Saturday, February 27, 2010

Cookie coma

My belly hurts. This is a common problem. The cause? Three perfect peanut butter cookies and oodles of perfect peanut butter cookie dough. Sigh. But it's worth it.

T and the boys are at my parents' for the night. They even took Ruby so I am in blissful peace. I spent two hours on the Internet, then ordered Noodles takeout (Bangkok Curry with tofu). I watched The September Issue On Demand. Then topped the evening off by baking the aforementioned perfect peanut butter cookies. The batter is even better than the finished product, which is really quite a dangerous situation.

So now I have three and a half dozen fresh-baked cookies of my favorite variety. I am tempted to hide them from the children and the husband. Especially the children. They would be happy with an animal cracker, so why should I waste my bites of peanut butter bliss on them?

I make cookies often, every week or two, but was starting to eat two-thirds of them myself. I tried the technique of making cookies I don't like (M&M cookies-ick). It worked, but I missed my cookies. So tonight, the cookie indulgence and the resulting cookie hangover.

I always hate myself in the morning, as I squint at the scale and wonder why it insists on inching up. But then I forget my angst as I take my first trip of the day to the cookie jar.

Perfect Peanut Butter Cookies (Use with caution!)

3/4 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups crunchy peanut butter
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
2 t baking soda
1 t sea salt
1 1/2 cup oats

Combine first five ingredients, then add remaining ingredients. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto cookie sheet. Cook at 350 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes. Makes about 4 dozen (depending on how much dough you ingest).


Friday, February 26, 2010


Just watched a gripping and upsetting documentary on HBO On Demand. Every F'ing Day of My Life is about a woman who kills her husband after almost 20 years of abuse. The movie follows her final five days before going to jail for ten years. Her 17-year-old son took part in the murder and is sentenced to seven years in prison.

It all took place in Southern Oregon, where I used to live, and I remember covering the story. I never knew the depth of the situation. Watch it if you get the chance. It is tragic to see a mother punished for trying to protect her children.


Sunday, February 21, 2010

I have a lot of medals, too

I love the Olympics. Be it summer or winter, I inevitably park myself in front of the TV and get into the decathlon or snowboard cross. I just can't get into some of it: luge, skeleton, curling, nah. But give me Apolo Anton Ohno in a heated short track speed skating race, and I'm happy.

I'm not a die hard sports fan. I cheer for the Packers and Mizzou and watch the Super Bowl every year, but I'd much rather watch Project Runway than a random golf tournament. But something about the Olympics is different. It is so passionate and impressive. As you watch you feel like you have something at stake as an American. You feel a rare rush of patriotism.

The best thing is to work out while watching the Olympics. Last night, I plodded through three miles on the treadmill while watching speed skating. Granted, I was going 6.5 miles an hour and Shani Davis was sailing along significantly faster, but as we both worked our bodies, I felt like we had something in common. We were both athletes. Now one of us is quite a bit more successful, muscular, talented, and determined than the other, but nonetheless we are in the same broad category.

Next to my treadmill hang dozens of medals from various races T and I have completed over the years. Not a single one represents a first place finish or even tenth for that matter (though I do have a quirky little trophy from a rare win in a lightly-attended 5K). They are all "participant" medals though the one from that very first marathon is as good as gold in my eyes.

I have run four marathons and may or may not ever run one again. Non-runners always question why on earth you would want to submit yourself to such torture. I was not gifted with superior golf, basketball, swimming, dancing, or any other of countless athletic skills. But I do have passionate drive and hard-headed determination, and as I run in a marathon with thousands of people in front of me (and thousands behind), with people cheering at the finish line and volunteers handing me paper cups of water, I am an athlete, and it is the only taste of that experience I can get.

Lunging with my medicine ball last night, I felt a slight surge of that. I am strong and determined too, and though I don't have a gold, silver, or bronze, and never, ever will, I do have an impressive stash of "also-ran" hardware.


Saturday, February 20, 2010

The pain of parenthood

The day started out well. With T and Q on the East Coast for a wedding and to see T's parents, R and I went to my parents. My mom suggested we go to a train display at the botanical gardens, and R delighted in seeing the choo-choos weave through the bright blossoms.

We explored the other domes, looking at unusual plants, and strolling along the paths. R of course barreled ahead at full-speed. That is until he face-planted on a rough walkway. I ran to him, hoping it would just be a little bump that he would shake off and barely delay in his frolicking as he so often does. But, no. His face was full of blood, and his lip was mangled by his teeth.

I felt physically ill seeing him in pain. You don't really know that degree of empathy until you have a child. Seeing him suffering makes me ache and actually makes me feel angry in a way that he has to endure that. Any time my child is hurt I feel frustrated, hurt, and angry at myself that I didn't prevent it in some way. I feel like I let them down.

We mopped up his blood and bought a Popsicle to ice it. The lip still looks terrible and it protruding from his face, but he is in much better shape. You can see the injury a bit in this picture.

Poor little peanut. I'm sorry.


Friday, February 12, 2010

Back to work

I got a job! A real one and a good one!

I gave stay-at-home motherhood a good go. It clearly wasn't for me as I added so many commitments that I was busier than ever. So now it will be back to full-time work. I know it will be tiring and busy, and it already is a bit wrenching to think of not seeing the boys as often. But I know it is what makes me happiest. I need a career. I feel short-changed and unfulfilled when that part of my life is not in place. It is better for all of us if I go back to work. What is that they say? 'If Mama's not happy, no one's happy.' Very true.

