September 30, 2008

Summer in a Small Town

You see amazing things every day. In small town America I sit in the backyard listening to the music of cicadas in the trees. The first night, their song is surprising, forgotten during the time away from this home, and unexpected. Later, the sound is comfort, lulling me into peaceful, quiet meditation in the backyard twilight as I wait to walk the one block into town.

We walk down Main Street, peering in shop windows of stores as versatile as snowflakes. A coffee shop, a comic book store, the local newsstand, The Shaker Cafe, where they make delicious nachos every Friday with weekly Mexican meals. A bagel shop has just opened up in town, and I had a fresh bagel for breakfast this morning. As we walk past the old Union Hotel restaurant, we begin to hear the music.

Every other Thursday night in this small town in New Jersey, they have Music on Main. A block or two of the street is barricaded off and a stage is set up. The blacktop is spotted with tables dressed in flowing white tablecloths surrounded by folding chairs. The music has already started and the tables are full with people talking, laughing and sharing wine and food.

I'm not from here, but I feel welcome. As I sit at the table with one of the other town moms, her hug welcomes me as if I've been here forever. I don't talk much. Instead, I sit and listen to the cover band play, I watch the local kids and less shy women and men dance on the cleared out area in front of the stage. I have a hard time keeping my eyes off of her in her red sparkling halter top. She has already been pointed out to me as the heavy drinker at these events. Her shirt reminds me of an Olympic gymnastics leotard. Her eyes are partially shut as she weaves back and forth, and she claps and hollers at the end of every song.

She is joined by a woman from a few doors down. She too is drunk, perhaps forgetting the worries of how her husband left her with her children, how she doesn't have a job. Not caring where her children are - I saw her 9 year old daughter riding her scooter around town earlier by herself. Tonight she has no idea that in a few days, CPS will be called on her for leaving her daughter home alone overnight. She is dancing, oblivious. I've been here for only a week, but I've already heard these stories. Later, as the two women dance together, the one in the red shirt stumbles drunkenly and bowls over a group of pre-teen girls.

Halfway through the night it begins to rain, but it's a warm rain, something I rarely experience at home in Washington. I expect people to leave, but most of us just sit at our tables as the drops gently fall from the sky and cascade down our bare arms and legs. In minutes, it is over and the warmth of the night dries our skin. The show goes on.

Only a few songs left, I am lost in my own world, my own thoughts. The music eliminates the need to talk and I sit, observing, enjoying, breathing it all in. I notice a man on the sidewalk in a t-shirt and white backpack. He plays a harmonica along with the band, and the way he dances is childlike. Something is off, and I wonder what his story is. Does he think like a child, or an adult? Who takes care of him? As I watch, a young looking twenty-something breaks from the dancefloor to approach him with her male friend. They talk to him and invite him to dance. He declines, and they persist. After he says no again, they fade back into the dance, but my eyes tickle with tears at this act of kindness. It is a beautiful night.
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September 29, 2008

How Embarrassing!

So, the writing prompt from Absolutely Bananas this week has to do with exposing our embarrassing moments. When I first saw it, I thought it would be easy, but I've found a hard time coming up with what to write about. We've all been embarrassed, but I am sitting here trying to come up with one specific instance of embarrassment that was worse than any others...

I could write about the time I walked into a bus stop sign, but I don't think anyone really saw me, so that hurt physically more than embarrassed me. I could write about the time that I split my pants at work when bending over to pick up a box, but I actually found that incredibly funny, and since I had a shirt with me to wrap around my waist it wasn't too bad. I could write about the time in my younger days when DH and I had smoked a little pot and I fell asleep just as we started to... well, you know. But I'm not really embarrassed about that either. I was pretty embarrassed during my pregnancy when I'd be in meetings at work and actually FORGET the word for what I wanted to say. But that's just hormones really.

This shouldn't be so hard! Maybe it's that the times I've been TRULY embarrassed what I remember is being sad or having my feelings hurt if it was someone else who embarrassed me. But really, I know I make a fool of myself on a regular basis. What the heck, am I just used to it or something? I say things that I wish I could take back later sometimes. But I try not to let it stick with me. My son's not old enough to embarrass me (yet). Sigh... well, I'm kind of embarrassed that I can't come up with a better post for this prompt! To make myself feel better, I'm going to go read other people's embarrassing moments courtesy of Absolutely Bananas!

Happy Monday!
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Movie Monday: Ghost Town & Bottle Shock

Spoiler free, so read on!

Ghost Town: Justin and I managed to get out of the house the other day and see a movie. It was between 'Burn After Reading' and 'Ghost Town', and since we were having a tough week, we decided to go for the more blatant comedy of the two. We both really like Ricky Gervais, so it seemed like a good choice. And it was! We both really liked it. The basic plot of the movie is that Ricky Gervais is a snarky, persnickety dentist who ends up dying on the table briefly during a colonoscopy. After that experience, he starts to see dead people everywhere. Greg Kinnear's character starts following him around and asking him to help break up his widow and her new fiance.

Gervais was amazingly wonderful in this film. He plays the jerk dentist who doesn't care perfectly, but then as the movie progresses, so does his character as he starts to see what his life is and what it could be. I've always liked Tea Leoni, who play's Greg Kinnear's widow, and she and Gervais have a really great chemistry going in this movie. Also, Kinnear's nickname for the dentist, whose name is Bertram Pincus, is 'pink-ass', which cracked me up every time. It's a bit of a romantic comedy for the ladies, and a lot of funny stuff that will appeal to the guys. A great date movie for sure!

Bottle Shock: I've always found it really interesting how every industry or group has it's own little scandals. Watching King of Kong, the passion, backstabbing, and shock over the events of competing for the high score in Donkey Kong rocks the world of gamers. In the book The Emporer of Scent, we see how a controversial theory on how our noses smell rocks the scientific community and gets one man shunned. In Bottle Shock, we see how Napa Valley and it's wines came into their own with the Judgement of Paris wine tasting in 1976. I didn't know much about the movie before I went to see it, other than a basic idea of what it was about, and that it had Alan Rickman, who I basically love to pieces. I was pleasantly surprised to find during the credits that it also featured Freddy Rodriguez, who I've liked a lot since Six Feet Under.

I love seeing a story unfold and getting a taste of how drama plays out in a world that I'm not familiar with, like the world of wine. The story is brough to life by the portrayal of the struggling Chateau montelena where the owner is trying to create the perfect, clear Chardonnay while struggling in his relationship with his hippy drop-out son. Bill Pullman was great as a father trying to bring his dream to life through many disappointments and bank loan after bank loan. He's dealing with his son, who doesn't seem to have any idea of where he's going in life, but manages to prove by the end of the story that he has learned a lot from his father. Alan Rickman is absolutely brilliant as Steven Spurrier, the English man running a wine shop in Paris who comes up with the idea of pitting France against California in a blind tasting. He portrays the snob perfectly - a man who believes that France will reign supreme, but when the tables start to turn, he is surprised and quietly pleased at his discovery. Under it all, he wants to educate the world about wine, and educate himself about the wines of the world, and his opportunities are finally opening up.

I definitely recommend this movie. It's interesting because it's based on a true story - the blind tasting happened, and California won (and won again when Spurrier set up a 30 year anniversary tasting in 2006), but also touching because of the characters put in place - despite knowing the ending outcome, you find yourself rooting for the struggling winery and it's owners throughout the film.
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September 27, 2008

Saturday Share

Well, it's been one hell of a week here. Hopefully you're relaxing and having a good weekend. Here are some awesome posts I've read over the past week that you will hopefully enjoy as much as I did!
Enjoy your reading!
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Shopping Sucks

With everything that's been going on this week, I obviously have not been feeling very happy. Well, combine all of that with trying to go clothes shopping and you have a perfect mixture for 'feel like crap about yourself' juice.

Yesterday on the way home from my last day at my old job, I realized I don't have anything to wear to interviews (I actually have one this week). I stopped at the outlet mall because they have a Lane Bryant outlet and a Dress Barn, and I've had success buying dresses there before that fit really well.

First of all, let's point out the reason that I don't have anything to wear to an interview. Because the last time I interviewed I was about 50 pounds lighter. Even if I had those clothes around, they wouldn't even be CLOSE to fitting me.

