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Friday, February 29, 2008

"Art Stops Time"

"Art Stops Time." This is my new favorite quote. Bob Dylan said it. Bob Dylan rocks.

When I first listened to him, I mean, really sat down and listened with an open mind when I was about 26, I didn't "get" him. I thought he couldn't hold a tune much, and his songs seemed sort of rambly. But then, the more I listened, year after year, the more I appreciated what he was doing, and the poems he was writing about a time in history, when things were a changin'.
Then I read Bob Dylan's autobiography, "The Chronicles," a couple years ago, and I was even more impressed with him. He captured a few moments in time that explain things. Just things that were happening at the time he wrote some songs. He didn't think he was changing the world, he just wrote down some verses that came to him at that time. And people responded.

Then I found this quote of his, about art stopping time, and it helped me understand. So that's it. That's what it is about art that makes us pause, I thought. We all strive to figure out what it is to be human, even if we don't know it, and art labels it. Art stops life for a minute or a second, and let's us pause and look.

Next thing I knew, I was arguing with 26 year old co-workers about Bob Dylan's artistic talent, and I felt suddenly old at 42. Old but correct. Old and wise. Wise enough to stop arguing with them.

They will realize it eventually, I thought. Maybe not about Dylan, but maybe about another great artist. Once they hit about 34, or so. That's when the ego takes a beating and everything gets jumbled, and you realize maybe you won't live forever, and maybe you'll never make a mark, and maybe it really doesn't matter if you turn to dust after all.

Dust is kind of pretty when the light hits it just right, after all. Death stops time, too.

Maybe you'll have to accept that your reality is breathing in, and and breathing out every day.

And if you sing a little song, or write a little poem, or play with colors on a canvas, or draw some pictures with your pencil, you might find a place where your breath stops, just for a second. And then maybe you'll see, with open eyes, what other people have done to stop time, and it will hit you.

It's the stopping and looking that becomes important then.

I used to think I wasn't qualified to talk about art because I hadn't studied it enough to know the terms to describe it. But I knew what I liked, and I knew which things made me stop.

I have a friend who has a Leonard Baskin print in her house. Baskin has been called "the Picasso of printmaking." He died several years ago, but he is truly one of the greatest modern American sculptors and print makers. She has one of his "Man of Peace" prints, the image above. It is quite large, maybe 4 ft. tall.

The first time I saw it, hanging in her house, it stopped me. I didn't even know what it was, or who it was, or why it was important. I didn't know much about printmaking or woodcuts, or lithographs, or etching, or all those other terms about that type of fine art.

I just knew it stopped me. Stopped me cold in my tracks. My friend had a feeling it might, because she is an artist, too, and she's seen time stop. She's way older than 42 now.

She explained that Baskin was an American Jew from New York. His dad was a rabbi. This print looks very much like a memorial to the holocaust.

When you see it in real life, it makes you stop and feel like crying a little. You can't help but feel a twinge of sadness and regret that all those souls were lost behind barbed wire fences. That the man is offering the dove, maybe hoping someone will take it.

When you see that thing on the wall, you think about Baskin carving the image, for hours and hours and days and days, in reverse, into a large piece of wood, and then rolling ink on top of it, and running it through a press by hand to make an image of it, working those tiny little details until he got it just right.

What was he thinking? How did he do that? Did he know how it would turn out? Did he truly understand how it would stop us? How many years of his life did he spend with the wood and ink and carving tools until he created a few of these images that touch us so deeply?

And then, when you finally stop looking at that piece of art, and move on to the other room to have some coffee, and you start talking about your day and your life, and your job and your kids, you don't feel bad or guilty or insignificant.

You feel like you're just breathing in and breathing out.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Blog Heros and Bad Words

I was trying to figure out what to write today, so I went to a few good blogs for inspiration: Mimi Smartypants, Dooce are great. They are super funny mommies.

I don't think they are chubby, but that's fine, I'd still buy them a drink if they came to Bend. Or if they invited me out to their home towns because they want to be my new best friends. Or even if they just read my blog and leave a comment, because then I'd feel like I was a tiny bit cool and popular, like them.

