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Friday, January 30, 2009

The Spin Cycle: The Soundtrack of My Life

So I am finally participating in Sprite's Keeper's Spin Cycle. You see - I'm not always so good with direction from others. (stop smirking, mom and dad!) I like to go my own way. I don't like the pressure of an assignment. High school, college, grad school...they're all over. But this week's topic is one I can do: MUSIC.

I truly cannot imagine a world without music. It would be entirely too quiet. There was always some kind of music in my house growing up...my dad liked to listen to Wolfman Jack on the radio; my mom liked to listen to Anne Murray and Neil Diamond records; my dad even sang in a barbershop chorus, complete with the most hideous yellow polyester suit with gold sequins and a red bow tie.

As I got older, I had my own little radio in my room and always had it on. I can sing the lyrics to songs from 30 years ago (and yet I can't remember what I ate for dinner last night) (OK, bad example...I had Spicy Thai Noodles - also known to me as Lily's noodles. Long story). I can usually tell you - with astonishing accuracy, if I do say so myself - what year a song came out by picturing which bedroom in which house I first heard it. (I moved around a lot as a kid...military family, don'tcha know). In fact, this uncanny knack causes several of my friends call me "Radio", in reference to the Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Ed Harris movie in which Cuba Gooding, Jr.'s character always has a radio with him. (For the record, I did not actually carry a radio around with me. I just always had the radio on in my room).

Hearing a song can transport me to a different time and place. A certain song can remind me of someone I hadn't thought of in awhile. An upbeat song can lift my mood. A heavy beat might make me want to dance. It's no wonder to me that my job REQUIRES music. What fun would a group exercise class be without a soundtrack? Studies have even proven that people workout longer when listening to music. In my classes, people frequently sing along. The music makes it fun.

My favorite song? I have no idea how to answer that. It changes every day. Maybe even more than once a day. Sometimes I'm in the mood for some cheesy 80s pop. Other times I may prefer classic rock. Or maybe a little bit of country (not too much - I don't like anything too twang-y). My iPod contains an eclectic mix. I like it that way...and so do my kids. One day, they will ask to hear Ozzy Osborne's "Crazy Train"; the next, perhaps "the Keep Bleeding song" (Leonna Lewis); sometimes they request a silly song called "There's a Carp in the Tub" by Robbie Schaefer (if you have young kids and can't stand hearing songs from Disney movies one more time, you should check him out. He is a lyrical genius and quite the comedian) (Not that there is anything wrong with music from Disney movies. In fact, I like quite a bit of it. But all that cheeriness can get on your nerves).

I think I'll go turn on the radio now.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Skiing

Our ski trip to West Virginia was a success! But it sure didn't seem like that would be the case on Monday afternoon. Upon arriving on the slopes and putting the skis on the kids, Megan proceeded to stand still sobbing "I wanna go home" for at least 10 minutes straight. And Jake fell down the first time he tried to get on the little conveyor belt thing and got really mad at me for "making" him go skiing. And me....well, I wanted to cry, too. I couldn't believe that we had spent close to 8 hours in the car to come up to this beautiful mountain so I could listen to my kids complain. Enter Eric. Daddy to the rescue, thank goodness. Clearly, Eric was not as exhausted or exasperated as I was and was able to persuade Megan to actually move from her sobbing spot. And Jake - after a successful ride up the conveyor belt and a successful "run" down the tiny ski school slope, he didn't want any help from anyone. "I can do it myself!"

Around 3:30, I had to ski down to another lift so I could ride it up to check into our condo. It was one of the longest, slowest ski runs I've ever experienced (well, except for the time when my sister fell down, tearing her ACL, and refused to allow me to call for help from ski patrol. We were on the LONGEST run on the mountain on our way back to the condo and I think it took us over an hour to get down the mountain) Anyway - off I went to the "real" slopes. It was steeper than I expected. And I was feeling way older than I expected. And I was thinking that perhaps this whole skiing thing wasn't a good idea after all. It was overcast and snowing fairly heavily. The slopes had been chopped up by the gazillions of other skiers that had gone before me. I had no goggles, my toes were frozen and I felt like I couldn't see a thing. I also felt like I couldn't ski worth a damn. I went slow. I was cautious. I was nervous that I would fall, tear something and be laying on the snow forever waiting for someone to rescue me. But, alas, I made it to the proper lift to take me to the check-in desk without breaking anything, without falling down, without working myself up into a total panic.
Tuesday was a new day. While I was carefully making my way across the mountain on Monday afternoon, Eric had devised a fabulous way to ski with the kids. He would stand next to Megan or Jake and hold one end of the ski pole while they held the other. They held on tight and off they went. So on Tuesday, Megan and I paired up and Jake and Eric paired up and we went to the beginner slope. By 3PM, Megan and I had made 18 trips down the hill and up the lift. It was truly a toss-up as to which she liked more...the skiing part or the riding the lift part. Megan had half the slope in stitches: as we would ski down the hill, she would scream at the top of her lungs "go faster, Mommy" followed by "Yaaaaaaaaahhooooooooooooo!" It was a hoot. Meanwhile Jake and Eric "accidentally" traversed down a blue slope. They made it down without any injuries, but Jake did fall down once...and hasn't let Eric forget that!