Shopping when you weight 270 pounds sucks. Right now I am a size 26 or 28 in pants, depending on the style. I'm a 22/24 in shirts at Lane Bryant, but sometimes a 26/28 at other stores, or sometimes a 3x depending on how the sizing is. It's embarrassing. Not only is it embarassing, but it highly limits your choice of stores. So, you end up at Lane Bryant. Target has good plus size clothes, but a very limited selection in stores. K-Mart has a larger plus size section, and both are WAY cheaper than Lane Bryant, which becomes handy when you become poor. Kohl's also has a fairly large plus size section.

In any case, I go to Dress Barn and realize their sizes only go up to 2x or 22/24. They have a TON of cute shirts, but about 95% of them are 3/4 length sleeves, which seems to be the style. I can't buy those. I have tattoos on my wrists, and I need them covered up, at least for the initial interview. So, I find a jacket I like but the sleeves are too short. I don't buy anything and decide to go over to LB to see what they have and actually try stuff on. I get there, and pick out a bunch of pants. Several pairs of size 26 pants in different styles are TOO TIGHT. I finally find one that has an elasticy waist but is a slack. I buy it in size 24, which fits better. So, I have pants. I try on a bunch of shirts. They make me look enormous. I hate them. I buy the pants and a short sleeved shirt that I can't wear to the interview but really like and feel I deserve after the week I've had. I go back to dress barn and try on a few shirts. Most of them are too small. I find an orangish sweater that looks good with the pants. I'm not sure about the fit, but I buy it anyway just in case.

It took me TWO HOURS to find one shirt that I'm unsure about and one pair of pants.

I'm still going to go to Kohl's and the retail LB this week. I might end up returning the sweater. It's just so hard to shop like this. It just reminds me of how fat I am. To tell you the truth, I fear not getting hired because they will think I'm too fat and gross. But I try not to think about that.
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TGIF? More like FTFF.

Be creative, you can figure out what that stands for. I'll give you a hint. The "T" stands for 'this' and the last "F" stands for Friday.

Yesterday sucked. Today kind of sucks too.

Yesterday was my last day in the office of a company I worked for for a combined total of 2.5 years. It was my first HR job. It was the first company I ever worked for that I believed in, where I felt like I was contributing to something great. I met one of my best friends, Laurie, there. She has not only been a friend, but a mentor. We've both been through (and are going through) tough times. She is the kind of friend where we can not talk for months, but when we do, I don't feel like we've grown apart.

Yesterday was the weirdest work day I've ever had. See, I've never been let go before. The other times I've left places where I've loved my job and developed relationships with some of the people I work with, I've given notice. Everyone has known that my last day was coming. I had a chance to say goodbye and to be seen off. This time was different. I walked around the office, passing people. They didn't know it was my last day. They don't know that my position was eliminated. I was unhappy. I sort of wanted to cry. I had an exit interview with my boss & the two people who will be absorbing most of my duties. It was awkward and it sucked. The one person I wanted to say goodbye to wasn't at her desk, and I didn't feel like searching the entire office for her.

Yesterday I was forced to leave a place I wasn't ready to leave. It wasn't my choice. I want to go back.

After work, I went to the zoo. I took my time and looked at all the animals, but some of my favorites were nowhere to be found. It didn't really cheer me up. While I was there, the woman from the part time HR job in Bellingham I applied for called me. We chatted and set up an interview for next week. It's necessary, and I will be happy if I get it. It would be wonderful to continue to be able to work part time. But there's so much else weighing on me right now that I'm having a hard time being excited about it. On the way home I stopped at the outlets, and looked for some interview clothes. For why I needed new clothes, and what the shopping experience felt like, I've written all about it over at Unconventional Fear.

So, to sum it up, this week I: Lost my job, had my actual last day, found out that the government doesn't give a crap about the $10,000 of medical expenses we had last year and still would like us to pay them $20,000 for taxes, made an appointment with our bankruptcy attourney for next week, and for the last 2 days have suffered from effing PMS.

I wish I could be optimistic. The world is full of color and happiness, but today I don't care. I don't want to look at it. I don't want to chase Sam, or make him laugh. I don't even want to read. I feel apathetic and let down. I don't feel depressed, it's different. What else could go wrong? Does it even matter?

I promise that I'll stop posting about my pity party soon. It's just hard for me to concentrate on anything else right now.
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September 26, 2008

Chocolate Necessities: SO necessary

Haiku Friday

You might think that it
is not a necessity
in life, but I do.

It can melt on your
tongue like butter, smooth and goo
like, white chocolate

It can sit in your
mouth, resist your teeth and then
slowly burst, so dark.

A truffle of fine
chocolate and ganache is to
die for, I tell you.

This is the story of how I became a chocolate snob. Recently, I had the privilege of visiting one of our locally owned businesses, Chocolate Necessities, with some of the moms in my moms group. One of the moms set it up for us to go to the shop after they closed one evening, for what we were told would be a tour. I expected that they'd show us around the kitchen, maybe show us how they make their chocolates, then we could buy stuff and leave. What I expected to be a simple, maybe an hour visit was so much more than I'd imagined.

Upon entering the shop, we were greeted by Kevin Buck, artisan chocolatier. Not a public speaker by nature, for us he became a tour guide through a wonderland of flavors and tastes. His love of chocolate was obvious, evidenced as well by the fact that there was no cost for this evening of education and amazing tastes. He taught us about chocolate.

I learned that 90% of the chocolates made in the U.S. are made with Peter's Chocolate, which is made by Nestle and not much different than the chocolate in an ordinary Crunch bar. That alone made me want to eat something BETTER! I learned what ingredients go into chocolate and how much of a difference it makes what order the ingredients are added in - in cheaper truffles or bars, sugar will be the highest ingredient. I learned what determines the lightness or darkness of a chocolate. I learned that yes, I would rather eat one GOOD, quality truffle than a whole bar of Hershey chocolate.

Chocolate Necessities makes most of their truffles using Callebaut chocolate, but throughout the evening, we tasted many chocolates from around the world. I never imagined that you could do a chocolate tasting the same way that you can do a wine tasting - in each mixture you could taste different hints of flavor, some fruity, some sweet, some bitter. Each mixture had it's own way of melting into your mouth, it's own aftertaste. It was amazing. We tasted chocolate ranging from white up to about 75% cocoa. I liked the ones in the middle best, my favorite was about 54% cocoa.

Kevin also let us taste a chocolate like I'd never tasted before. It was the Pralus Melissa bar from France. It was a milk chocolate, but at 45% it has a higher than average content of cocoa for a milk chocolate. Kevin said you have to try it twice. The first time to get used to it, and the second time to enjoy the flavor. And that flavor is hard to describe. A little nutty, a little bit toffee like, and a lot amazing. Not too sweet, but enough to satisfy that craving. Most of the women were unsure about this bar, but my Mom and I liked it. And yes, I bought an $8 bar of chocolate that day. I couldn't wait to have my friends taste this amazing thing I'd discovered.

During the tasting, Kevin was happy to answer any questions we had, from my questions about whether 'Fair Trade' means the same thing for chocolate as it does for coffee, and other people's questions about his own background, how he comes up with new flavors, his favorites, and much more. I find it incredibly interesting to listen to someone like Kevin share their passion for whatever business they're in. Listening to him talk about chocolate was no less inspiring than listening to a musician talk about the music they wrote, or an artist talk about their latest painting.

After tasting, Kevin took us to the kitchen where we saw how he makes chocolate and let us get a whiff of his special Amaretto Tequila, brought to him personally from Mexico by an acquaintance and not available around here. Amazing. I swear, if all tequila smelled like that, I would totally drink it. He let us see and sniff what real Grand Marnier from France is - incredibly orangey.

