Wednesday, April 30, 2008

*Twilight Series*




*sigh* I am so conflicted. You see, my true issue with reading/watching things about vampires/werewolves is that ... I kind of believe in them. I believe it is possible for these beings to exist. As ridiculous and out of touch with reality it may make me ... I believe. Tentatively. It frightens me whole heartedly because in my mind, what they are, what happens, what altered reality is created - isn't so beyond the realms of possibility. As ridiculous as that it.
This series is about a vampire boy (you could say he's a man ... but ... you know) and a human high school girl. The issues that come with them becoming friends then growing deeply in love. If I hadn't heard from at least 10 other girls how much they loved this series, I would have avoided it at all costs. Because it makes me think more about my theory of possibilities. But then Dawn ordered the series and had it delivered to my house. I haven't been to the book store in a couple weeks, I was low on fresh meat. They saved me from running alone on the tread mill. Fortunately I am a freakishly fast reader, so all three only took me on average 8 hours to read (each). So three hours a morning when B-Man was at school, two hours at the gym and three or four hours in the evenings when the kids were in bed and in a few days ... they were done.
*spoiler alert*
The element of this series that hurt me the most is Jacob. As the person who has experienced being the "best friend", being in love with them ... then feeling my heart die as they love someone else but love me too. I was seriously crying during the last chapter of the last book. My heart was breaking for him.
Over all, I enjoyed the series ... even though it left me feeling sort of fidgety. I won't be "swooning" (*wink* Tina) over it any time soon ... but I enjoyed it. I will be getting the newest book when it comes out to see how she finishes the series ... and I will more than likely go to the movie version with some other series lovers at Christmas. Even though it broke my heart. I sure hope she does something good for Jacob in the next book so I can stop worrying about him.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

I can't stop

THINKING! It's 2:30 for pete sake! Things on my mind:

1. The "Team in Training" meeting I went to tonight.

2. Wondering how I am going to handle feeding 7 kids for 10 days.
3. If I should mow the lawn tomorrow morning and surprise an ungrateful Jerry or take my kids to Arbor Days.
4. Melatonin

5. Going to Mexico

To expand on said topics...


1. I have been training for various short races (ie: 5 and 10 k's). All the races entry fees go towards various charities; which makes me feel good. I get a nice work out, a free t-shirt and give money to a good cause. However, I have been thinking there has to be a way to
improve my racing technique, to lengthen the distance I can physically tolerate. I have never been a runner, I don't think I ever will be (I am not broken up by that at all) but I know I can be a better racer. My friend Pat was involved in a group who raised money for Leukemia and Lymphoma with their training group - that group happens to be Team in Training. Tonight was an information meeting. I found out more about the training groups, the trainers, the training sessions, the mentors, ect. I knew most of the information they gave me, but it also got me thinking about sponsorship. In order to join the team you have to pledge to raise money for the cause, the money raised goes towards your "running account". Each event has a certain amount of money you must earn to enter. An example is the Nike Women's Marathon and Half Marathon in San Francisco, held in October. In order to participate you must earn $3200 in pledges. That amount covers your travel, accommodation's, entry fee and meals (approximately 20% of what you raise covers those expenses, the rest goes to the foundation. I could go the easy way out and have Jerry write me out a tax deductible check from one of his businesses ... but I kind of want the challenge. Do I have what it takes to earn $3200? A friend of mine runs a not-for-profit organization, I told him once that if he gave away fresh cookies he'd land that million dollar account he was dying for. Maybe I should start baking now...

2. Seriously. I'm going to take care of Michael and Jenie's kids while they go to Ireland this summer for 10 days (yes, I am completely jealous of them), and what am I worried about?
How I will keep them all fed! Entertained? Whatever! They can entertain themselves with card board boxes, I'm not too concerned. Getting around with 7 kids? Eh, I'll tie them altogether with a rope (don't put it past me, I think I really would). But feeding them all three meals, two snacks and drinks a day for 10 days? It's about making my brain explode. I think I need to call Jenie tomorrow, start discussing what her kids do and do not like and make up a meal plan. I do it for my family ... and they have more kids than I do people ... I did it last summer for three weeks. I have no idea why I am so worked up about it this year. Maybe because I have time to consider it. And this year there won't be any other adults convenient enough to run out and get something for me if I need it.

