Plinky Prompts

Real-Life Readers are Not Welcome

Who is the one person you hope isn’t reading your blog? Why?

do-not-read Mine is not so much one person, but a group of people – the people I work with.

I wish my family didn’t read my blog, simply because my “honesty” can be a bit uncomfortable sometimes, but for the most part, I’m okay if they read it.

I would be absolutely horrified if the people I work with found my blog.

And it wouldn’t be because I really say anything bad about them, (though I would be scum on the sole of someone’s shoe if a certain person watched a certain video I posted – and by the way, I wasn’t sure if I should have posted that, I’m still not sure, but I honestly wanted to remember this young lady because her … personality quirks are quite interesting and I will likely base a character on her someday – see? I posted that video for purely selfish reasons – are you really surprised??), but because even though I come across as an “honest” person to the people I work with, I like to keep a lot of my personal life … well, private.

Hence the reason I absolutely will not friend someone I work with on Facebook. I only limit the people I KNOW to friend me on Facebook. And though I have come to KNOW the people I work with, it just becomes …. awkward to work with people who know too much about you. That’s why I hesitate to hang out with people I work with after work. What if we have a disagreement? We can’t get away from each other – I see the people I work with more than my family. And then work relations are tense and it becomes harder to do the job …

No. I prefer to keep my working relationships and my personal relationships completely separate – it’s just easier on everyone that way.

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Driving is a Privilege

Describe the first time you drove a vehicle.

I can't. Because my memory sucks.

So, I'll tell you what I CAN remember. (Brace yourself, this will likely be a bumpy, disjointed ride as fragments of the past come flying at me from all directions).

I remember driving these monstrous driving simulators in Driver's Ed when I was in high school. I remember stepping into the box, sitting down and learning to drive in virtual reality. And that's pretty impressive, really, considering this was back in the early 80's. The schools don't have the simulators today – I guess they were too expensive to buy and maintain, but I remember taking my virtual driving lesson very seriously. Unlike my classmates that would purposefully swerve to hit various dogs and people innocently walking down the sidewalk.

I never understood their nonchalant attitude toward driving. Granted, we weren't really driving, but we were practicing and I could no longer run over a virtual dog or child than I could purposefully pull the wings off a butterfly – it just wasn't in me to be that kind of mean, even when it wasn't real.

I also remember those horrific, gruesome, truly disturbing Driver's Ed videos they made kids watch. You know, the videos of where people have died in blood-splattered, mangled heaps of metal because they weren't paying attention or made unwise decisions.

And that was WAY before cell phones and texting – distractions are ten-times worse now than they were back then.

Those films made an impact on me. They worked. They scared me to be a good driver.

This is not to say that I haven't made my fair share of stupid mistakes as a young driver. (There was the time I fell out of my car on my 19th birthday and busted my face wide open – which wouldn't have happened if I had been wearing my seat belt – but that's another post). But I have always been a pretty conscientious driver when it came to paying attention to those around me.

I can't remember if my parents ever took me driving. (Mom? Dad?) I barely remember taking my driver's test. I'm pretty sure I failed it the first time, though, because I couldn't parallel park to save my life. (Actually, I still can't. In fact, I could easily be one of those pathetic drivers you watch try to park on one of those funny YouTube videos that circulate from time-to-time).

I remember my husband teaching me to drive a stick shift. It was at the zoo parking lot and once I got the hang of the clutch, I caught on pretty fast. I drove a manual Nissan Sentra for seven years. I loved that car. It was fun to drive. In fact, I wonder if we made everyone drive a stick shift instead of an automatic nowadays if there wouldn't be fewer accidents. Driving an automatic "frees" people up so that they think they can put their makeup on, read a newspaper (I ACTUALLY saw someone doing that one time), eat their breakfast on their way to work, conduct business on their cell phone, or text their children (I see WAY more adults texting and driving than I do kids Seriously. That's the dumbest thing you can possibly do while driving. Don't do it. And if I see you do it, I will honk and be a total jerk to you because DUDE, pay attention to the freaking road!!)

But seriously. Why not? Driving a stick would require the driver to pay attention to what he/she was doing. There is no time to do anything but shift and and drive.

And of course, I taught my oldest son drive. That was just last year. We started in a parking lot. Once he got the hang of handling the car, we drove back roads. Then small city roads. Then busy city roads. Then the highway. Then at night.

Then he took the test. He was so nervous that he failed the first time. And he barely passed the second time because he went a little too fast in a 30 mph zone. But he passed. And he's a cautious driver, maybe too cautious. But better cautious than reckless.

