Archive for February, 2012

28 Feb 2012

Ready to get my Ass Kicked

12 Comments Health, Uncategorized

You may or may not know that I used to be a gym rat. As a matter of fact, I’ve been through several phases of rodent-like gym behavior in my 40 years on this planet. I have always enjoyed exercise (once I get my ass off the couch), and I do feel better about myself when at least one part of my body is “ripped” or “cut” or “toned”.

Over the last several years, however, it has gotten more difficult to find the time, and more importantly the motivation, to work out.  (I’m pretty sure it has something to do with the adorable blond boy who lives in my house.) Consequently, everything has gotten a little softer, a little less defined, and a lot less flexible. Not to mention, I feel bad that I’m not using my healthy body to it’s full extent. I’m not conditioning my heart, keeping my core strong, or lifting weights to stave off bone loss and osteoporosis.

Not feeling fit has been a blow to my self-esteem of late, and it’s also left me with a lot of pent-up energy and a general tiredness, that I know comes from a lack of moving my body.

Well, this weekend it all came to a head. I found myself with knee pain when getting up from the couch, along with zombie-like behavior throughout the day. Sleep was the only thing that sounded reasonable to me, and my jeans were making deep impressions in my stomach. I immediately got on line to look for a boxing class in my area. Boxing has always been attractive to me, as a sport. I like the thought of punching things, I like when my arms get toned, and I need to work off some stress.

I found a place that was very highly-rated on Yelp and I called. I was all set for a free beginner’s class Monday night at 6PM. Good to go.

When I got to the gym last night, in a very industrial part of town, five miles from my home… I was scared. From the street I could see an open warehouse/gym filled with people lifting heavy weights and grunting. I parked my car and walked toward the grunts, finding myself inside and talking to a lovely female trainer. She told me to fill out some paperwork and coach Bill (that’s what I’ll call him) would be with me shortly.

As I wrote my name, address, and general aches and pains down on this yellow piece of paper, I looked around at the people working out and started feeling a little yellow myself. What am I doing here? Why are those people walking on their hands? What is this place? Why is no one boxing? How did I get to be 40? Am I too old to work out like this?

“Are you Lisa”, Coach Bill asked. I told him I was. Bill looks like Bob Harper, in that he’s compact, completely shredded, handsome, and terrifying. “Why are you here”, he asked. I told him I was just wondering the same thing. I told him I was sick of being out of shape, that I used to be very in shape, and that I was hoping to get back to that. Then I told him this place didn’t look like the place for me and I should probably find somewhere that made more sense. He told me this was a Crossfit gym, and that people do things here they don’t do anywhere else. He told me it was the best workout possible and that I’d probably get nauseated my first couple workouts, but no to push myself too hard the first time out. I told him I was probably going to leave. Then he started the class and I was still there.

We began with leg lifts intertwined with crab walks, bear walks, duck walks, and dolly walks. All things foreign to me. Then we scaled walls. Something I’ve never done in my life, as I’ve never had to run from anything, nor have I needed to make a quick getaway after stealing anything. Then we did 200 meter runs followed by squat lifts and push-ups. That’s when I got nauseous.

I did every leg lift asked of me, and every type of walk except for the dolly walk, (as this requires arm strength that had all but left me at this point). I scaled the wall four times. This was an incredible achievement for me. I ran 800 meters, (actually, I walked a lot of it), did 30 or so squat lifts (of a pvc pipe, as I felt anything else would be too heavy), and 40 push ups. 40!

The support was incredible. Everyone knew I was new, so they cheered me on, patted me on the back, and showed me the right way to lift. At the end of it, I felt amazing. Proud. Like myself. Now I have to decide if I want to go back and continue, or find something a bit closer and more convenient where I’d probably have to push myself to get the same kind of workout. A workout, by the way, completely reminiscent of Bob’s on The Biggest Loser!! I think this must be his main type of training. And I found some things on line last night to back that up.

Long story short, I think I’m back. I don’t know how I’ll find the time to workout several days a week, but last night confirmed that I have to. I HAVE TO. I’m excited to feel strong again. It might take a while, but that’s okay. It took me a while to get to where I am now, and it can only get better.

Side note: I was not sore when I woke up this morning. Now, at noon… EVERYTHING HURTS. Ouch.

21 Feb 2012

It’s Better To Give Than Receive

10 Comments Personal Crap, Uncategorized

I did something today I haven’t done in a very long time. I gave money to a man walking down the street at a red light, holding a sign that said “Hungry”. It was only 50 cents. That was all I had in my change holder. But when I rolled down my window and gave it to him saying “This is all I have”, he said “Thank you. God Bless You.”

