Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Hi, my name is Cheri, and I'm a fry-aholic. Specifically, the thick crinkle cut fries. Just thinking about them makes my mouth water.
I used to work downtown and happily fed my crinkle fry cravings at the Loading Dock. Oh, Dock, how I miss you. Your smoke-filled atmosphere, tables right outside the restroom door, decor of antique cars - IN side the building...ahh...and the best greasy grilled cheese sandwiches EVER. And the fries. Oh, the fries that filled me with a special crinkly kind of joy. There were days when the fries were all I needed. No need to bother with the sandwich - it was just a justification for the fries, anyway. Just knowing that the crinkle fries were always there for me helped to make the bad days just a little bit better.
Now I work further north. For a while, my fry cravings went unsatisfied. And I was cranky. I longed for my fries and wondered if my decision to leave my employer was the right one - after all, what had I given up - how would I live without my crinkle fries (yes, yes, and most certainly YES it was the right decision to leave - but that's a story for another time). And then, a miracle. An angel appeared in the form of a co-worker who said she had found a new place to eat that had just opened: the Boathouse Grill. We went to try it and discovered - yes, they had Krinkle fries. Oh, yes, these Krinkle fries are spelled with a 'K' and capitalized, my friend. They are THAT good. They are perfectly crinkled and beautiful and delicious. And even better, at the Boathouse, we can watch the Price is Right during lunch. This might be what Heaven is like.
Friday, February 23, 2007
My husband, on the other hand, is a MAN. He doesn't cry. It's a Man Rule or something. Boys don't cry. I have only seen him cry a couple of times since I've known him - at the funerals of his grandparents - and to be honest, it freaks me out a little because I don't know what to do when it happens. Now, he does get a little emotional about weird boy-movies. Like the one where Joaquin Phoenix is a firefighter and John Travolta is trying to save him and then he dies in the end anyway...he doesn't exactly cry, but it gets him a little verklempt, if you will (I on the other hand, cry - someone in a movie DIES, people, c'mon!). And also, Days of Thunder. When Tom Cruise has to drive through the accident and he can't see and the other guy tells him that he can do it, "I know it in my heart, Cole." Yeah, that line gets him every time. Oddly, that is one of the few things that does NOT make me cry. Strange.
But yesterday, my husband showed me something he found on YouTube and he was pretty choked up. First of all, my husband was on YouTube - this is momentous! I asked how he found this video and it came from something I signed him up for (I will pull him kicking and screaming into the 21st century yet!). A while back, I heard an ad for an All-Pro Dads event. I Googled them to see what it was all about and was very impressed. They have a newsletter they send out to men with snippets of info and motivational/inspirational advice on being a better dad. I signed Steve up, not because I think he is not a good father, but because I thought it might give him some thought points and he would like that is was kind of sports-related (The Colts' coach, Tony Dungy is very heavily involved in the organization). He didn't say anything for a while, but finally he mentioned something in one of the e-mails and I was happy to hear he was getting the e-mails, reading them, and enjoying them. The e-mail this week had a story about a father and son, Dick and Rick Hoyt. Their story is here and here and it is amazing. And it will make you cry, unless you are a robot or your heart is made of stone. And if your heart is made of some kind of metal or stone, try this video and make sure you have a Kleenex or two handy. Your heart will be a big pool of goo by the end. We watched both of the videos and my husband - my big, strong, manly-man husband - was very teary-eyed. It is in moments like these that I know I married the right one.
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Today started like many other days - with me in a fog. The difference today was that the fog was outside instead of just in my head. It was one of the foggiest days I can remember. The radio called it freezing fog, which sounded stupid to me, until I drove through it and watched my windows ice up. As I drove down the interstate on my way to work, trying to pay attention to the cars I could barely see, I got distracted by glimpses through the fog of how beautiful the frozen grass and bushes were on the side of the road. All I could think about was how much I wanted to take a picture...or two...or twenty. Every minute or so, I would think, "Ooo. THAT would be a great picture! Oh! Or THAT! Oh, look how pretty THAT is!" Unfortunately, you can't exactly take pictures while you're driving down the interstate trying to avoid cars in near zero visibility driving conditions. And pulling over to the side of the road in order to get out of the car and take some pictures isn't really a good idea, either. You know, there are stupid people on the interstate in the fog.
