfortune who have lost their taste for life".

Well, if that is not kick ass, I don't know what is. Bravo to you Philippe for not merely  completing the "dare" but also reminding us how incredibly important it is to have that taste for life.

So when you consider your own goals, do you need to dust them off a bit? Or are those goals pinned to the forefront of your life? Some of mine are pinned to the forefront but one goal is so dusty, I almost don't recognize it. Time to let it shine. Because if a man with no limbs can swim across the English Channel, what is my excuse?  

And thank you Philippe. You made my day. This is exactly the type of bad-assery I like the most.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Into the wild

Chatting with my Dad (SD) one Saturday, we laughed about the first summer I spent in Alaska with he and my Mom, and the night he took me to one of the rowdiest bars in America to see Jimmy Buffett play. My mantra after that night: ALASKA! Into the wild! This will be crazy summer o' fun.

As mentioned before, the island in Alaska was long on ruggedness and short on college woman. After being there a few weeks, I was no longer perplexed at their renewed sense of protectiveness. The protectiveness that would be driven to extremes during my three month stint. Why, you ask? For reasons such as this:

One afternoon, while sitting in the car near the post office with my Mom, a woolly bully man with a large beard and overalls approached my Mom's SUV to say hello. She introduced us and within seconds, he leaned around her and asked me to dinner. 

Did you request a date in front of my Mom? You have a beard!!! I don't turn 19 for weeks. I stammer out a y-y-yes, I guess so. My Mom was caught between laughing at my discomfort and cringing at her own. I had been in Alaska for less than two weeks. My parents preferred a 50 foot electrical fence around me at all times that nary a man on the island could cross. Why? Not because they were not wonderful men I am sure. But because put a baby chicken in a panther den and watch what happens.

However, my Mom knew this man and considered him nice. Hence the implied permission I could go. Did I need permission? Yes. Why? Because a few other men who asked received this response from my Dad Not a chance in hell or NEVER. Later, my Mom seemed to find the earlier scenario quite delightful as she relayed it to my Dad. Turns out, my dinner date was only 25. All that rugged air and beard just made him look a touch older (by touch I mean 20 years.) My Dad knew him as well and agreed  he was a nice young man.

My Date: He picked me up at my parents house. In his jeep and toting a very large and adorable dog. Once inside the jeep, he asks if I don't have some Carhartts I could wear. I say no because at that juncture, I am unfamiliar with Carhartts. He laughs and points to his goldeny-brown one piece jumpsuit made of teflon. These are Carhartts! Ahhhh. No, I don't have those.

Then, this yellow lab, Boomer, climbs up front and begins licking his face. Boomer clambers into the small space between him and me. Doggie face pointed towards owner. Rest of doggie pointed towards me. Precious doggie then farts. Basically right in my face. Dinner date laughs and laughs and laughs. Guess why he is named Boomer?!?!?!?! Now you know.

Is this a good time to remind or refresh that I am not in the "fart joke = hahaha" club. Several people in my family are on the Board of Directors of such club. I am the one picketing outside. I subscribe more to the theory of "if it originated in an orifice, it might not be that funny." So as I am now squeamishly uncomfortable in this small fart-laden space with a gassy pet and a cackling dog owner. I take little comfort knowing my Mom will laugh hysterically at this anecdote.

At dinner, we struggle with conversation. I believe I can chatter with anyone. Not tonight. He asks of my post-college plans. I indicate law school is my focus. He then tells me I would like his brother, who is going to Princeton. Way to sell yourself! But his brother wants to be an attorney too. His brother does not own Carhartts either. This conversation flows like mud through a straw. On the drive home, I am treated to an additional blast by Boomer.

He was very nice but there was really no need for goodnight kisses.  

I change my previous mantra to: ALASKA! Not the wild I had in mind! This will be crazy summer o' fun except when on a date and a man's dog farted. In your face. When is summer over????

Upon relaying the story to my parents, the portion involving Boomer being their favorite, my Dad exclaims enthusiastically, "Good! And I will suggest NO more dates! But, perhaps you should get his brother's phone number."

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

If your carrot took steroids

Buzz Lightyear carrotA gardener and grandfather in England made a startling discovery this weekend. While digging in his vegetable patch, he found this:

Wait a minute, have you been secretly ingesting some performance enhancing drugs, Mr. Carrot? Oh you would never do that?  You are not the A-Rod of the root vegetable family?

The man ran into his house and showed his three grandchildren. He decided to have a contest in which they had to guess what this carrot resembled.
Wait, I want to be in that contest. I guess: Brock Lesnar. No? Then what about Lou Ferrigno?  Wrong again?  Just kidding sir. I knew all along it was Snookie from Jersey Shore. 

Toy Story  
Wait. What? Your grandkids won because each of them made the correct guess? Oh, they said Buzz Lightyear? Alright. Considering that I have seen Buzz Lightyear more in the past year than in three previous decades, I should have made that connection. (But I am still giving Snookie as my final answer.)

