A trip home may be in order

I don't think I truly appreciated my dad for who he was until recently. When I was growing up he was a fuddy duddy, out of touch and totally uncool. The music he listened to, the vehicles he drove, the way he'd embarrass me in front of my friends, the whole bit, made me nuts.

And then I had my own kids.

Suddenly my perspective had a major shift. It was like cleaning off a smoke covered pane of glass; the way I viewed the world took on new meaning. I finally began to understand my father even though we were 1700 miles apart. Even more important, I began to appreciate him in ways that still surprise me.

My dad's not perfect. The way he raised my sister and me wasn't perfect. But I believe now with all my heart that he did the best he could with what he had. I only wish now, many years later, that I had the sense to appreciate that while I was a child. I feel as though I have robbed myself of something very special in waiting this long to come to this simple realization.

My dad's not been in the best of health lately. I've lost count of the number of times he's been in and out of the hospital. My sister has been the one, always the one, it seems, to be at his side when he finds himself under doctor's orders that yes, he must stay for a procedure. Today it was for an echo cardiogram to check out a couple of blood clots that developed after he had bypass surgery done on his legs last Tuesday. Did I mention that I found that out only yesterday? My dad didn't want me to worry. Or be mad at him. He's in the hospital, getting poked and proded and he's worried about me being mad at him.

Generally I worry when there's something to be worried about. I won't panic. I'm the levelheaded one to keep everyone calm until the facts are in. I'm losing that ability right now. I'm worried that I'm running out of time. Time to appreciate my dad. Time to tell him that I love him dearly, and I'm sorry that, as a kid, my friend and I put peanut butter and salt and pepper and Lord knows what else into the pot of hamhocks and beans that he was making for dinner. Time to tell him that it was sorta cool of him not to freak out when, while having a slumber party, my friends and I had a shaving cream fight in the middle of the street and we rinsed off our victories and defeats by jumping into the pool.

What I do know now, with a crystalline clarity, is that if I waste any more time I will be unable to forgive myself.


I had to open my big mouth

Other titles for this post include:
"What I am doing instead of what I should be doing"
"How not to spend your Sunday"
and, my personal favorite
"The Power of Procrastination"

"Why don't we compare and contrast two speeches?" she said, offering up a suggestion for the Political Science paper that we would have to do for class. ("She" in this instance refers to me.)

"Oh! I love presidential speeches" she (not the aforementioned she but the She who grades my papers) said, pulling out a massive book from her bag that had each inaugural speech since the time of Washington printed inside. I had no idea she had that book hidden in there.

And that's how we got our assignment. The "Annotated bibliography, due November 12th. Outline, due November 17th. Rough draft, due November 24th. Final paper, due December 8th." Did I leave out that this paper must be 8 pages long? Rough draft included?

You might ask yourself why I put off drafting this paper until the day before it's due. Excellent question. I suppose it's because I didn't have a moment to spare for it until today. And now my bottom is becoming flattened from sitting in this chair for so long.

I probably should get back to writing it.


My child psych paper. Because I have nothing else to post.

I turned in this paper last Friday and am awaiting my grade. Posting this is way to get out of putting much thought into a proper entry.

An hour spent critically observing Emily B. while she participated in a gymnastics class proved to be a very insightful experience into Erikson’s psychosocial stage of Industry vs. Inferiority. In this developmental stage, experienced by those six to eleven years, “children busily learn to be competent and productive in mastering new skills or feel inferior and unable to do anything well”. In my observation of Emily’s social interactions and skill building activities I was able to monitor her successes and failures and to thereby discern how these events affected her self confidence, self-concept, and to note whether these gave rise to competition within the class.

J. Eccles notes in The Development of Children Ages 6 to 14 in The Future of Children (Fall 1999) that “…children are expected to control themselves, cultivating good “work habits,” sitting quietly for long periods of time, and complying with rules and expectations for personal conduct that are set by adults.” It is precisely these expectations that Emily finds herself trying to adhere to while attending this gymnastics class. There are roles that must be filled by adults, roles that must be filled by the kids. The lines of acceptable behavior and unacceptable behavior are sometimes blurred but are generally thought of as safe to cross… or at minimum, safe to tip toe over.

Before making statements regarding Emily as it pertains to my observations in this particular gymnastics class it is important for Emily to be introduced, not as a character in a book or a faceless child under the watchful eye of a casual observer but as a young girl, full of life, love and laughter. Emily is a bright, eager, excited 8 year old girl who embodies the term “bookworm”, a third grader in the gifted program at school, and a child for whom most everything has come easy for in her short years. She enjoys making banana bread with her father, playing video games with her sister, and cuddling with her mother. She squeals with delight, growls in frustration, openly chases boys at recess (much to the distress of her mother), and has the tendency to entice others into a state of hyperactivity. Self-contained this child is not.

The gymnastics class begins with stretching. Emily finds herself at the back of the group of roughly fifteen girls in the corner. This gives her plenty of room to perform jumps, backbends, and “tuck and rolls” and enough distance from the group leaders so she can converse with her neighbors unobtrusively. She makes friends and initiates conversations easily. While the loosely structured group jumps, bends and rolls it is noted that Emily is neither more physically advanced than her peers or capable than the others as a whole. Rather, she is middle of the road; her efforts aren’t better or worse than the next girl. This “average” experience for Emily is likely humbling; she is used to being a leader. As the class continues their warm ups they parade around in a circle, a semi organized amoeba moving in fits and starts. Emily begins laughing and running around this group as fast as she can, seemingly barely able to contain the energy she has reserved for this hour. At one point an instructor politely asks her to slow down. Settling Emily is a commonality among adults.

The class moves on to tumbling practice. Emily has had previous frustrations with the aspects of this portion of class. During this period cartwheels and somersaults are practiced. After one particular roll Emily announces, “I can do it!” Cartwheels have frustrated her to the point of tears in earlier classes; while they have improved significantly they aren’t anywhere near the skill level of the majority of girls in this class. One article remarks, “Even the most secure child who has developed a strong sense of identity, willpower and initiative is frustrated by now not being the "best" in everything….” It’s worth noting that Emily has since reacted to her skill level challenges as a something to get better at, not something to give up on. This child will try, try and try again. “Watch me!” she shouts out as she attempts a cartwheel. This attempt did not fare well and she falls. Emily feels it necessary to apologize for her failure (“Mama, I’m sorry I can’t do cartwheels”). I don’t quite know what Erikson would make of Emily apologizing for her failed attempts but I find her tenacity encouraging; she appears to be quite industrious in her own right.