These blogger ladies say lots of bad words like fuck and stuff on their blogs, which just seems a bit much for my blog. I mean, yes, I do cuss like a sailor sometimes, but usually just when I burn myself on the stove. I hate getting hurt.

And sometimes I say fuck when I'm mad. And sometimes just to be funny. And sometimes, I say it when I'm hanging out with men, because they say it. Although my husband swears he never says it around the kids, because it's very bad manners, and he really wishes I wouldn't say it around them either. I don't mean to. It just slips out sometimes.

The funny thing about him telling me not to cuss, is that I learned to cuss around him. It was when we were both working at a computer game company, my first experience working in "tech." Those boys swore all the time.

At first, I was appalled. I couldn't believe it. It seemed so rude and ridiculous. They seemed so smart, did they not know any other adjectives? Or nouns? Or adverbs?

But then once I started saying that dreaded bad 'f' word, well, it just seemed to be the right word for so many occasions. I understood, I became like them. Sort of.

When I was about 5, I think, I wrote fuck on the wall in the family room at our house on West 16th. My mom saw it and was appalled. She thought one of the neighbor boys had written it. They were naughty, they did stuff like that sometimes.

"Who wrote this?!" she demanded. I was too young to lie, so I told her it was me. I could almost see her counting to 5. Or 8, maybe.

"Do you know what it means?" She asked, in a nicer voice. Of course not, I was 5, or so.

My mom's a nurse. She told us about the facts of life early on, as if sex were a normal part of animal behavior, and it was just one of those things animals and humans did to get babies. Except dogs didn't have to wait to go to college and get married to do it.

Anyhoo, once my mom told me what fuck actually meant, I couldn't believe I'd written that on the wall with a pencil. I was mortified.

"Why would in the world would people say that as a cuss word?" I asked. It just seemed like a really stupid word to say or write on a wall, and I told her. I mean, at the time, the way she explained it, I figured sex was just a normal thing, like brushing your teeth, only a bit more embarrasing, since it involved your bottom. So of course you would need privacy for that, and you'd need to wash your hands afterwards.

"I don't know," she said with a sigh, "I think it's a dumb word too. Now erase it."

I tried, but it made a big black smudge on the white wall. I vowed then and there never, ever to use that word again.

Now it's just another promise to myself I've broken, I guess. Just like those other ones: "I'll never gain that 20 pounds back again!" and "I don't think we should have sex until we're married."

I actually told my husband that one! He laughed and laughed when I said it. But then he got a little nervous, because what if I really meant it?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Walking Off Banana Bread

I didn't go running today, but I probably should have. My husband decided we should make some of his super delicious "Dad's Famous Banana Bread." We call it DFBB for short.

He's tried several recipes over the past year, and the one he's been making lately is by far the best. Today, I helped him, which meant I read the famous recipe.

I figured out why it's so dang good.

For two loaves, we used one cup of butter and four eggs. Enough said.

But I'll continue, anyway. We also added some flour, sugar, bananas and a few chopped pecans. And a little salt and baking soda. That's it.

The result is pretty much perfect, really. Buttery, a little crunchy on top, a little sweet, a little salty, and a lot of yum packed into every bite.

So, we did go for a walk while it was cooling. But, even with the one big hill, I highly doubt we burned anywhere close to the number of "butter calories" contained in each bite.

I wonder how many hills it takes to work off a piece of DFBB. The world may never know.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Sore Legs

My legs are sore. I keep saying I might be coming down with a virus or something (this gets me out of cooking dinner) but it could be they're just sore from running.

I've been running for the past 5 days in a row. That's Friday, Saturday, Sunday Monday and today, just so you know. I think that's a record.

The weather's better, and I got some new running clothes at Goodwill. Love that place! Apparently, there are quite a few Chubby Mommy Runners in Bend, because they gave away quite a few super good "active wear" items in my size. I got some Nike, Land's End, and Champion branded things. Hi-tech running fabric, and way cheaper than Costco.

Still, I think I should take a day off tomorrow, so I can rest my poor sore legs, who've been valiantly running hills. I'm proud of them, even though there is still one hill at the end that I just can't master yet. No one's fault, not placing blame (don't want my legs to hear anything negative, lest they go on strike) I'm just saying, I will be even more proud of my legs when I conquer that hill. Even though I'm super proud now...