I bought a box of 8 truffles. My favorites were the Cappucino and the Hazelnut Wine. The chocolates they sell are amazing. If you live in or around Bellingham, you owe it to yourself to go there. They're pricier than buying a box at the drugstore, but so, so much better. A box of eight, or even four, would make a perfect gift for any chocolate lover. I asked how long they could be kept around, and they'll stay nice for about 3 weeks, so no hurry. My box of 8 only lasted about a week. Hehe. They also sell through their website, and have a gelato stand in the Bellingham Public Market. You can find everything from plain molded chocolates in the shape of hedgehogs (how adorable!) to prepackaged bars to raw Callibeaut chocolate you can use at home to bake or make hot chocolate or try your hand at the truffle thing.

I'm a big fan of supporting local businesses, and I think that this just became one of my favorites!
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September 25, 2008

The thing about job searching

So, after two days, I've gotten over the initial shock of being laid off. I've also started to realize that if Sam has to go into day care it's not the end of the world. I have been EXTREMELY lucky that I've been able to be a full time Mom for him over the past 2.5 years. A lot of mothers don't get that luxury, and I got it during the most important time in his life to do it - when he was young. I love spending time with him, but maybe now our financial situation is just not going to allow it, and if that's the case, I have to be able to make peace with it.

I started job searching the same night I found out that my position is being eliminated. I hate the process. Searching through loads of jobs, applying for things that you are overqualified for just because the better ones might not work out. I hate the filling out the SAME information over and over on job applications. And, I hate the disappointment.

The problem is, sometimes you find it. You read the description and it seems like the PERFECT job. This morning, I found a posting at a local nonprofit for an HR Assistant. I'm qualified for it. It would give me the chance to study for and receive my PHR certification. It's full time, but the job duties are just right, and I would get to stay in the nonprofit sector and work for something I believe in. I submitted my application materials 10 minutes ago, and now the waiting begins. If you get the job, it's amazing. If not, it's complete disappointment, sometimes over and over again as the jobs keep popping up.

Keep your fingers crossed for me. I've found a couple of others, including one part time HR/Payroll job that would also work really well for us. Hopefully something will pan out.
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September 24, 2008

And I wondered how the economic downturn would hit us...

Today my boss called me, for what I thought was a check-in call because we missed our meeting last Friday.  Instead, she told me she'd just gotten out of a meeting with the CEO and that my position is being eliminated.  I work part time, mostly from home, in the office once a week.  I worked there for 18 months, quit to have Sam, went back after 18 months and have been back for almost a year.

The layoff comes without warning.  I know that the economy is taking a downturn.  I know that my position was the only part time position in the company.  I feel in my heart that our CEO was never completely happy with my work from home arrangement, despite the fact that my performance was not affected.  I know that they'd delayed hiring for 2 open positions until next year.  But I haven't been involved in the accounting side of things for the last year, and I didn't realize there were financial worries.  Unfortunately, when they started looking at not making the numbers like they wanted to this year, my position was the first to go.  The duties of my HR Administrator position will be absorbed by other employees.

My last day is in a week.  ONE WEEK.  I don't have another job.  There is no severance.  I don't know what we're going to do.  I can't believe that in the last 8 months we've both lost good jobs, that I don't know what will come next for me, that we're declaring bankruptcy, that we're going to owe over $10,000 in taxes from last year when Justin actually had a great job.  That in a week, we will no longer have the income to live, even on the tight budget we've started following.  I didn't make that much - $800 to $1000 take-home pay a month.  But it was ENOUGH.  Enough to keep us floating.  Enough to make sure we could afford all of our utility bills and health insurance and food.

When I got off the phone, I was in shock.  I didn't feel upset.  I mostly felt disappointed that I was losing this job that fit so perfectly into my life.  It kept me in HR so I wasn't just sitting out of the marketplace for years.  It let me work from home so that I could keep Sam with me and not put him in daycare.  I went in once a week and got some grown up time, used my brain.  I got to do something I loved, for a company I believe in.  By the time Justin got home, I felt unsettled.  He called my Mom to see if she could watch Sam so we could get out of the house.  We all went out to pizza together, then Justin and I went to see "Ghost Town".  By the end, I'd cried some - inevitible for me at a romantic comedy.  Suddenly, as the credits rolled, the tears came.  I stopped before heading to the parking lot, but when "Let it Be" came on the radio on the way home, I cried again.

I'm not just disappointed.  I'm sad.  I'm scared.  I can't find another job that will fit our lives so perfectly.  I could get a full time job, but that would mean putting Sam in daycare, which kind of breaks my heart.  I could get a part time job, but doing what?  Retail?  Customer service?  That's fine, but I've been doing something I'm actually qualified for.  Inevitibly with part time jobs I'm going to a) be doing something I don't like as much b) be doing something that I'm overqualified for and c) not be getting paid as much as I need or deserve.  Not only that, but it might mean taking a job during evenings/weekends when Justin can be with Sam.  Which means less time with my family.  Obviously, I'm going to have to deal with it.  People deal with it all the time.  I'll probably have to settle for doing something that is miles below what I've been doing.

For the same reason my company couldn't afford to keep me on, other companies aren't going to be hiring either.  I don't know what we'll do if I can't find another job.  It just sucks.  I'm sorry if this is jumbled.  I'm in a really weird place right now.  I'm going to go veg out and watch TV now...  can't think anymore.
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Laid Off

I got laid off yesterday.  How I feel:


At least I can look at the fancy manicure I gave myself last night, at least that makes me a little happy.

To see more Wordless Wednesday participants, click here
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September 23, 2008

America's Next Top Model as told by fourfour

A few months ago while 'discovering' in my Google Reader, I came across a blog called fourfour. Written by Rich Juzwiak of Brooklyn, it has become one of my favorites. Rich writes awesome reviews of movies, TV, and music, and makes it interesting by throwing in videos and stories about his awesomely grumpy looking cat, Winston. You can also find one of the cutest things EVER in this entry which shows us a storybook a little girl made about Winston.

I used to work at Borders and since I left I've never found any replacements for my gay boys there. I miss them. So for now, I've found one that makes me super-happy at fourfour. If I knew him in real life, I would totally pay for all his drinks. One of the best things about Rich are his BRILLIANT America's Next Top Model recaps. Seriously, I look forward to them just about as much as I look forward to watching the show. I don't recap ANTM here because I'd rather just link to Rich's recaps, which are smarter, funnier, and cleverer than anything I could come up with. It's like he says what I'm thinking, but in a way better way. My favorite line from this weeks?

"Like some Carrot Top-Bernadette Peters test-tube baby shit, as cultivated in Angelina Jolie's baby-making laboratory."

Oh Elina, I'm sorry that he's right.

So head over & check out fourfour. If you're an entertainment whore like me, you'll love it. Rich also writes for VH1blog here.
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September 22, 2008

Follow-up & How I Almost Died in the Woods

I had my follow up appointment with my doctor a couple of weeks ago. It was a little bit of a letdown. He'd been on vacation and hadn't been able to review any of my labs or bloodwork. I was hoping for some kind of answers. I was hoping for a plan. I was hoping that somehow, the fact that I've felt worse and worse about my weight, my body, and the prospect of ever fixing it over the month since my first appointment would be helped in some way. I didn't get it.

I understand the concept of wanting to get my medication right and stabilized before trying to come up with some kind of weight loss plan. But I gained four pounds over the four weeks since my last appointment, and I don't know why. The nurse told me an anecdote. When we're babies, we don't just stand up and walk, we have to learn. We fall down, and we fall down, and we pick ourselves back up and try again until finally, it works. Some of us need to learn how to eat and take care of our bodies. It just all seems so hard.

Oh, what? You were wondering about the part in the title where I almost died in the woods? So, last weekend my Mom calls and asks if we want to go for a hike. Of course, in my head, I don't really want to, but it is a good idea and Sam loves walking on trails. I make sure to check and ask if it's an easy hike and will it be okay for Sam, and am told that yes, it will be. Paul tells us that it's about a 2 mile hike. Sounds easy enough, a good length for Sam too. Then we get in the car and start driving. Suddenly, we're heading up Blanchard Mountain. To the trail that starts at the top. The same place Justin and I went hiking a few months ago, and had to turn back. That is NOT a 2 mile trail. The opinion is revised, and Paul says it's 5 miles round trip. Seems long, but okay...

We start to walk. I almost immediately fall behind. As we walk, I get so far behind that I can't see my Mom, Paul, their colleague who came, or Sam. My sweet awesome husband stays behind with me, and encourages me.