Now let me take you back about 15 years. I was a young woman in my twenties, on the way to my friend’s house. We were going out somewhere so I was dressed up, made up, and revved up… Probably excited about the prospect of having men buy me drinks and staying out until 2AM. Looking down at my gas tank, I realized I was low on fuel. I pulled into a gas station, filled up my tank, and got back in my car, doing a final look at myself in the rearview mirror and no doubt being elated at my reflection. Oh wait, I mean deflated.

As I was about to pull away, a man tapped on my window. Literally dressed in tatters, and looking hungry and helpless, he motioned for me to roll my window down. I did and he asked me for money. I reached into my purse and handed him two dollars. He smiled broadly and reached out to grab my hand. Not wanting to insult him, I put my hand out the window to shake his. But shaking is not what he had in mind.

The man took my hand and, in one swift motion, lifted it to his face and LICKED it. He licked my hand. Not a little lick. Not the kind of lick where one darts ones tongue out to touch the tip of it to something. It was a full-on lick from the base of my fingers to my wrist. I pulled my hand away as swiftly as he had pulled it to himself and looked at him in horror as he still smiled broadly.

Rolling up my window and pulling out of the gas station, I started to pound my steering wheel in fear, disgust and anger. “WHAT THE FUCK JUST HAPPENED??” I was crying. I was a good decade away from having a kid, so I had no antibacterial wipes or hand sanitizer handy. I had about five miles to go to get to my destination, and a hand covered in saliva.

I’m not saying I didn’t feel sympathy for this man. But at that moment, I was so angry at myself for giving him money and for trusting him. I was mad that I wasn’t able to say no to people because I was always afraid of hurting people’s feelings. I was mad that it wasn’t enough to give this man money, and that I also allowed him to mess with me. Which, by the way, I don’t think he was doing at all. I think he was thanking me the best way he knew how.

Long story short, my faith was renewed today. I enjoy helping people. I just prefer a “Bless You” over a lick.

13 Feb 2012

The (not-so-awful) Play Date Situation

10 Comments Personal Crap, Toddler, Uncategorized

Something unexpected has come with having a son in preschool. No, not the germs. The moms.

I remember, vividly remember, saying I would NOT let my son’s friends dictate who my friends were. I remember dreading play dates the same way I dreaded nuclear war when I was nine. The thought of them kept me up crying until I fell asleep, a snotty, red-eyed mess. “Dear God, please don’t make me have to go to other people’s houses and make up some bullshit small talk while my son “parallel plays” with their kid. Please God, don’t force me to have strangers over, eating my food while their kids pull out all of Garrett’s toys and put them directly into their mouths.”

Play dates were a thing I had only read about online or heard horror stories about through friends of friends. I wanted nothing to do with them, or anything that came along with them.

But guess what happened? Guess!! Play dates happened. And they are glorious.

First of all, they take up at least two hours of what would otherwise be time that I would have to fill with crafts or art, or arts and crafts, or pulling out my hair trying to think of something to do besides arts and crafts. Not that I don’t adore, relish, and thank the lord for the time I have alone with G-Man. I do love this time. But there are days that are easier for both of us because of play dates. I have an only child. And he sometimes needs a playmate under 40 to hang out with after school.

Second of all, I have met some pretty freaking unbelievable women (and some awesome men) because of these dates of play. These are women I never would have known if it wasn’t for G. These are women from all walks of life, in varied careers, with fascinating stories. These are women who love their kids as hard as I love mine, who take great care in caring for their families, who miss the hell out of staying up until 2:00AM, taking weekend naps and working out five days a week, but wouldn’t trade the life they’re living now if you paid them.

They’re funny and smart and lovely. They are women I have things in common with. I don’t feel pressure to be anything other than myself around them, and I don’t feel pressured to be a better friend than I can be. Some of these women may only be in my life for a little while, but some might be around for the long haul. The great thing is, none of that really matters now because we’re mostly doing the play-date thing for our kids, so that they can be social and learn how to have their own friends.

I just never knew that my kid’s play dates would turn into dates that I looked so forward to. And, having lost friends from my past who no longer fit into my evolving life, nor I into theirs… I feel very lucky to be meeting new people who seem to be the exact people I need at this moment, (and hopefully some for years to come). I hope I offer as much to them as they do to me. It’s true what they say about one door closing and another one opening. I just had no idea it would be the door to my kid’s preschool classroom.

