April 30, 2010

Sports Fanatic

Last night was C-man's first softball practice.  He was upset when I told him he was going to play softball instead of t-ball this year, because even though his Tuesday night league last year was parent pitch, he was still really nervous about not getting a hit each time and being with 2nd graders.
I think he got over it. (The dirt on his pants is from a perfectly executed slide into home)
Golf lessons start tomorrow.  Let the craziness begin.

April 29, 2010

Thursday Thirteen: Stream of consciousness

  1. Why, with all the radio stations available to me, must the only ones who play music in the morning choose Nickelback?
  2. The other day 23andMe was running a screaming deal for their whole kit for $99.  Since I've wanted to do it for ages, but couldn't stomach spending $499 just to find out if I am going to get early alzheimers or some bizarre cancer, I jumped on it.  An email came this morning that my kit has shipped. I'm so excited!
  3. The morning's lesson comes from Beerman: Do not store your IcyHot stick next to his deodorant.
  4. I'm betting that Ken Macha makes it through a miserable May, but not into June.
  5. This past week C-man learned how to take a shower. He thinks it's the best thing he's ever experienced and is now requesting to take several each day.  What are the chances he'll have this same clean enthusiasm when he's a stinky teenager?
  6. I want to set up an exercise room in the basement, but that would require cleaning up all the crap.
  7. It might be time to get another giant dumpster.
  8. C-man starts baseball practice tonight and golf lessons on Saturday.  After so many months of not being signed up for things, I'm kind of dreading all the commitments.  He's over the moon about it all, though, so I guess I'll go with it.
  9. I cannot get on the Bucks bandwagon.  I'm glad for the city that they're doing well, and Bango's backwards ladder dunk was pretty cool, and let's face it, Bango's hilarious.  But it's still the NBA.  Try as I might, I can't fear the deer.
  10. I'm on the hunt for a new really good book.  Time to go and stand in front of my favorite recommended wall and pick one.
  11. Coming up with a list of 100 things I want to accomplish, and not having it turn into 100 places I want to visit is very difficult for me.
  12. Last night I dreamed we bought a house in Zurich with a giant wall of windows overlooking the lake.  Then I woke up and was sad.
  13. I mowed the lawn for the first time of the season yesterday. I find mowing the lawn so gratifying because you can see tangible progress.

April 27, 2010

100 accomplishments

Another sunset from the Gaborone Yacht Club, Gaborone, Botswana
(Can you tell I've been looking through old trip pictures?)