3. Why do it if it's not going to be appreciated? So I can fester and think about how he should have thanked me for doing it instead of telling me he could have done it? Yeah ... I have no idea why I do that to myself. Arbor Day's it is!


4. I remembered that I'd taken melatonin herb before my flight over to Germany all those years ago and came off the flight fresh as a daisy with no jet leg whatsoever, so I told Jenie she should get some - or I could get her some id she couldn't get it up there. She said she knew she could get it up there because of friend of hers gives it to her son every night. That made me wonder, so I started reading up on this naturally occurring hormone and discovered that researches have found that children with Autism have lower than normal levels of melatonin - which may lead to such individuals sleeping less than the average person. I think I may be investing in some melatonin in my near future, if they have it in liquid or powder form.

5. Jerry asked me if I wanted to go to a NASCAR race with him this coming fall in Arizona, Florida or Kansas when he goes on business which of course got me to thinking of what I could see if we went to any of those locations... Arizona is the most enticing because I have never been to Mexico and it'd be easy enough to slip over the line for a day on our way back home. So then I had to research the cities that we could cross over to, what that would entail, what I could buy ...


All those thoughts eventually came crashing together and I had to write it out ... so maybe, almost an hour later ... I can go to sleep.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

$10,232

This is the amount that SCREAMED at me when I opened up my cell phone bill today. Alright, I admit it - I talk on the phone a lot. I send a lot of text messages. I use my phone to surf the web. I called Canada a few times. I may have gone over my "anytime" minutes. But $10,232 worth? So then I started wondering, when did I pay my bill last? Don't I have a $400 limit? How could one person rack up a bill of $10k? I've seen Jerry's business phone bill - the one they make calls to really foreign countries on. It's never been even close to that high. So I called up customer service, got the run around for about 1/2 hour (there goes some of my anytime minutes!), two customer service agents and one supervisor later, I finally got it straightened out. They said it was a "clerical error". How do you make a $10k clerical error? Man! I just about had a heart attack when I first saw that number.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

OshKosh B'Gosh

Quite a few stores at Grapevine Mills were having pre-summer sales, so we headed up to get B-Man some new summer clothes (proud of me, Jenie?). I got $52.12 worth of clothes for $18.43 at The Children's Place outlet. Woo woo! However, the reason I started up there was an ad I received in my email from OshKosh B'Gosh outlet: The ad stated "select styles and sizes" were $6.50. To me, this means that the shorts/t's in the picture will be $6.50, along with other styles. WHY? WHY must I be so gullible? The lowest I could find the super cute plaid shorts for was $10.50 and the shirts? $8.50. For some reason this made me incredibly annoyed. So when B-Man tripped , flung his hands out to halt his fall and pulled down the stores front signage ... I really had a hard time feeling bad. Gyp me, will you? I'll turn my kid loose on ya! I think the thing that annoyed me the most was that every other kids store in the mall - including GAP was cheaper than the place I had intended to go. *I shake my fist at you, OshKosh B'Gosh!*