I will be teaching my youngest son to drive in a few months. He will turn 16 and we will get his driver's permit. We didn't do anything about driving when he was 15 because I personally think 15 is way too young to put a child behind the wheel of a one-ton metal weapon. Most kids (most, there are exceptions) are just too immature to take on that responsibility.

Heck. I personally don't think kids should be allowed to drive until they turn 18, but whatever.

It's nerve wracking, teaching other people to drive. Especially for a control freak like myself. You're putting your life into someone's hands and I just don't trust other people all that much, if you want the truth. It seems like (most) people just don't have any common sense, at all. If they don't have someone (the media?) telling them what to do or what to think, then they don't think at all. It's scary, sad and quite frustrating, actually.

Even though our oldest son took Driver's Ed, things are different nowadays. They don't have simulators for the kids to practice on (at least, not in our area schools) and if the kids want to drive with an instructor, the parents have to pay for an insurance policy – which isn't cheap. I totally understand the need to do that, especially in our sue-happy society, but still … it discourages a lot of parents to allow their kids to practice with an instructor. It discouraged us. We regret it now, as we feel like our oldest son might have learned a little more from someone other than his parent (because we all know mom and dad don't know squat) – I just hope I taught him to be a good diver. Because his driving skills will reflect on me, as a person and as his mother.

Our youngest son hasn't taken Driver's Ed yet (actually, it's not a required course anymore, it was when I was a teenager), and though we would like for him to drive with an instructor, we don't know if we'll pay the money for him to do so. Money is tight and in addition to trusting that the instructor will teach him, I'm also trusting that the classmate that drives with him will know enough not to crash the car when it's his/her turn to take the wheel.

I have road rage. I'm not proud of myself for admitting that, but we're being honest here. i have ZERO patience for drivers who won't pay attention to their driving. I constantly use them as examples of what NOT to do to the boys whenever we're out and someone doesn't use their turn signal, or doesn't pay attention before changing lanes, or is distracted and not paying attention to the road … I could go on and on. I try not to get irrationally angry, but I'm not always successful. People who pull out right in front of me and require me to slam on my brakes will definitely get a dirty look from me and yes, I admit it, I will ride their bumper to "teach them a lesson." Though really, what sort of lesson am I teaching to my impressionable teenage sons?

Exactly.

I'm human though and people, generally speaking, drive me insane. Especially inconsiderate people. I drive my boys nuts whenever I allow people in line during high traffic times because I'm trying to teach them to be courteous to fellow drivers. It doesn't matter how much of a hurry you're in, or what kind of mood you're in, that's no excuse to be rude to people.

I don't know how much of that has sunk into my sons' heads, but at least I'm teaching them by example.

Driving is a privilege and I wish more people took it seriously.

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If I Were President …

Finish this sentence: If I were president…

Oh come on. You HAD to see this prompt coming, right??

I follow politics, for those that don’t know (or are in denial. ha!)

But I’ll spare you specific rants and just go for the jugular, er, generic tasks, goals, beliefs, whatever you want to call them.

If I were president … wow. How do I even answer this.

Let’s start with … I’d do everything exactly opposite of what our president is doing now.

Are you still reading?

First of all, I’d LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE. What do the majority want? Not just one party, but the majority of ALL people.

Everything would be transparent. And everything WOULD be transparent. No saying it will be and then making sure bills were passed behind closed doors and without the opposing party present. What’s the big secret? If you’re not ashamed of your decision, then put it out there.

I would never apologize for our country. America is awesome. America is (or was) strong. America is generous. America is home.

Though I wouldn’t want to jump to everyone’s defense (shouldn’t some of these countries fight it out amongst themselves? Why does America have to be on the Global police force?), I would definitely make sure Americans were protected from the people who want us dead.

Yes ya’ll. They exist. They aren’t going anywhere – ever. It’s called evil and it not only exists, it exists in our very own backyard. We don’t have to obsess about it, but we definitely can’t afford to let our defenses down, either.

And the biggie? Balance the budget. Cut out wasteful spending. Get rid of earmarks. Nothing goes into the bill that doesn’t directly affect the conditions of the bill. No sneaking stuff in while no one is paying attention. And when I say cut, I mean CUT. If it’s not absolutely necessary to the running of this country, then get rid of it. Until we get this deficit under control, then no frills, no extras. When we have it under control, then we’ll look at adding some of the programs back.

That’s what normal Joes and Janes do when times get tough – I don’t understand why the government can’t do the same. It would take some guts. And there would be a lot of angry people, but the president needs to dish out some tough love if he/she is serious about getting things done.

It’s called governing. It’s not a popularity contest.