I always have a running tally of things I want to do and accomplish.  I've been tagged as an "avid learner" or "curious".  Whatever it is, I like doing different things.  So I've decided to put together my 100 things I want to accomplish list. But even for me, it's not that easy to do.  Not only because 100 things is a lot, but figuring out the balance between the big momentous things (climb Kilimanjaro) with the smaller (learn to swim) is a bit tricky. So I've decided to first put together my list of 100 random things I've already done to help inspire me into organizing the 100 things I want to do.  So here are 100 things I've managed to do in my life, in no particular order or level of importance:
  1. Fell in love
  2. Got married
  3. Had a child
  4. Visited 4 continents
  5. Been in 16 countries
  6. Tasted 3 oceans
  7. Walked in 34 states and the District of Columbia
  8. Went on Safari while 7 months pregnant
  9. Lived on a beach for 30 days
  10. Learned to speak Portuguese fluently
  11. Got a Bachelors Degree
  12. Got a Masters Degree with a 3.996 GPA
  13. Ran a Boy Scout camp
  14. Ate cat (unknowingly!)
  15. Skinny dipped in the ocean
  16. Drank a mojito in Havana
  17. Got mugged
  18. Summitted a couple of mountains
  19. Got fired from a job
  20. Followed Mma Ramotswe's tracks through Gaborone
  21. Learned I have psoriatic arthritis
  22. Took up photography as a hobby
  23. Fished for piranhas in the Amazon
  24. Hang glided over Rio de Janeiro
  25. Drank beer with Pete Coors at Oktoberfest
  26. Sang the American National Anthem with Canadians at a Leafs game
  27. Drank wine in Napa
  28. Went whale watching in Nova Scotia
  29. Camped alone without a tent
  30. Got Robin Yount's autograph
  31. Visited Niagra Falls
  32. Have held 5 full-time jobs
  33. Ran a 5K
  34. Learned to make a killer brigadeiro
  35. Had my left ACL repaired
  36. Taught a wine tasting course
  37. Had a cow named after me
  38. Visited Corcovado
  39. Got confirmed at the age of 20
  40. Became a Godparent
  41. Took my ACT exam hungover
  42. Drove a forklift
  43. Visited a chocolate factory
  44. Figured out how to geocache
  45. Geocached in Italy
  46. Got the penny to fall in the grate at the Florence boar
  47. Visited a Nazi death camp
  48. Saw David
  49. Rode the steepest cogwheel train in the world
  50. Rode on an un-airconditioned bus for almost 60 hours one-way
  51. Fundraised over $6000 for the Arthritis Foundation
  52. Taught myself how to knit
  53. Roasted my own coffee beans
  54. Ate mangoes straight from the trees in a grove
  55. Survived a tornado
  56. Felt an earthquake
  57. Found the elusive green sand
  58. Snorkeled
  59. Haggled in foreign street markets
  60. Smoked Cuban cigars
  61. Made chocolate soufflĂ©
  62. Bought a minivan
  63. Got 2 Old English Sheepdogs
  64. Won first place in quite a few sporting events
  65. Won a 22" TV for a photo I took
  66. Got soaked in Foz do Iguacu, twice
  67. Broke my hand
  68. Taught my son how to bake cookies
  69. Rubbed John Harvard's boot (and later learned how gross that boot is)
  70. Sat behind home plate at a Brewers game
  71. Went to gymnastics camp with Bella Karoli
  72. Breastfed my kid for a year
  73. Stepped over lava
  74. Watched the Bay of Fundy fill up
  75. Sang a Happy Schnapps Combo song with Francis McDormand's cousins in Brier Island
  76. Learned how to golf
  77. Made my own beer
  78. Learned to play piano, trumpet and baritone
  79. Played soccer with kids in a Brazilian favela
  80. Memorized every word of Major League
  81. Made my own marshmallows
  82. Learned to walk on stilts
  83. Drove on the left-side of the road with a left-hand stick
  84. Danced to Olodum in Salvador
  85. Tried acupuncture
  86. Participated in a 4-month fitness contest
  87. Was anchor of a prize-winning beer drinking team in college
  88. Got my naval pierced
  89. Learned the difference between a seal and a sea lion
  90. Watched a soccer game in the world's largest stadium
  91. Watched every James Bond movie and every episode of 24 ever made
  92. Made my own vanilla extract
  93. Learned to snowshoe
  94. Discovered how to make a killer caipirinha
  95. Won the pitcher drinking contest as captain of the volleball team, The Superdupers
  96. Played softball for 10 years
  97. Learned to dance a foxtrot
  98. Read the Bible
  99. Spun pottery on a wheel
  100. Started and maintained a blog for almost 4 years

April 26, 2010

9 shopping days left

A gleeful Harry at the lake

Last week my mom asked me what I wanted for my birthday.  And I had to check my temperature, because I hadn't even thought much about my birthday around the corner.  If you know me at all, you'll know this is not normal behavior.  I typically have a list a mile long with reminders sent out or strategically placed around the house well in advance so that we're all able to properly celebrate cinco de mayo.

When you add on that I had no idea what to tell her, and you'll understand my angst.  I've been so focused on getting rid of "stuff" in my life, to try to clear my head, I hadn't been thinking about what stuff I wanted.

So I've stopped the madness and begun to think about it.  Here are a few front runners on the ol' wish list:
  • Lola bag by Epiphanie
  • Brewers tickets
  • A 20' dumpster and some extra hands to throw out a ton of crap
  • Giant Marquette flag
  • Good books
  • New pair of running shoes
  • Outdoor sink for my garden

April 23, 2010

Why I'm so busy all the time

Bella the Mommy Robin sitting on her eggs outside our window

My whole life it's been ingrained in my brain that you should help others.  My Mom was always helping around the school or feeding the gymnastics team and my Dad is forever building some new building or table or roof for someone me.  Then I spent 4 years at Marquette, where all this Catholic guilt, social responsibility stuff is taught to you, quite literally, as religion.  Not to mention my own propensity for feeling incredibly guilty when I sit down for 5 minutes because there are so many other things I could be doing. (2nd coat of paint on that door, garden gnomes out, garden winter cleaned out...)

I've been accused recently by a few people of not being able to say no.  And I have to disagree with that.  I know people I work with would DEFINITELY disagree with that.  My real problem lies in the ability to not feel as if something is my responsibility.  And just as much of a problem, it's my total inability to let something be done in a less-than-competent way.

To-may-to, Ta-mah-to, this is still a major problem.  Mostly because I get involved in way too much and then get upset that I'm so busy.