I sort of hate to stop running, even for a day, because there's always that worry that I won't start again. It's just like taking that first bite of the seasonal Reese's product, but opposite. I haven't had a Reese's peanut butter cup since Christmas. I'm afraid if I eat one, I'll eat 9, then get sick.

I read that book called "French Women Don't Get Fat" where the author (who's French) says if American women would just take some little tastes of lovely food and be done, like the French do, we wouldn't get fat either.

As if.

If I take one day off from running, I might forget how nice it feels to run, and only remember how cold I am in the morning, and how nice it is to stay in my bed, or take a hot bath instead. Or eat several bites of lovely, lovely French food, then take a nap. That's the American thing to do.

Speaking of Reese's, I noticed the Reese's eggs are out already...I'd sort of forgotten Easter was coming. I mean, it's not even St. Patrick's day, right? Do they make Reese's Shamrocks? Why not? Some of my best friends are Irish, and they like chocolate.

Everything in moderation is the key to happiness, apparently. I'll tell my legs that, and hopefully they'll pass the information on to my tongue, and my teeth, and my stomach. We'll see how it goes.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Falling Through the Front Door

I fell into my house today.

I was carrying in the groceries, going back and forth and back and forth from curb to kitchen. I tend to "over carry" too many bags and milk jugs and things, to save trips. I like paper, not plastic.

Paper bags filled with apples and eggs and orange juice cartons are trickier to carry than plastic bags with handles, but I manage. Mostly.

The whole process stresses me out a bit. I have to keep the front door slightly ajar so I can push my way through with no hands, but closed enough that my dog won't jump through it and knock over a random, unsuspecting pedestrian walking a dog on a leash. It has happened.

So, I load my arms up with two full bags, then kick the door a bit with my foot to open it. Once I'm through, I snag the corner of the door again with the back of my foot to push it closed, all while balancing my bags.

Today I was on trip # 3 through the door. My system was working pretty well, until I tripped. Not sure how, it all happened in a blur.

I started falling into the window, which is next to the door, and the wooden blinds "broke" my fall, along with my forearm on the window ledge. The shoe rack, and the tray of dog leashes stopped my ankle and hip. So nice of them.

Ouch. I think I twisted my ankle. There goes my plans for running today.

But I held onto the bags. I didn't drop a thing.

I did yell for my husband to help me. He could hear the ruckus, and ran downstairs straight away.

"What happened?" he gasped.

"I don't know, and I don't want to talk about it," I snapped, almost in tears.

He watched me for a bit, then went outside to get the rest of the groceries without a word. He's learned it's better if I just calm down a little after such traumas. If he talks, I might blame it on him, somehow.

A child appeared, trying to be helpful, but I said in the nicest voice I could muster,

"You should go back upstairs. I'm hurt, I'm mad, I'm crabby, and I might yell at you for no good reason and it wouldn't even be your fault!"

She appreciated my honesty, I think, and zipped back up in a hurry.

I know I'm only 42, but fear I will break a hip some day and end up in a nursing home, just bringing in the groceries. I suppose I should start taking some calcium supplements, just in case.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Sock Matching

I matched up socks today. I know that shouldn't be a big deal, but we have a sock problem at our house. It goes along with our laundry problem. Matching up dozens and dozens of socks has become a quarterly ritual with us. Sort of like paying taxes. We don't like doing it, but we feel better when we're done with this inevitable chore.

It seems like all the socks should get washed and dried and matched back up again in a timely manner, but there's something wrong with our sock system, and we end up with baskets full of mismatched socks. When I say baskets, I mean that several times a year, we end up with at least three large laundry baskets filled with practically every clean sock in the house.

Some of these socks are baby socks, and need to be given away. What I mean is, they are socks the kids had when they were little, but I do think some of the adult socks sit at the bottom of the basket for so long, that they get bored and mate. Then, they create this new breed of socks that no one recognizes, and we scratch our heads and say "where did these come from?"

But those could just be the kids' friend's socks lost here at sleepovers. It has happened.

