Monday, January 30, 2012

Inspiration Monday - Keeping it tight and happy

As I have written about in an earlier Inspiration Monday, I recently began running.  Now, I have not been hard core clocking in 50 miles a week, but I have enjoyed this new trick my body can do.  It started last summer when Cliff and I scored a treadmill at a church yard sale.  We haggled the guy down to twenty dollars and when we asked if it worked or not, Cliff answered our question by saying, “Well, what are you going to do – lie to us?  We are at a church!  It’s kinda bad Karma! We’ll take it!”
I began running on the treadmill in my basement – a very safe place for me to begin this new experiment of trying out the sport.  I have always envied some people as they run – they look so lithe and athletic.  I have tried on and off many times in the past, but I have felt clunky and blubbery with no rhythm whatsoever.  So I have stop started many times or just resorted to going for walks.  But walks can be boring and I wanted to overcome this insecurity I had with running.
But then, we purchased this treadmill I could really try and run in the privacy of my basement.  I was able to lumber and wog (walk and jog) and no one has to see me wheeze and figure out my groove.  I knew there would come a point when I would take my jogging outside – and two things changed my point of view and kicked my insecurities on their ass and pumped up my confidence.
The first was music – if it wasn’t for Mary J. Blige or freakin’ Foghat there is no way I would push myself as hard as I have sometimes.  Many times of the day I crave silence – but not when I am running.  I need it thumping and pumping and I am always looking for something else to get me moving.
The second confidence change is  – I pretend while I am running.   I pretend that I am my good friend, Renee.  Renee has an athletic perseverance to her running that I admire – and Renee is never afraid to be vocal as she runs.  So I pretend that I am Renee – because it gets me out of my head and it pushes me to run harder.
So as I am jogging  around the neighborhood and  I am listening to 90’s R&B cranked up high, I am most likely embarrassing the heck out of myself, as I do a lot of loud, “Oooh’s!” and “Alright!”  And I even throw in a “Do it!”  At any given moment, I may be air guitaring (which I never, ever do in real life)as I am snaking through the hood. 
In many ways I am in better shape than I was in my twenties – there was no way I could have ran two miles back then.  I have no idea what I look like, but I imagine that I look tough and strong – and I am having a ton of fun.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Sick Day - Lazenby Style

I kept my girls home from school today - they aren't barfy, moaning, can't move sick - but they are snotty and congested. From the looks of it, most kids at school are close to it or already there, and I don't need to share this cold with the public. So a day at home, taking it easy in in order for ALL of us. I have been fighting the mid-winter sickness as well. I wish Cliff were home too - he could use it.

Convincing Sophie to stay home from school is a challenge. She is an usual kid, who LOVES school and combined with her desire to never miss anything, it makes staying home from school a tough sell. She cries and insists that she is fine and cries some more and lists everything that she will miss that day at school, "But I'm going to miss my math test and notetaking for our Colonial project!" Helping her to understand that she is sick and needs to stay home is the mental equivalent to wrangling and rope tying a baby calf.

But once she settles in, she always comes to me with hugs and  kisses, whispering those magic words that every woman loves to hear..

"You were right."

I like to make it fun and cozy with lots to draw and Italian Ices to eat and pillows to lounge on, and just surrender to the pace of the day.

We made some smoothies 

and a little TV face while eating lunch in the living room

plus love notes!!!!

Happy Sick Day  (We will all be ready to go back to normal tomorrow)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Inspiration Monday - Sporty Spice

 By proxy of living with my darling husband, a die-hard New England sports fan, there is almost always something sports related on.  Be it a game or someone talking about sports - and when baseball season is in full swing, it gets cranked up to an even higher level -  Oh yes, Fantasy Baseball season is right around the corner!  That’s cool – I have known this about him since the day we met and it is part of what makes Cliff so fantastically Cliff.

For many reasons, I find it to be a sweet cosmic strike that he was lucky enough to have two daughters.  My girls like sports, even enjoy the frick out of many sports, both playing and watching.  Sophie has been playing basketball for a few years now, and she seems to kick some butt and plays some tenacious D (I couldn’t resist).  Katie is no slouch and as a family we play wiffle ball and throw a ball around and we certainly watch games in the house (remember, Cliff and the sports on the television).