We get the the point where we break off onto "Max's Shortcut". We've probably walked about a mile at that point. At which point we get up a short hill to a sign. It says that Max's Shortcut is 3/4 of a mile long. And that the lake is in 2.5 more miles. If you can do that math, what I'm saying is that the round trip for this hike was SEVEN MILES. I almost started crying.

First of all, who in their RIGHT MIND would think that an out of shape, 100+ pounds overweight person would be able to keep up and not be embarrassed on a SEVEN MILE HIKE? Secondly, who would think that a TWO YEAR OLD would be able to walk that?? Thirdly, who DOESN'T look at a trail map before calling it an easy hike and just guessing about how long it is?

I keep walking. I'm trying. Suddenly the trail is going up. At a VERY steep angle. Yeah, guess what? The reason it's a shortcut is that it's shorter by going STRAIGHT UP the frigging mountain. I estimate that I made it about 2/5 of the way up this trail before I stopped and actually shed tears. About 2/3 of the way up, we caught up and stopped. Sam was getting fussy. He wanted me to carry him, which was in NO WAY possible. We had a snack. I caught my breath. We stood up and started walking again. At this point, we'd probably walked a total of a little under 2 miles. But hiking, that's equivalent to 4 miles walking on a flat sidewalk. Paul and the co-worker were almost immediately out of sight. I just stopped. I couldn't do it. And I could feel a meltdown on Sam's part. The four of us turned around, since we'd come in two cars.

The hike back down was almost as bad. The grade was so steep that my ankles were KILLING me and I was wincing. By the time we got to the bottom of the shortcut Sam was really running out of steam. My Mom and Justin ended up taking turns carring his 27 extra pounds of weight. Justin carried him for the last 1/4 mile at least on his shoulders.

All in all, we probably walked around four miles. I won't be going back there again for a long while.
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I'm your MOTHER, not your...

Today's writing prompt from Absolutely Bananas has us looking at what we are NOT. Well, actually, it's probably more like looking at what we ARE, and how we can't convince our kids otherwise, no matter how hard we try. My little guy is only 28 months old, so it's too early for me to finish this sentence with words like 'maid' or 'chauffer', although I have no doubt that those days will come, and faster than I can even imagine. No, my answer is much simpler.

Sam, I'm your mother, not your JUNGLE GYM! Okay, okay, I know that this is partly my fault. I let him climb on me, I flip him, I throw him around and let him walk on me and run and jump onto me. But enough is enough! Sometimes, like when I have a tetanus booster shot and my arm feels like someone hit me with a cannon ball and left a bruise the size of an elephant's ear, I need some relief from this jungle gym gig.

Oh well, I should probably enjoy it now while I can - one day my hugs will be met with a sullen 'Mo-ooom, you're embarrassing me', so I'll take what I can get while I can get it.

For more answers, check out the other writing prompt participants at Absolutely Bananas!
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September 20, 2008

Saturday Share

As you read this, I'm in Portland attending the Portland Pirate Festival with Justin, Sam, and our friend Violet and her family.  I hope you're having a great weekend, and if you have some spare time, here is some great reading for you!
  • Casey at Moosh in Indy reminds me how lucky I am by writing of heartbreaks I couldn't even imagine.
  • Mrs. Chicken at Chicken and Cheese says it perfectly, and gives us sweet relief that her boy Shaggy is okay.
  • Britt at Fluent Brittish reminds me how wonderful it would be if we all embraced each other's beliefs.
  • Julie at Mothergoosemouse has a plan for educating her children about religion.
  • Maria at Immoral Matriarch shares some excellent wisdom on blogging and how to begin.
  • Auds at Barking Mad writes about how this is NOT a game, and I agree.
  • Dawn at Growing a Pair has some really excellent points of view on the current political candidates.
  • Rich at fourfour posts about ANTM - I just can't resist!
  • Danny at Dad Gone Mad has something to celebrate about - go congratulate him!
  • Christina at A Mommy Story reminds us all that it really can happen to anyone, and I can totally relate.
Have a great weekend!

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September 19, 2008

JJ Abrams, you are my hero!

Haiku Friday

I'm having trouble
thinking about blogging now -
Fringe is on TV

JJ Abrams, if
I met you I would kiss you!
How do you do it?

Alias and LOST - 
two of my favorites of
all time, from his brain!

I admit it, I
watched Felicity too, and
What about Brian.

Now after two shows
I can already tell that
Fringe is on my list.

A new favorite 
Here's hoping that FOX doesn't
fuck up and cancel.

I was planning on writing about the wonderful experience I had doing a tasting at Chocolate Necessities, a local chocolate store in Bellingham.  But, we're heading off to Portland tomorrow for the Portland Pirate Festival and to visit the zoo there, and now I'm watching the second episode of Fringe, and I can't concentrate enough to put out something really good about Chocolate Necessities, which is what it deserves.

So, instead, an ode to JJ Abrams.  Seriously, I love him.  I already love Fringe, and I admit it - part of it is because it has Pacey in it.  Yeah, I know his real name isn't Pacey, but I can't stop calling him that in my head.  I'll tell you what I'd REALLY like - a dinner party with JJ Abrams, Joss Whedon, and Chris Carter, I'd be pretty freaking happy.

Have a great weekend!
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September 17, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: My Blessings Abound




Seeing these pictures gives me something to pray about, and reminds me how blessed I am in my life.  See the full set here.

See more Wordless Wednesday participants here.


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September 16, 2008

Reading Terminal: A Piece of Heaven

I round the corner in downtown Philadelphia to the sight two young men.  Their blunt bowl-like haircuts, black slacks, and light colored plain shirts tell announce who they are.  These Amish men are building a small building in the street, quickly working up a frame as people watch.  Beyond, a row of small pens housing a cow, a donkey, some miniature horses and a sheep come into view.  There are horses pulling wooden wagons full of tourists and children around the block surrounding Reading Terminal.  The normal hustle and bustle of this place is magnified by the fact that it's Saturday, and that this weekend happens to be the annual Pennsylvania Dutch Festival at the market.  Their livelihood, so often so far removed from the city, is on display on this busy Philadelphia sidewalk.

The first Saturday of my August visit to New Jersey, I took the train from West Trenton in to Philadelphia to meet my cousin for a day and night in the city.  We did the same kind of thing at Christmastime with my sister, and hopefully it will become a regular tradition for our visits.  I always take the train to Market Street and then we meet up at the station or somewhere in the near vicinity.  Since we'd decided to have lunch at the Reading Terminal Market and my cousin was running late, I decided to walk around the market by myself for a few minutes.

I wish that there was some way to transport every one of you to the market so you could see it for yourself.  I wish there was a way for me to feel I could accurately describe the wonder and amazement that never seems to fail, no matter how many times I've been there over the years.

Entering the terminal may bring anxiety or overwhelm for some.  I know what to expect, and somehow the atmosphere of the place overrides my dislike of being in crowded places filled with impatient people.  Perhaps the people are more patient here, subdued by the wonder that surrounds them.  I feel pure joy and wonder as I immerse myself in this world of food, culture, art and knicknacks.  You could live for months on the fresh vegetables and meat, whole fish on display with listings of prices for head removal and gutting.  Glistening spiraled piles of tender looking sausages, stacks of perfectly sliced bacon, everything else from liver to scrapple here for the taking.  Moving down one stall, rows of fresh eggs are packed and handed over proudly and carefully by a young girl in Amish bonnet, recently layed and waiting to be your omlette or cake.  Move again and come to breads piled high and mouthwatering, crusty and soft, rolls and loafs, sweet breads and ryes.  Colorful vegetables in all shades laid out before you - thousands of possible combinations just waiting to become your dinner.  Move again and your mouth waters at the smell of meat gilling, teriyaki, greek, cheesesteaks and sausages.

And the sweets... oh, the sweets.  Who could wait to go home and bake when confronted by the cornucopia of fresh donus, fried and glazed or powdered before your eyes?  Enormous strawberry shortcakes and pies with the talles, pointiest, most beautiful meringue you will ever see.  The smell of caramel sticky bun glace entices your nose and leads you to the feet of displays of decadence.  Move to your right and meet a giant tray of rainbow frosted and sprinkled cupcakes.  Turn around and see row upon row of chococolate covered pretzels, truffles, licorice and non-pareiles.  I can barely contain myself, but walk away with only two truffles and a small box of six chocolate covered pretzels.  The next morning, we will share one of the delicious donuts for breakfast.