At first, the baskets fill slowly, so we can usually find the matches. Then, something weird happens and the mismatched socks multiply at an alarming rate, and the baskets get scattered around the house. The children scramble for socks in the mornings, trying to remember which basket they might have seen somewhere that holds the match to the sock they're holding.

Then, when it gets critical, and they have a hard time finding matches, they just keep wearing the same socks over and over. Well, the boy does, anyway. Little boys don't seem to have a smell gene that detects dirty socks.

The big girl just skips socks, and secretly slips on her snow boots without socks, right before the bus is due to arrive, so there's no time to argue with her about smelly boots and frost-bitten toes. The middle girl wears mismatched socks. The husband starts saying "Where are all the socks? Why does this keep happening? There must be a better way..."

I say the system is flawed because of inefficiency. But my husband, who's taken over the majority of the laundry duties since he's been home for the past couple of years, reminds me that we had the same problem when I was in charge of the laundry for 10 years.

I then remind him that I had three little kids home 24/7 back then, and he's been in charge when they're at school, and I could help him figure out a more efficient way to handle the socks if he'd just listen to my ideas about sorting them by color and size until we have time to match them...

He then reminds me that he is actually quite skilled at efficiency theory, and in fact, is now making a career out of it, and that this really doesn't have anything to do with efficiency, it's more of a time issue, and that we should really all wear the same colored socks, or at least all have the same white socks and the same black socks, because that would truly make everything easier, and that if I'd like to define, and argue about efficiency theory, bring it on.

He is not being mean, he just knows that I like that phrase, but really don't know much about what it means in the mathematical sense, and that if I insist on throwing out phrases I don't really understand, he will win any argument I choose to start.

But he doesn't really understand fashion the way I do, and the way girls do. He and the boy can wear white socks every day for years and not care, or wear black socks every day.

The middle girl and I need our socks to match our pants. In theory. We will pretend mismatched socks are a current fashion fad, when desperate times call for desperate measures, of course, but we like things to match. The big girl would prefer being barefoot, or wearing flip flops if she must, so the sock thing isn't really a big concern for her, I'll admit.

So anyway, what usually happens, is every once in a while, I spend several hours on a Saturday matching up socks. I think I matched up 120 pair today. I know that seems like a lot. It is, because my husband and I both sneak out and buy new socks when we can't stand the match up game every morning before the bus deadline.

We know this only adds to the sock problem, but its complicated, and not so logical at this point. It's marriage, after all, not rocket science.

I'd like to think the sock situation will change, but until we can afford to hire a full time sock matcher who spends his or her day matching our family's socks, I'm not going to hold my breath.

In the meantime, I'm so happy and proud to see those piles and piles of socks all matched up and happy with their mates, even if it just happens a few times a year. Some things are just meant to be together, next to each other, all snug and cozy in a dark place, like a drawer.

Tomorrow, I'll just put those extra few mismatched socks in a basket until all the laundry is finished. Then I'll match them up right away. I swear.

Ten things that bother me at 4:00 a.m.

  1. The house smells bad. I need to vacuum the rug, but if I do it now, I'll wake up the family.
  2. I didn't sign the 11 year old up for ice skating lessons, so now she has to stand on the side of the rink and "watch" her friend ice skate today.
  3. Are my kids' lives too boring? Do I tell them there's nothing wrong with hanging out with their family at home because I'm too lazy and cheap to plan exciting, enriching activities for them?
  4. Is being extra frugal so both parents are home with kids, working at start-up companies, and getting "real jobs" every once in a while really better for them, like we always tell them? Or are we just lazy and cheap?
  5. Are vacations, ice skating lessons and skiing rights of childhood in Bend? And am I saying no to Mt. Bachelor because I'm really afraid the kids might fall off the chair lift and die?
  6. Is hanging out at the art studio making mono prints with my friends all day really better for my mental health than cleaning my way out of so much mess and clutter that I wake up in the middle of the night worrying about the smelly rug?
  7. Why don't I volunteer at school more?
  8. Why do I feel like I'm special and does anyone else think I am and why the hell does it even matter?
  9. Why do I say no when my teenage daughter's friend invites her to one of those mega-church youth group things with 600 kids singing Christian pop songs and praying with their hands up in the air when I used to be president of my youth group all through high school?
  10. When did we stop reading books aloud and making up magical pixie and fairy stories for the kids, and would they even want us to start that again?

