Monthly Archives: December 2012

Fat, Crazy, Not Real Bright, and a Weenie

I went to the doctor the other day and you know what she told me?  My blood pressure is too high.  Who?  Me?  I was surprised because, in my younger days, my blood pressure was so low several nurses tried to resuscitate me, vigorously, before I could convince them I was indeed still alive.

My doctor is a very nice woman who states things in very kind terms.  When she asked me if my blood pressure had always been high, I said no, not at all.  She said, “Sometimes, when one’s weight is proportionate to one’s height, one’s blood pressure goes back down into the normal range.”  Awwww…isn’t that a sweet way of telling me I’m fat?  I thought it was.  I even said, “that is so sweet,” whereas she looked at me like I was a little crazy.  Great, she probably thought, fat and crazy.

It appears I have to work on my fitness levels, and apparently my weight.  I get tired of working on my yearly goals with the same ol’ ‘let’s lose 20 pounds’ goal.  Janet told me, “Hey, instead of just writing it down in our 2013 goals, why don’t we actually lose 20 pounds?”  Hmmmm.  Interesting.  I thought Janet’s statement was incredibly supportive:  if Janet lost 20 pounds she would literally be skin and bones.  I’m thinking she would have to give up a kidney and maybe a lung to lose any more weight.

So, in 2013, I will endeavor, not only to lose those ubiquitous 20 pounds, but to increase my fitness level so I can walk up a couple of flights of stairs without wheezing, increase my fruits/veggie consumption from 1-2 a day to 6-10 a day, and to significantly increase my intake of whole grains and lower my white sugar intake.  Don’t worry: these are tears of joy on my face.

When I told my doctor I was thinking about doing a triathlon this summer, she said, ‘I don’t want you running or lifting weights.’  Really?  That’s wonderful!  Sorry, Janet, no can do, doctor’s orders!  Imagine my heartbreak when, after she paused, she added: ‘until we get your blood pressure down’.  Crap.  Here I thought I had the golden doctor’s note; the one which got me out of gym class for life.

Now, Janet and I are registering for a 5k on March 3rd.  Granted, it’s the Hot Chocolate 15/5k, but I don’t think that’s the only reason Janet picked this race.  The Ronald McDonald House is the charity involved and I can’t think of a better charity for donating time and money.  I’m starting off slow, with my training, and hope to be able to run the whole thing by March.

When I told my doctor about the triathlon, I told her not to worry:  it wasn’t an Ironman, it was just a baby triathlon.  She looked at me and said, “There’s no such thing.  That’s like me telling a patient, ‘you just had a baby heart attack.’”  Oh, doctors and their funny sense of humor.  Then she gave me that look…so now she thinks I’m fat, crazy, and not real bright.

This triathlon, Eppie’s Great Race, is a 5.82 mile run/12.5 mile bike ride/6.35 mile kayak.  That sounds like a lot when I read through the website.  I’m hoping I can be ready by July and if I start now, I will be.  If I have goals (and actually spend money on something) I will treat it like something I have to do and not something I’ll do if I feel like it.

Another thing Janet and I signed up for is the Moon Joggers challenge.  You can sign up for the privilege of jogging/walking 1000 miles in 2013.  You can join as an individual or as a team.  I joined as a team of two, I wasn’t sure I could walk/jog 1000 miles in 2013, by myself, depending on my blood pressure issue.  Great, so now I’m fat, crazy, not real bright, and a weenie.  No, seriously, I’m taken already, people.

jenn

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

I just love this time of year.  I love the idea of sitting around in my jammies, watching movies and eating Janet’s world famous popcorn, reading books, and playing games.  Usually, I call that day ‘Saturday’ or ‘Sunday’, but at this time of year, I call it Christmas.

Jessie decided, since it’s so close to Christmas, to come down with a cold.  She’s feeling much better now, but she sounded absolutely awful a couple of days ago.  She was feeling so bad she actually wanted to sleep in the same bed with her mom.  On purpose.  Not in a hotel room.