I will be a corporate trainer for a booming medical software company. It sounds fast-paced and challenging, and I do think I will be good at it. Groups of about 100 people will come in every month or so, and I and the other trainers will teach them.

I start in two weeks, and I am getting things into place in advance of that start date. I will roll back my exercise teaching duties until I am eventually just teaching two early morning classes a week. Our current sitter will take the boys full-time. Life is falling into place.

I am excited, though truthfully very nervous, about this new chapter in my life. I have been waiting for it, and I am ready for it.


Medical malfunction

Every time I deal with the health care system, I come away frustrated and convinced that the medical establishment is a mess.

This morning at 7:00 a.m., I had an appointment for a follow-up blood test to make sure my hormone levels had dropped back to normal following my miscarriage last month. It should have been a super-quick stop. In fact, T just circled the block in the car with the boys while I ran in.

I stopped at the front desk to ask where the lab was, since I had forgotten since my visit four months ago. The information person assured me I had to go across the street and commented she was not even sure if the small lab in that part of the hospital even existed. I assured her that it had been in existence just a month ago. She sent me on to patient registration, where I sat impatiently while the workers chatted amongst themselves.

When I was finally summoned, the woman seemed very confused about why I was there and surprised even when my appointment did in fact show up in the computer. She also asked me if I should be going across the street. "I am pretty sure I am supposed to just go to the same lab I did last time," I said. She typed away, copied my insurance card again, printed out paperwork including some sort of plastic card and finally sent me on to the lab.

Once again the lab workers were confused about who I was and why I was there. Did I mention I did have an appointment? They shuffled through my papers, looked at my chart on the computer, and called someone. They said I needed to go up two floors to get a lab order from the OB clinic. Grr.

I walked up two floors, waited while the receptionist printed out a small sticker, and then went back down to the lab. Finally, finally, the drew my blood and that took about 30 seconds. Then it was back down four floors to call T who had been waiting for half an hour. So frustrating. I seriously considered just leaving since it was a minor test, and I am reasonably sure things are back to normal.

Isn't there an easier way? Imagine what goes on during complicated procedures. Scary thought.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Good times, old friends

There are definitely things I hate about being back in Wisconsin. For instance, it is snowing steadily now, the roads are mush, and it's not supposed to stop till tomorrow night. Also, I am cold. I feel like I have been cold since November. The lower level of our house is often 58 degrees when we wake up. We had to buy a portable heater to make it livable. Spring can not come soon enough.

But there are things I love about being back, and that more than makes up for the miserable, snowy, icy, windy winter. (Someday, someday, I am going to live somewhere tropical and be hot and sweaty everyday.) It is so great being close to my parents again. They are an hour away--just right. Granted I was the person who absolutely refused to go to college in-state and thought 500 miles away was still too close. And I eventually got a job almost 2,000 miles away. But after 12 years, I have to admit it is good to be back.

I love the boys seeing their grandparents and cousins often. I love popping over for New Year's Day dinner or to celebrate my dad's birthday. The passage of time makes you value these things so much more.

The other thing I treasure is old friends. There are many people to whom I was joined at the hip in high school whom I haven't seen since then. Now I see several of them often. And it is just great. Five of us got together for dinner on Saturday. We were all on cross country and track together and now are at various stages of life. But from the first moment I see them, I feel entirely comfortable. There is just something about old friends. They know your history. New friends you are almost a little on edge, trying to prove that you are good friend material. Trying to win them over. Old friends know you and love you. They know what you looked like when you were 13. They are priceless.

This Saturday, despite a two-hour wait for dinner, we talked and laughed over glasses of wine, dinner, and french fries for dessert. We planned to do it often, maybe even monthly. It was easy and relaxing and just fun.

It's good to be home.


Saturday, February 6, 2010

Chaos returns

The boys are back. I miss my solitude.

Last night the two little ones alternated waking up screaming and at various times we had one or both in our bed flailing around and competing for space with two tall adults and one disgruntled cat (I think the cat enjoyed the solitude too).

In truth, I am glad to have the chaos back. I treasure quiet moments, but I would be lonely alone. That is why we have accumulated three pets and two children in ten years and plan to add more. I stress under pandemonium, but I also revel in it. I don't like things to be too calm. If they are, I tend to create stress. That's how I went from being a bored stay-at-home mom to one racing around town to teach 15 exercise classes.

Speaking of that, I am still anxiously awaiting news on the job front. I'm sure I will hear sometime in the next week. I am applying for other jobs as well, so I won't feel devastated if I don't get it. I hate waiting.


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Sweet solitude

I am all alone today.

T is on a business trip, and since I teach super early and a few late classes, my mom took the boys for a day and a half. So, it's just me.

Last night I didn't have to make dinner for anyone so I grazed on cookies, veggies and dip, cheese, chips, and chocolate chips (in that order). No one was there to harass me about watching The Bachelor. No kids woke up screaming at 3:00 a.m. to disturb my slumber as I stretched out diagonal on the bed.

This morning I turned on all the lights and the TV as I got ready to go to class. I didn't have to rush the kids along to get ready and leave ten minutes early for the Y. Now there is no one to drop off, no diaper to change, no Dora to watch. I had a quiet lunch (healthy to make up for last night's excess) while watching The View on DVR. I walked the dog and then put on some music to enjoy while I sip tea and work on the computer.

It's true, I am enjoying it. Life has been a bit hectic lately, so I will take any downtime I can get. But it is lonely. Last night when I unlocked the door it was strange to walk into a silent house with no one to greet me. Thankfully I have a needy dog to nurture and two cats to keep me company.

Solitude is nice but only if it is temporary. The chaos returns tomorrow.