I’m not afraid of being the bad guy – I’m a parent. I’m used to being hated on a daily basis. Too many politicians get into office with one thing on their minds, staying in office. It’s a game of survival. Who can wiggle their way out of as many decisions and conflicts as possible.

I really think it’s going to take someone with a lot of courage and little political aspirations to actually get anything done. Definitely not a career politician.

Until that person comes along? It’s politics as usual, I’m afraid.

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Sadly, I Am Not a Fashionista

Share a photo of a fashion statement you regret making.

Actually, I’ve never been a fashionista, but the few times I tried to be remotely trendy, well, I failed. Miserably.

Case in point:

Big hair and acid-washed jeans. Yes. Hi. I’m an 80’s child. This hair style? Took me two hours to achieve.

Two. Freaking. Hours. Every. Day.

I hot rolled my hair and had to wait until they completely cooled before removing them. And then, I had to use a TON of hairspray for it to stay.

Only, it didn’t. All of that body you see in this picture? (Which, coincidentally was taken immediately after I fixed my hair). Fell flat within three hours of the last spritz of hairspray. It was terribly frustrating to live in an era when big hair was all the rage and I happened to have naturally stick-straight hair. It’s sort of amazing that my hair never fell out as much trauma as I put it through on a daily basis.

Now the high bangs actually didn’t go out of style for quite a few years. Well, for me, at least. In fact, my high bangs followed me throughout my wedding and early motherhood. (And by the way, did you check out what I’m wearing in that last link? Stripes. I have no fashion sense AT ALL. Oh. And that was Kevin’s shirt, too. So. Stripes and a man’s shirt. CLEARLY, I needed help).

Of course, MY big hair was pretty small potatoes when compared with mom’s hair back in the day, but whatever. (Sorry mom. I couldn’t resist! HA!)

But putting the big hair aside for a moment, there were my fashion mistakes.

I know you can’t see this very well, but I’m wearing a pink and blue (or was it green – does it really matter??) blouse with puffy sleeves and a PINK tie.

On picture day.

What was I thinking?? I believe I was a Sophomore or a Junior in this picture. I scanned it from my yearbook so I apologize for the grainy quality.

But seriously people. Pink/green/blue STRIPED shirt with a man tie. Exactly what look was I going for here? Lesbian?

And then, there was the overalls.

To my credit, I soon realized that overalls in high school wasn’t cool. So, I didn’t wear them but a few times before I figured it out. Unfortunately, one of those times was on picture day. So it’s been captured for all times.

In everybody’s yearbook, I might add.

(*sigh*)

I’m sad to say that wasn’t the last time I wore overalls. Nope. I wore them off and on in my early motherhood days. I thought that wearing overalls would hide my widening girth. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize until I saw a picture of myself wearing a pair of short overalls, on the beach in Florida, that it doesn’t hide but in fact, only accentuates the body rolls.

That was the last time I wore overalls and I will never wear them again.

I’ve learned my lesson.

I’m wearing a granny shirt in this picture.

Again, sorry for the poor quality (scanned it from yearbook), but in addition to the granny shirt (and when I say granny shirt, I mean a blouse with a bib), I’m wearing some sort of poinsettia hair clip.

I can only plead temporary insanity.

But it was the 80’s. We did crazy stuff in the 80’s.

That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

(And if you’re wondering what in the world I’m doing in this picture … this was taken in drama class. We were doing an impromptu exercise and I totally knew my picture was about to be taken so I hammed it up for the camera. I’ve never admitted that outloud before. It feels sort of good).

I’m sad to say that my fashion “sense” hasn’t gotten any better over the years. I’m still pretty clueless when it comes to dressing “nice.” I pretty much live in t-shirts and jeans, though that is changing quickly as I’m working out of my husband’s office now and looking for a job.

In fact, I wast just telling Kevin today that I’m on a mission to find some nice work-appropriate tops for spring-summer because guys, I honestly don’t have anything. It’s sad, really.

I really need to overhaul my entire wardrobe.

But that requires money.

And I’m cheap.

So. I’m at a cross roads.

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Driving is a Privilege

Describe the first time you drove a vehicle.

I can’t. Because my memory sucks.

So, I’ll tell you what I CAN remember. (Brace yourself, this will likely be a bumpy, disjointed ride as fragments of the past come flying at me from all directions).

I remember driving these monstrous driving simulators in Driver’s Ed when I was in high school. I remember stepping into the box, sitting down and learning to drive in virtual reality. And that’s pretty impressive, really, considering this was back in the early 80’s. The schools don’t have the simulators today – I guess they were too expensive to buy and maintain, but I remember taking my virtual driving lesson very seriously. Unlike my classmates that would purposefully swerve to hit various dogs and people innocently walking down the sidewalk.

