Thursday, February 25, 2010


My little girl drew this portrait of me when I was four, and I thought you'd like to see how much I've changed since then.

Monday, February 22, 2010


I just sent out 69 (teehee!) fundraising emails regarding the half-marathon I'm going to walk in early June. Immediately afterward I felt the urge to send a second email, apologizing for the first. It's not that I don't believe in the cause, I just feel so, well, whorish, asking for money, especially from people I don't necessarily know all that well. I hate to cause a sense of obligation among people I care about, although I've donated to or purchased from many of them in the past with nary a concern.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Blue February

As I walked this morning I heard so many birds singing that I was reassured of the arrival of spring; the thought brought a (relieved) smile to my face. Later, however, I slipped back into a blue funk that has haunted me for days now. I don't know if it's February doldrums, or something hormonal, or maybe it's altogether unrelated to any of that. I do know that I am restless and frustrated, and I have been thinking poisonous thoughts about my children and husband in the wake of the slightest infraction. I just want to crawl into my bed and be ALONE, with no demands or expectations, no whining or complaining, and no responsibilities. I did get four errands run this morning, and three loads of laundry, and tonight I will sleep in clean sheets. Perhaps that will be enough to bring me out of it. Or maybe I just need a good cry. Until then, I think I'll ignore the laundry that needs folding, go take a shower and lose myself in a cheesy gothic romance novel.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Me? An Exercise Addict?

I am in no way an athlete. Any similarity to those sleek, competitive people who like getting out and sweating is purely coincidental. Which makes the following so much more surprising to me: I am learning to like exercise for the sake of exercise, and I'm coming to need it every single day (including weekends and vacations).

My first experience with exercise was watching my mother and aunt (we all lived together when I was little) attend an aerobics class. They hated it. Someone in their class had t-shirts made that said something along the lines of, "Mikki's class - whine, bitch, moan, complain, whimper" etc etc. I don't know how long they did it. I just remember watching that random group of women through a glass window, sweating and groaning, and later celebrating their survival with a cigarette and glass of scotch. They joined a gym later, lifting weights and maybe walking on a treadmill. I participated a little, more for the novelty of it, but again I saw that exercise is an odious chore faced reluctantly and whose accomplishment deserves a reward (again, a glass of scotch and a cigarette).

I can't say I've never exercised. I played soccer in fifth grade, but that was a game. I ran cross-country in high school, but it made me cry (and occasionally vomit), and thus was not to my liking. Search and Rescue practices (when I was at UWC) were entire weekends hiking through forests, over mesas, and down gullies. Calculating backwards I probably covered fifteen or more miles in a day back then. And oh, I felt strong and competent and even beautiful. But going for a run? A bike ride just to get my heart rate up? feh! Thus athletics became a sideline - I was the volleyball team manager, I cheered the basketball team. But I was never the one in bright polyester satin.

Don't get me wrong - I love the feeling of a good day's work. The ache and sweet exhaustion from hauling and digging; the first deep breath at the top of a climb; the grace of a perfect ski run. But I do better with a goal. My garden blooms and feeds me; we search for a lost person; the house is tidy (and yes, housework IS exercise, thank you very much!).

I blame the dog for the change. She requires walking, and the consequences are dire if I don't take her out (poop. 'nuf said.) So, I drag myself out of bed while the household sleeps, put on some shoes, and walk. I've hated it, especially in the winter, but it's better than having to clean up, or having to face those guilt-inducing eyes when I'm too lazy to get up.

But sometimes the sky is too gray, the room too cold, and the excuses come too easily. This morning I couldn't get up. It's snowing, and and dark, and I wanted a shower and just five more minutes in the horizontal, so I rebelled.

I discovered, however, that even though I was clean, and rested, and the dog voluntarily went out in the back yard, that I was grumpy. I had a low level of cranky going on, for no apparent reason. It didn't go away after loudly hustling the reluctant ones out of the house, or when my PTA meeting was over. I was growly all over. So when I got home, instead of settling down to paying bills or dealing with emails, I looked at the blue sky and warm sun, and took the dog for a walk. Wouldn't you know, ten minutes later I felt a warm glow rush over me, and I found myself chatting to Teddy and generally feeling good. Despite the cold my nose and fingers were warm, and I was telling myself to go a little farther, a little faster. Let's see how far we can go in thirty minutes. And I realized, I'm no athlete, but I kinda like this exercise.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Clean Trash Cans

I washed out one of my trash cans this weekend. It's the one I use for recycling, so I don't generally put a liner in it, and drips and splashes had congealed into a sticky mess at the bottom. I could no longer look at it without grimacing. So, a few spritzes of 409, scrub scrub, scrub, and voila! a clean trash can. I immediately tucked it back under the sink where it lives, unseen by any but me, and felt good for the rest of the day about getting that taken care of.

I'm actually kind of pleased that I felt compelled to wash out a trash can. I know, it sounds totally silly -- both to be pleased and to wash out a trash can -- but it's the kind of thing my mom and my mother-in-law do, and I like the fact that maybe I'm starting to be more like them. You see, both are extremely intelligent, capable people; of all the yardsticks I use, I measure myself against them the most. None of this "what would jesus do?" stuff for me. Nope, Meredith and Vi set the standards for me. Not in a nagging back-of-the-head kind of way (unless I'm beating myself up, but I'm practicing being nicer to me) but in a "this is the right way" or "this is how it has been done traditionally" or, best of all, "this is the smartest, most efficient, and it'll make your life easier in the long-term" kind of way. For years I teased and laughed at the "silly" things they would do -- like scrub a trash can until it was nearly new. But (finally!) I believe I am starting to learn basic wisdom, and much of it is being handed down by these two wonderful women. So when I feel compelled to clean out a trash can which only I ever see, and at the same time I know it's the kind of thing my role models would do, I'm kinda pleased with myself.