Today I found something extraordinary in the mundane; a nugget that was nearly overlooked amidst the chaos of my morning routine.
I was in the bathroom, getting ready for work - straightening my hair and running late, as usual. Bumblebee had the lid down on the toilet and was sitting on it, flipping through a book her teacher gave her for Christmas and chattering away at me.
I'm not a morning person. God help me, but I think that talk in general should be prohibited until I'm at least halfway through my second cup of coffee. My youngest child, however, does not share my disdain for the early hours. She is a chatterbox in the mornings. Sometimes this incessant chatter gets in the way of my mental to do list in the mornings, and, though it shames me, I'll admit it: I become annoyed. This morning, Bumblebee kept talking on and on and - Oh for the love of GOD - on and on. Annoyed and hurried though I was, I didn’t say anything to her to discourage the talk, and I didn't ask her to leave the bathroom so I could finish getting ready in peace. And thank God for that.
The Boy was running around the house getting ready for school, doing his morning dog chores. I kept occasionally calling out to him to keep him on task. I had a particularly stubborn section of hair that didn’t want to behave, no matter how I used the flat iron or what kind of product I used. When I tried to work on the errant piece of hair, the cord of the flat iron knocked over my hair spray. Argh. I was frustrated. You know, typical getting ready in the morning routine. And all the while, the sound of Bumblebee’s voice was in the background.
I sighed. Decided that maybe today was a good ponytail day. And then I froze as I realized what was happening. If I could have gotten a magic remote control and stopped life for a moment, this would have been a good scene.
Bumblebee was reading me the book her teacher gave her. She wasn’t just looking through the pages and reciting cherished lines that have been memorized for years - this was an unfamiliar book. She was actually sounding out the letters and reading about a penguin who asks Santa to let him fly.
B: “Fuh - luh - eeee. Flea?” Me: “No, the ‘y’ makes the ‘eye’ sound in that word.” B: “Fuh – luh – eye. Fluh-eye. FLY!”
She was really reading. What an amazing event to witness. In the midst of my crazy morning, I tried to reflect upon the moment so that I could sear this memory into my brain, this event that could have gotten overlooked if I’d have succumbed to my irritation and frenzy. I wonder how many other monumental moments I have missed in the hustle of everyday living. For me, this is a wake up call to try and be more aware of my surroundings. Because that kid’s only going to be in Kindergarten and learning to read for a blink of an eye.
I always get a good giggle out of obvious errors made on news websites. I have an eye for catching these published blunders, and my friend Webgal and I often email them to each other just for the chuckle.
The one I found yesterday was especially good. It was the leading story in the 'Things to Do' section of the news.
The headline reads: Ames Victims Were Stabbed to Death. So...if you're looking for things to do, would you like to be the stabber or the stabee?
I am not new to exercise. I run regularly and have been doing so for about two years now, though I'll admit that I'm slow and only go 3-4 miles at a time. I also walk. A lot, and have done that for a long time now. And yet, those last fifteen pounds are still stuck on me like the jelly that is always on my counter tops since The Boy began making his own sack lunch for school.
I haven’t found that magic pill to lose weight, though I hear it has something to do with restricting the amount of cupcakes, cookies, bread, and fried stuff that I shove into my mouth. Since that food restriction thing isn't working out so well for me, I figured I’d also work on building muscle strength. Cardio is something I enjoy and do frequently. Strength exercises, not so much. We joined a gym and Hollywood and I decided to take a kickboxing class. It meets at 5:30 a.m., and is a giant pain to wake up for, but that’s another gripe for a different day. The class was hyped as a mix of cardio and strength training. And it’s only 45 minutes long, so I figured why not? I can do just about anything for 45 minutes.
Or so I thought.
Monday was our first class. We jabbed and hooked and upper-cutted and crossed. We did some kicks and squats and jumpy things. I tried to beat the snot out of the bag, but my punches were ineffectual and weak. It still felt good, even if it looked wimpy. Then we did a ton of ab work. My abs have all the strength of a six pack:
– of PEEPS. Soft, squishy and marshmallowy. Yep- that describes my abs. So I wasn’t real keen on doing a ton of ab work. But I powered through.
And we survived the first class.
Until yesterday. When it hurt to breathe. I’m not kidding. Apparently we have muscles that line our rib cage in our back. Google tells me that they’re called the Latissimus dorsi muscles, which I believe is Latin for 'don't eff with me or you'll be sorry'. I didn’t even know they existed, but was acutely aware of them all day yesterday. When I sneezed once, I almost fainted from the pain.
Thank God for Advil and a good night’s sleep. Today they are only faintly sore. So, we piled our sleepy selves into the car at 5:15 this morning and went to torture session class #2.
It started out innocently enough. Again with the punches and the kicks. And aside from me screwing up the order almost every time we did them, I did mostly ok. Then we did more ab work, some push ups, and finally, this horrible thing that almost killed me…
Here’s an illustration of it:
You have to lean against a wall and squat down until your legs make a 90 degree angle and just hold the position as if there’s an invisible chair there. It looks easy, but holy mother of Cheetos, it hurts. We had to hold the pose for a minute and a half and I seriously thought I would die. I’ve seen it on The Biggest Loser. As I sat on my couch with a bowl of cereal in my lap, I'd scoff at the contestants who always seemed to wimp out doing this particular exercise. Pfft. That looks easy, I'd think and tuck another pillow beneath me. I remember seeing Jillian screaming into the faces of exhausted contestants as they cried while doing this pose. Now I know why. This morning's class knocked that smugness clear off my chubby little face.