Above the din, there is no chance to hear a cell phone ring.  You can wander the rows of food, and here and there wander into a newsstand, a shop selling imported art - statuettes and weaving.  You can slip under the entranceway into a spice shop and this weekend you can browse beautiful handmade Amish quilts and woodwork.  They have a beautiful carved wooden toy train that I almost give in and buy for Sam, but eventually decide not to.  You are stranded in this oasis.  And if you're like me, you may never want to leave.
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September 15, 2008

Movie Monday: The Women (suck)

** SPOILER ALERT:  This post contains spoilers for the movie 'The Women', but that shouldn't matter because it is really not worth seeing in the theater.  Maybe not ever. **

I went and saw 'The Women' last night with Violet.  Talk about a disappointment.  And not ONLY a disappointment, but an embarrassment.  I have so much to say about it that I'm not even sure exactly where I should begin.  Maybe I'll begin by saying that I knew Violet wouldn't like some parts of the movie.  I don't like to label people, but it would be fairly accurate to say that V is a feminist - or more accurately, that she believes that women should be strong, be allowed to be strong, and be supported and respected.  I could literally feel Violet getting angrier and angrier during the movie.  Mine was a slower anger.  After the movie was over and we started talking about it, I just found myself getting more and more pissed off.

The most major disappointment with this movie is that in previews, and during the movie, it touts itself as being really pro-woman.  It looks like this movie about a woman whose husband cheats on her, so she goes off on her own and realizes she can be strong and still support her daughter and her relationships with her girlfriend.  Unfortunately the movie itself leaves something to be desired.  Much in the same way that Mona Lisa Smile was a huge disappointment, I found out that these women are not roll models.

Meg Ryan's character is the main character in the movie.  She finds out that her husband, a famous Wall Street dude, is having an affair with the hot chick from the Sak's perfume counter (Eva Mendes).  So, at first on her mother's advice (Candice Bergen - who by the way is really only 15 years older than Meg Ryan) she decides not to do anything.  Eventually she ends up confronting the mistress, which does no good.  Then she fights it out with her husband and they split up.  She stays in their giant mansion with the daughter, housekeeper and au pair, and he leaves and moves in with the spritzer girl.

Then, she falls apart.  She can't function without her husband.  She totally neglects to take care of her daughter, who ends up turning to her mother's college friend to talk to.  By the way, the friend is Annette Benning, and supposedly her and Meg Ryan are supposed to look the same age in this.

Speaking of Annette Benning, her character plays a woman working for a magazine who is supposed to be portrayed as this independant career woman, but gets all woozy when her friend's daughter tells her she'd be a good Mom and despite the fact that she LOSES HER JOB in the end because she doesn't want to comprimise her values (though she already did but giving information on her best friend to a gossip rag), it is all okay in the end because HALLELUJAH, she's finally found a MAN who she is gaga over.

Debra Messing's character is just an embarrassment.  She has four kids, and consequently, despite the fact that she has a nanny, is portrayed as sloppy, off the wall, frazzled and emotional for the whole movie.  She's pregnant in the movie, and eats with a napkin tucked in like a bib.  Then she reveals that all she wants is a BOY.  She's waiting for a man in her own way - by waiting to have a son, and declares that she is going to keep getting pregnant until she has one.  Are you kidding me?  You can't just keep popping out kids.  At some point, it becomes irresponsible.  Especially if you aren't even taking care of all of them.  The women wonder how her husband can possibly live with the chaos of these children, and Debra's character reveals, oh he DOESN'T.  He's moved in to a studio apartment in the same building so he can HAVE HIS SPACE.  Are you fucking KIDDING me?  Give me a break!  How is that a positive relationship when he can't even stay in the same house and take care of his children??

There was a lesbian character in this movie, but she was effectively portrayed as a MAN.  Is there some reason that they couldn't have had a lesbian character that wasn't hyper-sexual, walking around making lecherous sexual remarks no matter where she went?  Who has a supermodel for a girlfriend and is basically just this wild person who continuously talks about how hot other women are etc.  Kind of insulting... 

We noticed the Dove product placement during the movie, and Violet and I both found it ironic.  Not only has Meg Ryan OBVIOUSLY had serious plastic surgery, but there is a whole scene in the movie revolving around the character played by Candice Bergen getting plastic surgery and Meg Ryan implying that she will later in life - portraying it as a reasonable, and possibly even expected, option for women.  Not only that, but during the movie, the tweenaged daughter of Meg Ryan's character - who is COMPLETELY abondoned by her mother over the course of the movie - talks repeatedly about how FAT she is, and other than a laugh about her bad body image and a couple of passing 'you're not fats', the issue is never resolved.  She does, however, reveal that she has started SMOKING in order to lose weight.  Her cigarettes are taken away, but more in a 'you're silly' kind of way than anything else.  There was no discussion of why that wasn't a good idea, or how serious it is that she had that bad a body image.  We were even more shocked when, at the end of the credits, they showed the web address for the campaign for real beauty, along with clips of the actresses from the film talking about beauty.

Really, Dove?  I am a big supporter of that campaign, but I find it repugnant that they would support a film that in the end doesn't support having a good body image or really even support women being strong and independant.  I find it really ridiculous that they would choose to have Meg Ryan speaking about how everyone is beautiful in their own way when she clearly caved to the weird beauty standards that exist in Hollywood.

While I do agree with snippets out of this movie - you should know and love yourself before someone else can be expected to love you, that it's worth working on a marriage before abandoning it, that it's okay for a woman to be indepeandant or gay and not be judged.  Unfortunately, I don't think that most people will probably come away from the movie with these things.  I wouldn't bother with this movie, and I certainly wouldn't take my daughter to see it.  Why don't you go rent Casa de los babys, about six women in South America waiting to adopt, or Real Women Have Curves with America Ferrera if you want some REAL woman power.

P.S.  Meg Ryan, could you get your FUCKING hair out of your FACE?!
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Banana Mondays: Back to MOM

Banana Mondays are back! Jen at Absolutely Bananas is back with her monday writing prompts (and I'm soooo happy), and this week's theme is Back to MOM. Back to School stuff is EVERYWHERE these days, which lead Jen to wonder... well, back to school is great, but what are we doing for Back to MOM? In other words, what are we doing for ourselves, or what could we be doing to add a little bit of something to our lives that pampers us, powers us up, or just gives us a little pleasure? After all, a happy mom = a happy kid/family, right?

I think that in general I do pretty well. Since before I had my son, I knew that I was the kind of person that would always need 'me time', time to myself to just relax and decompress from the daily grind of motherhood. Lucky for me, I have a VERY understanding husband! In fact, I'm writing this post from my best friend's basement while she helps put the kiddos to bed, then we're heading out for a movie. Today I drove down to Seattle to go to my monthly book club meeting, which is something I do for myself once a month.

I manage to get out of the house by myself fairly often - it used to be once a week, and now it's probably once every two weeks for spending several hours alone reading or thinking. Since I live up north and work in Seattle, I get to have a sleepover every week at my best friend's house so I can go to work in Seattle the next morning and not have to drive from Bellingham. I also have an awesome Mom and new step-dad, and they love Sam too, which means that Justin and I actually get the opportunity to go out together at least once or twice a month. Reading this, it seems like maybe I am a little pampered. But the truth is, we need this time. I need time to be ME, not be a mom, just be myself. And as a couple, we need time to concentrate on our marriage and our relationship. Neither of us ever wants to find ourselves in a place where all of our focus is on work and kids, and we forget to focus on each other and grow apart. We've known since before we got married that it requires work, and part of that is making a very conscious effort to stay connected.

One thing I am going to start doing FOR ME is exercising more. You can see on my other blog, Unconventional Fear, a little bit about my struggle with being overweight and what's happening. I just joined the gym my Mom goes to, and my goal is to go 3-4 times a week. This is something that I am doing for myself to get healthier, but also will let me be a better and more active Mom for my little boy.