I never understood their nonchalant attitude toward driving. Granted, we weren’t really driving, but we were practicing and I could no longer run over a virtual dog or child than I could purposefully pull the wings off a butterfly – it just wasn’t in me to be that kind of mean, even when it wasn’t real.

I also remember those horrific, gruesome, truly disturbing Driver’s Ed videos they made kids watch. You know, the videos of where people have died in blood-splattered, mangled heaps of metal because they weren’t paying attention or made unwise decisions.

And that was WAY before cell phones and texting – distractions are ten-times worse now than they were back then.

Those films made an impact on me. They worked. They scared me to be a good driver.

This is not to say that I haven’t made my fair share of stupid mistakes as a young driver. (There was the time I fell out of my car on my 19th birthday and busted my face wide open – which wouldn’t have happened if I had been wearing my seat belt – but that’s another post). But I have always been a pretty conscientious driver when it came to paying attention to those around me.

I can’t remember if my parents ever took me driving. (Mom? Dad?) I barely remember taking my driver’s test. I’m pretty sure I failed it the first time, though, because I couldn’t parallel park to save my life. (Actually, I still can’t. In fact, I could easily be one of those pathetic drivers you watch try to park on one of those funny YouTube videos that circulate from time to time).

I remember my husband teaching me to drive a stick shift. It was at the zoo parking lot and once I got the hang of the clutch, I caught on pretty fast. I drove a manual Nissan Sentra for seven years. I loved that car. It was fun to drive. In fact, I wonder if we made everyone drive a stick shift instead of an automatic nowadays if there wouldn’t be fewer accidents. Driving an automatic “frees” people up so that they think they can put their makeup on, read a newspaper (I ACTUALLY saw someone doing that one time), eat their breakfast on their way to work, conduct business on their cell phone, or text their children (I see WAY more adults texting and driving than I do kids Seriously. That’s the dumbest thing you can possibly do while driving. Don’t do it. And if I see you do it, I will honk and be a total jerk to you because DUDE, pay attention to the freaking road!!)

But seriously. Why not? Driving a stick would require the driver to pay attention to what he/she was doing. There is no time to do anything but shift and and drive.

And of course, I taught my oldest son drive. That was just last year. We started in a parking lot. Once he got the hang of handling the car, we drove back roads. Then small city roads. Then busy city roads. Then the highway. Then at night.

Then he took the test. He was so nervous that he failed the first time. And he barely passed the second time because he went a little too fast in a 30 mph zone. But he passed. And he’s a cautious driver, maybe too cautious. But better cautious than reckless.

I will be teaching my youngest son to drive in a few months. He will turn 16 and we will get his driver’s permit. We didn’t do anything about driving when he was 15 because I personally think 15 is way too young to put a child behind the wheel of a one-ton metal weapon. Most kids (most, there are exceptions) are just too immature to take on that responsibility.

Heck. I personally don’t think kids should be allowed to drive until they turn 18, but whatever.

It’s nerve wracking, teaching other people to drive. Especially for a control freak like myself. You’re putting your life into someone’s hands and I just don’t trust other people all that much, if you want the truth. It seems like (most) people just don’t have any common sense, at all. If they don’t have someone (the media?) telling them what to do or what to think, then they don’t think at all. It’s scary, sad and quite frustrating, actually.

Even though our oldest son took Driver’s Ed, things are different nowadays. They don’t have simulators for the kids to practice on (at least, not in our area schools) and if the kids want to drive with an instructor, the parents have to pay for an insurance policy – which isn’t cheap. I totally understand the need to do that, especially in our sue-happy society, but still … it discourages a lot of parents to allow their kids to practice with an instructor. It discouraged us. We regret it now, as we feel like our oldest son might have learned a little more from someone other than his parent (because we all know mom and dad don’t know squat) – I just hope I taught him to be a good diver. Because his driving skills will reflect on me, as a person and as his mother.

Our youngest son hasn’t taken Driver’s Ed yet (actually, it’s not a required course anymore, it was when I was a teenager), and though we would like for him to drive with an instructor, we don’t know if we’ll pay the money for him to do so. Money is tight and in addition to trusting that the instructor will teach him, I’m also trusting that the classmate that drives with him will know enough not to crash the car when it’s his/her turn to take the wheel.

I have road rage. I’m not proud of myself for admitting that, but we’re being honest here. i have ZERO patience for drivers who won’t pay attention to their driving. I constantly use them as examples of what NOT to do to the boys whenever we’re out and someone doesn’t use their turn signal, or doesn’t pay attention before changing lanes, or is distracted and not paying attention to the road … I could go on and on. I try not to get irrationally angry, but I’m not always successful. People who pull out right in front of me and require me to slam on my brakes will definitely get a dirty look from me and yes, I admit it, I will ride their bumper to “teach them a lesson.” Though really, what sort of lesson am I teaching to my impressionable teenage sons?

