Monthly Archives: April 2009


Back in February I decided I was worth the time, effort and money to join Weight Watchers to lose some extra weight.

I went to meetings (something I’d never done before) and counted points. Going to meetings was a huge logistical challenge for me, what with the whole working full time/parenting full time gig I’ve got, but I did do it.

I even lost some weight. Until I didn’t anymore.

And I’ve come to a conclusion.

While I’d still like to lose a few more pounds, I’m OK with where I am. I am eating much more healthfully, overall, than I had been. Oh, I’ve slipped up a few times, which mostly occurs when I dare bring ice cream into the house. And honestly, it will probably happen again, but I try to keep it in check. Eating enormous quantities of ice cream, as tasty as it is, does not equal healthy.  And I do love my dark chocolate. Frankly, I don’t know if I could get by on eating much less than I do now, long term. More to the point, I don’t want to! I love food, the healthy stuff as well as treats. And I’m not willing to give them up. But I am eating better, and I’m exercising most days, and I’m feeling good. Isn’t that as much as I can ask for?

So I bid WW adieu – thanks for the tools, but I am on my own from here on out. And I’m OK with that.

Picture the heat


A couple of things I want to point out in the photo above:

  1. The date: April 28 (2009 – that is today)
  2. The outside temperature: 95 degrees F

That is the outside temperature at my house today. My house is located in the northeast USA. New England. To be more specific, New Hampshire. Ninety-five degrees!!!!

I am not complaining – I am just amazed. I know it won’t last, but boy, I wish this translated to 50 degree January days….


Just a few random thoughts:

  1. I bought new solar lights for the walkway from the driveway to the front door today, and the package had more than I needed so I put the extras in the backyard, hoping they would illuminate the dog pen. They don’t. I may try repositioning them tomorrow.
  2. We have tentative, but firming up, plans to go to the beach on Sunday! It’s supposed to be 80+ degrees!
  3. I have been finding/making time to run most days of the week, which I feel great about!
  4. I also ate a container of ice cream in less than 24 hours. A “56 ounce” container. Good thing I’ve been doing #3, eh?
  5. Two weeks till my kid-free vacation! Can’t wait! (more details to come)
  6. Belle’s counseling is not giving me the warm-and-fuzzies. Not sure if it’s the counselor, Belle, me or some combination.
  7. Go Red Sox!

I’m embarrassed. And appalled. And I need to read more.

I’m really embarrassed to admit this — I just found out yesterday what “waterboarding” means. It causes me no small amount of shame to come here and admit that publicly.

Now, I consider myself a reasonably intelligent person. And while I’m aware (vaguely, apparently) of current events, I don’t watch the news*. I’m self-aware enough to know not to have an in-depth conversation about a lot of news-worthy topics with you, mostly because I know I’m not knowledgeable enough to carry my end of things. These last few days when I’ve seen the Internet headlines referring to waterboarding, I assumed it was some political term, like filibustering or pork barrel spending.

Then I Googled it.

And I was appalled.

I can’t believe people are doing this to each other. I won’t even go into the high level sanctioning of this behavior, which seems pretty apparent from the little I have now read about it all. Just the fact that this is going on at all, in the 21st century, is mind boggling to me. It makes me sick.

Obviously I need to climb out of my self-imposed bubble and expand my political awareness. My kids deserve it.

*Before kids I had the news on constantly, but I find that the early news is on right when we’re in the thick of dinner and homework, and our all too limited “family” time. And when we do catch a snippet of news, the questions come so fast and furious (from the kids). Some of what is in the news is simply not appropriate for them, but I also cannot pay attention when I have constant chatter going on. Seriously. Try watching a show (any show) with my kids in the room. I dare you.

AI on AI

That would be – (My) Artificial Intelligence on American Idol. I love reading what other people have to say, and I’m feeling more opinionated than usual tonight, so you get my take too.

We’re down to 7, only because the judges used the “historic” judges’ save last week to keep Matt around, but that just means we’ll see two leave us this week. The theme was “Disco “. OK, here we go, in order of appearance:

Lil: She sang Chaka Khan’s “I’m Every Woman”, which I must confess I thought was Oprah’s personal song. I thought she did an acceptable job, and showed a lot of energy. This seems to be her type of music. I just don’t know what the poor woman has to do to please those judges though. They were brutal. Simon is probably right that this was her last performance.

Kris: This kid is adorable, but I didn’t care for his super slow version of Donna Summer’s “She Works Hard for the Money”. I got bored and fast forwarded through it. The judges loved it. Can’t say I agree.

