Saturday, February 28, 2009

Ramblin' Edo

Oh to be a long-haul trucker.

I love to drive! I have driving fantasies. I know when I'm much too stressed because I start dwelling on driving away. The where doesn't so much matter as the how--the car. For a long time it centered on Portland, Oregon where my husband went to school and we lived for those first few years of marriage. Now, it could be anywhere.

For the last couple of years I've made a loop from SLC to Jackson Hole, past the Grand Tetons, through Yellowstone and then down through Bear Lake back to SLC. It takes about 17 hours. It is total beauty overload. I've done it alone, which I'm not sure is wise, but it sure is a way to get time to think.

I also really like the drive through Montana up through Glacier National Park into Waterton Canada. Montana really does have "Big Sky" and the Rockies are austere and threatening and inspiring.

I drive pretty much the whole time on family vacations. I feel like I'm the one making all that scenery happen--the magical tour director. When we make a road trip I feel as if the car is the machine that somehow causes the transformation from familiar to fantastic. Planes are too fast and disorienting. Although I don't love the family road trip that lasts longer than 12 hours!

If you don't already think I am mentally unstable here comes the kicker. Disclaimer: I am happily married and I love my family. My love of driving goes hand in hand with leavin' songs. Those are my favorite types of song in the Blues and Country genres and the tackier the better. I love "I'm leaving on a Jet Plane," "Wichita Lineman" (Which is really a song about a rambling electrician--a RAMBLING ELECTRICIAN), "Ramblin' Man," "Me & Bobby McGee" (Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose) & "He Thinks He'll Keep Her." These songs are so deliciously selfish--something I don't even let myself think about--they do.

So don't worry--I'm not going anywhere--at least not for long.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Pros of Being Over-Large

Do you want to know what the pros are of being "Over-Large?" I'm thinking that is a better word than fat! There are some pros you know. I'm only going to talk about the pros today. I don't know why.

Yeah, I do know why. It's because I had this great thing going, I wasn't having too hard of time. Then I had my birthday last week and I had a marvelous time eating all those forbidden things. Everything seemed okay until the next morning and I had sudden and strong cravings. There was still 3/4 of a cake in the refrigerator, leftover steak and mucho cookies.

This is why I only cheat once a month because it takes several days to get the cravings under control. I have gotten it under control--mostly, but I still want to say what's great about being over- large.

Numero Uno: YOU CAN EAT ANYTHING YOU WANT! A nice perk!

Segundo: Eating masks those difficult emotions. Suddenly without food I have to communicate my "true" feelings or else I may explode. I'm not sure the world is ready for my "true" feelings. I know I'm not. (I actually am a harsher person without food as a buffer.)

Trecero: It seems as if expectations lower a bit when I am over-large. Could it be a way of hiding? Fancy that.

There is no fourth. Those are the only three. Oh wait, did I mention you can EAT ANYTHING YOU WANT--yes, the capital letters emphasize that I am yelling!

Coming Soon: The Cons!


As I wrote several days ago--I've been thinking about things that are magic to me and I've made a list. The 2nd Avenue Garden really was when I first felt that there was something special to be had in this life, but there is so much more. That made me think of kissing! Kissing to me is like reading, you get to touch another person's mind and soul. (Is that too deep a comment about kissing?)

Here it goes. This may be crossing a line, but kissing is magical. There are many kinds of kisses. I won't go into the non-magical ones. I'm sure we've all had a few of those.

First is the kiss a child gives. In our family we give kisses that we call "Italianos" where we kiss one cheek and then the other. I love this. I love the way each child has their own smell and kisses just a little differently. One daughter is like a butterfly and barely brushes my cheeks. My son's are more like hugs as he lays mostly his cheek against mine.

Then there are first kisses. I've only had 6 first kisses. I was game for more I promise, but it seemed like the boys I dated had to work up some gumption to kiss me. I'm not going to talk about all of them I promise and of course no names!

My first kiss was a wonderful surprise. I was 16. I was at a leadership camp in the mountains of Colorado at Camp Cheley. I'd made friends with a very darling boy from Florida. We spent a lot of time together and of course I had the type of crush you can only have on someone you've known for 4 days and will never see again. At the very end we were all in this big circle holding hands and singing some very silly song you only sing at camp, for our good byes. He hugged me and then just planted one on me! It was an awesome. A perfect first kiss. I swear my lips were warm for a full day!