Friday, February 22, 2008

Jog Bra Angst, #2

This is not a picture of me. We can pretend this is pony tail lady, if you'd like.

I've been running quite a bit this week. Amazing, but true. My legs were sore for a few days, since getting back into the regular routine always surprises them. I never warn them ahead of time, I just do it.

The first day of surprise running, they're fine. The second day, they start grumbling. The third day, they rebel against walking up stairs. After that, they calm down, since they know I usually don't go more than four days in a row.

So that's my legs, and I'm used to their antics. I was surprised, however, when my left shoulder started acting up. I don't really use my shoulder much when I run, but it was so sore a few nights this week that I couldn't even sleep on my left side. I almost took some Advil one night. I didn't, but I thought about it.

It's not like I've been lifting weights or going to bootcamp, or anything. I've just been going on my regular 3 mile loop in the neighborhood, with my arms relaxed at my side. I don't recall any loud waving or arm thrashing. No dog yanks, either.

Huh. Weird.

Then one morning I figured it out. I've been straining my shoulder joints when I take off my jog bra after the run. The jog bra that's still a bit too small. The one that's buried at the bottom of my drawer, and only used when I'm low on laundry.

You know how you cross your arms, grab the sides of the bra, lift and uncross at the top with the bra over your head? Well, if you don't know, now you do.

I'm just assuming everyone does it that way. I haven't actually done a survey. But anyway, when your bra's too tight and sweaty, you can strain your shoulder joints by doing this, apparently.


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Blogger Nerds at The Blacksmith

All the blogger nerds got together tonight at the Blacksmith restaurant in downtown Bend for a social "mixer." There were tons of us there,maybe 30. It was wild and unexpected to have so many people in one room who know all about my bad car wash experience. Especially since my husband hadn't read that post yet.

Super fun party, I must say.

And I think I met my new best friend. She's the one who writes "Knocked Up in Bend"

So, she's pregnant, actually.

When she met me, I had my long black coat on. It's my camouflage "slimming" coat. I try to keep it on as long as I can, because as soon as I take it off, my chub flows over into real life. But in a dimly lit bar, after a few drinks, does the trick sometimes. Plus, I get prettier the more I drink, and if I keep my black coat on, I can forget about my belly rolls falling over the top of my jeans. I just forget all about's handy.

Anyhoo, I was wearing my long black coat, and I met this adorable pregnant lady and I said "You must be the 'Knocked Up' girl! I'm Chubby Mommy, nice to meet you!"

And she said "You're not so chubby."

See, this is why I like these types of events. It's so easy to make friends.

I met so many very cool people tonight. And to be honest, they weren't all nerds. I think the super nerds stayed home, since they're shy, so the place was packed with "mostly regular" people like me, who love to write about themselves and meet people who read about them.

It's all about us, really. That's the fun of a blogger party! We're all so happy to share our stories, and boy oh boy, are we happy to meet the people who read our stories, too.

Can't wait 'til the next one.

For the record, Jake, of Bend Blogs won the name tag contest. Thanks for playing, Jake.

He was the only one who brought a handmade name tag, but that should not diminish the cool factor of his duct tape name tag. I like to think he made that name tag in honor of my duct tape car repair post. He won a token from Lucky Oliver: which is a fabulous site to get cheap photos for your blog or design project.

The reason this is an extra cool prize is this: I met the guys who started Lucky Oliver this summer at a New Tech Meetup in Palo Alto, when they presented their start-up to 150 of their peers. They gave me this token, which I've saved for a special occasion.

Congrats, Jake, you deserved this token of my esteem. Duct tape rules, man!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

My Last Drive-Through Car Wash

My 1993 Volvo Station Wagon went through its very last drive-through car wash today. No more, never again, and I'm serious this time.