Danny: I have loved Danny from the beginning – I love the raspiness to his voice and I think he’s adorable. He sang Earth Wind and Fire’s “September”. It was a straight version, done technically well. I did get some Taylor Hicks flashbacks in the performance (full disclosure – I loved Taylor in his season), and the judges ate it up. I can’t help feeling that if Lil had done it the same way they’d have called her “karaoke”.

Allison: Every week I say I can’t believe she’s 16. Honestly, the pipes on this kid are super human. She sang Donna Summer’s “Hot Stuff”. She put a slightly different spin on it, which I don’t think she needed to do. I’d have loved to hear her do it straight up since she has great energy, but I enjoyed it.

Adam: He sang “If I Can’t Have You” by the Bee Gee’s, from the Saturday Night Fever sound track. He slowed it way down and poured emotion into it. I thought Paula was going to cry right there on the judge’s stand. I have not always liked his versions (“Ring of Fire” was a train wreck), but he’s always unique, and I really liked this. I also liked his “Clark Kent” look tonight.

Matt: Oh boy. This was pretty bad. He sang “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gee’s. Herky jerky motions and poor vocals. The save last week was not worth the effort. The hat was ridiculous. Sorry Matt.

Anoop: He sang “Dim All the Lights”, originally done by Donna Summer. I’ve been an Anoop fan from the beginning too, but this rendition was average. I’m sure he’ll be bottom 3, but I don’t think he’ll go home. But I agree that real men do wear pink!

My predictions: Bottom 3: Lil, Matt and Anoop, with the bottom 2 of Matt and Lil going home. We’ll see!

(Final) My thoughts on the judges: Randy is not saying anything worthwhile this season. He’s either wishy washy or generically enthusiastic, but either way adds nothing. Kara, the new judge, is stunningly gorgeous (I can’t take my eyes off her when she is on screen, there I said it), but there is a cockiness to her attitude that bugs me. I’m not sure she has “shown us who she is” (to quote an oft-heard judge’s comment). I find it odd and irritating that Paula is often seen dancing during performances, and I already commented on her being near tears during Adam’s performance. She is overly emotional most of the time. I do like that she nearly always has something positive to say. I think the performers deserve to have someone say something nice, even if it’s just that they look gorgeous. Simon was wearing a T-shirt I swear I could see through. But I watch because he calls it like he sees it, and I agree with him more than half the time. It wouldn’t be AI without Simon.

Well, this was fun. Now I should probably go vote for Danny, Allison and Anoop.

Bogged Down in the “little” Things

April is a particularly busy month for me, logistically.

In my state your car registration and inspections are done in the month of your birth. For me, that’s April. Oh, and taxes are due in April (I filed mine in February, but still!).

Let’s see, what else do we have? This month I also have to get back to the lab for a blood draw to check my cholesterol level after changing my medication in January. Belle is going to counseling once a week, which she can’t get to on her own. I have my semi-annual dentist appointment next week and oh yeah, I’m preparing to leave my children for 5 days in less than three weeks, and the preparations required for that (for me, them, but mostly my mother, who will be staying with them while I’m away) are substantial. Things on my “would like to do list” before that trip are: get a hair cut, pedicure, clean the house, ensure food in the house for all meals my mom will need to prepare, and probably too many other things to list since I’m already stressed out just writing that little bit out!

So back to the car. My car is four years old and the front tires have been looking pretty bad for awhile. I had intended to get them replaced before the long trip we took just after Christmas, but that never happened. It was the looming April inspection deadline that spurred me to do something about it (finally!), and last week I had 4 sparkling new tires put on my car. My credit card is still warm after that $700 charge. This morning I had a half hour buffer between dropping Belle off at school and my next set of meetings, so I swung into the quick service oil change place on the corner for an overdue oil change and inspection. Some 40 minutes later I rolled out of there, having turned down every extra service the young, eager and well-schooled technician tried to push on me, with my shining 2009 inspection sticker and (presumably) fresh clean oil coursing through my car’s veins.

I feel lighter, knowing the car stuff is done. None of it was particularly difficult (though expensive), but it took time, which I have precious little of. Now I can concentrate on all the other things on my to-do list, and hopefully be able to kick back and really relax when I leave town on May 9th. Not that I’m counting down or anything.

Report Card – Too bad it doesn’t go both ways

Krystal brought home her third quarter report card today. I don’t know if this is true everywhere, but at her school the first and second grade report cards are, how do I put this, a joke. No, that’s not fair. They’re not jokey, but they’re not serious either. Her report card tells me nothing as a parent about her mastery, or not, of the subjects. Let me be clear in that I do not have any concerns about her academically (if I did I would have been talking to the teacher way before this), and in fact I’ve so far been fairly impressed with the curriculum. We live in a “blue collar city” with some more affluent towns around us – and I think her education, so far anyway, rivals any in the hoity-toity towns to our north and west.