PS: No real New Jerseyans were hurt OR taken advantage of in the making of this vegetable.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

UB40 was on to something...

Red red wine you make me feel so fine. You keep me rocking all of the time.

As I previously shared red wine has long been considered heart-healthy. With its antioxidants, flavonoids, and resveratrol, a glass of red wine a day is believed to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and improve overall cardiovascular health. And of course, I firmly believe red wine can erase the black marks upon your day from traffic, annoying coworkers, or your child shouting DADDDY DAAAAAAAADY like mine does which sometimes sounds (and painfully I  might add) like Whitney Houston.

I also shared according to The Journal of Sexual Medicine, women who drink red wine get frisky more often than woman who drink other types of alcohol or do not drink at all. The study involved over 800 women and the verdict was women who drink up to two glasses of red wine a day are more likely to unleash their inner vixen. Meow. I have allegedly put this theory to the test. Results are under lock and key.

However, I read several new interesting facts in the news this weekend about this very topic. 

First, I read too much red wine lowers inhibitions. Really? WOW. That is pure genius. Which organization led this research? Oh, the National College Fraternity Council? Or the U.S. Mens' Rugby Association? Well done.  PS: You know who already knows this? Everyone. Especially anyone who has consumed red wine. Especially those who were inflicted with the one glass too many bug and ended up doing the merengue. In a crowded bar. On top of a table. Without any music. 

This is not one of the new facts I learned. 

UB40 was onto something, yes? Penning the praises of red wine. They had no idea. And who has not sang this song a time or two? But hopefully not in a crowded bar. On top of a table. Without any music.

I also learned according to a study by Dutch researchers, wine significantly increases the life expectancy. People who drink a glass of wine a day will live 3.8 years longer than people who do not get used to it.

And wine diminishes memory problems and even risk of Alzheimer’s disease in a proportion of 80%. This is because wine prevents clots and reduce blood vessel inflammation, which favors the loss of memory problems.
And perhaps most compelling was that according to a 13 year study of 20,000 women recently released by Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, consuming 1.5 - 3 glasses of red wine every day may also prevent excess weight gain through adulthood. 

HOLD ON: So red wine can help you: Improve your heart health, unleash your inner sex kitten, live longer, AND potentially avoid excess weight gain? So your skinny, sassy, both old enough and healthy enough to enjoy it? Count. me. in.

So pour yourself some cabernet and remember, it is part of your beauty regime!

OH, and red diminishes memory problems? Fantastic. We all knew it was dirty Tequila that causes memory problems anyway but when witnessing the consumption of Tequila, it has been my discovery, people engage in behavior they perhaps are better served not being able to recall. 

Thursday, September 2, 2010


I love love.  I love the way it can sneak up gently. Graze your skin like the wind. Or ignite you as if you slid slowly down a plume of fire. The way it makes you smile unexpectedly because you think of something said to you, or the way someone reached across the table and brushed the hair out of your eyes.  I love how love can make you suddenly put on perfume everyday, wear red lipstick, or check email more often and certainly more earnestly than normal. I love how love can make you buoyant. Make you dance. Give you swagger. Make us giggle. I love how love can make you suddenly declare this is our song or create a personal mental memorial to a certain bench at a certain park. I love how it can make us take ourselves less seriously. Open our hearts.  See the world through a lens of everything is possible.

I love love and I was smitten with you, JMac, from the initial conversation.

The photo of us snapped the night we got engaged demonstrates without a doubt, one of those moments when your heart gets completely entangled and the outcome of that entanglement shines through your countenance. 

Marriage is the piece of my life in which I strive the hardest to be successful. And I should. And I hope I always do. We have learned a significant amount about each other, and ourselves, as well as how hard and how easy marriage can be.  

And from the beginning to the day we stood in front of our families and closest friends, we promised to fully participate in this relationship. To strive to really see one another. To never assume we know everything about each other.

It is about sharing our lives without losing ourselves. To listen when we are chock full of opinions. To be kinder than a busy day, a monstrous workload, the terrible traffic tells us we need to be. To be amiable. To smile. And sometimes, it is just as simple as being a smart ass when a situation needs levity. And not being a smart ass when the situation won't be improved by it.

And it is about living fully, experiencing everything we can, laughing (including laughing at ourselves at times), and being adaptable when in fact, we don't always want to be. And not only are we doing our best, our best gets better every year. And I appreciate we spend a great bit of time trying to make things easier for one another. 

And I promised you I would treat your love in my life as a gift. And I hope you have felt truth in such a sentiment. I strive to live like that because I never want to consider our relationship in retrospect and think, Wow, we perpetually took that for granted. Nor do I want to one day sit across from you and ask ourselves, what happened to us?

You have given me perspective, support, love, patience, and inarguably one of the coolest children on Earth.

My entire life made a significant gain the day we met. I didn't think a thing was missing until that very first week we dated when we recognized a simple encounter would entirely change the course of our lives.

And every day I get to wake up and love you, I am grateful. 
I am so happy you asked. I am so glad I said yes. Happy Anniversary. I look forward to celebrating this weekend.