Here was my (poor, sick) baby girl I remember from back in the day.  She was so cute: all red and puffy, snotty and coughing up a storm.  I don’t like it when she’s really sick, I want so badly to make her feel better, but it does have a nice side effect: she spends 2 minutes in the bathroom, getting ready for bed, rather than her usually 90 minutes or so.

Two nights ago, Jessie turned out her light before me (never happens), rolled over to look at me and said:

Jessie: Mom.

Me: Yes, my dear sweet little girl.  (I rolled over so my smiling face was mere inches from hers)

Jessie: Please don’t call me that.

Me: Okay!  Sorry!  Yes, Jessie.

Jessie:  Are you going to wash the sheets before Janet comes home?

Me: Yes, of course I will.

Jessie: Good, because I would hate for Janet to get my horrible cold.

Me:  Yes, that would be terrible.  How sweet and thoughtful of you, Jess.

Jessie: Mmmm.  (Then she proceeded to sneeze in my face.)

Me: Oh, my.

Jessie: Do you need a Kleenex, Mom?

Me: No, thanks, my face caught all that one.  Yes, I would hate for Janet to get sick.

Jessie: Me too.

The joys of being a parent: the uplifting elation when your kids do amazing and generous things and the fall back to earth when you realize they didn’t mean it like that.  That’s okay, maybe I just see things differently than some people, maybe I’m just being too hard on her; I’m not feeling my best at the moment.

I want to wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas (or whatever you celebrate) and a magical New Year.  I have a great feeling about 2013; I think this will be our best year yet!

Here’s to learning something new, reading a beloved book yet again, increasing your household net worth, and saving up for something you’ve long wanted.  To finally getting a monkey off your back, doing something silly just because, laughing in all the right places, telling a joke all the way to the end without screwing up, and sharing moments with the ones you love.   And please…please…if your sick child rolls over to talk to you, roll the other way or put on a face shield.  Trust me, sniffle… cough.

jenn

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Where Did All the Space Go?

Myself, why do we own so much stuff?  This condo, on Mulberry Street, looked pretty big before we actually brought our stuff.  Now the condo looks like a storage unit with people living here.  I didn’t realize how many things we owned while living in Austin.  That house never looked cluttered; I guess a garage and plenty of storage does that for a person.

It took moving all our stuff three times and losing the garage and 800 square feet to realize just how bad I am at organizing our stuff.  How do you guys put away all of your things?  I can’t imagine I’m the only person who has struggled with the dilemma of where to put everything.  I’ve looked and I’ve looked and I’ve kept careful track, but I just can’t seem to figure it out.

It doesn’t help I live with 2 people (Thing 1 and Thing 2) who refuse to get rid of anything.  My 11 year old daughter, Jessie, is a pack rat (Janet is too) and I’m not sure where she gets it from.  I’m starting to believe that the crazy rules of genetics skip a generation.  Jessie is a lot more like my mom than she is like me.  Jessie loves to dance, draw, knit, bake, sew, and anything else even remotely crafty.  I yawned twice just typing the list.

I have big dreams of going through everything and getting rid of most of it.  In my dream, I’m helping Janet and Jessie work through the separation anxiety pack rats have.  “Now you do as I say, you pack up those Things and you take them away.”  And in my dreams, they do.  In reality, they say, “They are so good, so good you see, we couldn’t possibly get rid of any of it!”  And I did not like it, not one little bit.

Jessie has learned to give some things up like clothes and shoes which have started to cut off her circulation.  There are some other things she won’t give up, much to my dismay.  We bought Jessie a loft bed from IKEA, the kind with the desk underneath, and a futon for friends to sleep on several years ago when Jessie was a little tiny thing.