Troy Aikman

Completely random.
Last night I must have fallen asleep with Sport Center on because Troy Aikman
(of all people) graced my dreams. Odd. It's not like I have ever even thought of the guy besides in passing when it comes to Dallas football. I don't think he's very attractive. I am not even sure what kind of guy he is. However, my subconscious seems to think he's a nice guy.
This is how it played out: I was (in my dream) attending a meeting ... in retrospect I think it may have been church as everyone was dressed up and gearing up to start singing. Where else
do you do those two things together. Funny that I would put Troy Aikman in a Mormon building. I think my brain got Aikman and Steve Young confused. Either way. Maybe it wasn't church, because when Troy (yeah, we're on a first name basis now) and I started talking no one swiveled around and gave us the "evil eye". You know the one I'm talking about; you've either got it or given it to a disorderly child. Either way, as we were about to start singing Troy (aka Mr. Aikman) whispered something over his shoulder to me about how little impact football really had, we laughed about it. But then I felt compelled to tell him about how football had impacted my life. Watching the Cowboys with my brother and dad, being fascinated by the cheerleaders, the grandeur of it all. How inwardly pleased I am every time I pass Texas stadium. The absolute thrill I experienced the first time I walked into Texas stadium for a Cowboy's game. I was literally in tears as I watched the opening ceremony. The big cowboy helmet with the cheerleaders lined up on either side, the huge explosion/fireworks as the team came bursting through the front of the helmet ... Even way up in the luxury box (not the best place to sit after all - unless it's raining, blazing hot, or you like free food/beverages) the entire experience was surreal. I was really there. I was really seeing in person what I had watched for so many years at home in Canada. It was a big deal. Sports unite people, cause friction, make people feel like they are apart of something - even if it's "just a fan"
I think that is why I have been trying to encourage Ms. R to get involved in sports, not because I see scholarships or sponsorships in her future - but because I want her to experience that feeling. Of knowing you are part of something, the individual satisfaction of knowing you have brought about ... more. I guess it's hard for me to explain because sports are not just a "doing" for me, it's a "being". I am an athlete. I am a participant. I am a winner.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Fort Worth Arts Festival



After a forewarning from a friend that the Fort Worth Arts fest was just a huge mesh of people and a waste of time ... I braved it and headed over there this afternoon with the kids.
I decided to take the TRE (train) down town to save on parking (which would have been $10 PLUS gas). The kids love it and I feel like a "cool mom" for giving them a change in routine... and I like saving the money.
The arts fest lasted at least 10 blocks, with art from all mediums. The kids actually really loved looking at the art as much as I did - and some of the artists actually encouraged them to touch their "master pieces".
There was a kids area that had crafts, face painting, a climbing wall (still not sure how "artsy" that is), music, "environmental awareness" area ... it was great.
We were there early enough in the afternoon that there wasn't a lot of people there yet. I'm glad I didn't listen to the friend who said it'd be a waste of time, we'd have missed out on a nice afternoon out.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

*Ordinary Heroes*

To conclude - I ended up loving this book. As uninterested I am in the details of WW II (no disrespect to those who served - I just have a hard time accepting the evil people are capable of) I enjoyed this book thoroughly. It was based loosely on stories from various veterans the author had gathered, as well as war archives, then curved around one man. B-Man got sick this weekend, so I had to work reading the book around taking car of him - fortunately, or I would have read it non-stop.

Friday, April 11, 2008

*Ordinary Heroes*

I have only read 114 pages of 488, yet, I already love this book. Unusual for me considering it's a tale about a JAG attorney in WW II and his son who learns of his fathers activities after his father's death. I actually picked up this book with Michael in mind, figured I'd give it to him this summer. However, this afternoon as I was heading out the door to the gym I realized I didn't have any other books to read. So I grabbed it, prepared to expose myself to a couple hours of awkward reading. If you know me, you know I regularly skip over parts in books. If it's a detailed description of a place, smell, person ... eh, I could care less. This book has me enraptured. I read every word - have earmarked pages with lines I like. I even took my kids to Mc Arteries-are-Hardening for supper so they could play after and I could read ... for another 3 1/2 hours.
Some favorite thus far:
"Without being an alarmist, I call your attention to the fact I am ninety-six year old and that I no longer purchase green bananas. I look forward to meeting you soon."
"On a perpetual diet, I'm the guy at the restaurant who orders the little salad that comes topped with a tine pellet of poached salmon - before I eat the French fries off everybody else's plates."
"Who are we, but the stories we tell about ourselves, particularly if we accept them?"
"We are primitive. If we are not to be, then we require one another's assistance."

My Gym

I've bragged about my gym from the time I joined 3 years ago. Trying to describe all that is there, what is available has been nearly impossible. However, recently Lifetime added a link that allows you to see several different areas available. Add to this tour: Tennis Courts, a Sand Volleyball Court and Racquetball and Squash Courts.

And, yes, my kids are just as happy as the kids in those pictures when I go to pick them up. Surprisingly, that is not an unusual situation.

