Monthly Archives: September 2012

Football, Zebras and 11 Year Olds

I love to watch football.  I can honestly say I like football now a smidge more than I like baseball.  That’s hard for me to write because, while growing up, baseball was more accessible for me and therefore more beloved in my heart.  I couldn’t find $3 outfield seats for the Seahawks.

The older I become, the more I enjoy watching football.  I think the difference now is baseball seems to be on TV every day and lasts a very long time and football is a seemingly brief and shiny bundle of joy.  Baseball is something I love and take for granted.  Baseball is like living next to the Cascades: I see them all the time and they are always present in their magnificence.

It takes a visitor, someone seeing the Cascades for the first time to remind me of their beauty.  I look at them through these new eyes, thinking, ‘yes, they truly are beautiful.’  I view them that way for about a week, until I start taking them for granted again.  ‘Oh, they’ll be there tomorrow, I can enjoy their beauty later.’

Football is quite different.  Football is like summertime in Seattle: you know it’s coming, you can feel it in the air, they both have a preseason where you get a taste of what’s to come and when it arrives in all its glory, you have to grab it with both hands and love it to death because it will be gone, much too quickly, in a flash of clouds and drizzle.

I never realized how important referees were, in any sport, until the last few weeks and especially last Monday night.  I know the replacement refs are doing the best job they can, but sometimes your best isn’t good enough.  Everybody blows calls, we’re all human, but when games end on a blown call, when that’s the only reason a team wins, then something needs to happen.

On the one hand: I’m a Seahawks fan and, truthfully, I’m glad we won, but on the other hand, nobody wants to win in that fashion.  If the tables were turned, I’d be walking around yelling, ‘we were robbed!’ at the top of my lungs, seething and probably drooling a little, my little red rimmed eyes barely contained behind my glasses.  No, no really, I’m taken.

These officiating problems were just what the doctor ordered for the owners, apparently.  Now they realize how important well trained refs are to the game and will pay them what they are asking.  I now have more respect for the refs and the replacements: it’s clearly not an easy job and not everyone can do it properly.

At least for me, the last few football weeks had a couple of remarkable moments.  Was that a woman referee I saw a couple weeks ago?  I saw a picture of a woman, and I read about a woman ref, but since I didn’t see it, I have some doubts.  It would be great, though, to see women more involved in televised sports.  I’m not worried about a woman getting squashed by the big football players, like I heard one commentator mention: we give birth, for Heaven’s sake, we’re tough when we have to be.  And I don’t think a frail, timid woman would choose to be a referee in the NFL.

Another inspirational moment happened with my daughter.  I texted her on Monday night, the night of the Seahawks game, and asked her how and what she was doing.  She texted she was watching the game with her father.  I am so proud; you have no idea.

I texted, Go Seahawks, because I was at a loss for words, pride filling most of the space in my brain.  I imagined that would be the end of our conversation because we both have the attention span of gnats, but I was surprised when she replied, and I quote verbatim, “Hawks better step up offense right now.”  I have never been so proud of my little girly tomboy.

Jessie loves to do, what I consider, girly things: she likes malls, loves to spend money, loves make-up and doing her hair, knows what a mani-pedi is, and loves to hang out with her BFFs.  I sometimes look at her and think, ‘where did she come from?’  That can’t all come from her dad, right?  (If you knew her dad, you’d know how funny that was.)

But when she watches and makes intelligent comments about football (and when I say intelligent I mean a step up from Madden’s ‘you know how the Raiders are going to win?  They need to score some points.’  You don’t say.) I realize she’ll be just fine.  Would she want to be a referee in the NFL?  Probably not, but she’d look fabulous as a zebra.

jenn

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My Big Lazy Butt

To say I’ve fallen off the exercise/eating healthy wagon is putting it mildly.  I’ve fallen off the wagon and rolled down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon.  Trust me, it’s a long and treacherous descent filled with jagged rocks, pointy plants, and miles of doughnuts and cheeseburgers.  Luckily, I am not alone at the bottom of my self-created abyss:  Janet is here keeping me company!

I think Craig, our (former) personal trainer, has disowned us.  I think his eyesight’s too bad for him to see us in our giant hole.  I miss him telling us what to do, how to do it, and how many.  Not too many people can do that with tact and underlying sensitivity.  I’m sure there are people who would like to tell us what to do and where to go, though.

For the moment, we are staying on the third floor and are located right next to the stairs.  The way the floors are set up, it’s too hard to walk to the elevator to get to our car; trust me, I’ve tried.  The first time we walked up the stairs, I was winded and I can’t honestly say just a little.  My clothes are becoming dangerously tight and I’m tired in the afternoons, almost tired enough to take a nap.