 But there is just some sort of genetic difference between the way girls and boys experience sports.  As the Patriots game were in the final nail biting minutes  last night, Sophie was making  some important inquiries about the mechanics of the game, like “Daddy, how many downs are each team allowed to get?  What happens if he hits this field goal?  What happened during sudden death overtime?” All good questions – but her timing was amusing.  To me.

My inspiration does not lie in the Patriots – although I respect the fact that it does for many people.

My inspiration is to somehow come to peace with the Super Bowl.   I do not give a rats ass about football or the culmination of a sports season that I just grit my teeth and barrel through.  In many ways the Super Bowl is a relief to me – it means no more football until September.  I have attended far too many Super Bowl parties that I have not enjoyed – because it involves a sport and an event that I do not care about.  I have lived long enough and my time is far too precious to spend it doing something that I do not care about.

 I will watch every game of the World Series.  I truly love basketball – the Celtics are exciting and athletic and sexy to watch.  Hell, I even got all juiced up watching hockey last year.  But I will not fake it for football.  And just like I would not expect Cliff to spend an afternoon thrift store shopping, getting his nails done and watching a marathon of Sex in the City, happily, he does not expect me to trail after him to a Super Bowl party.   We have come to an understanding.

However,  Cliff does care about the Super Bowl  and his team, The Patriots are playing this year.  And for him – I want them to win – because I know it will make him happy.

So, I don’t know where he will watch it – but I hope he enjoys it and whoops it up every second – I will pick him up and drop him off anyplace he pleases, so he can drink and celebrate and get home safe.  I will  even make pigs in blankets for the occasion.  As long as I don’t have to go to any Super Bowl party.

 But I'll come over to watch the Celtics anytime.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Inspiration Monday - Everyday Jodi!

This is my amazing friend Jodi displaying the most delicious chocolate Bundt cake.  I have been friends with Jodi since college - which was only five years a go – hardee-har-harr.   My Jodi has the unique ability to see most people in a positive angle – she is not judgmental (I can learn a lesson or two on that one) nor is she an unrealistic  Pollyanna.    Even though we don’t live a subway ride away like we used to, we try and see each other a few times a year.  This past weekend was one of those weekends that keep me going, and I ate that Bundt cake that she baked with love for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

You can see she is laughing – we were doing a ‘photo-shoot’ with her and the cake.  Her laugh is magic - it is this tinkling, guffaw of pleasure bursting from her – I live to make her laugh just to hear that sound.  I need to make her laugh my ring-tone on my phone, so I can hear it every day.

There are a myriad of reasons why I love my friend Jodi, but one aspect that I am jazzed by right now is her style.  She knows the right way to mix prints and how to pull off pointy witchie-poo shoes with flowery hair accessories.  She pulls it all together in her own enviable style.  When I am clothes shopping I pretend that I am Jodi – I channel her, imagining what would she be picking out.  Skulls! Ruffles and leopard print!  I think in my head, “What would Jodi wear?”   It works every time.

After spending time in her home this weekend, I am also just in awe at the beauty of her home and how she puts it all together.    Yes, of course her home is beautiful, because it is filled with a family and laughter – but come on, I really dig how she hangs pictures together .  This woman could have an empire dedicated to her style – I'd call it, Everyday Jodi.   Just her bathroom alone is a fantasy playground for her daughters, all pinks and Hello Kitty, flowery towels and mirrors and purple aliens.  I want that bathroom!

I came home from my weekend and I am now looking at my own home with a different eye.  How would Everyday Jodi fix up my desk and hang some cute pictures and make it a hub for creativity instead of a plank of wood with a computer and piles?  How would Everyday Jodi clean up my bedside table and transform it into a tranquil oasis of sleep?  I am going to pick a small section every week in my house and imagine how would, Everyday Jodi creatively decorate that section.   I am going to hang pictures that I have been meaning to get to.  I am going to re-purpose bowls and yard sale finds and bring my home to a more colorful and visually exciting place.   I have already placed an orange glass and metal table at my front door for my girls to dump their crap on when they come home.

Everyday Jodi!  Urban edge with hippy love crunch.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Inspiration Monday - Plain Jane

I am not inspired by the ‘New Year’ right now.  It doesn’t feel like a fresh start – just a continuation of the past year.  Not that it is all that bad.  2011 had some fantastic moments.  2011 also had few punch me in the gut times as well.  2011 was a transition year.  I am at peace with that.