*The Memory Keepers Daughter*

First of all, let me say that I think this novel was ill named. A man should not be allowed to claim a child simply because he provided the sperm. That thought alone festered and annoyed me throughout the majority of this book. I think the author tried to help you not hate him so much for such an unspeakably horrific act throughout the book - but no, I was having none of that. He becomes this terrifically giving doctor but cannot bring himself to tell this truth to the child's mother? No. In four words: I hated this book.
After a certain situations force a doctor to birth his own children (this is back in the 60's, I guess the guys generally weren't in the delivery room then) he discovers the second born, a girl has Down Syndrome. Swiftly deciding that he doesn't want his wife to have to endure the emotional turmoil (or some other such crap) he sends the child off to a home for the mentally disturbed with the attending nurse. After experiencing a few minutes of disgust at the home, the nurse makes a life altering decision and keeps the child. Oh, did I mention that the guy tells his wife that the child died in childbirth? Yeah, I'm still mad about that part. He never even gives her the opportunity to have a voice. Spanning over 25 years this book tells the tale of the remaining family members and how the nurse builds a new life with her adoptive daughter.
I didn't find myself welling up, as two of my other friends did. I just found myself getting really worked up and angry over the whole thing. I'm glad I was able to finish it in between the rest of my activities today, I think I would have put it down and "forgot" to come back to it if I hadn't.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Muddy Miles


I feel like my blog is getting taken over by my fitness activities and goals. Not entirely a bad thing, just something I never would have expected - as I am no fitness buff. Even if you stretch your imagination really far.
This Saturday there is a run in Arlington called "Muddy Miles".
Named such because it is a 5k off road course. The terrain is grass and mud. The course takes you up hills, down hills, across streams and through valleys. There's a forewarning "You WILL get dirty, please bring a change of clothes! There are facilities to change in." Sounds like a blast, eh? I am excited because they not only give you a shirt but a goody bag and there is food, beverage and entertainment at the finish line. Good times!
It benefits Big Brothers and Big Sisters of North Texas. So not only do I challenge myself on a tough course, I give to a great foundation. Awesome!

Results

I looked at the official race results today - I came in 381st overall, 37th for my age group in the 5k. Frickin' awesome! For my first race, I am really proud of myself. Only 6 other women my age finished before I did. Kickin'!
Alma Pope (an old friend from Canada) came up from Houston and ran the 1/2 - she came in 840th overall and 49th in her age group. Once again, really impressive!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

*Cheating at Solitaire*

I have come to the conclusion that I love "chick lit". When I have tried to deviate away from my one true love, I have suffered for it. Miserably. Reading shouldn't be about forcing your way through the drudgery of a book, it just shouldn't - unless you are doing it for school. I am never going to school to become some kind of literary genius, so why do that to myself?
I absolutely loved this book. Written around a single women in her mid thirties who's a famous "self-help" guru advising women on how they don't need a man to be happy (a little bit Sex in the City, but not at all ...). Just when her third book is about to hit the stands her integrity is compromised by being seen with an actor, whose agent quickly takes advantage of the situation. An adventure on how she navigates her way around learning about letting go of who she thinks she needs to be and grasping onto who she really can be.

Monday, April 7, 2008

August Rush

I know I am a wee bit behind on this movie - but that isn't a bit shock to anyone. I'm never "up" on my movie viewing. Actually, the only reason I have seen this movie is because while my mom was here we rented a Rogue (actually a very cute little cross over) which I found a Best Buy gift card in. Turns out there was $20 on it. So I purchased an iTunes card and then rented this movie along with a few others I don't really want to talk about :(
This movie was fantastic. It had me crying, it had me cheering, at one point I had goose bumps because the music was so beautiful. Yes, mom - it has a good ending. Not entirely satisfactory, but not sad at all.