12 Feb 2012

Valenblah’s Blah

17 Comments Personal Crap

So Valentine’s Day, right?

I’m going to be honest with you. It pisses me off. I find it insulting. It’s a holiday that makes men feel incredibly pressured to buy the women in their lives last-minute gifts like flowers, chocolate and jewelry because they’re told that if they don’t… They’re going to pay.

And it makes women feel pressured to buy frilly lingerie and make exquisite meals for the men in their lives because if they don’t (along with some hot sex)… Then why did the man in their life run out and buy them the bullshit gift in the first place?

I’m not a fan of gifts, or sex, under pressure. I’m also not a fan of going to a restaurant where they’re going to feed you the same food they serve every other day of the year for a much higher price with less-attentive service and an hour-long wait. It’s the same reason I never go on on New Year’s Eve, and haven’t for over 10 years.

My husband and I love each other. We tell each other daily, even when we’re incredibly sick of each other and wish that one of us would get a job over seas for six months. That’s off-topic. We love each other, is the point. And we even like getting gifts from each other. We’re not necessarily great at the whole gift exchange thing, but when it does occur, we like it.

Russ likes it when I bring a shirt home that looks great on him and fits. I like when he brings home a necklace (Not diamond, mind you. I’m more of a $17 costume jewelry type), or picks up some flowers at the supermarket. I love the surprise ass grab in the kitchen (if I’m not holding a hot beverage), the times he holds my face in his hands to convince me how beautiful he thinks I am, and the amused looks we sneak each other when G-Man makes us proud.

I love when I come home to a vacuumed house (this actually happened today!), and when he tells me he loves my cooking. I love how he looks at me when I tell him he’s the best dad in the world.

I just can’t stand the thought of a holiday that forces people to tell you how they feel, especially when it seems like it HAS TO come with some sort of present. It’s unfair, and it makes people feel like failures.

I’m not a person who doesn’t like to celebrate things. In fact, I love to. I am just not a fan of this particular holiday for all of the reasons I told you above.

Having said all of that, my mom and dad used to celebrate Valentine’s Day like their marriage depended on it. (It did not depend on it, by the way.) My dad would always buy my mom jewelry, they would exchange cards with flowery language, and they would go out for expensive meals either alone, or with other couples. My mom has never understood why Russ and I don’t celebrate it with the same ferver.

Last year was my mom’s first Valentine’s Day alone, so we had her over for dinner. It was a sweet evening, she was thankful to be with family, and we were glad to have her. This year, we’re celebrating with my mom and my brother’s family at his house. We’re having a potluck so that everyone pitches in. We’ll eat together in the usual chaotic way, chatting about our lives and stresses, laughing at inappropriate jokes, and razzing each other (mostly my mom.)  My niece will beg to make everyone coffees and my nephew will tell me he loves my pumpkin cupcakes. My son will beg his cousin to tell him more about Star Wars and my brother will do annoying magic tricks. My sis-in-law will talk me through my stress about public schools and my mom will steal kisses from her grandkids as often as possible.

In short, we will be celebrating love on Valentine’s Day. And I am totally okay with that tradition.

(I’m also okay with store-bought flowers or a sweet card. But it doesn’t HAVE to happen. At least not on Valentine’s Day.)

Oh, and please do not think I’m judging you if you love to celebrate this heart-filled holiday. It just ain’t my thang. Looks good on you, though!

09 Feb 2012

Tonight, Here.

8 Comments Family, Personal Crap

I want to post real fast just so I don’t forget that…

Tonight Garrett made us watch the Madonna Super Bowl half-time show (again) so we could all dance in front of the TV. And that he made us pause it so he could get a drum and play along with the marching band. And that he gave me a microphone so I could sing along, and Russ got a maraca.

Then we showed him “Material Girl” and “Get Into the Groove” and we sang along and danced a little more.

And that I did the magic spell over G’s cup of water to make sure he wouldn’t have any dreams. Not just bad dreams, mind you. This kid doesn’t want ANY dreams. And that he smiled so warmly when I did the spell that I almost melted. And that he laughed when I took a sip because I rolled across the room when the drink pulled all the dreams out of me. And that when he took a sip he said, “WHOA!  That knocked all MY dreams out, too!”

And that I’m lucky. And happy.

And that even though I’m stressed and a little worried about “stuff”…

Wonderful things happened under my roof tonight.

I just didn’t want to forget.