As the class moves on to practicing back bends and flips Emily pals up with two other young girls. They talk and laugh amongst themselves as they wait their turn in line to be guided through the backbend. As the line moves forward the girls continue to chat; their individual successes or failures in attempting this next skill are overlooked by the group. Once Emily is at the head of the line, her focus shifts to the instructor and she pays strict attention to what is going on around her. “Hey, that works!” she exclaims when she gets the backbend right and smiles. She seems more confident the next time she head up the line, artfully positioning herself in preparation for the backbend. Her success through the motions bolsters this confident feeling; Emily eagerly waits for the next challenge with a grin and, if you look carefully enough, you just might see her self-efficacy grow a bit bigger in the twinkle of her eyes.

The girls move on to practicing on the uneven bars. At this level of skill the girls attempt to jump up on the lower bar and hold themselves in a locked-arm position for a handful of seconds. Very few of the girls appear to be proficient in this task but they all appear to be enjoying themselves. This class period has become a social hour in addition to an instructional period. They continue to talk in groups, each seemingly comfortable with their positions in relation to each other. Emily suddenly says, “Stop it, I mean it!” to a girl who was pulling on her leg. After giving the offender a stern look Emily goes back to talking to another girl, apparently comfortable enough with her peers to dust off a slight aggravation in favor of continued conversation. While Emily is up on the bar practicing a girl approaches me and asks if I’m Emily’s mom. I tell her that yes, I am, and the girl responds to me that Emily is “annoying her”. “What did she do?” I ask. The girl shrugs. It’s not clear if this girl was the “leg puller”. No further interaction is noted between this girl and Emily. Neither seems to have dwelled on this incident too much as it isn’t mentioned any further and both girls continue to enjoy the lesson separately. This display is encouraging; Emily’s attitude doesn’t appear to indicate that her enjoyment of the class is dependent on finding herself in the good graces of the other girls. Minutes later Emily takes her turn on the bar (“…watch me go up!”), first trying to jump up by herself into position and then, smiling, uses a block to step on before jumping up into position. It appears that Emily enjoys feeling as though she has mastered a challenge.

The next activity is rope climbing. The girls will actually be climbing a rope “wall” that extends from about 3 feet from the ground to roughly 22 feet upwards. This distance is enough to make any observer distressed but I am practicing the “letting go” parent-child agreement and instead continue to observe Emily despite the butterflies fluttering about in my stomach. Emily approaches the rope wall with enthusiasm and makes a mad dash upward. She is intent on mastering this rope wall, pushing herself further up, testing her nerve, as she climbs. Her resolve is steadfast in the beginning of her climb. As she climbs higher she begins to climb more carefully with each step; with each foot fall Emily seems to test the rope rung as if ensuring that it’s still strong enough to support her. At various points she pauses in hesitation, deciding whether to venture further up the rope or head back down. She glances over at the two other girls climbing on the rope to her side, perhaps gauging how far she’ll travel depending on what they do. Emily climbs one or two more steps upward and then decides that she’s gone far enough. Her track down the rope is measured and cautious as she begins her descent, which becomes quicker the closer she gets to the mat. Once off of the rope wall Emily wonders aloud, “What if somebody fell?” I find it interesting that this question was asked after she came down off the rope, not before she climbed it.

If Erikson’s psychoanalytic theory is correct, then resolution of the various developmental crises found in the first five stages prior to adulthood will shape a child’s future self. Active children will have many opportunities to face a wide assortment of challenges. These children will be either mastering those challenges or feeling inferior because of an inability to do so. A sound family and social support structure is crucial to encouraging children to make the many attempts necessary to feel competent in their efforts. In my observation of Emily I have learned that she appears to be right on target to resolving the Industry vs. Inferiority crisis. She is constantly moving, learning, and challenging herself to be more productive as she learns her place in the world.


Step 1: Vote. Step 2: Operation Media Blackout

I think I'm going to skip the election coverage this year. I think we've endured enough already. After I perform my civic duty and vote I'm going to try to avoid all coverage of the presidential race. In doing so I'll miss exit polls that are generally skewed, round table discussions by people I don't know and a media blitz unlike we've seen ever. I'm going to skip news websites and political blogs and avoid having discussions about the election with friends of mine who are polarized over the outcome of tomorrow's historic race. It's finally coming to an end and I couldn't be more relieved.
Come Wednesday morning I'm hoping to wake up, enjoy a cup of coffee and then turn on The World and see which direction our nation has decided to go. No matter what your opinion on the candidates or this election is you can't argue with the fact that Times Are 'A Changing.
See you on the flip side.


Taking refuge in the bomb shelter

Never has there been a class I've disliked more than my online marketing class. I thought my sports psychology class was bad... but boy, this tames in comparison.
I have zero interest. None. Nada. Zip. Truth be told (and would I lie to you anyway?) I am morally opposed to this marketing class right now because it teaches those who would be in marketing how to better manipulate us as a society to get us to spend our money. Child psychologists are hired so that they may offer better insights into getting our kids the right amount of exposure to their products so that they can whine us into oblivion before we finally cave and spend our money. Even so, I have to take this class.
I have tried to force myself to read the material. It just makes me aggravated.
I have feigned interest. I am swiftly reminded that I would rather stab myself repeatedly in the heart with a spork.
I'm stuck.
It's mid term. And that means Mid Terms. Guess which one I had to take yesterday? This is also my final semester. In all my other classes I've nailed an A. In biology and anatomy and physiology I gratefully took a B. I think this marketing class will be my first failed class. Maybe, maybe not. I could get a D.


Ohmigoodness Ohmigoodness!

When I watched this video I got that old familiar feeling of hollow anticipation in my tummy and I remember wondering, long ago, if I could take off and fly away.


Now you see me, now you don't

This entry is being written along side a cup of coffee and a dwindling slice of toast with peanut butter. In between bites of bread and swigs of coffee I'm sifting through email, looking for anything that I need to answer immediately. An email to confirm an Indian lunch on Monday qualifies.
My first two classes canceled this morning so I've got a few extra minutes to sift through the classwork that the girls brought home from school. Emily recently did a group presentation on the nervous system and got an A+ for her efforts. It was noted on her Rubric that she needed to give her partners a chance to talk. Abby brought home another graded spelling test. Pick, park, tack, back, sack, sick, big, in, hold, and so were all spelled correctly. So were kick, and, will, sit, and have.
The timer just went off on the stove. Jim is cooking rice for the leftover Chana Masala that I brought home from work last night. ("That's so freakin' good" he tells me later.) Letting him have my leftover Indian food is my penance for getting it in the first place. Who can afford to buy dinner out these days?
Crap! I just looked at the clock. I need to leave for my only class in about thirty minutes, then I'll run home and get ready to blast out for work. The good news is that (at this time anyway) I'll have the whole weekend off. Just enough time to get my house clean before some contractors show up to give us estimates on how much it will cost to replace or repair our roof.
Shoot me.