Exactly.

I’m human though and people, generally speaking, drive me insane. Especially inconsiderate people. I drive my boys nuts whenever I allow people in line during high traffic times because I’m trying to teach them to be courteous to fellow drivers. It doesn’t matter how much of a hurry you’re in, or what kind of mood you’re in, that’s no excuse to be rude to people.

I don’t know how much of that has sunk into my sons’ heads, but at least I’m teaching them by example.

Driving is a privilege and I wish more people took it seriously.

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Ozarks Winters are Not Fun – Is it Spring Yet?

Four and a Half Inches of Ice

Have you ever experienced an earthquake, flood, or other natural disaster? Where were you? How did you react?

We survived the ice storm of 2007. It was the middle of January and they (the weather forecasters) sent out a winter warning.

We ignored it. We shrugged it off, rolled our eyes and said, "Meh. Whatever."

For you see, our weather people are rarely accurate in the Ozarks. But it's not their fault, the winds in our part of the country shift so rapidly that our weather literally changes from hour-to-hour and that's pretty hard to predict. So when they started forecasting a winter warning, we didn't take it too seriously.

We certainly didn't freak out like the rest of the city. As a result? We were ill prepared for what happened next: 4 1/2 inches of nothing but ice. Evil, crippling ice.

The ice weighed down our tree limbs, which snapped off and took down our power lines. Seventy-five percent of our city lost power. We were personally without power for 11 1/2 days.

And yes, I was counting.

School was out for a solid week – people were dying in their homes because they were so cold they brought in their gas grills to keep warm and died from the toxic fumes.

It was a nightmare. Our city quite literally came to a screeching halt during that time period. And the weather stayed cold enough that the ice wouldn't melt off for a few weeks. It was truly a nightmare.

I wrote about that time period, but on another blog. I'd like to re-publish those posts here so that you can read them (if you wish) and I will have a copy of them on my permanent blog.

This is a timely question considering we're currently under a BLIZZARD warning. I'm pretty old (mid-40's) and I don't ever remember having a blizzard warning for our area. In addition, we now pay attention to WARNINGS, though we still roll our eyes at watches. But when they predict a warning, it's pretty much a guaranteed thing. It's snowing now, I'd say we have accumulated about two inches so far. They are predicting a foot.

I'm happy to say, we were prepared for this winter warning.

Winter blows.

_____________________________

January 15, 2007

So, we're alive.

Did you wonder where I was today? Were you worried? I know I have been.

I've been in the dark, literally. We've been without power since Friday night. It started at 10:30. We were settling in for the night when *boom*, our transformer blew and the lights went out. At first, we weren't too concerned. After all, we've lost them in the past and City Utilities was very good at restoring our power. But when I tried to call, to report our outage, I got a busy signal. I knew right away, something was wrong. I didn't realize just how bad it was until the next morning. We were in the throes of a major winter storm. We received about an inch of ice Friday night, another two inches on Saturday and finally, another inch Sunday. Our poor trees (we have, oops, correction, HAD, four maple trees) are destroyed. Limbs have snapped and are everywhere. Many of them have fallen on electricity lines and transformers have blown all over the city. Ninety percent of the city is blacked out. Temperatures are frigid and we don't have heat.

The nights have been the worse. We were so unprepared for this storm. We didn't have any wood for our fireplace, didn't have any contingency heating plan. But thank God, Kevin had filled up the two propane tanks on our trailer and the propane tank on the BBQ grill. So, we brought the grill inside the house and have been cooking, and keeping warm, with that.

When my parents found out we were keeping warm with propane, they freaked out. They warned us about carbon monoxide poisoning (which we didn't even think about!) and thank God, had an extra kerosene heater. We've been using that and it's been WONDERFUL. It's keeping us warm at night (yes, we make sure there is plenty of ventilation).

I didn't have very many candles on hand so we've been very stingy about lighting them at night. As a result, we've been literally sitting in the dark. The boys and I (Kevin fell asleep in a chair) watched a teeny-tiny, battery-operated TV last night by the light of one candle. If you could have seen us, you would have felt sorry for us. lol

The nights have been the worse. Since most of the city is without power, it's pitch black here. I've felt claustrophobic. The nights have been LONG and SCARY. It's such a relief when morning gets here.