07 Feb 2012

A Good Day

8 Comments Personal Crap

In the last four-plus years, I have had many happy days. Let me rephrase that. In the last four-plus years I have had many, many glorious, joy-filled days where I felt blessed and happy and grateful.

Most of the joy has come from my family and friends. I am an incredibly lucky girl who has immensely good people in my life, a son who brightens every moment, a husband who should write a book on husbandry, (Wait, he doesn’t breed or raise livestock. You know what I meant though.  Husbanding?), an extended family I adore, and friends who make my life even better.

But today was a different kind of day. Today I made my own happiness from being creative, from working at my craft, and from believing in myself. These are things that haven’t happened a lot for me lately, and I think I forgot how important they were to me. I felt, and feel, energized in a way I haven’t in quite a while. And then when I came home and played “Star Wars School” with G-Man, I think I had a little more to give to him than I usually do. And that’s saying something.

I just wanted to share with you that I found a type of joy today that I thought I had lost. And it was a good day.

05 Feb 2012

Phases

16 Comments Toddler, Uncategorized

These phases of his. These interests of his. This growing he does. It kills me.

An interest in Dinosaurs was the first big one. Before that, it was Blues Clues and Backyardigans and stuff like that. But we moved through those swiftly, not really looking back. Then came the T-Rex and the Brachiosaurus and such. He was so focused on them, studying them, memorizing their defenses and diets and heights. He has hundreds, in the forms of action figures, or pictures on cards. Some are stuffed and some are on pillow cases, (one of which I hand-sewed.  Stop it. Sit down! It wasn’t that hard.)

Then came the Wild Kratts on PBS, and with it a love of animals like I’ve never seen. I mean this kid has always had an affinity for the furries, but this show made him LURVE animals of every ilk. Raccoons, Wolves, Badgers, Bees, Whales, Squid, Octopi, Lions and Tigers and Bears… (You say it.)

The zoo became his temple. The aquarium became the altar at which he prayed. And he studied, and again gathered information as if his job as a toddler depended on it.

Now we are on to Star Wars. Some kids at school and a close friend outside of school already had their obsessions, and now it was to become Garrett’s. He picked their brains, and read their books. He made us look things up on Wookipedia. He fell in love with Princess Leia, he perfected his Luke Skywalker pout, and he even dabbled in the Dark Side. We got Star Wars books at the library, we watched the Jedi Training at Disneyland, and his cousin bestowed the Star Wars encyclopedia on him the other night.

Yes young Jedi, you are nearly ready to know all. You’ve seen Episode IV approximately thirteen times and we are weak against your will to see the other movies. But you are only FOUR, young Jedi. You have so much time ahead of you to learn the ways of the Universe.

The way he’s moving through life, gathering and collecting and sifting through new knowledge every day… It fascinates me. I watch him light up with new information, and again when he teaches a friend. We pretend we are characters from the movie and he takes it so seriously. And then I remember only a year ago when we was a T-Rex and I was a Parasaurolophus, and my heart literally breaks to think of how fast it’s all going. Remember his second birthday, when he nearly fainted at seeing the Blues Clues Bouncy?

But here we are at this phase, now. And lucky for me, Princess Leia is far more attractive than a Parasaurolophus.

01 Feb 2012

His Choice

12 Comments Family, Toddler

This was my conversation with G as I brushed his teeth:

G:  Brian wouldn’t let me play with new friends today.

Me: What do you mean?

G:  I needed to play with Ben and Cody, and Brian told me I couldn’t.

Me: You mean the teachers told you you needed to play with different kids?

G:  No, I just thought it’d be good to play with some new friends.

Me: And what did Brian say?

G:  That I needed to keep playing with him and not the other friends.

Me: Well, did you tell Brian that it’s YOUR choice who you play with and that you’d still be his friend even if you play with other kids?

G:  (Slapping his forehead for effect) Oh! I forgot to say that!

Me: That’s ok. Sometimes it’s hard to remember what to say.

G:  I think he confused me.

Me: Do you want to practice for next time?

G:  OK.

Me: Ok, I’ll be Brian and you be you.

G:  “I want to go play with other kids.”

Me: “No! You have to stay here!”

G:  “I think it’s good to play with other kids. You’ll still be my best friend.”

Me: “No! You have to play with me.”

G:  (blank stare)

Me: Tell him its your choice and you can do what you feel is right.

G:   “It’s my choice!”

Me: Good!!

G:  Ok, I’m going to tell Brian tomorrow! He has to let me play with other friends. It’s my choice.

And then I melted and thanked God for these moments with this kid.

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