What are you doing for YOURself today?
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September 14, 2008

Sunday Share

Hey, isn't it great that it's the weekend again already? I wrote that earlier, but in reality as I post this it's already Sunday night and another week is looming. In any case, if you're ready for one last escape before the week starts again, here are some good places for you to go!

Have a good Monday!

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September 12, 2008

The Pregnancy Issue

Haiku Friday

Another baby
Is it in the cards for me
I just can't decide

My heart, tugged this way
and that, so confused and sad
what is right for us?

No, not that pregnancy issue. I talked about that last Friday. The pregnancy issue I'm talking about here is mine... should I or shouldn't I?

It's a touchy subject for me. When I finally got pregnant with Sam, we'd been trying for almost two years. I was literally convinced that I was never going to get pregnant and we had started setting money aside to adopt. Now, Sam is two. The chances of us getting pregnant on our own are pretty slim, and in no way to we have the money to go through more rounds of IUI right now. While it would be nice to have $600 extra dollars a month, we just don't, and I don't see us having that money for quite a while.

The other day, I brought up the issue to Justin. I asked, are we ever going to have another baby? He replied that he didn't see anything happening for at least a year. I felt my heart tear a little with his words, and was speechless. I have a raging conflict inside me when it comes to this issue.

Say we wait a year, then start trying. It's likely to take a couple of months. Say it takes three. Sam will then be three and a half when I get pregnant, and will be four when I have the baby. The question is, is that what I want? Do I want to start over with an infant after four years? I just don't know.

Part of me thinks that it would be fine, four years is not that far apart, it's not adding that much time to the amount of time we have children in our house. I've always wanted two kids, and I wanted Sam to have a sibling. In my perfect world, I would have had two kids, two years apart. I admit that the way things have gone for the last year, I'm glad that we didn't have an infant during this time. With all of the stress, moving, money problems, and Sam's delays, I'm glad that we didn't have another baby in the mix. But when I think about having children so far apart in age, it's just not familiar to me. I'm not saying it wouldn't turn out great, I just don't know as much about it.

Part of me thinks that I don't want to do it. I don't want to start all over after having spent four years with my little boy. The older he gets, the more feasible it seems to me to just have one child, to focus all my time and energy on the one I already have. I wonder if it would really be so bad if I was never pregnant again, if Sam was my only child and I just loved him with all I have.

Right now, neither part seems to be winning out. Both options break my heart a little bit. I do really want to be pregnant again - I want that feeling of having a baby growing inside me, feeling the kick for the first time, seeing the baby on the ultrasound, giving birth and holding my beautiful, perfect, tiny baby in my arms. I want to see the look on Sam's face when he meets his little brother or sister and watch them grow up together. It breaks my heart to think of never experiencing any of that. But I also miss having time for myself, being able to write, and I'll be starting over with diapers right as I've finished potty training and starting over with bottles and binkies when my child is almost in school. Maybe it's selfish, but I would be giving something up. I guess I'd be giving something up either way.

There's also always the possibility that we wouldn't be able to conceive. Adoption would be our option then, and that adds a lot of other choices, decisions, work, money, and confusion to the mix.

It's all very confusing. I have no idea what I want, although after writing this, I'm leaning more towards the 2nd baby option. I love watching siblings together, and couldn't imagine how wonderful it would be to watch my children play. I'm just impatient. It's hard for me to imagine waiting another year to even try. These days, my life doesn't seem to have turned out how I thought it would.

What about you? How many children do you have and how many did you want? How did you decide?
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September 11, 2008

A Moment of Failure

The hardest thing that happened to me this week didn't have anything to do with my actions, but with someone else's.  It's really hard for me  to watch someone spank and kick their grandkids right in front of me without saying something.  To set the scene a little bit, we were at a gathering with a bunch of extended family and there is one girl who is about 20ish I think.  She has a 28 month old daughter and a 17 month old son.  Her mother, their grandmother, was also there.  Every couple of minutes - for anything from touching something he wasn't supposed to or not listening, the little one was getting kicked or spanked on the butt.  The daughter got it too, but the little one got it more.  

It seemed like every three minutes, a harsh, loud voice often followed by a smack would catch my attention.  I tried not to jump every time, not to outwardly let on how uncomfortable the situation made me.  I don't know if I succeeded or not.

She would say 'no, don't touch' or 'don't grab' or 'be nice', then kick his little diapered behind.  I don't understand how you can hit a child and then tell them to be nice.  I know people's opinions differ on this, but personally I don't see how hitting a kid (or anyone for that matter) makes YOU a nice person.  She would smack his butt or arm and tell him no, then pick him up when he started to cry and say 'give me some love' or 'come over here and give me a hug'.  I feel like that is just teaching a kid that it's okay for someone to hurt them and then be forgiven because they've said they love you or given you a hug.  

Sometimes, I feel like I don't discipline Sam enough.  He does get told No, but he rarely gets time outs.  The thing is, I don't feel like he needs them.  He listens to me for the most part, and if he DOESN'T listen to my warnings, he does get a time out.  Sometimes he gets a talking to.  He just doesn't misbehave that often.  And even if he does, hitting him is not a consideration, and I will never do it.

At least that's what I thought.  A couple of weeks ago, after an hour long tantrum complete with kicking, hitting, throwing himself on the ground, screaming and crying, I couldn't take it anymore.  I took him outside the house we were in with friends and sat on the step watching him cry.  He was inconsolable.  He wanted something, but I just didn't know how to make him feel better.  I started to cry and put my head down in my hands.  The exhaustion and frustration overtook me and I felt like I was failing him.  As I rested my head in my hands, feeling my tears on my fingers, he HIT me.  He hit me on one of the hands covering my face.  And I hit him back.

I didn't hit him hard, by any means.  I swatted his arm, and told him no.  Ironic, isn't it, to tell a kid not to hit as you do the same back to him?  Remembering the look on his face, the way he placed his other hand on his arm, the way he looked at me so curious and hurt, breaks my heart.  It bring me to tears now, and maybe it always will.  I hate admitting that it happened.  I hate even thinking about it.

I felt like a failure, how could I do such a thing to my own child?  I apologized as he looked at me and we cried together.  I hope it was the first and the last time, that I'll never lose it like that again.  I know that some of you may be reading this thinking, what's the big deal, but to me it was a big deal, because touching someone in anger or frustration like that is NOT part of my values, nor is it a value I want to instill in my child.  I know that Sam won't remember this.  He may not even really remember it now, but certainly in a few years it will be just a faded moment of the past that doesn't touch him at all.  But I'll remember.  I will always remember.  And if I forget, I'll come back and read about it, to remind myself how much it hurt and how it totally wasn't worth anything good in our lives.

So when I see someone slap a 17 month old child on the butt, I wonder how that's instilling good values in their child.  All I can do is watch, and listen, and try to respect how they want to raise their kids.  But in my place, I feel glad that I don't behave that way, and hope that when my children become parents one day, they won't either.
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September 10, 2008

Nostalgia




We've been selling some of our furniture, and since it's packed away, I've had to search for pictures that include the furniture for people who ask for pictures.  It's got me feeling a little nostalgic...


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September 9, 2008

Mother nature just pissed her pantsuit

I didn't get around to posting about the newest movies I've seen yesterday, so I'm putting it up on Tuesday this week!  I thought I'd have time to write the post I was planning for Tuesday, but it turned out that my doctor appointment today went pretty long so I didn't get my computer time in the afternoon, and now I'm practically falling over because I didn't get enough sleep last night and I'm drowsy because I fell asleep on the couch, which always sort of makes me sleepty for the rest of the night.  So, here are the movie reviews for this week!

No spoilerage this week, so read on!