See...I got this promotion at work...

and I've been living in a cone of silence since I accepted it. I wanted to talk about it, boy... did I EVER... but I couldn't until, well, until I could.
But now I can.
Basically I'm going to be running my department. I did that once before, years ago, but there was a "restructuring" of the department and it was "decided" that they didn't need a manager anymore. Bull Puckey, I said. That was several years ago. I've been wooed a couple of times since then when it was decided that yes, we did indeed need a manager in there. And now that's me. Again.
I'm thrilled that my company has agreed to work with my unique schedule needs until December when I finish up school. I'll assume the full role then and will slowly integrate myself in the days leading to my graduation.
The negotiations for my promotion were intense. I asked for a company car and a parking space. I was told to go pound sand. I insisted on a coffee cup. Again, no dice. That coffee cup was almost the deal breaker, I tell you. I will, however, get a Blackberry. I was hoping for an iPhone with one of those cool but pointless lighter applications but was turned down flat. I didn't want to be an elitist anyway. ;)


Now, how do I do this again?

I had the rare opportunity to get my kids ready and off to school. It's so rare, in fact, that I can't even recall the last time I sent my kids off to school. Emily's in 3rd and Abby 1st... and I'm thinking it might have been back when Emily was in preschool.
That's a long time.
I've been working so much lately, covering open shifts and day trading with coworkers, that I found myself with three days off during the week. I got up "early" (0630) and started the process of getting the girls out the door.
It was tough.
Where are their clothes at--were they laid out? Are their books packed? Emily's homework in the proper folder? Abby's breakfast eaten? Lunch made? Hair brushed? Barrettes in? Teeth brushed? Faces washed? Shoes on? The bus is here?! Kisses! Hugs! Out the door!
*whew* I was ready for a nap.
In the back of my mind I know that you are laughing at me. Most mother's do this flawlessly each and every day.
I'm so out of practice. Will someone be coming to take my brownie badge away from me? I promise to try harder tomorrow morning! I just have to remember to set my alarm.



Emily decided that she would like to try gymnastics. I fretted and fussed over it because I didn't want her doing anything that could get her hurt but I finally relented when I reminded myself that this was a basic tumbling class. A cartwheel here, a somersault there... what could be the problem?

Well, there were problems. Emily started the class already missing three days so she felt like she didn't know a n y b o d y and she would n e v e r make friends. Then her hair fell out of the pony tail I put in for her and it was flying everywhere... and sticking to her face when the tears started to fall because she couldn't do a proper cartwheel. Through a window I watched her as she tried again and again, getting more frustrated and upset at each attempt. The tears fell but she kept trying. My heart broke for her.

She had been so excited about this class and here she was just miserable. Throughout her misery I debated scooping up my daughter and taking her home. I realized just then that no matter the hurt or the injustice I will feel it for my child ten times worse than she'll ever feel it. When her heart breaks mine will shatter for her.

I walked into the gym and motioned her over. "Turn around," I told her as I quickly pulled her hair back up. Pony tail in place, I leaned in and whispered into her ear, "Don't try to be perfect, just have fun." I squeezed her shoulder and sent her back into the fray, wondering if I was doing the right thing by her.

Thankfully when we left her mood had completed shifted. (Ah...the power of an eight year old.) The experience was, in her words, "awesome!" We'll just need to work on that cartwheel together.

Who knew?!

When I posted my last "brief" entry (did anyone actually get the whole 'brief' entry and the little 'briefs' Mr. 007 was wearing or was that a poor attempt at humor on my part?) I had no idea that the latest 007 movie was coming out. I may be having a Daniel Craig overdose... Mmm Mmm Good!



I think I need to watch Casino Royale again. If nothing else, I'd like to see Daniel Craig again in this.



When it all comes to a screeching halt

Once the fall semester started everything in my life has been utterly chaotic. I think it may take me another week or so to fall into a comfortable pattern but right now... not so much. I'm completely out of touch... and if something requires more than 2 minutes of my attention (outside of school, work or sharing 2.5 seconds with my family) then it's out of my price range, so to speak.
You can officially consider me "Living Under A Rock".
But Elizabeth, you might ask yourself, if your so busy how come you've spare enough time to write down these wimpy excuses? Ah! Glad you asked... cause I'm multitasking! (Eating lunch and typing between bites of my tuna fish sandwich--it's how the west was won.)
Can anyone slow down time for me? Pretty please?


A "non entry" doesn't deserve a title

Here I am trying to dig deep within my psyche, (a scary feat at any given point) so that I can work up a witty and captivating entry (snigger if you must) when I suddenly realize that I have Blogger's Block.

I could write about listening to my husband in the shower singing along in falsetto to Heart's Crazy On You but I'm just not feeling it. I'm not feeling it either when the song changes on the radio and he begins to sing along with the Bee Gees' More Than A Woman ("More than a woman to meeeeee!") but I do smile to myself.

I might ask if any of your kid's are walking around using the word "definitely" as much as Emily is these days. ("Did you have a great day at school, Emily?" "Definitely!" "Do you want another piece of pizza?" "Definitely!" "Emily, is 'definitely' the new popular word in school?" "Definitely!") That's a definite possibility.

Perhaps I should regale you with observations of my first days back in school? Do I start with feeling wholly inadequate while surrounded by a mass of young perfect bodies, ones that have yet to endure stretch marks from two pregnancies or see those first grey hairs that send your self image into a tailspin as you think My God, I'm five years away from forty. It might take weeks to return my self esteem to normal (ok, days--I'm not that depressed about it). My classes this (final!) semester are child psychology, ethics, and political science with an online marketing class thrown in to make it interesting.

Recapping Abigail's recent temper tantrum would surely entertain but I think she might disagree. I am learning (somewhat slowly, I admit) that trying to rationalize with a pissed off six and a half year old is pretty pointless. I'm pretty impressed with myself though because my patience is not wearing thin any sooner (that year on Lexapro is really paying off). Abigail will look back on that and surely appreciate it.

If I wrote that I was worried that every little twinge or "dullness" in my knees was a precursor to completly wasting the surgery I had I might sound whiney so I'll leave that alone. I'm forever reminding myself that I'm still healing and to not overdo it. Paitience, Iago. Patience.

I should tell you that my little detective managed to solve The Case of the Missing Tweezers. Emily's fee for cracking the case? One dollar. The guilty party? I've been advised by someone's lawyer not to reveal that information but I can say that it was in a certain someone's medicine cabinet. Next to his cologne.