*English as a Second Language*

I'm starting to think that the clearance area of my local Half Price Books is a place of beauty and unbridled knowledge. Haha, maybe I have been reading too much lately. One of the best things about getting books from this area of the store is that nothing is over $2 no matter what the initial MSRP was. Another fun idiosyncrasy I have found is that most people, like me, use their airlines stubs as book marks. Thus far I have 3 from other random people. For some reason I take get more enjoyment out of a book knowing it's been to France and back. I'm an odd duck, I know.
This book had me smiling, if not laughing through out the majority of it. The main character is a woman in her late 20's living in NY who's still not sure which direction she wants to take her life. In a dead end career and prodded by a loser ex-boyfriend she decides to go to graduate school in the UK. The author (who I think based the book on experiences she had herself ...) writes about how this woman comes to grips with who she is, how she deals with people, but never really deals with where she's going to go from there. There is way too much alcohol consumed and a few too many swear words (it is a book about adults in an adult environment...) but I really enjoyed this book.

...But I WANT it!

A lot of people, when running/walking/jogging like to know their heart rate and calories burned. I personally could care less. I mean, I KNOW I am burning calories - I'm being active, therefore, calories burned. I don't care how many. My heart rate? Whatever. My heart's pumping, I'm breathing - it all must still be good. However, I am fanatical about knowing how far I have gone and at what speed I am doing it at. Hence the reason I prefer running on the treadmill, it takes care of those pesky little task very handily. However, I discovered yesterday I love running outside. It actually makes me feel better than when I am plodding along on the treadmill at the gym. Fresh air and all I suppose.
Today I found a nice little piece of equipment I am now Jonesing to have - if I am going to start out on this epic outdoor journey. The GPS transceiver in this cool little device calculates speed and distance data. Now to figure out how to come up with $150. *sigh* OH! Mother's Day. Hmmm ... I am so divided. Guilt Jerry into a Spa retreat or this little gem. The device would be used almost daily. The Spa ... just a little luxury I yearn for. Decisions, decisions.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Big D

I did it! I ran my first race today! All be it, a small portion of one - but I had to see if my legs would allow for a 5k before I start embarking upon larger goals - like a half marathon. It was super easy. I jogged the entire first mile, just to see what my legs would allow for and I did it in 12 minutes flat. When I started training to run, I was working on a 20 minute mile - huge improvement! Since 5k was the shortest of all the races being run today, ours wasn't "timed" per say, so I don't know what I placed in my age class but I felt really good about my personal results.
After running the first miles I alternated between jogging and speed walking so that my knees/hips/ankles wouldn't start protesting. I think I may have found the right combination, which pleases me to no end. I LOVED participating in this event. I loved the feeling of it. The pre-race jittery people, nervous anxiety, excitement, anticipation. The sounds. It was odd, with thousands of people there, you would expect it to be loud with talking and commotion. Before the race there was a hum about the crowd, but not loud. I ran with my iPod, but kept one ear bud popped out so I could listen to the sounds of the race. The pounding feet, the random shouts from supporters, the static over police radio, air being sucked in and puffed out as we can through a tunnel. It was one of the more rewarding sports related activities I have ever participated in. And I played on a Provincial level soccer team.
First Race: 5k
Time: 41:10
Things I had a hard time with: Keeping in mind that even though people (including children) were passing me - I was racing against my time, not theirs.
The "uphill" portions that had a breeze coming against me. Okay - so it would probably be considered more of a "slope" than a hill - but I still hated the breeze. That was barely blowing hard enough to stir the leaves in the trees. I'm a wuss.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Jon & Kate plus 8


I love this show! It appears on TLC tonight. A couple who had fertility treatments with the outcome being twin girls the first time and a set of sextuplets the second time round. I love watching the mother deal with the daily stress of kids, the fathers sense of humor throughout it all ... I have no idea why, but when it's on - I can't stop watching it! It's another one of my vices. When it comes on late night tv as I am surfing around, I'll stop every time. I was up till 2am the other day watching it. Yep, I know. I need help.