So, Janet decided we needed to get off our big, lazy butts and started up a walking/cardio/fruits & veggies challenge for us to do with our friends.  It’s not going well.  We are in week two and I’m having a hard time with the fruits again.  I just don’t like fruits and veggies and I don’t know how to incorporate them into my diet while not tasting them.  Anybody have any suggestions?

I find exercise more enjoyable than eating healthy, although that’s not saying much.  Actually, I don’t enjoy the act of exercising.  I just enjoy the feeling of when I stop.  I feel terrible in the middle of jogging, or moving off the couch, but I feel pretty good when I sit back down.  The couch is still there, waiting patiently for me.  I feel really good after I stop sweating, usually only 30 or 40 minutes later, and I can take a shower.

Has anyone created a pill for memory loss during exercise?  No?  Get on it then.  I would love to take a little pill in the morning, come to at lunch and have Janet tell me, “Wow!  I’ve never seen you so energetic!  You mowed the lawn, dusted our house and the neighbor’s, ran a marathon, and did our taxes.  Good for you!”  That would be wonderful.

Until I find that little pill, and yes it must be legal, I guess I’ll try and figure out a way to motivate Janet and myself.  It won’t be easy:  our favorite meal is dessert; our favorite outdoor activity is going to a park and watching Jessie run around; and our favorite rainy day activity is sleeping until it stops raining.  Good thing we live in Seattle.

We definitely need some baby steps, I can’t all of a sudden be super active like I was a few months ago.  I need to slowly get in motion to stay in motion and use little things to motivate us to get off the couch and eat better.  I think I’ll start in my closet.  I have a pair of pants in there I like to call my ‘five pound bag pants’.

These are pants, way back in the day, which used to fit me very nicely.  At one point, they were actually loose fitting.  When I try to put them on now it’s like trying to stuff ten pounds of crap in a five pound bag: s&!t falling out all over the place.  If that’s not motivation to lose weight I really don’t know what will work.

jenn

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Food For Thought

When I go to a new city I love to go exploring.  Everything is shiny and sparkly in a new town.  All of the outdoor activities (kayaking, walking, hiking, badminton, tennis, etc) are new and enjoyable again and I love to buy a city map and plot out walking loops.  Of course, all those healthy things are mostly in my mind and pale by comparison to the enjoyment of new eating opportunities.

This is not my first time staying with Janet at work, but there’s so much to explore here in sunny, dry California I still have a lot to see and do before I go to my actual home.  Where is my actual home?  I don’t have one yet, but I sure hope I find one this weekend.  Good thoughts, everybody, good thoughts.

I enjoy eating, some things I enjoy eating a great deal, but I wouldn’t say I’m a foodie.  I’m way too picky and set in my ways for complete enjoyment at meal times.  It’s not flavors or ethnic foods which bother me.  My issues are with textures and squishy things.  I don’t like mushrooms, for a number of reasons, and I can’t eat soft things like oysters, or cut up tomatoes, and the thought of touching ground turkey again makes me a little nauseous.

I’m trying to broaden my horizons, however, because Janet is a foodie who really enjoys a good meal.  I never felt comfortable going to a Thai, Vietnamese, or Sushi restaurant because I never knew what to order.  Janet has been very patient and loving with me, taking my hand and guiding me through the menus of foreign lands.

When you stay in a hotel and don’t spend a lot of time cooking, eating out becomes a necessary evil in your life.  I’ve always wondered how restaurants, especially fast food varieties, stay in business and seem to thrive like they do.  I’m starting to realize how nice it is to have something familiar in a foreign California town.

Janet and I were hungry, the weekend we arrived here, and couldn’t figure out what to eat.  The hotel parking lot is littered with fast food establishments and some I like (Wendy’s) and some I don’t (Carl’s Jr.) but I wanted something lighter than fast food.  Janet suggested the Olive Garden, located in the parking lot adjacent to ours, just a few steps away, and I said, sure, why not?

It was perfect because I knew I like their Minestrone soup and their salad.  I didn’t have to worry about the quality of food, or how much it would cost, or how the restaurant looked inside.  I already knew all that.  It’s comforting to be hungry, not know what you feel like, and think, ‘well, I can always go to Wendy’s, I know I like their spicy chicken nuggets and baked potato’.

I enjoyed the soup and salad at the Olive Garden, it was light but filling, relatively cheap, and tasted exactly how I remembered from last time I ate there with Jessie in Seattle.  I also knew how much it would cost, so I didn’t have to worry about wasting my money (don’t say it, Budge!).  That doesn’t mean Janet and I don’t like to try new things.  We love exploring the food world and as long as there’s no fungus and minimal lettuce, I’m just fine.