Well, I've tried everything I can think of but I just can't seem to get past this Blogger's Block. I guess I'll get back to you when I definitely have something to talk about.


The case of the missing tweezers

Pen and notebook in hand, Emily stood before me and posed her first question. "When did you last see them?" she asked. "I need the exact date."
"The 18th," I fibbed. In truth, I hadn't seem them in forever.
Emily scribbled something in her notebook and walked away. I returned to marveling at Michelle's new pendant that she crafted by hand. (Visit her Esty shop, Shoozles, where I dare you not to drool!)
"I'll need a list of suspects." Emily was now behind me, pen poised.
I turned away from the glass goodies. "Well, there's you," I offered.
Emily made a face.
I thought for a moment. "Daddy."
Emily scribbled.
"And Harley."
Offering the dog up as a suspect earned me a pair of rolled eyes. Emily turned away from me and hunted down her father for questioning.
I hope my daughter is successful in locating the missing tweezers. My bet's on her father, but Lord knows where he's put them. Or worse yet, what he's done with them.
To be continued...


First day back

Today is the girl's first day back to school. I hope the day goes fantastic for them, and I also hope that it will be an indicator of a fantastic school year.

Emily is returning to school this year as a 3rd grader. When did she get so big?

Abigail has moved on from letters to numbers. Here is my 1st grader! (Abby, tone down the cuteness, please.)

Learn lots today, girls! Tomorrow we'll work on setting up the coffee for mommy and daddy. ;)


The best way to come up with a blog idea...

...is to have someone else do it for you. My thanks to Mrs. F.

My "Moi Moi" (I'm on strike against Meme)

A. Attached or single? | Married 11 years (OMG!)
B. Best friend? | Jennipher
C. Cake or pie? | Cake, preferably slathered in chocolate.
D. Day of choice? | Friday
E. Essential item? | My iPod. Loaded.
F. Favorite color? | Used to be pink, lately I'm in Blue Period.
G. Gummy bears or worms? | Gummy Bears
H. Hometown? | Vacaville, CA
I. Indulgence? | Cold Stone Coffee Lovers Only ice cream made with mocha (thanks, Jen!).
J. January or July? | July, definitely. I'm still a California girl at heart.
K. Kids? | 2 girls. Unless you count my husband.
L. Life isn’t complete without? | My bugs.
M. Marriage date? | February 19th.
N. Number of brothers & sisters? | 2 sisters. Both younger.
O. Oranges or apples? | Well, that depends. If you give me a choice between a sweet orange and a sour apple I'm going to go with the orange.
P. Phobias? | To get into a car accident and to have not shaved my legs that morning.
Q. Quotes? | It's a toss up between this and this.
R. Reasons to smile? | When my house is clean early in the day.
S. Season of choice? | Summer!
T. Tag seven peeps! | I tag.... YOU!!
U. Unknown fact about me? | Um. Well... if I wanted you to know THAT I'd tell you, wouldn't I?
V. Vegetable? | I can only pick one? Mushrooms.
W. Worst habits? | According to my husband: Not putting cereal away after I pour it.
X. X-ray or ultrasound? | MRI
Y. Your favorite food? | A wicked hot Vindaloo curry.
Z. Zodiac sign? | Gemini, baby!

I would be remiss if I didn't publicly thank Nora at White Hot Magik for awarding me the Arte Y Pico Award. My only regret is that I don't live close enough to her to celebrate with some kick ass margaritas. *xoxo*


A day full of ups and downs

The day didn't start out promising.

| One of my incisions looks infected. (I'll spare you the picture)
Up | A quick call got me into the Dr.’s 3 days early.

Down | I had to drive all the way out to campus to pick up my books.
Up | Amazingly there wasn’t a line!

Down | I woke up at the butt-crack of dawn and couldn’t go back to sleep.
Up | I used my time wisely and got a lot of housework done early--hobbling all the way.

Down | I forgot to eat breakfast.
Up | I was treated to an Indian lunch… and dessert at a cupcake bar! (The Twisted Red Velvet cupcake is to die for... and a must to split with a friend)

Down | I seriously need to clean out my car and vacuum between the cushions of my couch. Guess where all that peeling skin went? *Ewwww*
Up | I'm heading out tomorrow to buy this nifty thingamajig to ease my cleaning woes.

Down | I'm constantly getting my butt whooped playing Mario Kart Wii against my kids.
Up | I can send them to bed for beating me.

In the end, it's good to be the mom.


"I do the peeling here!"

Emily has discovered a new past time and I'm grossed out, completely horrified, and laughing my fanny off all at the same time.

She is making it her mission to peel off my dead skin as I shed my sunburn.

"You are going to look back on this experience and be completely grossed out," I promise my eight year old as she picks and pulls. Emily laughs at me and tells me that she wants to start a collection.

A collection?

"Oooh! There's a big piece!" she says as she peels, her eyes lighting up. She's got this intense look as she goes after my dead skin, much like a scientist looking for a new strain of virus. Or a monkey grooming a friend.

I will be starting a fund for my daughter's anticipated therapy sessions. Feel free to mail me a check with your donations.


Observations of a part time invalid

Ever since I got a glimpse of my stitches I've been fascinated by them. I hope it doesn't hurt when the doc takes them out. I'm a wimp like that.

My legs still look awful. Swollen and bruised over my knees, I'm fairly certain that I won't be leaving the house in shorts any time soon. Anyone know where I can purchase a fashionable mumu?

Bose headphones truly block out a lot of sound, especially if you are trying to avoid listening to your kids play games on the Wii while you're indulging in a Harry Potter marathon. (Check out my set up!)

Reading books and watching movies that take place in the U.K. make me want to start using words like "dodgy" and "skint" all the time. Conversing with my cousin Catherine in Scotland and Tim in Manchester (who is not my cousin but it would be really cool if he was) doesn't help much, either. (Note: that last word is to be pronounce EYE ther and not eee ther.)

I have never been more afraid of tripping over something in my life than right now.

Sleeping in a seated position lost it's novelty at about day 2.

I'm shedding skin like a snake. This would be me peeling after my Girl's Weekend sunburn. So right now I'm a skin-shedding, gimpy-walking, bruised and stitched-knee messed up chicky.

Having a walkie talkie in the house has been quite possibly one of the best things EVER.

I'm measuring my successes by how many times I can get up and down from a seated position unassisted. My successes are unfortunately limited thus far. I think I'm too scared to end up in pain. Moving my legs has become a planned out, carefully calculated event that is to be executed slowly. I don't hear that crunchy sound anymore coming from my knees when I try to move though. Score one for me!