After moving into this condo, when we put her loft bed back together, we realized, oh good, she has 18 inches of room between her mattress and the popcorn ceiling.  Watching her fold her 5 foot skinny frame up to the head of the bed every night is a funny sight.  She gets up there with big bumps, jumps and kicks and with hops and big thumps and all kinds of bad tricks.

She insists she doesn’t want to give up her bed and she loves feeling snug as a bug every night (I swear I didn’t kennel train her as an infant).  Jessie lies in bed, lifts her head up slightly, and tells me, “Up here, mom, I can keep my eyelids up and see what I can see.”

I’ve tried convincing her IKEA has quite a few lovely beds for her and I’ve even tried bribing her.  I asked her, “Now, how can a puppy sleep in your bed at night with you so high up there?”  Her response, “Mom, I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.”  Dang!  What kid says that?  She hangs out with adults too much, I’m thinking.

We sold her futon before we left Bend because sitting on the futon was kind of like sitting on a big pile of bricks.  It was one of the most uncomfortable things I’ve sat on and I can make myself comfortable just about anywhere, usually.  But I would not, could not, get comfortable on the futon.  Jessie hasn’t even noticed it’s absence.

We have a spare bedroom we’ll actually use as guest quarters instead of an office, just in case someone wants to come visit us here in the tundra.  Before that can happen, I’ll have to stop using that room as storage, figure out what to do with all the boxes and stuff in the room, buy another bed, and put better lighting in there.  But, hey!  How long could that take?  If you want to come by for a visit we do own a couple of inflatable beds.  I’m sure I could find those if I looked.

We decided to use the dining room as an office and it’s worked out really well.  Not only did we free up a spare bedroom to use as storage, I mean for guests, but we are really close to the kitchen.  It takes 7 steps to get from the desk, which is strategically placed by the window and right over the heater, to the refrigerator, one of my favorite areas in the whole condo.

There are a few things I’d like for Jessie to keep around.  One is her very first blankie, a small, very soft, Winnie the Poo blanket given to her as a gift.  I want to keep some of our favorite childhood books, too, especially Dr. Seuss and the pigeon series.  I spent many nights reading to Jessie and laughing along with pigeon on the bus and with Dr. Seuss in his crazy imaginative worlds.

I’ll keep working on talking Jessie into a new bed before she grows a foot overnight and gets stuck up there.  I’ll keep working on unpacking the last hundred or so boxes.  I’ll keep asking Janet, “Would you like this here or there?”  I’ll try not to buy too many new things; I just don’t know where I’ll find the space for anything new.  I guess I could just put new stuff in the spare storage unit upstairs.  Oh wait, that’s for guests.

jenn

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Bob, Brittani, and the Lime and Bitters Assault

I love to laugh and there’s a lot out in the world I find downright funny.  The things people say to me, the things which make me laugh out loud, are usually things I’m not expecting them to say.  When I’m shocked or surprised by someone, my first reaction is to laugh.  Sometimes it’s inappropriate, but if you know me well enough you realize I don’t mean anything by my outbursts.

I like to surround myself with original and funny people.  I’ve met quite a few people over the years that had absolutely no sense of humor, at least no humor I could find.  I was afraid Jessie would turn out to be a serious and very literal person but, I’m happy to say, she has turned into a very funny and quirky pre-teen.

Janet is another funny and unique person I have surrounded myself with, although I’m not sharing any of our stories here:  I couldn’t think of an appropriate one I would want my mom to read.

Bob: the Guidance Counselor Guy

When I decided to go back to school, I had a hard time picking a degree.  I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up; I still don’t.  I asked myself: “myself, what classes did you enjoy in high school?”  That was a lot harder to do than one might imagine.  A lot of high school is just a blur and I wonder if some of my memories are actually movies I’ve seen over the years.  Hard to tell.

The only class I can really say I enjoyed in high school was genetics.  For anyone who groaned: I was born this way…I can’t help myself.  So, I settled on Microbiology as a major and went to talk with someone in the admissions office about what classes I needed to take after wrapping up my community college career.