Take this week alone.  Beerman and I are now chairs of the annual rummage sale.  They did a call out to the whole school, and I guess I feel a deep-seeded need to be a part of the school community.  (After all, isn't that why we're there, because of the "community" it provides?) Plus, while I've never held my own rummage sale, I have run countless golf tournaments, pinewood derbies, and fundraised hundreds of thousands of dollars in countless other ways.  So how hard could this be?  (Famous last words, I know)  Beerman has also been assigned as a t-ball coach, and I'm now the t-ball manager.  (Beerman said I might as well make it official since I practically did it last year anyhow).

So I'm officially calling it quits on signing up for anything else. I've signed on for my part, and that's enough.  Until the next cause comes up...

April 22, 2010

Quieting down

My brain doesn't quiet down very easily. It's always thinking about 10 things at once.  Lately, it's been up at night crazy too.  Last night, for example, I was convinced that bedbugs were crawling on me.  They weren't.  I know this because I got up to check. Twice. It didn't stop me from KNOWING they were there, though.

I've shared in the past that external noise is often too much for me to take. It's why I like books so much better than TVs, and why movie theaters are sometimes difficult places for me to be.  If you ride in the car with me, more often than not, the radio isn't even on.  (It's also one reason why I HATE talk radio.) Unnecessary noise makes me crazy.

I've always questioned whether it was an undiagnosed sensory disorder.  Or if I was a monk in a former life.  But lately, I've come to the realization that pain is noisy.

I'm an auditory learner.  If you say it, and I'm actually listening to it, I will remember it.  10 years later even. Trust me, people have tested it as a party trick. It's why I pick up languages quickly.  But I've found that the more pain I'm in, the less I seem able to tolerate the sounds around me.  Sometimes Beerman will say something to me 3 times before I realize he's speaking.  And it's not because I don't want to hear it. It's just that some days the pain is so much, I truly feel like I can't process hearing anything above the pain.

I am not sharing this for you to sign up for my pity party, but because this direct link between my noise avoidance and pain is a recent revelation to me.  An "a ha!" if you will.  And an important one, because I think it's going to help me figure out how to manage my own life just a little better.  And every wee bit helps.

April 20, 2010

An infamous poem

April is National Poetry Month.  So with respect to that, I'm going to share the very first poem I ever memorized by heart in 1st grade.  I still remember it and say it to myself all the time.  I'd be willing to bet, so do my parents, sisters, and now their kids.  There are a bunch of variations to it, but this version was mine.  Enjoy!

Magdalena Hagdalena

Magdalena Hagdalena
Ookatalka Walkatalka
Hocus Pocus Mocus was her name.
She had two hairs on the top of her head,
One was alive and the other one was dead.
Magdalena Hagdalena
Ookatalka Walkatalka
Hocus Pocus Mocus was her name.
She had two eyes in the middle of her head,
One was green and the other one was red!
Magdalena Hagdalena
Ookatalka Walkatalka
Hocus Pocus Mocus was her name.
She had two teeth in the middle of her mouth,
One pointed north and the other pointed south.
Magdalena Hagdalena
Ookatalka Walkatalka
Hocus Pocus Mocus was her name.
She had two feet as big as a mat,
One took a shower while the other took a bath!
Magdalena Hagdalena
Ookatalka Walkatalka
Hocus Pocus Mocus was her name.

April 19, 2010

Being present

I constantly feel overwhelmed.  It's like my to-do list is addicted to eating Alice's cake and grows so large so fast, that I can never keep up.  As a result, I feel like I'm on-edge, all the time.  Like this weekend when C-man picked the aforementioned daffodil from my garden because he wanted me to have a beautiful flower and I almost started sobbing because it was my only garden daffodil and now it was destroyed and why is it the only garden daffodil, I really need to dig out that bed and re-do it because it's too overgrown. Thankfully I didn't actually break down, and I just thanked him, but it's still not okay.

I have wracked my brain trying to figure out what it is I'm doing wrong.  The quick answer is, "a lot".  But that doesn't fix it.  So this is what I've come to in no particular order...

We try to do too much ourselves. Everyone else in the neighborhood has a van parked in the driveway for each little faucet leak.  But not us.  Hell, we build own roof when we want to get rid of the flat one.  I know I'll be thankful for the extra money I've saved someday, but I question if my stress level will let me live that long to enjoy it.

I have arthritis.  Like it or not, it's a fact of life.  It makes me exhausted.  I need more sleep than the average person, and tend to get less because I'm up several times a night moving around to alleviate the pain.  And when I have ridiculous flare-ups, like I've been experiencing the past 3 weeks, it makes progress even slower, because I can do even less.  But I resent being slower and less able, so I try to do more, which is a horrible death spiral into oblivion.