This is a good car, and we've been hard on it, I'll admit. Sometimes things just break on our cars, and sometimes we buy groceries and pay rent instead of fixing them. Things like the seal around the sunroof, and the plastic thingy on on the top of the car that cuts down wind resistance.

It's pretty cheap to just not open the sunroof anymore, and after a year of listening to the plastic thingy rattle over 45 mph, and a quote of $300 to fix it, we pulled out some duct tape once on our way out to Terrebonne, and taped that thing down. Not very glamorous, but extremly efficient.

Stopping and taping the car down made us late to dinner with our friends, who have a beautiful house and cars that get fixed regularly by mechanics. They were perplexed when we called from the road and told them we'd be there shortly, as soon as we duct taped up the car. They would never dream of putting duct tape on their Pirus.

I think duct tape is a good long-term solution for many things. Until today.

I've been hearing that duct tape rattling for the past week. It stayed put for a good six months, but a corner was coming loose. Still, I figured it had another few weeks, at least. No sense in jumping the gun on applying more duct tape. Plus, we used silver tape last time, and I'd like to use some green duct tape for the "repair" so it will match the car (I'm thinking of resell value, here...)

My car is so dirty from the piles of snow that sat on it for two weeks, and from the red gravel dust on the streets of Bend, now that the big snow has thawed, that I was having a hard time seeing out the windows. Driving was getting a bit dangerous. It was past time for a wash.

My neighbors have been washing their cars in their driveways, but I didn't really want to get the hose out and all that. Seemed easier to just take a quick $6 run through the car wash on Galveston. Plus, for another $1, I could finally vacuum out the pumpkin seeds from the pumpkins in October. I don't think I've washed the car since October, actually.

Should I be embarrased about that?

Just so you know, I don't go through the car wash very often, because I don't want to pay $6, and the sun roof leaks a little. Not a ton, but just enough to drip on the knee of a child sitting in the middle of the back seat. Just a little drip or two, nothing major. But the kids were at school today, so I figured I'd sneak off and do this thing.

So, I drove in, the soap started, and everything was going fine. Ah, my guilty pleasure. Spending $6 to have a machine wash my car while I'm sitting it. I was feeling sort of rich, and spoiled. And then the water problem started.

Apparantly, the duct tape was really, really past its prime. Water started pouring in through the sunroof. I mean, really pouring in. Super cold water. Like a little water fall. And not just on the back seat, but all over me, and my bag and my phone and the floor, and all over the crap accumulated in that hollow space near the emergency break that I should throw away.

Now, we have a rule in our house about the sunroof. We aren't supposed to touch it, or anything around it. My husband wadded up some plastic bags and strategically placed them between the roof and the sliding sunroof cover a while back, and if we don't mess with anything, it all stays in place and keeps the sunroof happy. We never open the sunroof, of course, haven't for years. It's more like a decoration.

But I was desperate, and rules be dammed. I had a waterfall pouring on my head! I tried to close that sunroof cover. Bags were slipping, things were flying...but it didn't even matter. The water just poured right through the cover, too.

The water in drive-through car washes is very cold, by the way. So cold, that it sort of took my breath away. My pants were wet, my shirt was wet, my hands and face were wet, and I was stuck. I couldn't drive out, since the sprayers were now in front of my car. The thought of hypothermia crossed my mind. How long do these car washes run?

But, thank god, in my panic, I remembered I was wearing my gortex shell, and that gortex is water proof. So I grabbed my phone and stuck it under my coat, pulled my hood on, and zipped up my jacket. That mommy instinct to protect the precious things first, and worry about my own safety later kicked in. My phone was safe.

The sprayers eventually stopped, the wash was done, and I drove right over to the vacuums to see how much water they would suck up off the seats and rugs (quite a bit, actually.) I threw away all the wet crap, which was good, since now my car is quite tidy.

And now I don't have to shampoo the rugs!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Running with Insomnia

I'm in such a quandary. I've been up since 2:00 a.m. and now it's 5:46 a.m. Do I stay up for the rest of the day and go for my run in a couple of hours as planned, or try to go back to bed for an hour or two of shut-eye?