Kevin stood in single digit weather for over an hour to buy us a generator trucked in from Nebraska today. I'm posting this from my laptop running from the generator. Our gas is running out and we'll soon be back to candlelight. No one can tell us when we'll have power again. But things are so bad, I'm betting it won't be until the end of this week. I'll post pictures as soon as I can.

In the meantime, entries will be sporadic. I'll post whenever I get a chance. I plan on going to the library tomorrow (assuming their power is restored) to get some work done.

Thanks for being patient. Please send positive thoughts and prayers our way. When I say it looks like a war zone here, I'm not exaggerating. Springfield hasn't seen an ice storm like this in 20 years.

I'll never take electricity for granted again.

Continue reading “Ozarks Winters are Not Fun – Is it Spring Yet?”

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Waiting to Board the Workout Wagon Once Again

Wii Fit Sports Bottles

What does your fitness routine consist of?

What fitness routine?

Right now, there isn't one.

But that's not really my fault (don't worry, this is not going to be one of those "but it's not my fault what I put into my mouth" or "I don't have time to exercise," or, "Working out is so HARD" posts. They get on my nerves, too. I won't waste your time with whiny excuses).

I had surgery five weeks ago and the doctor very clearly stated I was NOT to do any sort of exercising for at least six weeks. And that includes lifting anything over 10 pounds (which I've since learned is nearly exactly the same poundage as a basket of laundry – shucks) or vacuuming.

(I had a colon restructure in case you're curious what sort of surgery I had. And yes, it's pretty much what you think it is and no, I won't go into details. You're welcome).

But my six weeks will be up this week. And though I'm probably going to be hated for admitting this …

I'm rather looking forward to getting back on an exercise routine again.

I get on these "kicks." I go through pretty intense exercise spurts where all I do is exercise. Where all of my energies go into getting into shape and I feel and look pretty good until the spurt dies a slow, burning death and I gain enough pounds that my pants start to bite into me whenever I wear them and I'm back on my kick again.

(Don't buy bigger clothes when you gain weight. Just don't. That will get you into trouble. Instead, resolve to eat less and move more – those pants will be comfortable once more if you'll do those two simple [ha!] things).

And now that I'm being given the green light to get back into it by my doctor, I'm ready to sweat it off once more.

I have an advantage though – I lost close to fifteen pounds after my surgery, so I sort of feel like I have a head start, if you want the truth. But i feel flabby (especially my stomach where the doctor stitched me back together again – it's like a wave machine whenever you pat on it. I definitely need to do some toning). We're also planning a beach vacation this summer, which means shorts and tank tops, which means I need tight buns and toned arms to look even halfway decent for those dreaded family vacation photos.

*shudder* You know, those dreaded vacation pictures where your blubber is there for all the world to see at every family get together and saved in every family album? Yeah. THOSE vacation pictures.

I'm a speed walker. I love to walk. I also love to punch, kick and jump around like an idiot. In other words, I dig the fun workouts. Which is why I'm looking forward to working out with EA Sports. (This is not a sponsored post – calm down).

The kids have had a Wii for a few years now so when I saw the EA Sports program I asked Santa to bring me a copy. Since Santa loves it when I'm in one of my workout spurts, he happily obliged.

That was last year. I have yet to try it out. Unfortunately, my workout spurt petered out before I had a chance to try it out (much to Santa's chagrin) so I haven't even opened the thing since last Christmas.

My husband opened it up the other day and tried it out (with the full intention of getting me excited about it, I'm sure. It worked, by the way) and now I'm looking forward to trying it out this week. I'll start slow, I don't want to over do it right off the bat but I know me and it won't be long before I push myself to the more advanced levels.

I used to be a member of a gym. In fact, I used to get up at 4:30 every morning, for two and a half years, (I was clearly crazy back then) and drag my butt to the gym, work out on the weights and finish a five mile walk before the regular hard bodies arrived. (That was my longest fitness "spurt").

But I got burned out on the gym because it IS a pain to get up, get dressed, drive to the gym, workout, get back into your car smelling like a rose (not), come home, take a shower, get dressed and THEN start your day. It's so much easier to workout at home. Not to mention, I love that I can watch TV shows on DVD on my little flat-screen I have set up on a shelf on the wall in front of my treadmill because it distracts me enough that I don't think about my muscles screaming for mercy. (I walk with hand weights, too).

So yeah, it's nearly time for me to get back on my workout wagon. Summer is coming up and that means more skin.

Who's with me?

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Sporting Events? No Thanks

I'm not a sports fan.

In fact, it's pretty safe to say, I am not interested in sports, of any kind, whatsoever.