Her report card, which was otherwise plastered in meaningless “3”‘s (for “Meets grade level expectations”) and “S”‘s (for “Satisfactory”), had a lone personalized comment at the bottom, which the teacher apparently had to enter into a computer. The comment read: “Krystal continues to excell in all areas. Keep up the good work!” The principal had then hand-written a smiley face and her name.

Oh, if only I ruled the world….(Even WordPress knows it’s spelled wrong!)

I See London, I See Paris

Krystal sang a little ditty while brushing her teeth tonight:

I see London
I see Paris
I see Mommy’s underwear!

She got it all wrong, but her way was definitely funnier.


Awhile back I posted that I missed running. I’m happy to report that running and I have become re-acquainted of late. I’ve even been multi-tasking by taking our dog running with me. I was hesitant at first, because I was worried about her paws not being tough enough to handle 3 miles on the road, but she has adjusted beautifully. In fact, when she sees me putting my running stuff on she gets very excited.

The downside of running with an exuberant dog is holding onto the leash. My hands are getting mangled, and of course my running form is interrupted by the very act of holding a leash. I looked into jogging leashes online, and even asked at the pet store where I buy Tessie’s dog food. The owner of the shop said I was the second person that week to ask about them, and that she would look into carrying them, check back next week.

Well, I didn’t want to wait a week. I decided it was no more than a belt, so I went to Target and bought the biggest collar they sold. I strapped that around my waist, while looping it through the handle of Tessie’s leash. Voila, instant dog jogging leash, for a fraction of the cost the web sites are selling them for. My running motion is more normal and my hands are ever so grateful. And Tessie is a little motor – sometimes it really feels like she is pulling me along.

I am getting the exercise I crave, and Tessie is a happy, tired dog. All is right.

This made me cry and I don’t even know why

If you have 4 minutes, please check out this video. It made me cry (the good kind!) and I want to share it with everyone I know!

Of the Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny and you-know-who

Those of you who are my Facebook friends may remember a status update I did last week in which Krystal asked me if I were the Easter Bunny.

(Oh, and if you are not my Facebook friend and would like to be, let me know in email or a comment and I’ll “friend” you – no obligation though!)

I asked her what she thought and she said, quite confidently, that she thought I was. I agreed that indeed I was and gosh, how silly to think of a giant rabbit hopping around giving gifts. We laughed over that, and I said how happy I was to have a helper this year. She was delighted to be “in” on the secret and showed absolutely no sign of disappointment. Just like when she asked me about the Tooth Fairy, she seemed almost victorious in figuring it all out.

Two nights later when Belle was in the bathroom, Krystal sidled up to me and asked me quietly if I were the one who put things in stockings too. I had known we wouldn’t make it through another Christmas with full belief, but I didn’t expect it so close on the tail (get it! ha ha!) of the Easter Bunny. Knowing Belle would be back any second, and wanting to take some time to talk about it, I asked if we could talk later, since it wasn’t even that time of year. I thought she might forget about it for awhile in the hustle and bustle of life.

Nope – the next evening when I picked her up from school she asked me again. Just like I had with the Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny, I asked her what she thought, and she said she thought yes. I asked if she were sure, and she said she was. I dragged that out as long as I could before saying that yes, parents are Santa Claus. We then talked about how that explains how some kids get iPods and cell phones (not us!) while other kids get books and games. In our family Santa doesn’t wrap and gives one big gift and a stocking, in others he wraps presents or might give all or most of the gifts. Santa does different things in different families because that is what the parents decide to do. One of the things I was careful to say was “Parents are Santa” rather than “There is no Santa”. I also told her about how we all have the spirit of Santa in us, even if there isn’t really a man in a red suit making all the toys. When I told her I’d need her help this year to be Santa with me for Belle, she was thrilled to have graduated to the next level.

I think I was a year older than Krystal, a third grader, when I learned the truth. While I don’t remember the moment of realization, I do remember feeling so disappointed that first Christmas. In fact, that year we got a tape recorder and my voice on the (long missing) tape sounds desperate and sad as I try to keep up the game for my younger sister.

Krystal felt no such sadness, even when I told her that story. She seemed to feel it was fun while it lasted, but it’s good to know the truth too. I really admire her approach to it all.

On Easter eve I assembled the Easter baskets after the girls were in bed, but Krystal really wanted to be part of it. So the next morning I had her go downstairs to see if the Easter Bunny had come, and she came back up very importantly announcing that he had, and we all went down to see the bounty. Several times throughout the day she would say something like, “I really should thank the Easter Bunny for all this,” and then give me a big wink.

Who says they grow up so fast? I do.