I'm sooo ready for a beer. I won't have one until after I'm off the pain killers, and that looks like it may be soon. I'm going to try to stretch out the time between pills and really see what I'm up against. If you happen to hear a blood curdling shriek sometime in the near future that may be just me getting up to answer the phone. No worries.



Would you believe that they make you take off every article of clothing prior to any surgery? Good thing I was freshly shaved (My legs, people! My legs!). I'm slightly bummed that I couldn't wear any makeup though (just a little eyeliner and mascara would have been fine!) because I look ghastly!

My knee surgery went swimmingly. I had a great nursing and surgical staff, and as soon as I emerged from a blissful, drug-induced cat nap ("You're going to start feeling drowsy now." "Oh, ok...mmm hm--") I found that I had two rather large marshmallow-like things surrounding either knee, each filled with cold gel packs. Sexy, eh?

Thanks to Darvocet, I'm not in any pain--for the moment. I'm able to walk (to be honest it looks more like wobbling) but I'm not willing to try traipsing up or down stairs yet. I'll have to wear my coldpacks for five days--nice. I'm supposed to sleep with them on, too. That will be interesting!

If you're curious as to why I had knee surgery (beyond any explanation that I've given previously) then this video is for you. If you get the heebie jeebies easily then... maybe not so much.

My thanks for all the well wishes I've received! You are all the Bee's Knees. (Sorry, I couldn't resist!) *Hugs*


What a way to kick off August

I feel rather silly about making such a fuss over Abby and this program. I know that she's going to do fantastic no matter where she's at. Maybe I just had to get all of that frustration off of my chest. So thank you for listening to me gripe.

Speaking of chests, mine happens to be terribly sunburned at the moment. Along with my face, arms, legs and belly. I, uh, sort of fell asleep--face up--on a raft, which happened to be floating on a lake. "Jungle Juice" may or may not have been a contributing factor. This is apparently the risk you run while on a "Girl's Weekend", especially if you mix 20 or so women who are kid-free, husband-free or boyfriend-free for two days. Next year's Girls Weekend is taking place down in Memphis. Graceland should start boarding up the windows now!

I will have one full day to recover from all things "over exposed" and then it's time to get scoped. There is a slight change in plans, however. I'm going to have surgery on both knees instead of just my right one. I'm excited at this because it should bring my recovery to a close sooner rather than later.

I'm off to try to find a home remedy to soothe my baked skin. I was considering basting myself in French's mustard, as recommended by this site, but I swiftly realized that I might be mistaken for an Oscar Mayer wiener. Perhaps I'll stick to Aloe Vera.


The letter that never came

Nearly a week ago I detailed my hunt for the mailman, awaiting a letter I had hoped he would be bringing to my mailbox.

It's official. It's not coming.

I have been on parental pins and needles since the end of the school year. Abby was tested for gifted but didn't score high enough to be invited into the program. When I learned of the testing I told myself that her getting in wasn't overly important to me, but it would be really cool if Abby could ride the bus across town with Emily, who is in the gifted program, where they could see each other in the halls at school. But as each day passed and a letter from the school district failed to arrive that outlook morphed into something else, and it was a far cry from wanting to strengthen a sisterly bond. I wanted her in that program. I wanted her to have the same opportunities available to her that were available to her sister. In hushed voices I was constantly told by teachers and aides how smart Abby was, how talented her artwork was. With Emily in gifted I thought for sure Abby was a shoe-in. Imagine, both of my girls in the gifted program. Well, keep imagining.

I feel like I've failed Abby. As if I didn't do enough for her. She has no idea of the drama that her parents are feeling about her education. Emily has been extremely lucky thus far to have fantastic teachers. Abby had an amazing kindergarten teacher, and it would be my dream to have that teacher throughout her academic career. Or Mocha Momma (I'm not picky). I just want my daughter to have the best.


Give it away, give it away, give it away now

I have spent the last two days cleaning my house. Thoroughly.

Think of it as spring cleaning but not.

The upper half of our house is so clean it looks surprised. We've collected bags upon bags of toys that the girls no longer play with and I'm planning on donating those, along with baby and maternity clothes, to a local charity (I'm hoping a local women's shelter will get back to me about accepting donations). I don't want to give it to Goodwill because they will turn it around and sell it. I want to give it away, meaning free of cost, to someone who could get use out of these items. It's altruism at it's extreme. Booyah!

I've also laid down a new law for my girls: The next time they want to buy something new for themselves they must pick out a toy of theirs to donate to either a church or charity. My benefit here is twofold: they learn about helping others and I keep the toy volume down in my house. It's a win-win situation.


The Great PB & J Debate

Folks, forget oil prices. I have an issue that requires--nay demands--the immediate attention of the global community. Friends and lurkers alike, I ask you, "How do you put together your PB & J?"

See, here's how it is: I asked Jim to make me a PB & J for lunch. (Actually, it was Smucker's Natural Peanut Butter With Honey and Red Raspberry Simply Fruit on Brownberry Health Nut bread... but who's paying attention?) I walked into the kitchen and stopped dead in my tracks. In open mouthed horror I observed my husband fashioning together my sandwich. He was, prepare yourself, spreading the jam on top of the peanut butter before putting the other bread slice on to close the sandwich.

This is so unnatural. While I was thankful that my man was making me lunch I just couldn't help feeling as though earth was tilting off it's axis. He may as well have been only buttering one side of a piece of bread while making a grilled cheese sandwich! Oh, the horror! When I expressed to Jim my distress he shrugged it off as a non-issue. I'm incline to disagree. And so I must take action.

Here are Elizabeth's 5 easy steps to putting together the perfect PB & J:

1. Remove 2 slices of bread from package. Twist bag of bread to close and fold twist under bread and stow. Throw away green twisty tie if applicable and greatly annoy your husband.
2. Set stacked bread slices on your prep surface. Take hold of the top slice by the right corner and "open" said slice to the left.
3. Spread peanut butter on one slice, ensuring smooth application and even distribution. Avoid tearing bread.
4. Spread jelly/jam/fruit spread on the other slice, ensuring smooth application and even distribution. Avoid tearing bread.
5. Take hold of the slice of bread on your left and "marry" it to the slice on the right. You now have a symmetrical sandwich creation and have not screwed up anyone's Feng Shui.

So that's how I put together my PB & J's. How do you put together yours?


Stalking the mailman. Again.

Back in May I found myself hiding behind trees and crouched behind cars waiting for our mailman to show up, and at which time I would tackle him and paw through his letter carrier bag searching for my personal training certification results. Ok, so not really. But damn near close.