Bob: Hi, my name is Bob and I’ll be your guidance counselor today.

Me: Hi, Bob. My name is Jenn and I would like a degree in Microbiology.  What classes should I take?

Bob: Really?  Are you sure?  You need 2 years of a foreign language, cell biology, pathogenic microbiology, organic chemistry 1 and 2…as a matter of fact you have to take so much chemistry you have no choice but to minor in chemistry.

Me: Oh, that doesn’t sound like fun to me.  I don’t really enjoy chemistry.

Bob:  Hey!  You picked this degree!  (I was not expecting him to say anything remotely like that and I laughed until tears rolled down my face.  So, here was Bob, who already thought I was a little loopy for my degree choice, thinking I’d really gone off the deep end.)

Brittani: The Nurse’s Aide

I now realize, with my diploma in hand, how scary hospitals are for people who have studied science and pathogenic microbes.  I tend to be very nervous in hospitals and doctor’s offices and I try to relax by cracking jokes.

Brittani: Hi, I’m Brittani and I’ll be helping you today.

Me: Hi, Brittani, I’m Jenn and I’ll be your pincushion today.

Brittani: You are so silly, Jenn.  Come over here so I can get your weight.

Me: I’m sorry…what?  Do you really need to see how much I weigh?  Can’t you just eyeball me?

Brittani: No, silly.  We take everybody’s weight and blood pressure.

Me:  Can I weigh myself alone and give you the number?

Brittani: No.  Come on now, Jenn.  Don’t make me get mean.

Me: Can I weigh naked?

Brittani:  Oh my God!  Not out here in the hall!  (I think I found this so funny back then because she seriously thought I wanted to strip in front of all those people.  I find it funny now because I weigh 20 pounds more than I did then.)

Sally: The Lime and Bitters Barkeep

I used to go out and drink a lot.  When I drink, I get the hiccups…a lot.  Just another charming quality of mine.  I went out one night, about 20 years ago and had a bad case of the hiccups. <shudder>.

Sally: Are you alright, honey?

Me: Yeah, I’m just enjoying my Jack and coke with a side of hiccups.

Sally: Would you like me to help you with that?

Me: Yes, please.

Sally: Here, this never fails to cure hiccups.  It’s called lime and bitters.  Let me go and help these people at the end of the bar.  I’ll come back and check on you.

(Without realizing what I was doing, I grabbed the lime, soaked in bitters, and bit into it.  I cannot describe what it tasted like…I’m not sure it had an actual taste…I just knew I had put something evil in my mouth.  Have you ever tasted something sour and the inside corners of your mouth pucker up and salivate?  It was like that except on crack riding a tsunami.

I spit the lime out and tried to stem the flow of saliva from my mouth with a rag from the counter.  My mouth tried to suck my face into it, but I fought it hard.  My eyes were flooded, my nose was bubbling up and I’m pretty sure something was running out of my ears.  I’m glad all my sphincters work properly because everything else stayed right where it should.

I have never had my tongue, before then or since, grow a mind of its own and work independently from the rest of me.  My tongue worked for about 5 minutes at getting every last shred of liquid out of my mouth and spit it on the floor.)

Sally: (after finding the lime in between 2 bottles 20 feet away) Oh, honey, you did that wrong.  You’re supposed to eat it!  (I actually didn’t laugh at that point because I was unable to (Sally sure did laugh)…but, for the next 5 years, every time I had the hiccups all anyone had to say was lime or bitters or anything remotely resembling bitters and my mouth would clamp shut, the salivating would begin, my tongue would flop around uncontrollably in my mouth, and I would no longer have the hiccups.)

Jessie: The Only Child

My ex and I have an agreement: he will teach her how to drive and I will have “the talk” with her.  I decided, last year, to have that talk when she was only 10 because I wanted to influence her thinking before she got old enough to not care what I said.  I want her to be prepared for the birds and the bees and I don’t want anything to happen to her because of ignorance.  That and I wanted to scare her with STDs and teen pregnancy.