Tropic Thunder:  LOVED it.  Seriously.  It was so over the top and funny.  In case you were wondering if I've gone insane, the title of this post is one of my favorite lines from this movie, delivered excelently by Danny McBride, who I also quite enjoyed in Pineapple Express.  I thought Robert Downey Jr. was hilarious in it, and he had a great dynamic going with Brandon Jackson.  I can't really tell you exactly why I liked it without just going through the whole plot of the movie.  Also, I'm so tired that I can't really think intelligently about the movie, and I think it deserves more than that.  In the past year, I've come to really like Robert Downey Jr.  I think this was a really interesting and smart movie.  Yes, it was 'offensive', but it was offensive to just about EVERYONE.  I am generally a fan of Jack Black and Ben Stiller, but it can go either way with Tom Cruise and I generally don't like Matthew McConaughey.  Tom Cruise was hilarious as the studio head of the movie studio making the film, although it's possible the sight of him in his weird fat suit and bald cap dancing is now burned into my retinas.  And McConaughey was hilarious as Stiller's agent, simpleminded and conflicted.  If you're a filmgoer like me, and like to see movies not only for the entertainment value, but also for their place in the industry, and to see something new or different when it comes along, this is a must-see.  

The House Bunny:  So, when I started seeing previews for this movie, I did NOT want to laugh.  There is no way I was going to see this movie and I didn't want to laugh at the previews.  Never-the-less, I did laugh.  And I decided to go see the movie.  And it didn't suck.  Of course, we're not talking about Pineapple Express level here, and certainly not talking about anything as smart as Tropic Thunder, but it was an amusing piece of fluff for sure.  

Hamlet 2:  I was disappointed.  After I saw the previews for this movie, I thought it was going to be HILARIOUS.  It wasn't bad, but it also wasn't as funny as I expected it to be after watching the trailers.  My favorite thing in this movie was quite possibly the song "Rock Me, Sexy Jesus" and the reasoning behind it.  It's worth watching at some point, but I definitely wouldn't have spent the$ 9.50 to see it in the movie theater - maybe one for matinee or DVD.

Babylon AD: Okay, before we even talk about the movie or the plot, we need to consider three of the greatest upsides to this movie.

One: Watching Melanie Thierry for 2 hours:


Two: Watching Vin Diesel for 2 hours... nom...


Three: Vin & Melanie together.


Okay, now that THAT is out of the way...  I liked this movie.  One of the people I went with seemed to like it okay, the other didn't.  Like I said before, I always like to see something that's a little bit original, a little bit different, and this fit the bill.  I am thinking about trying to find the book it's based on ('Babylon Babies') and reading it, because it did seem like there were a few holes in the movie, and I wonder how the book flowed, and what they changed.  I am always interested in futureworlds and alternate realities, so there were parts of this that were really interesting in that way too.  I also love Michelle Yeoh, so when I saw previews I was excited to see her in this.  Despite the holes, and other parts that may not have been perfect, I think this is one for the movie theater.  There are certain movies that just look good on the big screen.  Of cousre, if you have a giant HDTV, then that's a different story, but for the average viewer, big screen is probably the way to go if you think you're interested in this one!

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September 7, 2008

New Unconventional Fear Post

Finally got up a new post over at Unconventional Fear:  Fear and Self-Loathing in Bellingham.
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Fear and Self-Loathing in Bellingham

Sorry I haven't updated in a while. I really do want to keep this blog up to date because I am having a LOT of feelings and thoughts that I really need a way to keep straight. I'm super tired right now because I didn't get much sleep last night and Sam was fussy all day, so I'll try not to be too uninteligible.

Today I had a conversation with Justin about Lap Band surgery. It's not in any way a real option right now - I haven't done any research on it, talked to my doctor about it, or even decided if it's a step I'd want to take if I qualified for it. It's hard for me to even think about that kind of option because I feel like it's cheating. I feel like it's taking the easy way out. Despite the fact that at 267 pounds I'm well into the 'Obsese' range on the charts, it's not like I'm up above 300 or anything. Although, at this point I feel dangerously close and I don't really know what to do about it. It's all really scary. I feel as though if I don't do something about it I am destined to be fat, unhealthy, and out of shape forever.

In my daily life, I don't like to think about my weight. I'm forced to think about it at least once a day when I get dressed in the morning. It used to be that I tried to pick out the clothes I had that hid my rolls the best. Now I try to mask it, but accept the fact that they're going to show - it's impossible not to see the roll of fat above the waist of my pants, or the horrible second roll that hangs down below my belly button. It's impossible to put my bra on without thinking about the rolls of fat that continue back from my breasts under my arms, too big for my bra to hide anymore. Once I'm dressed and ready to go - that's it. I won't look in the mirror again all day. When I look at my face in the mirror, I immediately notice my chin. It's not a double chin, not quite. But there's potential there.

I can walk around, trying to convince people that I shouldn't be discriminated against because I'm fat. I can try to say that everyone is beautiful how they are. I try to convince myself that my husband truly still finds me attractive. When I have thoughts when eating out that other people see me eating and wonder why I don't just put the food down because I'm already fat enough, I push them down to the bottom of my mind. When I was a little less heavy, I tried to say things like 'in another time, I would have been considered beautiful'. I can talk about the media and how it skews the self image of so many girls and women. I know that's true, but I also don't want to be skinny as a pole with fake boobs and a six pack. In fact, I'd settle for a size 14 or 16, still considered plus size in our society.

The truth is, I hate my fucking body. I hate looking in the mirror and seeing the fat. I hate how huge my ass is. I hate buying size 26 pants and 3xl shirts. I hate that I can't shop at regular stores, that even when I dress up, I'm still fat first. I hate looking at pictures of myself. I hate that I can't shop at Hot Topic. I hate that carrying around this 110 pounds of extra weight hinders my activities. It makes me less flexible, it makes small theater seats and airplane seats sometimes unbearable, and I feel embarrassed when I am lagging behind when I walk with friends. I know that getting in shape has more to it that just losing weight, but I also know that it would be a lot easier to work out and to do these physical activites if I wasn't carrying all this fat all over me.

I go through my daily life, and push it down. I try not to think about it - after all, what's the point. The truth is that I know if I let myself think about it too much I'll be so paralyzed with fear, doubt, hopelessness and self-loathing that I won't be able to do much more than sit there and cry.

When I think about weight loss surgery, I think that it's a copout. I think it's the easy way out. That it would be admitting that I am too fucking lazy to try and do this on my own. Inside, I am hopeless because I feel like I've TRIED it. I've tried exercising, I've tried eating less. I've counted calories and worked out 2-3 times a week for periods of 6 months before and lost ZERO weight. Writing down everything I eat this past month has been a blessing and a curse. It does make me think about what I eat, which prompts me to eat better. However, it also makes me see that I am NOT eating a HUGE amount of calories most days, maybe once a week I have a bad day, but I really don't feel like I've overeaten. It's a vicious cycle - I go for a couple of months eating better, but I don't see a change, so I just give up and start overeating again, sneaking food, eating things that aren't good for me.

I know that part of this is emotional. I do use food when I'm stressed or upset. But part of the reason I do that is because in my mind, I think that I've given up. I know for a fact that if I was losing weight, seeing some kind of result, that I would be able to convince myself not to have that extra portion or eat things that are bad for me. I have had the willpower to do things right for a while, several times in the past. It's just that it's never done any good, which leads me to believe that my willpower doesn't matter.

Tomorrow I have my followup appointment with my new doctor. I'll bring my food log and admit that I haven't had time to pick up a pedometer yet because of how busy I've been this month. I will secretly be hoping that something is off with my body. That he found something in my previous bloodwork that explains part of why I am so fucking fat. Or that he wants to run more tests. That against all odds, there will be some other explanation for all of this than the fact that I'm a lazy, overeating, uncontrolled pig.
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Why must Monday come?

I'm sitting here on Sunday night at 10:30 and am so tired that I'm practically falling asleep, which is sad in itself.  Add to that the fact that I can't even think straight enough to finish my Movie Monday post for tomorrow and I feel like just curling up and sleeping for about 20 hours.

Unfortunately, it's not meant to be.  First off, there are no sheets on the bed.  We have fleas.  That's a whole other post though.  Those fucking little bugs are eating my legs alive, and they don't bite Justin and don't really seem to bite Sam.  I walked into the bedroom today and looked down to see five of them crawling on my feet.  AGH!  We have been vacuuming, doing laundry, and putting Advantage on the cat, but these things take time and apparently the flea life cycle is like a month.  Sigh...  it sucks so much.  I also have phantom fleas, I feel them on me even when they're not there.