Then time went by and I finally had a boyfriend. It was someone I really liked--in fact I had liked him for two years. He was the kind of boy that I'd talk to on the phone to (secretly) until 3 in the morning. Anyway, after we'd been dating (way too long) he kissed me. We were in his car on the way somewhere and he just stopped and kissed me--totally cool! I had the conscious thought, "So this is what everyone's been talking about!" It shocked me how wonderful it was. I still remember everything about it--especially how his car smelled at exactly that moment--weird how the brain works.

Then my husband. When we were dating my husband waited 23 dates before he kissed me. Yes, 23 dates! We went out sometimes twice a week for 3 months before the fateful day. I was dying. The first time he kissed me I had again a very strong thought, "Man oh man am I in trouble." We're still married because the kissing is still magical, even though it's been almost 23 years since that day. Let this be a warning to him.

Kisses in almost all forms are magic.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

12 Pounds--That's a lot of Sugar off the Bod!

Just thought I'd do a quick heads up on the no TV and no sugar, low-fat thingamabob. Things are actually going well! Especially the food thing. It's now been over 6 weeks and I had one blow out day (I blogged the confession) and I must admit I had a day where I ate several handfuls of bridge mix. This coincided with the TV extravaganza day I had while sick! Then on four occasions I've eaten three M&Ms totaling 12 M&Ms.

I've eaten a ton of healthy food and I feel really great. I've got energy for the first time in a long while. I think sugar really makes me feel run down. I've lost 12 pounds in 6 or so weeks--I think that's pretty healthy and steady weight loss. The clothes are fitting much better and some are even feeling a little loose--Hurraaayyy.

Now, to the TV. I have not watched anything BUT Battlestar Galactica. It's been really interesting that the only show I actually really want to watch is BSG. I would not have guessed that in the beginning--I knew I would miss it, but not have it be the only show that I've actually broken the rules for. This brings me to an amendment to the TV rules. I may watch Battlestar Galactice and I may watch anything I want one day a month--just like the food. Is that bending the rules too far?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

2nd Avenue Garden

I've been thinking a lot about magic. So much of life is practical, grimy and grinding--but to me there is a glimmer of golden thread that's magic about it. The thread winds through the core of me and stretches out into life making everything all right and often heart-achingly beautiful.

My first memories are magical and belong to the garden of my childhood home on 2nd Avenue. I had a corner room on the second story of an old house--at least old for a Salt Lake City house. The room was on the northeast corner. It had windows lining both sides, so every morning I would wake up with the sun.

On summer Saturdays I would wake to the sound of lawn mowers. My dad was always interested in the community and we had a prison work release detail mow our lawn--I didn't know this at the time. I remember peeking at the workmen and seeing faces that seemed, to a young child, as old, lined and tired.

To me it was just magical to wake up to the smell of cut grass coming in through my window. To this day I can't resist the smell of cut lawn. I know it is how green smells. Even though I know that our Kentucky Blue Grass lawns guzzle water in the desert I love the soft green-blue carpet--and secretly hope we never have to give them up.

The garden was unusual. We had thousands of flowers and two large earthy areas behind our kitchen sown with zinnias just for cutting. There were large bushes to hide in, a gazebo with a fort in the top. We had plum trees with dark leaves, casting deep shadows even in the height of summer. The fruit was almost black and dropped to the ground in the fall, filling the air with heady smells of sugar and fermentation.

One fall the whole family was organized and sent to the garden to plant thousands and thousands of bulbs. My dad prepared the beds with peat moss. We planted and planted and planted. The next spring the daffodils and tulips were pouring out of our yard. My mom cut bucketfuls and gave them away, took them to church and placed them on every table in our home. I wrapped many cut stems in wet paper towels and took them to my school teachers.