So I did the only smart thing I could do. I got off the interstate and drove on the even foggier side road so that I could drive twenty mph and stop if I wanted to. And I did stop and take a few pictures, but then the fog got so bad that I really couldn't see enough to even do that. So I got the idea to take a small diversion on my way to work and drive a few hundred yards into the state park where I KNEW I could get some cool pics. And boy, did I. I pulled just inside the front gate and took several pictures. Then I drove a little further in just to see what was there and to turn around. I saw a small road that led to the Nature Center and thought that would be a good place to turn around. This may sound a little cheesy, but I really think it was some kind of Divine intervention - it IS Ash Wednesday, after all. As I turned onto the road, a deer walked across in front of me. I watched where the deer walked to and saw another one, then two, and then I realized there were FIVE deer in all. Wow! It was truly amazing.
So I was of course late to work. Again. I got there at 9am, for the third day in a row. Thank God my boss is also my friend, and that she understands - and is okay for now with the fact - that I barely have enough work to fill my days. So being a little late isn't a huge issue right now. And I did show her my amazing deer pictures. As I told another friend today - as my friend, she was totally cool with my side trip. But as my boss, at some point she's going to have to start frowning upon this kind of behavior from me.
So it was really a great way to start my morning. And it made me think, yet again, how much I wish I could just take pictures for a living. And write blogs. If I could find someone to pay me what I make now to do that...well, that might just be heaven.
Okay, back to the real world. But in the mean time, take a look at my frozzy pictures!
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Today is day two of being snowed in. Here is a picture of our front yard today after 15 inches of drifting snow:
The drift by the front door is almost four feet tall at its peak. We all stayed home today for the second day. Since it's Valentine's Day, I gave Steve a gift any husband would love - I helped him shovel our driveway and sidewalks. I found his gift after I got out of the shower.
Oh, yes, that's right. A HICKIE. Am I in high school? No, I most certainly am not. Are we some drunk college kids getting it on in a dark dorm room while a roommate sleeps in the top bunk? Nope. We've been married for ten years for crying out loud. And we have two kids - we're not even supposed to be having sex at this point, let alone leaving EVIDENCE of the crime. Oh sure, I could tell you it was just the hickie, but you wouldn't really believe me, now would you? So yes, we had sex. And don't worry - that's all the details I feel the need to provide. You know, I wouldn't want to make anyone jealous with tales of my wild, cavorting, let's-hurry-up-and-do-it-now-that-the-kids-are-asleep-so-we-can-go-to-sleep, married sex. It's pretty hot and steamy. Seriously.
School is closed again tomorrow, but work is on and day care is open, so life is almost back to normal. We'll all be leaving the house tomorrow and maybe that's a good thing. You know, maybe the hickie is a result of us being cooped up in the house all day. We need to go to work to expend some energy in order to avoid any more incriminating evidence showing up on my neck.
Well, I think Steve is asleep. I think it's safe for me to head off to bed. After I lay out that lovely turtleneck sweater I'll be wearing tomorrow.
Steve: This is probably killing their business from all those last minute people.
Me: Yeah, and with everything shut down, do you think they'll just wait and deliver my flowers tomorrow?
Steve: No, they'll probably just say 'Forget it,' and give me my money back.
Me: You're hilarious.
Steve: I better call Troyer and tell him to use that one on Michelle!
Sunday, February 11, 2007
I never believed I would be a runner or a treadmill owner. And I don't think I'm going to go so far as to call myself a runner now, either. But I think I have more potential to become a runner now than I ever thought I would. My friend (also my boss - yes, it's awesome) had a treadmill she was looking to sell and Steve and I have talked about getting a treadmill. Yes, we have made the same goal that millions of other people make every January - to lose weight/get in shape. But I feel more serious about this than just a diet. In fact, I don't really think about this as a diet. We are trying to make a change in how we live. I am actually very consciously trying NOT to use the word diet or talk about losing weight. I don't want to start those images and ideas in the kids' heads already. I know it's never too early to start lifelong problems with food and self-image. So anyway, we got the treadmill. We've had it for a couple of weeks now, and I really really like it. I don't really like the fact that it's in the living room, but since we don't have an extra room to put it in or a basement, the living room is the best option.
I have not been on it every day, but I have been on it more days than I have not. And I have even started running on it. I read somewhere that beginners should start out alternating walking for 3 minutes and running for 2 to ease in to running. I did that all this week for a mile or so each time. Today I did that for a mile and walked another 2 miles. I know, I'm a wuss. Please, don't tell me. I KNOW! But for me, this is a big step away from my sedentary lifestyle. I want to be healthy. I want to be a good model for my kids. We're all eating a little better - but we aren't going crazy. I love food. Get that right - I LOVE food. And if I try to eliminate all the things I love the best (that would be French fries, for starters), I know it won't stick. But if we add in more fruit and vegetables, switch to brown rice, eat more fiber, reduce the fat and sugar...blah blah blah...I just might be able to do it. And my kids might not become one more statistic about obese children. Though, to be honest, I don't see Andrew having trouble with that any time soon. For him, I want him to learn how to eat healthy. With the history of heart trouble on his dad's side, he needs to start early.