The Super Bowl coming up? (It is coming up, right?) Could care less. The only thing I'm even remotely interested in are the commercials and even then, I'll watch them online and only then, based on what people say about them. (Because I'm nothing if not curious – don't think I jump on bandwagons because ugh, no).

I used to watch football, keeping track of favorite teams and how they were doing and who made it to the Super Bowl, but I've lost interest and I haven't watched a football game in, oh, a decade maybe?

I watch my boys' school football team but ONLY because Jazz (youngest son) plays the saxophone in the school marching band and I DIG the marching bands.

In fact, it's pretty safe to say I'm one of THOSE moms when it comes to band competitions. (I.E. Fiercely loyal, but not irrationally so).

I like basketball. In fact, Kevin and I will be going to watch a few games coming up – but again, because Jazz will be playing in the band during those games; I wouldn't go otherwise.

But if I had to choose a sport, basketball would be one I could sit through without wanting to claw my eyeballs out. I like basketball because it's fast, unpredictable and there's always something happening. I could do without the sweaty gym smell, though.

I LOATHE baseball. I mean, just abhor it. It's soooooo boring to watch, either live or on TV. I don't want to offend anyone, but I'm hard pressed to even call ball players athletes, I mean, they stand around all day unless a ball happens to come their way or it's their turn at bat. You couldn't pay me to watch baseball … wait, yes you could. But I'd be one of those annoying observers who wouldn't shut up about a bunch of guys standing around waiting for something to happen.

Now racing? I can dig it. And I watch it. I didn't always like it, but Kevin started getting into it and in order to find common ground and do something together, I started watching it and I have to admit, I enjoy it.

At first, it was like, "it's a bunch of guys driving around in circles," but it's really so much more. And I used to think the same thing about race car drivers like I do baseball players – how are they athletes? They're sitting around on their butts all day.

But they are having to constantly deal with the G-forces of driving and keeping the car on the racetrack and that takes a lot of physical exertion, I'm sure.

Then there's the driving strategy, and the fuel and tire issues, and what plan of action to take after a caution comes out and there's a lot of things to deal with in racing. It's not simply driving a car, it takes skills.

(Not implying baseball doesn't take skills, but still).

I like tennis, but really only because my husband used to play tennis in high school and it gives us something to talk about. I can play tennis, but I'm not very good. Now THAT'S a tough sport. You're constantly in motion, running back and forth, hitting balls .. that takes a lot of strength and endurance.

The boys? Hate sports. They have zero interest in any kind of sport. They have never taken any sort of interest in sports whatsoever. Even though Jazz plays music at football and basketball games, he doesn't enjoy it. He loves the playing music part, but he hates the sitting around waiting to play part.

At first, it sort of bothered me that the boys didn't like sports that much. I mean, society seems to want to label people (especially boys) as weird if they aren't into sports and I would be a little embarrassed to admit that our boys didn't play and didn't have any interest in sports. But now? I don't care. Whenever anyone new asks what sports our boys play (see? They just assume – why is that?), I simply tell them,

"They don't play sports. In fact, they don't like sports. They are geeks and we're quite okay with that. Geeks are usually successful and make money."

Well, they do.

I've also seen too many kids, too many family members, end up with broken bones and long-term issues from injuries sustained from high school sports. I think it would kill me if one of them got seriously hurt playing a game.

I also don't care for how parents react at sporting events, either. I can understand a parent caring enough for their kid's team to want them to perform well and winning IS fun, I mean, I get into the band competitions, but it's not a do-or-die situation. These parents that yell obscenities at the coaches, the referees, other players and worse, at their own kids, sicken me. I've watched too many young faces wither and die under a parent's harsh criticism of their sporting performance.

FOR A GAME. That won't mean a whole hell of a lot in a week's time. I just don't get it.

And then there are the sporting celebrities who tend to get away with all sorts of disgusting behaviors. What exactly is that teaching our young athletes? And let's not forget how much professional athletes make. I mean, they should definitely get paid well, they are, after all, putting their bodies through the wringer all in the name of entertainment, but the fact that big-sporting names make millions of dollars when other professions, like teaching, law enforcement, fire fighting and other equally important community careers only just scrape by.

It infuriates me. Our priorities are screwed up. We place a higher value on sports than we do on education. (And let's not forget actors – but that's a different rant).

Again, I just don't get the appeal. I mean sure, sports are fun, both to watch and play (for some people) and they teach our young people the importance of team work, following rules and camaraderie, but when it's all said and done, it's a GAME. It won't change the world, it won't pay the bills, (unless one is lucky enough to go pro – and let's be honest, those are some pretty high odds) – it's a fleeting distraction, a moment in time that will soon be chronicled and later forgotten.

I just don't get it.