5

Since I before moved to Texas I haven't gone to the dentist once. That's more than 10 years of no dentistry; a really long time to ignore your teeth. There just hasn't been the money for things like that. Well, actually, that's not exactly true. When Jerry has had to go in to get THREE root canals, the money has been there. My biggest problem with going to the dentist is not actually going - I like going to the dentist, or at least I did when I was a kid. It was generally a pleasant experience. It's having to ask for the money to go. It really irks me.
However, I am tired of saying things for me just aren't that important when I need it just as much as my kids and Jerry. So, I buckled down and made myself a dentist appointment. It's odd how medical and dental works down here because it's more a business than a practice. I contacted a dentist on the list of approved professionals that my insurance company gave me, set up an appointment for this morning and headed on in after I dropped my kids off at school. All I was slated for this morning was a consultation, which meant that all they were going to do is take some x-rays poke around in there and let me know where we were to go from there for free, which always sounds fantastic. I was pretty confident in this as I have never had any issues at the dentist before. BAH!
First of all, from the time I walked in the building till I strolled on out - AN HOUR. They moved at a snails pace. I seriously wanted to just grab the bite strips from the tech, slap them on, zip the machine ... but noooo. It was like this woman was moving in slow motion. Moving beyond that though. When the dentist finally came in, he grunted over my x-rays ("Is everything alright?" I inquired. "Oh, everything looks great!" He replied. Liar.), poked around my mouth calling out random numbers and words (which I knew couldn't be good) then exclaimed, "For someone who hasn't been to the dentist in over 10 years - your teeth look great. However (how does a "however" come after "great"?) you have 5 little cavities in your mouth." I looked at him, totally stunned. FIVE cavities? I have never had ONE cavity before, let alone FIVE! He looks at me dubiously, "You seem to have a problem with that..."
Me, "Of course I do! I've never even had ONE cavity before, it's a shock to hear that I have FIVE."
Dentist, 'Do you chew gum?"
Me, "Yes, I go on a lot of long road trips. I chew gum instead of drinking caffeine to keep me awake."
Dentist, "Well, the gum grinds in a lot of little unwanted particles into very small spaces. AND you haven't been to the dentist in TEN years."
Me, "I know ... it's still disappointing."
Dentist, "I'm sorry to hear that."
... he's sorry to hear that? What kind of platitude is that?
So they ring up how much it will be to get the stupid things fixed ... $653. I almost choke. "Would you like my first born too?" The lady looks ready to write up the bill of sale. I am rather confused. "Does that include a cleaning?"
Lady, "Oh, you'd like a cleaning too? Let me go calculate that price...$703"
I have FIVE cavities and you don't think I should start getting my teeth cleaned too? You know, the whole preventative maintenance thing? Bunch of bologna.
I didn't get the work done today, as I still have to tell Jerry how much the damage will be. It's not like I can put it off. Don't cavities turn into worse things? Don't they get bigger or something? Either way, I'm rather annoyed. Five cavities. I wonder if they have white caps instead of those silver ones.
Ms. R will be proud of me, she's been rather distressed that I am not like other adult she knows with silver in their mouth. Apparently that made me a failure. I tried to explain to her that NOT having silver in your mouth is better ... but no, *sigh*, now I am just like all the others.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

*Sweet Thames*

Oh my. I felt like I was being dredged through the veritable open sewer system London street use to be (which is what the book is loosely written about) as I read this book. I cannot even start to discuss this book. Some would say it has "lots of atmosphere".
I say the book, written about the summer of 1849 as the cholera epidemic threatened London and the young engineer whose ideas for drainage would revolutionize the city and the perils he endures as he keeps his life afloat ... was probably the hardest read I've ever embarked upon. I had to force myself to keep reading it. Trying to open my mind to new venues has never been so painful.
I got an author signed copy though. So maybe I'll hold onto it and hope it improves in value. At least monetarily.
I think I'll go invest in some floaty romance this afternoon. After these last two books, my brain deserves something frothy.

*Mad Girls in Love*

I am at odds over this book. On one hand, the author writes wonderfully. So much so that even though I am very divided on whether I really liked this book or not - I stayed up all night (I literally got an hour of sleep) reading it. She pulls you in, captures you with the story line and holds on to you even if you want to make it just stop.
About a family of women and their misadventures, left me wondering just how crazy all of them had to be. I really don't know if I would suggest anyone read this book. Even though it caught me in a death spiral of no sleep ... I cannot say I truly enjoyed this book.