So the treadmill. Have I mentioned that I love it? Yes, I did. Really, if I'm being honest here, I don't love running, or even walking that much. While I'm doing it, I have a very strong hatred of the effort it takes to make my body go. I don't like being sweaty. It's gross. And I am not cute when I sweat. But at the same time, I love the way I feel. I love that the sweat means I am working and the working means I am burning calories and the burning of calories means I am healthier! They aren't lying when they talk about those endorphins. I feel them. I take pride in the (yes, wussy) fact that I can run. No, I can't run far - yet - and I don't run for very long - yet. But I am already getting stronger. I feel confident that I am going to make the goals I've set. Where I am weak in the face of food, I am strong when I am on my treadmill. Maybe it's because the treadmill is pointed right toward the kitchen and I have direct line view of the refrigerator....it's the old carrot on the stick trick!! Ha!
Friday, February 9, 2007
So the whole mommy blogosphere seems to be talking about this. And I feel a little disconnected because, while I read several blogs that have discussed this, I haven't commented. And no one here in my "real" world is even aware of the debate. It's almost as if the entire ~scandal~ exists only in the virtual Internet world. So I have no one to talk to about this. And I need to talk about it. I don't know what exactly I have to say that hasn't already been said, but this whole thing bothers me on several levels and I can't stop thinking about it.
First, a re-cap: Melissa Summers, a mother who writes a blog (see links above), has written posts about enjoying adult alcoholic beverages with other parents while the children play. The other parents are also mothers (usually no dads) and the get-togethers are referred to as playdates. The Today Show picked up on the story from Melissa and from another woman, Stefanie Wilder-Taylor, who wrote a book about just such playdates and other mothering adventures. They aired a spot a couple of weeks ago with Melissa and Dr. Janet Taylor discussing the issue, which they referred to as a "new trend."
Because of the strong response they got from this piece, I think primarily negative, they aired a follow-up piece this week with Dr. Taylor and Stefanie Wilder-Taylor. This piece seemed to be a little softer on the issue than the first piece, but it is still generating a lot of buzz (no pun intended!) on a lot of blogs.
I have so many thoughts on this, but mostly, I am just sad. Sad that we've all come to this. Sad that we're so concerned with what other people are doing that we have to find new names for old things so we can gasp in horror at the "new trends." Sad that, unfortunately, there are parents in the world who make the rest of us look bad and cause the so-called experts to look for any sign of bad parenting in an effort to save the children from the results of our behavior. Sad because some parents NEED someone else to call them on their irresponsible behavior.
Sometimes parents are just ignorant of the proper way to care for children - and ignorant is okay, as long as they get help (would someone PLEASE help Britney?!). Ignorance is just a lack of knowing. Most of the time, ignorance can be corrected. Stupid, on the other hand, might just be permanent. These parents probably do need someone like Dr. Taylor to tell them that even one drink could impact them and impair their ability to be a good parent. Because the difference between one and plastered to these parents might not be clear. They may be struggling to be a good parent even without anything that would alter their thoughts - whether that be beer, wine, cough medicine, American Idol, etc. And by struggling, I don't mean that they don't have all the beds made by 7am, that they work 50 hours a week and have to rely on day care too much, or even that they fight with their spouse about money in front of the kids. I'm talking about the kind of parents whose toddlers are walking down busy interstates in January wearing nothing but a diaper and a t-shirt, parents who don't know any other way to get their children to be quiet other than to knock them unconscious and leave them outside in the cold to die.
Most (God, I hope we're the majority in this) of the rest of us, who are not perfect and whose children are not perfect, but who are healthy, functioning, warm, fed, and have a bed to sleep in...we're doing okay. Of course, we are probably messing up our kids in millions of little ways. How could we not, being the imperfect beings that we are? My mom ruined me on grape jelly when I was a kid by putting my medicine in it (I couldn't swallow pills). Does that mean that someone should have put her on TV and pointed out what a crappy job she was doing in the jelly area? Of course not. It just means that we now only have strawberry jelly in my house. If we're going to start pointing fingers about parenting styles that others see as wrong, everyone is going to come out the loser. Do you work outside the home? Do you stay home all the time? Do you formula feed? Do you co-sleep? Do you practice cry-it-out? Do you eat meat? Do you not eat meat? Do you eat fast food? Do you watch violent TV programs (and yes, the nightly news counts)? Do you listen to a radio station that plays some songs with suggestive lyrics? Do you live a mostly sedentary lifestyle? If you do any of those things, I guarantee there is another parent out there who thinks you are not being responsible with your children. Show me a parent, and I'll show you someone who has done something in front of or to their kids that would absolutely appall another parent.