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Love is a Many Splendor Thing, Unless You're Young

Heart

Ah, young love.

Which is really slang for "impulsive, stupid and possessing the ability to obsess over another human being to the point that one becomes irrational and borderline unstable."

Not that I'm speaking from experience, mind you. *ahem*

I've been in love twice, er, three times … no wait, one time wasn't love, it was lust, so I guess only twice.

I think.

That answers the question, right?

Okay fine, twist my arm. Here's the story …

The first time I was a senior in high school. I fell hard for this skinny dude who worked as a manager at the local hot spot – the skating rink. (Not that I really skated, mind you. I put on skates and then just embraced the wall because I couldn't skate to save my life. Not to mention, falling and cracking one's skull is not exactly sexy, though definitely a way to get noticed, I guess). He had a truck and a cherry red Camaro and was a wee bit shorter than I was, even when he wore his cowboy boots.

He was a regular cruiser (that's what we did for entertainment back in the '80's, which dates me but whatever) and was considered hot property.

Which of course only made him challenging because if I could date him? Then I was the IT girl, you know?

I nabbed him and we dated. I was QUEEN of the drag strip. And I honestly thought I loved him even though he treated me like crap, and I knew it, but I was willing to put up with his attitude because DUDE, all of the other girls envied me. ME!

I remember acting really pathetic in that "relationship." I followed him around, in fact, some might say I stalked him. (Though that could never be proven). And it was during one of those, erhm, "just happened to be in the same part of town as him" episodes that I discovered, I wasn't his only girlfriend. He was hanging out with some other chick, from a different school and you would have had to torture me at the time to admit it at the time but that I can freely admit now, was much prettier than me.

Side note: Me and this girl ended up working at the same bank years later (small world) and I was quite surprised to learn, she was actually nice and I actually liked her. Which was shocking considering I hated her for YEARS.

I was heartbroken. I mean, CRUSHED. I had put my heart on display and not only had this boy smashed it into a million little pieces, he put an ad in the paper and invited everyone who was anyone (in my small, self-imposed world) to come by and ridicule my vulnerability.

I went into self-preservation mode. I built a wall and I never again allowed a boy/man anywhere close to that wall. I had relationships, but I was the one in control. I was the one who did the dumping. And I didn't get hurt.

And then years later I met my husband. I started my career at the bank as a lobby teller, he was a drive-thru teller and we immediately hit it off. I knew, at once, that he was different. I knew, at once, that he was someone I could fall in love with.

Lucky for me, he felt the same way about me.

I've been married to this man for over 20 years now. And looking back on that first "love" I can see now that I didn't really love that skinny skating rink manager but rather I loved his popularity and did I mention he had a hot cherry red Camaro?

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How is technology changing the way families interact?

No Technology in Brighton

I know that a lot of "experts" say that technology is actually ripping families apart, and though that may be true on some level (more distractions means less face-to-face time), in some ways, I think it's brought our family closer.

I have two teenage boys (for those that don't know) and I'm lucky if I get grunts, let alone actual words. And trying to get them to talk about their days? Is nearly impossible. And I try, believe me. In fact, I do some of the silliest things in an effort to make them laugh and open up. Once in a while, I'm successful, but most times, they just roll their eyes at me. I'm afraid I only reinforce their opinion of me – lame-ass mom.

But the boys got new phones for Christmas. These phones have pop-out keyboards which make texting easier. And we text back and forth. Not a lot, they are teenage boys after all (which basically means teenage boys aren't typically chatty to begin with), but I feel like I talk to them more now because of the texting feature.

We also watch YouTube videos together. ("Hey mom! You have to watch this funny video!") And of course, there's Facebook (sometimes reading their statuses is the only way I know what is going on in their lives).

I honestly think I would know a lot less about my boys without today's technology to fall back on.

It's certainly easy to get distracted by technology. When I think about making the boys give up their technology in favor of real life I have to think, "how would I feel if someone asked me to give up my favorite gadgets?" I'd resent it.

We have come to accept that that is what our boys like. They enjoy their computers, they love playing their games with their buddies online. Texting is crack to teenagers – our children have grown up with technology, it's what they know, it's what they enjoy. Sure, we teach our boys to take breaks, to come back to "reality," but as with anything, using technology comes with responsibilities and too much of anything is never a good idea.

Do I wish our boys had more one-on-one social skills? Yes. And I daresay they're going to learn those skills pretty fast when they get jobs and/or go to college, but they're also learning skills with technology, too; skills that I daresay will come in handy in our technology-saturated world.

I mean come on, can you imagine your world without your cell phone and your computer?

Okay fine, I can imagine it too, but the REAL question is, do we WANT to?

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