If this only happened once or twice a week I'd just keep doing the run as planned, but after several nights of five hours of sleep, I start getting tired. Tired enough to pop an Ambien tonight, I think. Is it better for my body to sleep now, or exercise? I hate taking drugs, but if I don't sleep, life gets trickier and trickier. Pre-menopause sucks.

I was actually starting to enjoy running again, what with the nice weather and all. My orange Asics ROCK, I tell you. And I bought a lime green Adidas running shirt at Costco this weekend. One of those hi-tech fabrics that lets the sweat escape (that's a weird the sweat's a prisoner?) I like it. It makes me feel like I'm cool. Literally.

I think I should run today, before the next storm comes in and makes it slippery and miserable. I dread the exercise bike even more than running.

My friend's husband just bought her a new treadmill she keeps in her garage for use during the bad weather. She said I can come over anytime and use it. She said the best thing about running in her garage is she can wear whatever she wants, and no one will see her. She was out there in her leopard print bra with no shirt the other day, because her t-shirt got so sweaty that she took it off. I guess she doesn't know about the Adidas running shirts at Costco. Her husband might, but I doubt he'll tell her.

I don't even know where my leopard print bra is, and I'm too tired to look for it.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Working Girls

My friend Kristin sent me a nice article from 1943, written for male supervisors of women in the work force during World War II.

Helpful Hint #8:

"Give every girl adequate rest periods during the day. You have to make allowances for feminine pshychology. A girl has more confidence and is more efficient if she can keep her hair tidied, apply fresh lipstick and wash her hands several times a day."

Sound advice. Nothing wrong with incorporating a little glamor and practicing good hygiene during the work day. Perhaps if men brushed their hair and washed their mouths out with soap several times a day, they'd have more confidence and be more efficient, too.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Chocolate Fountain

Oh my. This thing wore me out tonight.

I bought a chocolate fountain a couple years ago at Costco. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

"Oh! This will be so much fun for the kids!" I said. "What a great party idea!" I said.

It's actually a hassle, and a heck of a lot of work. You need an absolute ton of chocolate, it's tricky to get it thin enough so it will move up the spout, but not too thin that it runs right off the food and into a big puddle, and it's a big mess.

Little kids waving around sharp bamboo skewers of fruit and cake, dripping chocolate all over the floor, all over themselves? And cleaning it up at the end? Nightmare. Washing chocolate out of the insides of long, plastic twisty parts with a fat, square sponge? Ridiculous.

What was I thinking?

We've used it twice, in two years.

But my boy was in heaven when I brought it out after dinner for the Valentine's Surprise. He'd been asking about it for days, telling me that Valentine's Day was the perfect day for the Chocolate fountain.

"I thought you said you didn't think you could manage to do this tonight..." he said. My exact words.

"I changed my mind," I said.

"You are the best mom ever!" he yelled, as he hugged me, with his chocolate fingers and chocolate face.

I guess some things are worth the hassle.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

1983: Fate

Here's me as a freshman at Concordia College in Portland, Oregon. My friend Ed Bierman just posted these pictures on his Facebook, and some of my college friends and I have been laughing at ourselves.

Notice my preppy look. I Loved that look. It was very Martha Stewart before she was even a household name. Martha probably wore penny loafers, but I'm not sure. I wanted to be her. I had just been introduced to her "Entertaining" book that year, I think.

I won that Super Man blow up doll at the Lane County Fair. I loved Christopher Reeves (I'm still so sad about his horse accident and untimely death and all,) and I wished I was Lois Lane.

So, in a nutshell, back in 1983, when I was a freshman in college, I wanted to be a cross between Martha Stewart and Lois Lane. Now that it's 2008, I like to think I am.

But here's the really freaky thing: the day I met my husband, back in 1992, he was wearing Penny Loafers and red socks. He was also wearing a black silk shirt and he had a mustache, sideburns that were too long, and looked suspiciously like a cable guy. He was a cross between tall-skinny-geeky and funky retro that was hard for me to figure out.

But I noticed his loafers and red socks right away. I liked them. I wasn't sure about him, but I liked his socks and his shoes.

I'd forgotten that I wore Penny loafers and red socks regularly too, until I saw this picture tonight. Of course I remembered I had loafers, but didn't really think about the red socks thing and how my shoes and socks matched the shoes and socks of my future husband, whom I was to meet ten years later.