We're doing a lot.  All the time; geocaching, zoo visits, baseball games, playgrounds, baking cookies, reading books, wall painting, water tank installing, laundry, groceries, dog park visits... In addition to working 2 very full-time jobs that require regular travel.  When I think about everything we do in an average day, it alone feels totally overwhelming.

But more important than all that put together is I so often forget to enjoy what's going on now.  When C-man gives me a flower, why can't I just think how simple and sweet the gesture is?  When my to-do list feels long, why can't I just revel in all those items that got checked off it? And why do I have to bend over to pick up yet another pair of damn socks off the floor?

But I digress.  I need to lighten up.  Find my zen. Enjoy what I've got while it's here. Because C-man doesn't even stutter anymore when he gets up on that first bus step. And Harry's not getting any younger.  And hell, let's be real, neither am I!

April 18, 2010


We spent our morning at the Audubon Center planting trees.  We took C-man's picture next to this oak.  We'll see how many years it takes before it's bigger than he is!

April 17, 2010

A zooey kind of day

C-man wanted to wait for the neighbor kid to geocache.  And since the neighbor kid is all booked up on Saturdays, he decided the zoo would be a better option.  So today to be a little bit different, we rode the train.
And the carousel.
But it didn't change the fact that we had to get a moldarama; a polar bear, this time.
I think it turned out to be a good afternoon.

Report cards

C-man got his 3rd quarter report card home yesterday. (It's hard to believe he's 3/4 of the way through his first full year of school! At least I finally got on the ball enough to sign him up for summer camp.) In K4, he gets everything graded in a +, /, or -.  So he got a / again in music. (Is this really a shocker, considering he's our child?) But EVERYTHING else got a plus, including SCISSORS! (You'll remember we've joked ever since preschool that our kid is the one that was failing scissors)  So his fine motor skills are progressing.  (It's also further proof that he really did need the new glasses.)  And his reading, math and vocabulary comprehension are above average. Thank God.

So to celebrate, we're heading to the zoo again.  "Why?" you ask.  Because he feels he needs another moldarama.  He's thinking maybe he should get the lion today. Now that's MY kid.

April 16, 2010

More randomness, because it's as creative as I get today

Sunset from Gaborone Yacht Club, Gaborone, Botswana

  • I'm getting a haircut tonight. I love the days when I know I'm going to get my hair cut. I think it's because it gives me hope I might look good one of these days, and maybe just maybe, that day is tonight.
  • I always forget to pay the car payment.  I don't know why. It's just one of those stupid bills that doesn't allow auto-pay, and everything else in my life is on auto-pay so I forget about it. This morning as I was remembering to pay it, I realized I should just pay the damn thing off. There. One more way to simplify my life. And oh goody, I have a dirty minivan to show for it.
  • The news this morning reported that 89% of avowed Tea Party members are white males who make over $50,000 a year. I can't possibly be the only one who is scared totally shitless by that statistic.
  • My back doesn't feel great, but it's certainly much better than where it was.  I'm going to try some remedial yoga classes this weekend to test the waters. I've got to be able to start doing something soon, or I'm going to go out of my mind!
  • After dinner last night I spent an hour reading Matterhorn in my hammock chair outside in the fabulous weather. While there, Beerman brought me out a cup of tea with a Sprungli truffle.  Dear God, it was an amazing hour of my life.
  • Matterhorn is a pretty great book.  It's quite long and about the Vietnam War, which I've never before had any interest in, but I've been finding it pretty amazing and well written.  I wake up at night thinking about the characters and what an incredibly crap, no-win situation they were in.
  • C-man has already asked if we're geocaching this weekend. The child is an addict. The good news is I'd anticipated that, and picked out some kid-friendly ones out to go do (since I'm sure we'll have the neighbor kid with us again).
  • I'm thinking of combining the geocaching adventure with a picnic this weekend. I love picnics, and even though it's not supposed to be super-warm, I think it's time to start them up again.
  • We're volunteering at the Audubon Center this weekend as a part of a work thing. I don't know what Beerman is more thrilled about - giving up his Sunday morning, having to wear a matching maroon Kohl's shirt, or having to spend 3 hours digging fence post. The good news is that after our shift, there's a big earth day celebration at the center we go to each year that C-man likes a lot.
  • Did I mention I'm getting my hair cut tonight?