You should have seen it:  I had a slide show with graphic pictures and anatomically correct dolls with Velcro private parts and everything.  It was quite impressive, if I do say so myself.  I gave her “the talk” in my very serious, I’m not messing around, you’d better pay attention if you want to live, Must Obey Me voice.  Jessie was very quiet, taking it all in, covering her mouth (in horror, I hoped) occasionally.

Me:  So, Jessie.  That’s the end of our slideshow for today, although we might pick this up later when I find the slides for Chlamydia.  Anyhoo…do you have any questions or comments for me?

Jessie:  No, but thanks, mom.

Me:  Why Jessie, you look happy, did you enjoy my presentation on sex that much?

Jessie:  God no, mom, that was really embarrassing.  Now I understand the joke on the bus this morning.  (THAT’S what she got out of our talk?  So much for Velcro and slideshows.)

jenn

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Looking For Gift Ideas This Holiday Season?

Ah, the joys of shopping for Christmas.  I grew up sharing the true meaning of Christmas with my family: gift giving, eggnog, glittery trees, hokey music and the ability to spend the day in your jammies.  You will notice I listed gifts as the very first item.

We didn’t have a lot of money, in my younger years, so my Mom bought our gifts slowly throughout the year.  Janet and I do our gift shopping a little differently: we start in late summer and buy most of our gifts online or at local arts and crafts fairs.

Money is tight this year but even if it isn’t sometimes the best gifts only cost a little of your time.  So if you are trying to figure out, say, what to give your favorite self-published/indie author for Christmas, the best gift you can give your personal author friend is exposure.

Now, before you take off your bra and put on your Velcro closed shirt…not that kind of exposure!  That kind should be reserved for a few very, very best friends.  I meant, your BAF (best author friend) will cry tears of joy upon seeing kind words written about their work on Amazon, Smashwords, Lulu, etc.

I’m assuming you bought their book in the first place and actually read it; if you haven’t, don’t worry!  There’s still time to buy their book and read it before Christmas; another great gift for your BAF.  If you liked the book, even if you only liked one aspect, go out to whoever sells their book and write a short review.

I will never advocate for lying, no matter how good the intentions are, but when writing a review, try and keep it positive and helpful.  Honestly, if you think the book sucks, just don’t write anything at all.  If you laughed out loud in a couple of spots, though, write about that in your summary of thoughts.

I wrote a review, on Amazon, for D Jordan Redhawk and her book 1 of the Sanguire series where I started, “Not my favorite genre, but a very good read…”  I’m not a big fan of vampire stories, but I like Redhawk’s voice and I enjoyed the book immensely.  I want indie authors to do well and writing a review on Amazon, and buying the book, is the best way I know how.

I was given an early Christmas present from my new friend from across the pond, a woman’s name Janet and I utter like a very dear friend now, Terry, who wrote a summary and review of Devan’s Story.  I’m seriously thinking about printing it out and hanging it on the wall for those dreary times in a writer’s life when you want to throw in the towel, thinking, “This manuscript sucks…I can’t write…why do I pretend to be a writer?”

Here is her review: http://affinityebooks.com/index.php?main_page=page&id=247&chapter=1

Terry is very passionate about reading, reviewing books, and getting the word out; when I say ‘go write a review’ I don’t mean write one like this (although I’m sure your BAF would love you for eternity if you did).  This was a gift, from one person to another, which can never be repaid.  I’m sure she didn’t read the book with that in mind, but that’s how it ended up.  Lucky me.

So, if you are struggling with gift ideas for your BAF, or anyone else important in your life, have no fear.  The best gifts are from the heart.  So search for your inner wordsmith, or make a favorite dinner for new parents, or spend time with an aging relative.  Why, you ask?  Because you could make a big difference in someone’s life with a seemingly small (to you) but meaningful gesture (to them).

jenn

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