I once again got a chance to go ski some of the other slopes and I felt like a whole different person. The steep hills didn't phase me. I found my rhythm. I was having fun. I flew down the slopes. Thank God! I still had it. I wasn't turning into a nervous Nelly. But the sub-zero temperatures got to me and I went in to give Eric a chance to snowboard until the lifts closed at 4:30. (Seriously - the air temp was about 12 and the wind chill was making it feel like -6! That is freaking cold!) It was a great day.

Wednesday morning, Eric and I tagged-teamed again: he stayed with the kids while I skied and then vice versa. I was at the top of the slope when Ski Patrol took the ropes down (we were staying at the top of the mountain) right at 9AM. I swished. I swooshed. The slope was in perfect condition. It had snowed about an inch or two after the groomers came through so there was a nice powder on top of he neatly combed snow. It was unbelievable. If only it hadn't been so darn cold. Those four runs on Wednesday morning made every tear, every whiny moment, and every scowl worth it. And to top it all off...Megan declared that she wanted to go skiing on her birthday EVERY year!
photo by Jake

This was the view from our condo

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

On this date...

Four years ago today, I was hoping for the weather to clear so Eric could fly back to Kodiak.

Four years ago today, I was lucky enough to have my mom and dad by my side.

Four years ago today, I needed all of Laura's sarcasm I could get to take my mind off the pain.

Four years ago today, I was hopped up on morphine. It wasn't really helping.

Four years ago today, I was not so patiently waiting for the anesthesiologist to finish up with a 12 year old boy who needed his jaw surgically repaired.

Four years ago today, I was being wheeled down to the OR just as Eric arrived at the hospital.

And four years ago today, I had a beautiful daughter.

Happy Birthday, baby girl!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Classic!

Jake's first basketball game was last night. I think the final score (after four 5 minute quarters) was about 10 to 4. Check out Jake's (#11) skills:

video

I couldn't have planned that! Classic.....

Monday, January 12, 2009

Shouldn't the parents get sedatives, too?

Megan's dental appointment this morning went as well as to be expected. I was braced for a rough day when I woke her up and told her where we were going. She cried. But...the most stressful moment of the day occurred when the dental assistant told me "the Dr. will try her best to get all of the teeth done today. If not, we will have to schedule another appointment."

"Oh hell no! We will not be doing this again nor will we be paying the ridiculous amount of money for the sedation that insurance doesn't cover. She's gonna need to finish it all today", I told her.

Megan took her sedative and we watched a Dora video while waiting for it to take effect. She protested a bit when the assistants came to take her back to the exam room, but I was informed that the crying stopped upon the administration of the laughing gas. I should hope so. All 10 teeth that needed reshaping were finished and I was sitting with Megan just 1 hour after it all started. The poor thing looked a little puffy and a lot worn out, but she was in pretty good spirits and thoroughly enjoying the grape popsicle she was given. Soon after getting in the car and going through the drive-thru at the closest Starbucks (if the dentist isn't going to dole out sedatives to the parents, then Starbucks after the fact will have to suffice), Megan was fast asleep. She slept all the way home and even took a 2 hour nap, complete with slightly strangled cat.