I'm doing it again. The "damn near close" part. For the better part of the month I have been throwing bills aside and invitations from credit card companies promising me a quarter-million-dollar credit limit in a desperate search for a letter that I'm hoping will be delivered to my house.

The mail just arrived. The coveted letter was not among the bank statements and the blood drive reminders. I'm now mentally gearing myself up for Thursday's "Mailman Stakeout".

Good Lord, this is so pathetic.


¡Adoro la música!

As we raced west across the Phoenix desert, radial tires melting on the hot asphalt of I-10 toward California, the radio pickin's were sparse. Country here, static there, and...what's this? And why do I suddenly crave a margarita?

We had stumbled upon Mexican music. (Forgive me if using the term "Mexican music" is just plain lazy. At the time I didn't know there was Norteño or Banda or Duranguense. The only thing I had ever been familiar with was the music that played in the background at my local Mexican restaurant.) We were so enthralled by the sounds we were hearing that we kept listening to Mexican radio stations throughout our entire vacation. Never mind that neither Jim nor I spoke Spanish and we couldn't understand a thing. Mexican music, no matter what the lyrics spoke of, was colorful and unexpected. Listening to it was a treat for my ears.

Back in the Midwest, the first thing I did during our drive home from the airport was search for a Mexican radio station. No such luck in St. Louis. Next I tried streaming internet radio. I picked up a couple of stations out of Santa Fe, Mexico City and Highland Park, Illinois (?!). They will do in a pinch.

Ah, but my accidental discovery! (I tend to find things that I'm looking for in places I never expected to find them.) Thanks to MySpace, I am now addicted to the Mexican Institute of Sound. Mexican electronica...who knew?


It doesn't take much to entertain my daughter

I think the last time I was this giddy over a toy it was at my 8th birthday party and I got a Darci doll.


The consequences of sleeping in

Have you ever had these incredibly weird dreams because you've slept in too much? I've been pampered by sleeping in as late as 10:30 in the morning (my kids are now at the age where they can pour their own bowl of cereal, thank God!) but the dreams I've been having are just absolutely bizarre!

In one dream I found myself in what I can only think of as Rome, in the middle of the night at a plaza where there were shops and people milling about, and one of my instructors from school was there and bought me a flower. Erm...?

In another I was on a school bus, but it was parked at a fair, and there were teenagers all over the place acting, well, I guess like teenagers. In my dream I took exception to the behavior of one and decided to play the Moral Police. It didn't turn out so well for me, though. One of the kids in my dream threw up on me and ruined what would have been an incredibly cute outfit. Gross!

Lastly, and I think this is the dream that has freaked me out most out of all of them recently, is that I went over to a friend's house to drop off my kids for a playdate. Later, when I came to pick the kids back up, I found another couple, who we socialize with separately, there on a different kind of social visit. I got the impression in my dream that they were having their own "swingers" party.

I can only imagine what my subconscious is trying to tell me. What do you think Freud would say? Stop sleeping in, for starters?


The word of the day is "arthroscopy"

I'm having arthroscopic surgery August 5th on my right knee. The under surface of my patella will be "shaved" so that it glides easier over the knee joint when I move, eliminating the incredible "box of rocks" feeling that I have each time I flex and extend my knee. Gotta love that chondromalacia patella.

I could take anti-inflammatory medication for the rest of my life but I want the problem fixed. I want to chase my kids around the house. I want to run. I want to be able to train clients and demonstrate how to properly do a squat or a lunge. I want to walk without feeling as though my knees are going to buckle beneath me. I can't do any of that right now. None of it. And I'm frustrated that at 35 I'm finding myself limping around because I'm having a "bad knee day". I want a normal life again, whatever "normal" means.

I'm totally jazzed about a couple of aspects of all of this though:
1. If I slip the surgeon fifty bucks maybe he really will give me bionic parts.
2. I won't be able to return to work until three days after I finish my last dosage of pain medication. I foresee a lot of pain.

Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge.


This is inspiration, not thievery. Really.

After I read Mocha Momma's latest post I was reminded of how much I love the movie Independence Day. And how fitting to be reminded on the 4th of July... right? (This is where you quietly think, "Well, duh!")

Some of my favorite quotes from that movie (gratefully from imdb.com):

[at the secret government lab]
President Thomas Whitmore: I don't understand, where does all this come from? How do you get funding for something like this?
Julius Levinson: You don't actually think they spend $20,000.00 on a hammer, $30,000.00 on a toilet seat do you?

David Levinson: We're hit! We took a hit!
Captain Steven Hiller: [yelling] We're not hit! We're not hit! Stop side-seat driving!

Captain Steven Hiller: Who's the man? Huh? Who's the man? Wait till I get another plane! I'm a line ya friends up right beside you! Where ya at, huh? Where ya at?
[Hiller opens the spaceship, the alien screams, Hiller smacks him in the head]
Captain Steven Hiller: [beat] Welcome to earth.

Captain Steven Hiller: No, you did NOT shoot that green shit at me!

and who could forget:
President Thomas Whitmore: Good morning. In less than an hour, aircraft from here will join others from around the world. And you will be launching the largest aerial battle in the history of mankind. "Mankind." That word should have new meaning for all of us today. We can't be consumed by our petty differences anymore. We will be united in our common interests. Perhaps it's fate that today is the Fourth of July, and you will once again be fighting for our freedom... Not from tyranny, oppression, or persecution... but from annihilation. We are fighting for our right to live. To exist. And should we win the day, the Fourth of July will no longer be known as an American holiday, but as the day the world declared in one voice: "We will not go quietly into the night!" We will not vanish without a fight! We're going to live on! We're going to survive! Today we celebrate our Independence Day!

Have a safe and happy 4th of July!


I feel shafted after all those years of hard work

LONDON — A British high school student received credit for writing nothing but a two-word obscenity on an exam paper because the phrase expressed meaning and was spelled correctly.

The Times newspaper on Monday quoted examiner Peter Buckroyd as saying he gave the student — who wrote an expletive starting with f, followed by the word "off" — two points out of a possible 27 for the English paper.

"It would be wicked to give it zero because it does show some very basic skills we are looking for, like conveying some meaning and some spelling," Buckroyd was quoted as saying.

"It's better than someone that doesn't write anything at all."

Buckroyd said the student would have received a higher mark if the phrase had been punctuated.

Apparently I have been putting way too much effort in the quality of my exams and written reports. I'm such an overachiever...


10 things I've learned from my vacation

1. The speed limit outside Phoenix (75) makes for a rockin' start if you can't get a seat on an airplane and decide to drive the 768 miles to Sacramento.