It was fate, I tell you. And now I fly with him regularly.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Dog Models

So I did my first photo shoot with dog models for the Ruff Wear dealer work book. Dogs are funny. Impossible, but funny.

We went to a ranch in Terrebonne on Tuesday where there are oodles of dogs just hanging out, working cattle and horses, and waiting for their big modeling break.

We drove up in our cars, looked them over, and chose a few from the pack.

We started with the "little" dogs, including a Corgi, a Jack Russell, and two Border Collie "mixes." Apparantly Border Collie's get around, if you know what I mean.

The Border Collie/French Bulldog named Molly stole the show. She's the size and shape of a French Bulldog, but she's got the black and white coloring of a Border Collie. Her people say "she's so ugly, she's cute." I agree.

We dressed Molly in a red harness, which has a handle on the top, and red Grip Trex Boots. We took her and a pack of other dogs to the Terrebonne Depot restaurant, where we sat outside and had beer, with views of Smith Rock in the background. The dogs sat around on the deck while we drank, and the photographer snapped pictures of them.

Molly acted like a super model. She was a bit shy and aloof. She looked down her nose at us, but I don't think she's a snob. I think she's a bit out of place with the other mutts and the purebreeds. She's quite unique, after all. She perferred to be on the sidelines, and let us come to her.

Molly posed. She gave us "the look." She showed off the product well. She seemed bored. A true super model, really.

We had another dog along for the ride with us. He is a big black mutt named Dozer, part lab, maybe. He's athletic and gorgeous. He played at the river most of the afternoon, bravely swimming after toys we threw in the water for him, and hiking in the under brush. He was wearing a red rope leash and collar.

Dozer is rugged, handsome, stunning.

We thought Molly would look striking next to him, so we picked her up by her handle and set her down in front of him. She stood patiently and posed. She narrowed her eyes in a sexy sort of way and looked at the camera. She blinked once, looked at Dozer, let the photographer snap a series of shots, then walked away to be alone.

I think Molly could be America's Next Top Dog Model. She's a natural.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Chocolate Dog

My dog ate some chocolate chips. Quite a few, actually. I know she ate a lot, because I saw the snarfed, empty bag on the floor in the pantry. I asked the kids if they'd eaten the chips, but they reminded me they wouldn't have left evidence just lying around on the floor like that.

I know how much the dog ate, because she finally threw it up all over my daughter's floor. I had no idea her stomach could hold that much. I'm guessing it was close to a gallon. Not just chips, but mostly.

Having a dog throw up a gallon of chocolate on the rug is good and bad, of course.

Bad: Dogs shouldn't eat chocolate. I was scared she might die. I had to stop watching the super bowl and Google "dog ate choclate" to find some info on toxicity levels. My husband was busy writing code on his labtop while watching the game. He didn't want to help me convert milligrams of chocolate toxins to our dog's body weight to see if we should take her to the vet to get her stomach pumped.

I finally convinced him by saying "if I can't figure this out, I'll take her in. Google says it's better to be safe than sorry. How much does an emergency vet charge on Super Bowl Sunday for this kind of thing?" He did the math and we figured she would be sick, but wouldn't die.

She was sick. I knew she didn't feel well, she kept coming in to find me, and her stomach made bad gurggly noises. She trembled (a potential sign of toxic overdose, although she trembles whenever she's upset...still!) She had her tail between her legs, her universal sign for "something is not right!" She followed me from room to room. More than usual.

Good: when you're dog throws up chocolate, it really doesn't smell that bad. I mean, as the mother of three children, I've cleaned up all kinds of disgusting things in the past 14 years. This chocolate mess was gross because of the volume, and the idea that it had been in her stomach, along with a bit of kibble we got her to eat and some water, so she'd have something to balance out the mystery amount of chocolate. But, well, it smelled like chocolate. Chocolate kibble, actually. There are worse things.

So, she's alive, and feeling much better. And we'll make sure to store the chocolate chips up on a higher shelf. And I think I'm done eating chocolate for a while. It's just not so appealing now.