I left the class with shaky legs, but no worries... It was so cold outside (-4) that the rest of me was shaking along with the legs in no time.
Oh, and Hollywood’s experience with all of this?
No pain. Only complaints that she could only do seven “real” push ups before going to her knees. (I did one. And it was half-assed.) God how I wish I had the body of a 15 year old again.
I'm taking a trip down memory lane today. I'm going through the five years of pictures that I have stored on my PC and am uploading them to web albums as a backup. While doing this, I found the video below. I've never seen this video before - Hollywood took it on her birthday two years ago. That's her horrible messy room in the background. But oh my gosh, how cute is Bumblebee?! Her tiny little 3-year-old voice is so adorable! And look how little she was!
I should be cleaning my house since my awesome mother-in-law is coming to stay with the kids while The Husband and I go to St. Paul for his company's holiday party this weekend. (See how I did that? I called her awesome so that she won't care about the mess... No really, she is awesome. I'm not kidding!) Instead of cleaning, I'm glued to these old photos and videos that I'm archiving. Oh well. She's seen the mess before, and at least I got the sheets and blankets washed on our bed!
I had lunch today with a friend. Seated in a table near us, was a man sitting alone, drinking coffee and mumbling softly to himself. While we were eating, he showed us an article he had printed off of a computer website. It had a large picture of Clint Eastwood on it. “See this article on Clint Eastwood?” He said.
My friend and I looked at each other for a split second, acknowledging the awkwardness, but we both politely nodded our heads yes to him. The man then said, “He’s been in a lot of movies, hasn’t he?”
I said yes, he had, and then my friend and I continued with our conversation. While we lunched, the man continued to mumble to himself and he showed the article to another couple of ladies seated close by. Their reaction was identical to ours. At one point, the man started gesturing wildly and shouted loudly at someone across the restaurant. “HEY ED! ED!” he called, waving his arm until the man waved back at him.
I was pretty sure that he was just lonely, wanting someone to talk to. But I’ll be honest. He made me nervous. My overactive imagination started thinking of the headlines: Woman Shot By Clint Eastwood Stalker Man at Bagel Shop. Family Says Christmas Won’t Be the Same Without Her. I hope my family would say that. Well, and not mean that it’d be a better Christmas for them… But I’m drifting off course here.
I wasn’t rude to the man – I am obsessively polite to strangers. I looked him in the eye and nodded to him, and agreed that, yes, Clint Eastwood has indeed been in a lot of movies. So why do I feel like I let the guy down somehow? It seems like I did the poor guy a disservice because I was getting all itchy sitting there by him. There was a small part of me that was honestly worried that he’d go off his rocker and pull out a gun. The Husband would totally roll his eyes at me for having this thought in the first place, he thinks I worry about and over analyze everything. (Should I worry that he thinks that about me?) But seriously, you guys, this stuff happens. Remember the guy who opened fire at a Von Maur in Omaha last year around this time? I was sitting in that booth chatting with my friend about work, but all the while, my mind was whirling in a million directions, always keeping track of that guy’s movements.
After we left, I started to feel guilty for those thoughts. How horrible for me to suspect violence or craziness from this guy who probably doesn’t have many friends. Isn’t it sad that I jumped to those conclusions just because he wanted to talk to us about Clint Eastwood?
I tend to think of myself as a positive person, but my recent glass half empty post and now this don’t support that claim very well, do they?
I was texting Hollywood earlier about her basketball game tonight.
H: The game’s at 6.
Me: Great. We’ll be there!
H: Ok, but be warned: We’re going to lose.
Me: That’s not a good attitude! Confidence, girl!
H: So false hope is better than the truth?
Me: tsk, tsk
H: You know I’m right
Me: No, I’m always the right one, remember?
H:(always wanting the last word, even while texting…) Not quite.
It could have gone on forever, but hey, I only have 500 texts a month!
Anyway… This textversation made me wonder… Lately, I’ve been contemplating some rather deep issues, and this notion of false hope vs. optimism has entered my mind more than once.
Is it better to have an ‘anything is possible’ ‘CAN DO!’ attitude? Even when the odds are stacked so high against you that you can’t see over them?
Or… is it best to be realistic and accept that you may not be able to change the inevitable?
Does the ‘can do’ attitude beget success where the ‘realistic’ attitude dooms you to failure? Or are the 'anything is possible' folks disappointed all the time?
I’m not sure. Some days I’m a glass half full person. But other days I’m not. I'm split, depending on the day and the situation.
The Husband once had a professor in college who gave a lecture about positive thinking. Her mantra was that if you thought hard enough about it and truly believed it would happen, then whatever you wanted would come to pass. TH asked her if he truly believed that there’d be a front row parking spot at the mall on Black Friday, then would it really happen? Her answer was yes.
I don’t know, though… I just can’t accept that. I get that you should build up that 'you can do anything' message to your kids. (which is why I tsk, tsked Hollywood for thinking they'll lose tonight...) I think a person can accomplish many things with sheer determination. But anything you want just by believing in it? I just don't know... Life is messy. Some things aren’t changeable, no matter how hard you try to make the outcome different. I tend to think it’s best to be realistic and prepared. I’d love to be convinced otherwise, though, because the optimistic, Can Do! spirit is so much more cheerful. Anyone know of any good reading about this subject? I'd love to know your thoughts...
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