2. Coming "home" feels great. Going back home after 8 days feels better.

3. Murillo's tacos are really as good as I remember them.

4. Bees and wasps are not welcome guests while camping, and having them present (and ultimately stinging Abby) makes it incredibly difficult to enjoy the experience.

5. Peacocks, while beautiful creatures, have the most annoying call on the planet.

6. Holding a newborn baby ("Awwww!") did not make me want to have another ("Whew!").

7. Watching a crying boy (my nephew) run full speed into a screen door and then be launched airborne off of it will make me forget my knee problems for a while.

8. Having a kick ass digital camera is a must for documenting every step of your vacation. But don't accidentally delete essential photos because you won't get them back (!!).

9. It's always a good thing to be very nice to your gate agents at the airport, for you never know when they may decide on their own to bump you up to First Class.

10. Sleeping in your own bed, even if it's the same bed you've been complaining about for years, feels better than anything in the world after an 8 day vacation.

If you would like to see some of our photos from our trip check us out on Flickr. I'll be busy catching up with what everyone's been doing for all this time.... I've missed you all!


My best birthday present. Ever.

Dear Emily,
I hope that being a big Eight Year Old Girl doesn't mean that the hugs, kisses and cuddles that we share have to come to a stop. I plan on doing that for at least another 10 years. Get used to it!

I have warned you repeatedly that you must stop being so incredibly cute or you will face severe consequences. Think of a billion zerberts on your belly for starters.

Happy Birthday, Buglette!


News Flash

C a l i f o r n i a!
Mexican food. *drools*
And that was our first full day!

Today we go camping for two days. I wonder if they have Wi Fi? ;)


If nothing else, it makes for good blogging

For 45 minutes I lay as still as possible while this machine excited hydrogen protons in my right knee so that they their magnetic field could be detected and captured digitally.

In other words, I had my MRI this morning. It didn't hurt. I wasn't in an awkward position. I didn't feel like I was entombed. I had more than enough time to reflect and ponder the meaning of life. All in all, the experience was almost relaxing.

I was rather nervous at the idea of what might be found after the fact, but the awesome technician who worked with me offered up no explanations and I didn't ask for any. Why potentially spoil my vacation?

I have my next visit with my orthopedic surgeon on the 7th to go over the findings. I'm hoping that I'll get some images from my MRI and my x-rays and share them because they too make for good blogging. ;)


I'm broke

Alternate titles for this entry include:
MRI Is Just A Three Letter Word
Body, Betrayed
It's Not The Bees Knees
I Shaved My Legs For This?

I visited an orthopedic surgeon yesterday who placed a hand on each knee while I extended and flexed my lower legs. In doing so the doctor both heard and felt the gravel that the cartilage under my knees has become. When he told me that my knees were among the worst he's ever palpated I almost fell apart on the examination table. Lucky for him, I saved the crying for when I got home. It wasn't a pretty sight.

Tuesday I'll be going in for an MRI where my right knee will be scanned because it's the worst of the two. When I get back from California I'll have another appointment to go over the results with my doctor. I wonder if knee replacement surgery is in my near future. I find it sadly ironic that this business with my knees, going on for some time, has come to a head just weeks after getting my personal training certification. When I think about what sort of impact that this may have on everything my knees get hot, my chest gets heavy, and my eyes fill with tears that I try to hold back.

I'll probably continue to feel sorry for myself for at least one more day before trying to look on the bright side. If I do need surgery, I'm going to request the Deluxe Package. I'm going to ask for bionic parts, à la Jamie Sommers. Then I'm going to get my own personal sound effect.


These shorts do nothing for my butt

I've had an intense, crazy week and it's not over yet. Until such time as I can sit down and give The Insanity the justice it's due I'm going to share with you a video my husband showed me that made me giggle.

And then I'm going to go shopping for some new shorts.



Note to self:
You can take the girl out of California... but you no longer tan like you did 20 years ago!

I had better work on that before hitting the California sun or I will be thoroughly embarrassed.


Hello, World!

To those folks peeking in from
Sevilla, Andalucia
Bhubaneswar, Orissa
Klang, Selangor
Makati, Rizal
Bayreuth, Bayern
Druten, Gelderland
Dublin, Dublin
Johannesburg, Gauteng
Lublin, Lubelskie
Gold Coast, Queensland
Lyon, Rhone-Alpes
Buenos Aires, Distrito Federal
Maarianhamina, Åland...

Welcome! How's the chocolate in your part of the world? ;)

And to my other worldly regulars
London, Ontario
Istanbul, Istanbul
Seriate, Lombardia
thanks for enriching my world!

I love my Feedjit.


Things I'm looking forward to on my vacation

1. Seeing my family and friends.
I'll get shot if that's not first on my list.

2. Eating at my favorite Mexican restaurant.
You can't find authentic Mexican food in Illinois... you have to go to California! ;)

3. Eating potstickers from my favorite Chinese restaurant.
Do you notice a trend here?

4. Dry heat.
I'm happiest when I'm warm...even if it's 100 degrees in the shade.

5. Camping & fishing with the kids.
I think I'm going to go with the "toss the fish back" idea... thanks!

6. Swimming.
There aren't any good outdoor pools here...and I'm not swimming in the Mississippi!

7. Getting some great pictures and videos of the kids with Grandpa Bill.
This one needs no explanation!

8. Seeing how my hometown has changed over the years.
You can take the girl out of California, but you can't take California out of the girl!


They're hooked!

I'm taking the girls home to California at the end of next month. My sister and I are taking our collective offspring camping to Lake Solano for a couple of days where we'll party, make S'mores, tell ghost stories and fish. My sister has scored an awesome campsite.

Since my kids have never fished before Jim decided to teach them in plenty of time to catch The Big One. They practiced casting into a plastic pool in the back yard for two days and seemed to have nailed the technique because yesterday the girls caught their very first fish!

I was terribly excited for them but I suddenly had a very nasty thought about our upcoming camping trip:

Who's supposed to clean the fish? *barf*


Guess what I got in the mail today???

My new Flip Video! It arrived in plenty of time for Abby's ballet recital next weekend.

Oh! Did you think I was going to say my certification results?

I got that, too. :)


I've been maimed!

The weapon.

The staple.
(OK, it's not the actual staple...but it looks just like it!)

The offended digit.

My only regret is that I was unable to photograph my injury just after it happened a la Ryan McGeeney.

(If you're wondering who actually did the stapling... um, that would be me. And that, unfortunately, rules out Workers Compensation.)


It's come to this

I must now resort to hiding my pillow. I realize that this is a drastic measure but it really is necessary.