Years later when I planted my first garden in my first house I covered the beds with peat moss. I poured the spiky clouds of peat onto the ground, and as I mixed it in with my shovel I was overcome by such an immediate and visceral memory of that time I burst into tears. I hadn't known how much I loved that smell, hadn't even known to miss it. That was the strongest of the magic, pulling me back in time.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Nuked by Battlestar Galactica

Last week my son had a cold, then my daughter and this week me! Yeah, it was the stuffy nose, itchy throat, wish I could sleep type of classic common cold. I hate the I can't sleep part. I can always sleep. I'm the type of person that can board a plane in New York City, wrap a blanket around myself and wake up as the plane begins to descend in Salt Lake City. I can sleep in my chair at work, it only happened once and get this--my own snore woke me up. I can even sleep in those wooden carrels at the University of Utah. Yesterday, I was finally so exhausted that I fell asleep on my bedroom floor because it felt like the bed was too far away.

All this is a lengthy prelude to a justification. I stayed home from work yesterday--which honestly kind of made me mad, because I like to work. I just couldn't get up the gumption to get out of my pajamas--a sure sign that I was sick. So, I'm home and sick and my throat is not allowing me to sleep, even with Dayquil. It's 10:30 am. I think you know where this is going, I'm alone in my room. I've been in bed all morning and I can't sleep. Is that enough justification for a TELEVISION ORGY. I say YES!

It started with 3 episodes of Battlestar Galactica. (If you haven't seen it don't knock it.) Then it was only 1pm. Still can't sleep, then by all means queue up, 24. I think it was only SEVEN hours on the DVR--which sans ads is only like FIVE hours. Add it up--yes right there it's 7.5 hours consumed TV, so far. The kids have come home, leftovers reheated, kids to dance, then back to the TV. Yes, this time Privileged. I know--since my husband erased all my other shows--see I even blame him.

It's was 10pm. I tried valiantly to sleep and couldn't. (I tried for a whole 10 minutes I swear.) Then I took one last look at the DVR. I found The Constant Gardener. I love John le Carre, I love Ralph Fiennes, and I love Rachel Weisz. I watched the whole thing, finishing at midnight--my husband was snoring, I had the captions on--There is something wrong with me!


The flesh is weak.

It taught me a lesson. I don't think I could do this no TV thing if I were home all the time. The house is so very quiet and my mind is kind of loud--TV can be such a lovely opiate. Also, I think I'm going to need one day a month where I can watch what I want. I'm going to have to add that to my rules.

The last lesson I've learned is that TV TOTALLY ROCKS--and I probably need to keep not watching it if I want to get anything done.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Saved by Antonio Banderas

Today did not start well. First I woke up feeling like I hadn't slept and with a sore throat. Not too bad though--just not great. I get to work and check my email. At 9:15 I was soundly rejected by an agent. Not just any agent but the one who had asked to see my manuscript. She didn't just reject my query, she rejected my book. Which in some ways is worse that being rejected personally, it's like having your thoughts and soul rejected. Nice.

The universe has a way of balancing things out though. This is going to show how shallow I really am and also how very little it takes to truly please me!

At about 1:37 pm I am sitting at my desk at work and hear someone at the door. Since there is no one at the front desk it is my duty to see who has blessed us with their presence. I see the paper products delivery man. I direct him to where the paper needs to be placed, which is kind of in my office because I have the incredible luck to have a cozy cubby in the copy/work room!

He places the paper and stands up and tells me with a marked Spanish accent that I am beautiful He actually says, "You are beautiful." I of course say a stunned, "Thank you." He then asks--and I am not lying here, I swear. "Are you married?" I think I gave an un-beautiful guffaw and say, "Yes"--holding up my left hand to show my wedding band. No one ever asks me if I'm married, I look married, I have married written all over my face. Then I add, unnecessarily, "and I have 5 kids." I look like I have 5 kids, I have five kids written all over my body.

He says again, "You are beautiful." It's true I could not have made this up. I sign the work order--very gracefully, just like Angelina Jolie would. He honestly kind of whispers about 5 more times, "so beautiful," as he picks up his stuff to leave. It was a little creepy but mostly deeply satisfying.

To many of you who are blessed with this kind of attention this may not seem like a big deal. To me this was a red banner day! The last person to hit on me was a hairdresser in Portland Oregon 20 years ago and I'm not sure if he liked me or just wanted to prove he liked women. Plus, the only people that compliment me on my looks are related to me and you know--they kind of have to.

The paper products deliver man thought I was single, beautiful and he didn't call me ma'am, which is what everyone else calls me these days. I don't care if he was portly and a few inches shorter--to me he will always be young Antonio Banderas.