We’ve been to two restaurants this week: one new to Janet and both new to me.  The first one’s a Sushi place called Wasabi, which is located in Folsom, CA.  No, we’re not staying at the prison with Janet visiting me on the weekends.  Trust me: you’ve seen the inside of one prison, you’ve seen them all.  Just Kidding, Mom!  (In case she’s reading.)

I was a little hesitant to try sushi.  For some reason I equate sushi with raw fish and if you’ve ever taken a microbiology class of any kind…well…you just don’t eat raw things. Ever. Janet convinced me to give it a try explaining how everything in the Viagra roll was cooked thoroughly.  Why would she lie?

Yes, you read that correctly: we ordered a Viagra roll.  It was funny (and a little embarrassing) because they rolled up the rice and shrimp with spears of asparagus which hung out the front end.  I hope you can visualize that because I’m not going into any deeper explanations.  So, they cut the roll and sprinkle the top with what I thought was shaved carrots.  I always take off my glasses when reading menus and the world always has a lovely soft, innocent look without them.

I ate two or three pieces when I innocently said, “that’s nice they put carrots on top, you know how much I like carrots.”  Janet’s eyes ricocheted up and locked on mine.  She had that look I’ve seen once or twice before; the ‘I was really hoping you wouldn’t notice or mention that’ look.  Uh-oh.  I briefly thought about changing the subject, some things are better left unknown to me, but I forged ahead.

“Those aren’t carrot shavings?” I asked as I leaned in to get a closer look.  Hey, those look like…Janet cut into my thoughts with a not very convincing, “Those aren’t fish eggs at all.”  I was crushed.  I’d heard Janet talking about the Viagra roll, and how good it was, for months and she never mentioned fishy eggy things, not even once.

“Really?”  I asked.  “Okay, they’re little tiny fish eggs.  You can barely see them, they’re so small.”  Sometimes, in relationships, things just flow well; rhythms are created and no thought needed for the flow.  Sometimes, however, you need to explain how you want your partner to respond, no matter how unnatural and unintelligent it may make them feel.

When I see a dead animal alongside the road, I want you to tell me it’s sleeping, sometimes in an incredibly unnatural position, but sleeping nonetheless.  When I ask you if I look good in these pants, even though I can’t zip them up, I want you to say, you bet, I’ve never wanted you more than I do right now.  When I ask if the caviar on top of a squishy Viagra roll is shaved carrots, I want you to say: yes, honey, yes it is.  And I want you to say it with conviction.  Sometimes you have to explain these things, just the once, and then never mention them again.  Ever.

I can honestly say I’ve tried sushi and I never have to do that again.  Maybe I should have told them I wanted it well done with shaved carrots on top.  I’ll do that next time.  Snicker.  I think Janet felt sorry for me, and probably a little happy I actually tried it, because the next restaurant we went to was called Dad’s Kitchen.

Dad’s Kitchen was featured on an episode of Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives (I think I got that right, Janet and I just call it triple D) and Guy had them make a burger with bacon and blue cheese.  It looked so good on TV, we wanted one right then and when we realized it was located in downtown Sacramento, we jumped in the car and drove out there.

It was pretty good: the meat’s good quality, the bacon was tasty, and the blue cheese was mild.  I’m not a big fan of blue cheese (unless it’s on the world’s best buffalo chicken sandwich at Cafeteria 15L) and wasn’t disappointed I could only taste the blue cheese on the outer edges.  Since Janet and I split our meals, my first bites were on the inside and all I could taste was burger and bacon.  Not a bad taste to enjoy.

Dad’s burger had a nice roll, not too soft and not too hard, and the fries were well done and fresh.  I must say, my favorite thing at Dad’s?  Ordering the Sweaty Betty Blonde Lager, which was crisp and tasty, just the way a lager should taste.  I can’t believe, in one week, I ordered a Viagra roll and a Sweaty Betty!  That was more fun than going to Starbucks, when they first rolled out their lighter coffee, and ordering a tall blonde!  Yes, there’s a 12 year old boy inside of me just dying to get out.  He would like a tall blonde and a Sweaty Betty; no need for the Viagra roll.

I think tonight Janet and I are going out for seafood, another new restaurant we can try.  I hope Janet has learned her lesson from the Viagra roll debacle.  Just nod your head and agree with my delusional way of thinking.  Life will flow much smoother that way.  Oh, look!  A sleeping cat.

jenn

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Officially Without A Home, Again

Last Thursday the movers came and piled up all our stuff into the moving van.  Once again, we are officially without a home.  I learned a lot in Bend; mostly about what not to do on a short move.  But there were some positives that made the whole move worthwhile.