My husband is a bona fide Pillow Hog. The man will grab every pillow in a ten foot radius and wrap and fold himself and the pillows into unimagined forms. Extracting my pillow has become a dangerous task, one that sometimes requires back up. I've used the number for the local S.W.A.T team at least twice. I'll spare you the gory details.

From this day forth my pillow will be kept in my closet, next to my jeans, above my workout clothes and below my sleeveless shirts. I appreciate the enormity of this move and respect it's impending consequences but I have my limits.

Maybe someday I can bring myself to tell you about the blankets. *shudders*


Wait a minute, Mr. Postman!

"Please Mister Postman, look and see
(Oh yeah)
If there's a letter in your bag for me
(Please, Please Mister Postman)
Why's it takin' such a long time
(Oh yeah)
For me to hear from that boy of mine"

I think I may be stalking our mailman.

Random times during the morning I'll peek my head out the door to see if the mail truck is parked at the corner in hopes that The Postman will deliver the mail early. Lately I've been doing that a lot. It's been five weeks, people!

I should be receiving word from AFAA about my personal training certification any day now. Will they or won't they? Did they or did they not? Thick or thin envelope? The suspense is driving me nuts!

Who ever heard of waiting 4 to 6 weeks for test results?! Anyone, anyone?!


When fashion and work collide

Ok. So I buy a new top. Sorta looks like this. Wear it to work. The whispering starts. I arch an eyebrow. I have a feeling I know what "they" are saying but I try to coax it out of them, wanting them to confirm my suspicions. One of guys holds up a note for the other side of the room and everyone giggles. I rush over and wrestle it out of his hands.
"It looks like a preggo shirt", it reads.
It's a peasant shirt, for the love of Pete! Peasant! Not maternity!
"For the record", I announce to the room, "I am NOT pregnant."
These people have no fashion sense!
All right, so it IS a bit poofy in the front... but not maternity poofy!
But I bet that if I wore it to the grocery store I might be able to score one of those New or Expecting Mom's parking spots.
Ah, man.


Ferns, take cover!

Yesterday I bought seeds and a couple of mature tomato and pepper plants to try to start a container garden for fresh veggies. Sometime today I'll get dirt underneath my nails and have my hands elbow-deep in potting soil in an effort to try to coax the little seeds into lettuce, spinach, green onions and a couple of varieties of peppers. I'm giddy at the thought of the awesome salads that could emerge from my garden.
That is if I don't kill everything.
While my gardening skills are nothing compared to some, I try. And try. And try again. Much to the detriment of these poor plants. What can I say? I love plants. I want my house dripping in greenery (think indoor rain forest) and my backyard rich with Mother Nature's promises. Each time I see lush ferns I want to buy them and adorn my front porch with these plants that have been around since "the early-Carboniferous period". And each time I mention that my husband reminds me that I'll kill them. It's really hard for me to accept the fact that he's right about this one. So I'll go fern-less yet another year.
Hey, where did my seeds go?


Impromtu fashion show

Sometimes inspiration can come from the most unlikely places.
The other day I was inspired to stop Abby's incessant whining while shopping in Target. Rather than commit some atrocious act in the middle of a public venue ("I love my child, I love my child...") I spotted a display of colorful hats in Accessories and popped one on her head. She thought that was the coolest thing! I remembered that I had my camera in my purse and Voilà! Instant fashion show! And that meant no more whining. Woot Woot!
Disclaimer: I have no idea where she learned these poses. Really.

*I love the look on this gal's face as she walks by us!


How do you spell 'relief'?

I have been a ball of emotions lately. Maybe I should have wrote "bawl" of emotions. It's applicable...I haven't been this weepy in years!

Last Friday I picked up a shift at work and had the most horrendous night of my 10-year career. I ended up in the ladies room crying from all the stress. If that wasn't bad enough, I couldn't even grant myself sufficient time to have a good cry... I had to get back out there and try to hold the airline together. I left after a 12-hour night of such horrific intensity that it will tide me over for another 10 years.

If that's not enough I've been finishing up this semester in school and that means finals. You know me... I'm always robbing Peter to pay Paul the time I owe to one thing or another. As a result the only substantial studying for my A & P final came yesterday--and that would be the day before my final. 33% of my "comprehensive" final would cover the last 3 chapters (nervous system & brain) that I had barely looked at and definitely did not understand. Parasympathetic preganglionic neurons? Arachnoid villi? Are you freaking kidding me?

So last night I crammed. And I do mean crammed. I'm glad I did because I reconnected with concepts introduced in the beginning of the semester and sort of grasped what I didn't understand from the last 3 chapters. But I still dreaded this morning. Again, I damn near found myself in tears.

But I had an epiphany this morning on my way to take my test. No matter what my grade was or if I passed the class (even if I had nothing but 100's the entire semester I could still fail the class if I didn't get at least a 65 on the final--after the curve...see why I was stressing?) I still did what I set out to do when I registered: learn a lot more about the muscles of the body, the skeleton and joint actions. These would be things that would be most beneficial to me as a personal trainer.

Ninety minutes and two hundred and forty questions later I left the building, feeling somewhat confident that I had at least passed the final and, therefore, the class. My instructor told everyone that she would have our grades to us by tonight.

She got it done a lot sooner.

After the curve I got a 95 on my final. Overall that left me with a 90.14 for the class. That's a B.

If you'll pardon me, I'm going to go have a good cry. Then I'm going to finish up assignments due for my other two classes and study for those finals on Monday.

Does anyone have a Kleenex?


What I did yesterday

Each year the Federal Aviation Administration mandates that I must Go Out Flying. I have to spend time in the cockpit of the airplanes that I dispatch. I dread doing this every year because it's a huge pain in the butt, I have to fly for hours to get my required amount of time in, and the jumpseat (which I have to ride in) is fairly uncomfortable. But in the interest of keeping my blog um... interesting, I captured our departure out of Washington-Dulles on video so you could see my perspective on takeoff. See what I go through for you??

Here are some other pictures from my flight.


The Little Drummer Girl

It seems those lessons are starting to pay off!

(Yes, Abby is actually reading music during this lesson!)


She loves me


The leg that I was fondling today

I found myself fondling a leg today, totally disregarding who might be watching and who might consider my actions inappropriate. If someone thought that the soft words that I was whispering while I ran my hand up and down this leg, slowly and precisely, were of an outrageous nature then I didn't notice and didn't care. It had to be done.

This coming Saturday morning I will be taking an Anatomy and Physiology lab exam on the muscles of the body, their actions, and their orgins and insertions. I'm good on the major muscles and their actions but not so good on origins and insertions. I have a lot of studying to do between now and then.

If it's not one thing, it's another...