April 15, 2010

Sailing along

Naval ship passing by Mission Beach, San Diego, California

While in Central Europe this past year, as I was crazily looking for a coffee shop to get a coffee so I could rush off to my next destination, I realized no one else was doing that.  Nobody was carrying coffee cups to slug down some caffeine so they could function at a frenetic pace.  They were going into the cafes, meeting their friends, sitting down, and drinking it while sitting with their dogs at their feet (further proof they've got it right).  And they were happy.

I mention this because lately I am feeling like everything is frantic in my life.  From the arthritis nonsense to the crap on the littered floors not getting picked up (which is especially irritating because I can't bend over to pick it up) to incompetent people at work making my life feel unprepared to not having the damn April calendar for C-man's class (At least I guessed right that this was "G" week and sent him with his gorilla moldarama.  Once again, the moldarama proves its worth!) to airport yuk to baseball signups to sending in money to the school annual fund to... well, you get the picture. What's the most infuriating about all this is that I just got off vacation!  Where's my well-rested happy-go-lucky attitude?!

So in light of that, I'm taking a deep breath. I'm making a renewed effort to stop the madness.  Because I really need to find my happiness again.

April 14, 2010

Kansas City, Kansas City Here I Am

Nothing says glamorous life like spending the day in Missouri. Go on. You know you re jealous.

April 13, 2010

Back at it random snippets

Sunday's geocaching adventure and subsequent hallway painting extravaganza killed my back again.  It just starts to feel better, so what do I think I need to do? Kill it, apparently.  Argh.  I'm headed for my 2nd chiropractic visit in 2 days.

Beerman had his Forty Under 40 awards dinner last night at the Pfister.  It was a typical awards dinner: bad food served on an overcrowded table with too many people wearing black.  But it was such a cool award for him, that it was easy to overlook.  But who do you think didn't bring a camera?  Unbelievable, but yes, me.  I'm hoping the pictures of him will be online soon, so I can just buy one to make up for it.

I got my performance review this week.  No lie, on 3 of the categories my manager's comments were, "I agree" next to my paragraph of data.  At least I was worth the effort, right?

After being off 12 days, I've come to decide that this working thing sucks.  I'm Kansas City bound tomorrow.  So I need to keep remembering that the paycheck every 15 days is pretty nice.

In the meantime, I'll keep looking at vacation photos to keep my blood pressure down.

April 11, 2010


We've been teaching the neighbor kid how to geocache. It's been great for me because I get some really cute photos of the two of them.And they think it's fabulous, because they get to find buried treasure. Today we did the pirate's caches, which made it especially fun. Arrrrrhhh! We flushed out a turkey at one. I think I was more impressed with it than they were, but whatever. I've learned that when you're 5, you don't walk anywhere. And that there's always time for a playground break. C-man and I went 7 for 7 today, 3 on our own and 4 with the neighbor. I'm tired.

April 9, 2010

Happy stuff

I'm happy because the latest rain/sleet caused some of the early arrival buds to appear on the trees.
C-man's pleased because it stopped snowing long enough for him to be able to scoot to the park.And we're all proud because Beerman's Forty Under 40 article came out today.

April 8, 2010


What do you do when it's 39 degrees, sleeting out and your back is barely moving? Well, when you've got a 5 year old boy with loads of energy and a husband who is out of town for work and you're on Easter break, you put on your coat, grab your pass, and go to the zoo!
And along the way, you get an ape moldarama he's been wanting his.whole.life.
Just proof that sometimes dreams really do come true.

April 6, 2010

Back to the grind - sort of

We're home. But still on vacation. Which is good, because Harrydog is sticking to me like glue - especially during last night's thunderstorms. I thought with the 2 hour time difference, and a week's worth of running like crazy, we'd sleep in this morning. I was wrong. "We" were up at 6:30 ready to run around the house. So we've got a week's worth of no plans ahead of us. Ahhhh...

April 5, 2010

The wind down

We headed up to La Jolla to see if we could find some seals. (Especially now that we've learned the difference between seals and sea lions) And oh boy, did we find them!

But we saw lots of other cool stuff too, and found a lot of shells on the beach. I really love watching the pelicans soar along the waves.

The ocean never ceases to amaze me. Or provide me with photo fodder.

And there's always the obligatory photo with your mom by the ocean.

Our little hambone

The La Jolla caves

An amazing view from Mount Soledad

And we couldn't be this close and not go to Torrey Pines, especially since C-man has been shouting "GOLF!" every time we pass a course. So he hit off the driving range (and was so focused, he didn't even notice the earthquake!)...

Putted around the greens...

And walked illegally onto the course.

We really had a great, great family vacation, and we're all so sad it has to end. Although, Harry thinks it is time to get home, and he's probably right.