I know I sound like I'm pretty worked up about this, but the truth is, I am not as worked up as I think I should be. Like I said, I'm mostly just sad. Of course, I understand why other people are very worked up about it, Melissa Summers in particular. I can't even begin to imagine how pissed I'd be in her position. However, I also understand that there is another side, and I know she does, too. I know there are some people who are not okay with drinking. Ever. Anywhere. In front of anyone. Especially not children. They have their reasons. They are entitled to their opinions. And for them, drinking in front of children is the same as teaching them to steal cars or kill someone. I don't agree with them, but I feel for them. I think for many people with that view point, they are desperately trying to protect their children from a world that at times seems to have gone crazy. Kids bring weapons to school, we hear about drug problems in elementary school kids, there are adults pretending to be kids on the Internet so they can lure our children for their twisted fantasies. It is terrifying the many many ways in which our children can be hurt. If you stop to let all of that in, it would be paralyzing. You wouldn't let your children out of the house or anywhere near a television, radio, or computer. But to live life that way, in my opinion, is not really living. It is attempting to create a bubble that has no hope of surviving the pins and needles of this world. I would also assert that preventing children from seeing a parent drink really won't keep them from drinking in the future. I know lots of people whose parents never smoked pot in front of them, and yet...
I don't drink often, but when I do, it is usually in front of my children. We get together with our friends from church, the kids play, we might have a few drinks. It's normally pretty low-key. The purpose of the get-together is not the drink. Drinking is not a way in which any of the adults deal with their stress. I do find a glass of wine to be relaxing, but it's not my first option when I'm stressed. Mostly, I am enjoying time with my friends, which is also relaxing, and sometimes I feel like having a glass of wine while we do that. And then it's even more relaxing. However, to be fair again to the other side, at times I've also seen some grown ups get pretty wasted in front of the kids. The kids were never in any kind of danger from being neglected - there are always 6, 8, 10, or more adults around, and almost always there is at least one who has had one or no drinks. But I know that it has sometimes bothered some of the kids to see their parent or their friend's parent drunk. And that makes me sad, too. I don't think less of my friend for getting drunk. I don't think she is a bad mother. I think she gets carried away sometimes. But I also know that she would never do that in a setting where she was solely responsible for her kids.
And that again, is the difference between people teetering on the edge of neglectful parenting, and the rest of us living in the middle, who are not perfect, but are doing the best we can, even while the voices on the TV, in the magazines, and even on the Internet tell us we're doing it wrong.
Thursday, February 8, 2007
So apparently, my cube neighbor has overheard enough of the conversations from my side of the cube wall to determine that I am worthless when it comes to work-related subjects. I am, however, at least in his mind, some kind of domestic goddess when it comes to random life skill trivia. A few weeks ago, he came over to ask me what it means on sweaters when it says "Lay flat to dry." Do they mean that literally? Uh, yes.
Today, he came a-knocking to ask about the refrigerator life-span of cilantro so he can plan when to make his Bean Dip Surprise. How long will it last if I buy it today? He seemed assured once I told him that the parsley in my refrigerator has lasted a week or two at this point and his cilantro should enjoy a similar lengthy life in the coolness of his crisper drawer.
I'll be submitting my name change application shortly. You can start referring to me as Martha Poppins...
Sunday, February 4, 2007
Thursday, February 1, 2007
Yesterday was a bad day. Today was better. Actually, today offered another indication that the medicine might be working. This morning, I had a big-time snuggle with my kids. We snuggled and giggled and tickled and laughed. They sat on me to keep me from getting up and taking my shower. We were late getting out of the house and off to work and school.
Even when I was at my worst, I would have enjoyed those fun little snuggly moments with the kids. I was never that far gone. The difference is that then, I would have been quicker to end it and as soon as I left the moment, any happiness I felt during the moment disappeared as if it had never been. Now, the happy stays with me. It stayed with me all morning. It kept me from losing my cool even though we were getting later and later. It allowed me to be the "cool" mom this morning who offered to pick up Burger King breakfast because we were out of waffles.
And that Croissan'wich tasted much better on a happy stomach.