I am not making any grand sweeping New Years Resolutions.  I am not purchasing a Pilates ten pass card.  I am not giving up carbohydrates and sugar.
Which perhaps is why I am in the post-holiday, slightly uninspired, very plain old, doing the dishes, housework, go to work, where are my fleecy pants, curling up with a good book kinda time.
And that is fine.

My life can be regular sometimes.  Vanilla milkshakes and cheeseburgers, middle of the road.

Sounds pretty yummy actually.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

What not to wear

During an afterschool/afterwork, please, lets make this quick, errand running excursion, I stopped at a local coffee spot to ease the pain with a well made latte for myself and something sweet to appease the girls. 
The walls of the coffee place are covered with artwork, small Turkish rugs and postcards from all over the world.  It is part of what gives this spot a unique flavor – there is always something –or someone- interesting to look at.  It actually keeps the girls relatively occupied while I drink a coffee and space out for five minutes.  Some afternoons, five minutes is all I need.  Or all I can get.
As I am sugaring my drink, Sophie is near me looking at the wall of postcards and I watch her eyes fall on one of a woman.  She is on the beach.  She is holding her long, curly blond hair up on top of her head, and she is winking at the camera over her shoulder.  She is also wearing nothing but a smile and a bright, hot pink eighties style thong.

“Mom!” Sophie exclaims, eyes popping .  “Mom!  Check out the HUGE WEDGIE ON THIS GIRL!  Oh my gosh!  MOM!!!!  LOOKIT HER HUGE WEDGIE!!”

“Sophie, I see.  Wow.  That is something.”

“Seriously Momma, how in the world does she walk around with a wedgie like that?  That cannot be comfortable.  I would not want to wear anything like that!”
She continues -

“Ouch!!  That is THE BIGGEST WEDGIE I HAVE EVER SEEN!  Why would she ever walk around like that, in public, on the beach, let alone have her picture taken?!!”

“I don’t know Soph.  I wouldn’t do it either.”

“I promise I never will either Momma.”

And then she kissed me in agreement.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Sound of Muppets

A few weeks back Cliff and I took the girls to see TheMuppets. For our family, going to the movies is a treat. We may be in the minority about this, but we have only brought the girls to see two movies in a theatre. Not to get all Andy Rooney and complainey, but it kills me how much it costs and I hate the unknown of some jerk talking or kicking my chair during the expensive movie. Ideally, I want my movie going experience to transport me. I want to be entertained and I don’t want to smell someone else’s’ Chinese food.

The other reason we don’t go to many movies, is because it’s slim pickings out there for kid movies– you have either Alvin and the Chipmunks - and I can barely choke that crap down at home when I have stuff to do around the house and I need to pacify the girls for ninety minutes. Or movies are too much – too violent, too 3-D, too pink and girly, too much everything. I see no rush in introducing movies that I may think are cool but are really above their understanding. We have enough time to watch Ghostbusters or Meatballs.  

Luckily, the movie gods smiled upon us that day. We smuggled in our own popcorn and leftover Halloween candy and we got to the theatre in plenty of time to snag fantastic, bouncing stadium seats. Nobody talked during the previews. Some kid didn't kick my seat. The girls didn't have bathroom emergencies in the middle of the movie. We were seeing something we could all be genuinely excited for - The Muppets.
It will be a crime if the writers and director don't win an Oscar for Best Picture and Screenplay. The Muppets was hilarious, but also done with a smart wink to the audience. It was nostalgic and touching - plus they sing The Rainbow Connection. (It is impossible to listen to that song and not get all teared up) Watching the movie I realized that Miss Piggy is a fantastic role model for every girl out there. She takes no crap, she eats without apology and she finally gives Kermit the business in this movie. She demands to be loved and respected on her terms. I love her for it – and for the example she was for my girls.
Maybe that is part of the enduring appeal of The Muppets. We can see ourselves in each of the characters. Whether it’s Gonzo’s search to find himself or Fozzie Bear and his jokes and his tenacity to keep on trying or Kermit, who walks that line between being sensitive and a tough wrangler to this cast of characters. Or maybe we just want to be like Janice and Floyd in the band – super cool and gifted and musical.
I think we all have a little bit of Animal inside each one of us.