Bend, Oregon is a beautiful place to live.  I wouldn’t want to live there permanently (I am a city girl, after all), but a season or two is worth the time and effort.  I saw the sun a lot during the summer and the hiking and green spaces are impressive.

Some things I would do differently?  I wouldn’t take so many things with us just for the summer.  A fully furnished rental would have been nice and made the move so much easier.  Next time, I’ll research an area and the known allergens.  I think it would have been better for my body, and mind, had I know I was allergic to everything in Bend.

The last thing I would do differently, and most important to Jessie, is I will have to coordinate all future moves with the proximity to malls in mind.  I didn’t realize Bend didn’t have a mall, it didn’t occur to me to give it any thought, but Jessie quickly brought up the fact that Bend is sorely lacking in the mall department.

We did happen to find a Claire’s store, so I spent an awful amount of time sitting in front of the Claire’s store in Bend waiting for Jessie to look at every single thing in the store…twice.  How many fake mustaches and lip gloss does one small girl need?  More than I realized.

So, the movers came and packed us all in and on Friday, Janet and I drove from Bend to the storage facility in Vancouver Washington where the rest of our stuff lives.  It was nice to visit our stuff; it doesn’t look like too many things when it’s squished into a storage bin.  It’ll be weird having everything together again; weird, but nice and comforting at the same time.

Every time I move I lose/break/misplace/destroy something.  When we moved from Austin to Vancouver, it took me a while to realize what was missing.  We’d lost all the tops to our plastic containers.  How on earth does one lose only the lids, you might ask?  I have no idea how we did that trick.

We have yet to unpack every single box from Austin, so we might discover the lids were only misplaced.  Since we’ve already recycled the bottoms, when (and if) we find the lids it will be a seriously annoying thing.  This time, I made sure to pack the lids with their partners that way if I lose one I lose the whole kit and caboodle.

For this move, I’ve already misplaced the bike lock key for Janet’s bike.  So, Janet and I are moving back to Washington and Janet’s bike is still living in Bend.  I guess in the big scheme of things it’s not such a bad thing.  But our budge (Curse you, Budge!) begs to differ.  We already had to replace our plastic containers, now we’ll have to travel to Bend to retrieve Janet’s bike.  And you know how much I hate to travel!  (Budge knows I’m lying.)

Janet and I spent the night, Friday night, at the aLoft hotel near the Portland airport.  What a nice hotel.  I could live there if given the opportunity.  The rooms are laid out well and the bed felt wonderful after a long day of driving and unpacking.

The aLoft rooms reminded me of hanging out in the display rooms in IKEA, one of my favorite places to go and lounge.  (I’m a big fan of IKEA’s Swedish meatballs, too.  Am I the only person who likes to go to IKEA just to eat?)  The aLoft is a very modern and hip place to see and be seen.  I felt a little old and unhip when I walked in but everyone was very nice and accommodating.

Since we couldn’t (or wouldn’t) find a place to stay in the Seattle area, Janet and I are heading down to California to stay until we find a place we can call home.  But before we could do that, we had to make an excursion to North Carolina.

Janet’s cousin died last month and she lived outside of the Raleigh-Durham area.  Her memorial service, her celebration of life, really, was on Sunday and Janet and I wanted to go and celebrate her short but very full life.  It was worth the effort as Janet had the opportunity to see relatives and friends she hadn’t seen in a long time.

I lived briefly in North Carolina, in the High Point area, in another life, and hadn’t been back since the 90’s.  I grew up in Seattle and moving to North Carolina was a serious culture shock to my young system.  It was almost like moving to another country, the southern way of life was completely foreign to me and I didn’t enjoy the experience as much as I should, and could, have.

I swore I wouldn’t go back to the Carolinas and was a little concerned when I realized where Janet’s cousin lived.  I realized, once I’d landed in Raleigh, my concerns were unfounded and we had a short, but very sweet, visit.

Everyone in North Carolina was incredibly nice, especially the gentleman working at the Springhill Suites near the Raleigh-Durham airport, and we enjoyed our trip and the surrounding countryside a great deal.  I had forgotten how friendly and helpful southerners can be, even having lived in Texas for so long.

Tomorrow we’re driving down to California and I’m not looking forward to the ten hour drive.  It’s not a bad drive; I’m just tired of traveling now.  That’ll only last a week or so and then I’ll be ready to travel again.  California and Bend, here we come (again)!

jenn

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