She seems back to her normal self. Glad that's over.
The two hour nap enabled me to finish making and installing a new window treatment for the sliding glass door in our newly-repainted kitchen:

I'm not sure if the picture really gives a true representation...there actually is quite a bit of red in the fabric I used. And the brown(ish) background looks really nice with the brown walls in the next room. I really love the red walls. Wish I had painted it red the first time!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

A much-needed distraction

Tomorrow morning, I have to wake Megan up 90 minutes earlier than normal, tell her that she cannot have any chocolate milk or eggs for breakfast, and then drive her 45 minutes to the dentist. As if that is not enough, once we arrive, she has to be sedated so the dentist can fix several of her teeth...she's got some weird-ass shaped teeth that are just asking for cavities. The dentist has to drill and fill her teeth to reshape them so that they don't rot out of her mouth. Great fun. So....I'm a little bit stressed about how the whole morning is going to go. She does not like the dentist already, and all she has ever had done is a cleaning. Again...great fun. Can't wait. Sarcasm. It's a coping mechanism.

Enter our crazy cat. For some reason he was out in the garage. Don't know how or when he went out there. I kept hearing some strange noises from the direction of the garage, but never did investigate. Eric did. As I was coming down the stairs after putting Megan to bed, I run into Eric at the bottom of the stairs holding Max the cat. Thinking that he is bringing the cat up to Megan (he likes to sleep on her bed and she only sortof strangles him while "hugging" him), I step out of the way. But he just stands there. I look a little closer and realize there is something stuck to his back left paw. It's a sticky mouse trap. And it caught my cat.

Luckily - although it won't sound like it at first - a small bird got stuck on one of them in our garage last week. I felt horrible for the little guy but didn't know what to do. I updated my Facebook status to reflect my dilemma and was informed by several of my friends that pouring some vegetable oil onto the pad would dissolve the adhesive and set the poor little bird free. How do these people know such things? Alas, I did not receive this information in time. Tweety did not make it. But I filed that little helpful hint away, even though I was sure that I wouldn't ever need to free an animal from a sticky mouse trap. After all, they are designed to catch the little squeakers. Why would I want to free them?

So there we are in the front hallway with a cat stuck to a mouse trap. We suspend the cat over the kitchen sink and I open up the bottle of Wesson and start pouring. Note: cats do not appear to like it when you pour slimy cooking oil on their paws and will likely shake their paw vigorously in an attempt to rid its fur of the offending substance. So we put the cat down in the sink to complete the removal process. After dumping approximately one gallon of oil on his foot, I am able to pull it free of the gooey glue which has now turned into some sort of gel-like goo that seems to be multiplying. Now that his foot is free, Max again commences the paw-shaking in response to the oily foot. A quick flick of the faucet and a speedy wipe down with a paper towel follow. Crisis averted.

Max appears to be doing fine, but he won't stop licking the paw in question. Oh - and Piper keeps following Max around sniffing at his paw.

For the time it took to free the cat from the trap, I wasn't stressed about inflicting terror on my baby as I take her to the dentist tomorrow. I was too busy wiping up oil spatters from all over my kitchen.

Wish us luck.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Better than coffee

Unfortunately, I have discovered a way to wake up that worked better than coffee: a very suspicious dog.

With today being the first day back at school and Eric being out of town, I decided to set up the coffee maker to automatically start at 6:30 this morning, knowing that I would need a jolt of caffeine to jump start my day (16 days of sleeping in really wreaks havoc on your ability - and motivation - to get up early).

6:30 AM...Piper wakes with a start and runs out into the hall and begins barking in her deepest, loudest bark possible. She usually saves this for the UPS man. This of course, gives me a heart attack. And since she usually only barks that way when strangers come up to the house, I am a little bit panicked that someone is in my house, although, logically, I'm pretty sure this isn't the case. In my haste to get out of bed, I managed to knock my glasses behind the head of the bed and can't find them since I am blind without them. I ran to the bathroom and put my contacts in as fast as I could and jog out to the hallway to see what was the matter. Piper is still standing at the top of the staircase growling and barking, and I'm getting a little freaked out. That is until I hear it.....the sound of the coffee maker! Apparently, Piper thought that someone broke into our house to make coffee! I went downstairs and poured myself a cup of coffee and realized that I was plenty awake and might not need the caffeine this morning after all (who am I kidding? Of course I want..er....I mean...need it). I drank it anyway, despite my already racing heartbeat.

Paranoid dog? A dog who hates coffee? Or just a good watchdog? Doesn't matter....I can rest easy while Eric is gone, knowing that no one will get into my house to make coffee without my knowledge!


Look at that face! Could you be scared of that face?