Secondly, I have to get up tomorow morning.  Even if Sam, by some miracle, sleeps in, I have to get up around 8 because a friend is dropping off her daughter between 8 and 8:30 for me to watch.  I'm  little nervous - I've never watched Sam and another kid the same age before, and they haven't always been good at sharing with each other.  Although the last time we went over to their house, they got along much better.  So, let's think positive.

Tomorrow afternoon I have a doctor appointment to follow up on my medication change, and I think that will be good, then I'll have to work for a little while.  I'm quite tired - we spent the night at Justin's Mom's last night and Sam did not sleep well, and whenever he's up in the middle of the night he just wants me and not Justin.  I was holding him and was so tired I just wanted to collapse but there was nothing I could do.  That's when it's really hard.  He was a little miserable today, especially in the car on the way home, so both Justin and I are worn out from listening to fussing and crying.  Part of me feels like I never fully recovered from the trip to New Jersey and the subsequent kind-of-horrible trip with the Book Club ladies.  I want to sleep in one day... we've had so much stuff going on that I haven't gotten the chance to just sleep in a little bit.  Maybe next weekend...

I'm happy because we figured out that despite the tightness of our money situation, using some hotel points and the generosity of friends, we're still giong to be able to make our annual trip down to Portland for the Portland Pirate Festival and our annual visit to the Portland Zoo with Violet and her family!  I'm very excited, and hopefully we'll get to see Xotchil and her family while we're there, and our old friend Amy who used to be in book club with us.

Well, I've got to go fold some more laundry now then hopefully hit the hay.  I will try to get my Movie Monday post up tomorrow, and have my posts planned out already for the rest of the week, which is very nice!  Sorry if this is garbled... I have so many things floating around in my head right now that I might be slightly intelligible.
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September 6, 2008

Saturday Share

Time for some AWESOME reading to get you through the weekend. I've discovered this week that the list is probably going to get longer than normal until November when the election is over. Also, for some reason, everyone was ON FIRE this week and wrote really great posts, and I don't want you to miss any! I'll separate out the political ones for you though in case you totally just want to avoid them! Happy reading!

And... the political!

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September 5, 2008

Haiku Friday: It All Begins

Haiku Friday

Really, John McCain?
A woman, yes. Did you think
that would win our votes?

I saw your photos
side by side and just felt weird
That is your VP?

Talk about having
no experience, only
local government.

Not to mention the
stress of having a brand new
baby, special needs.

How will you manage
to be available to
America then?

All right, it's time. It's finally time. Politics is really on my mind, and it will be for a while. For the last four years, I admit that I've been ignorant. I admit that I have chosen NOT to listen to the president speak, that I have changed the channel when he came onto the screen, that when he speaks it is almost painful to listen to his idiocy. But now, it's finally time for a change. Finally. I cried on election day last year - and I believe that I will cry again this year, but hopefully for very, very different reasons.

So, here it goes for the first political post of the year. Sarah Palin? What the hell? There are so many reasons that I feel like she was a terrible choice for VP. I don't understand how people who extensively criticized Obama for having so little experience could put someone in as VP who has zero international experience and limited national experience. Sure, she was Governer of Alaska, but she hasn't been in the Senate or House of Representatives. There's that.

A lot of me feels like she is a giant pawn, and that makes me angry and uncomfortable. I wish that people would be able to see that Palin is totally being used, and not fall for it. The republicans are making a move here, they're trying to steal all those hilary supporters, to say, look, now WE have a woman, come to us. It's repulsive. There are a limited number of reasons that she would have been chosen as their VP candidate, and frankly, this seems like the most likely one to me. It just shows me how much people consider politics a game. But to me, it's not a game. It's serious. It's our country, and it needs some major help and some major recovery.

As I think about VP nominee Palin though, do you know what my biggest problem with her is? She has a FOUR MONTH OLD baby. Please explain to me how someone who has a special needs infant is going to be able to concentrate on being the second in command of this country and still concentrate on her child the way I feel a parent in that situation should. I guess her husband would quit his job and take care of the baby, but with the responsibilities of being a couple in politics, will they really have time to take care of their child? I'm just not sure.

None of this, of course, is taking into consideration some dishonesty that may be afoot. First in many people's minds is the rumor that little Trig Palin is actually the child of Sarah's 17-year-old daughter Bristol. I realize that some people might call this a conspiracy theory. But I get the same feeling reading this website or this one as I did after watching loose change - I'm not saying I know WHAT I believe at this point, but there sure is some pretty freaking compelling evidence for this 'conspiracy'. Beyond any of that, she now has a 17 year old pregnant teenage daughter, which seems like a lot of stress to deal with while trying to run for VP.

Even if you don't care or think about the pregnancy rumors, you will surely hear about the fact that Palin is facing an investigation into whether she abused her power in firing Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan. Or the fact that a month ago, she said this: "As for that VP talk all the time, I'll tell you, I still can't answer that question until somebody answers for me what is it exactly that the VP does every day? I'm used to being very productive and working real hard in an administration. We want to make sure that that VP slot would be a fruitful type of position, especially for Alaskans and for the things that we're trying to accomplish up here for the rest of the U.S., before I can even start addressing that question." You might notice that she is on the cover of this week's US Magazine. Can you imagine McCain or Biden on the cover of US Magazine?? With so many questions coming up so soon after the announcement, you have to wonder if the republican party was NOT trying to win a certain demographic by having a woman candidate, why would they have chosen Palin in the first place?

To read more Friday Haikus, click here!
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September 4, 2008

An Inconvenient Truth

I have something to admit. It's not convenient for me to admit, as it is fairly embarrassing. But it's the truth. I like to BOP. I like that upbeat, bubble gum, cheery pop music that seems mostly to be marketed towards teenage girls. I don't care. When I'm driving with the sun shining and the windows down, I can't help singing along to "Bye, Bye, Bye" or "Candy" or "Breakaway". This isn't the worst of it though. I have to tell you something...

I like Miley Cyrus.

What's that? You can't hear me? Um... I said:


I LIKE MILEY CYRUS!

It's true. I just can't help it. It might be weird for a 27 year old woman to like a teen star, but there is just something about her. Hannah Montana is a cute show. She is a cute girl. Adorable. I don't care what people said about her Vanity Fair photos. I think she was lucky to be having her photo taken by Annie Liebowitz and who wouldn't be excited about that and actually listen to the photographer. I didn't think the sheet picture looked sexual. And I don't care what people said about the photos of her and her dad. I have not heard ANYTHING about him mistreating her or taking advantage of her career. From everything I've seen and read, they seem to have a good relationship. I don't care about the stupid pictures of her that turn up on the internet. They look to me like any photos that a 15 year old girl might take with her friends or on her cell phone

Not only do I like Miley but... I like her music. I admit it. I went to the store and I bought her new CD, Breakout. Then I played it in my car. And listened to "See You Again" multiple times until I had the words down and could bop properly - with the windows down, the wind in my hair, and the volume loud, singing at the top of my lungs.

I listened to the whole CD. Yes, some of the songs sound simliar. And it's true that she has that little teen pop country queen twang to her voice on a lot of the songs. But if you listen to "The Driveway", it fades and you can start to hear what her voice can become, what she might be after a little more time and a couple more years recording and making CDs. And it's wonderful. "7 Things" is catchy, and her version of "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" is exposing a whole new generation to the song. Then there's "Wake up, America". I admit that the song is a little silly, but the intention is good, and let's face it - it sounds like it was written by a 15 year old girl. It's kind of nice for once to hear a 15 year old girl singing about things that a 15 year old girl would write about or talk to her friends about is somewhat refreshing. My least favorite song on the CD is "Fly on the Wall", probably for exactly that reason. It doesn't feel/sound authentic to me, and it seems out of character.

I hope that Miley will stick with being beautiful and not need to be a sexual object like what Britney Spears became. I hope that she'll continue to make pretty, then beautiful music and not fall into using too many beats, vocal tricks etc - she doesn't need them. I hope that she'll be one of the few that can be a pretty good example to our kids - that you don't need to do all that stuff to get ahead. Here's hopin'. I am going to go bop now.

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