just dance

As part of my ridiculously cliche and totally unsurprising goals for the new year, I’m attempting to lose some weight.  Thirty pounds of it to be precise.  My plan is simple:  eat more veggies, eat less crap and MOVE ALL THE TIME.  I bought a pedometer.  This clearly means I’m serious about getting down to business.

My workout routine is double what I’ve tried in the past.  Every day for the past week I did two separate workout videos:  Power 90 Fat Burner (the kickoff workout for the P90 series), and Julianne Hough’s Just Dance.  I have to admit, I bought the dance workout because I love dancing and because the chick on the cover looks vaguely familiar…I was a little ashamed of myself when I realized she looked familiar because she plays Ariel in the new Footloose movie.  Luckily, she’s not as annoying as I was afraid she might be.

Here’s what I’ve learned from my efforts this week:  I sweat more than someone my size should…it’s disgusting.  Also, and most importantly:  when I’m out of shape, my sense of rhythm suffers. 

I’m a good dancer.  Really!  I seriously don’t suck when it comes to choreography (put me in a club, however, and something entirely different happens…I won’t lie people, it’s not pretty).  I’m always the girl teaching the moves to the rest of the room.  I pick up on things quickly.  At least, I do when I’m fit.  It’s utterly embarassing how difficult this Just Dance workout has been for me.  Things that are supposed to look crisp and sexy end up looking like I tripped over my own feet…and then, inevitably, I end up tripping.  After two days with this chick assuring me through the television screen that I “look great!”  and can “work it!”, I find myself just a little disappointed at my lack of overall awesomeness when it comes to the 3 choreographed dances in this workout.  I feel clumsy, and I’ve never felt clumsy.  I feel decidedly UN-sexy…despite the fact that Julianne insists that I should feel the opposite. 

In short:  I really need to get back in shape if I ever want to put on my dancing shoes again!  Your job it to harrass me until I get the job done.  Deal?

sign of the times

About once a year, usually sometime between November and February, I buy a new calendar/planner and take an afternoon to transfer all important dates over to the new year. 

It’s bittersweet.  On the one hand, I love the spark of organization that comes with the dawn of a new year.  The pride that accompanies my newfound desire for productivity. On the other, it reminds me of still-dear friends…and of friends who’ve drifted away.  Once a year, I look in my little book and make the hard decision about whether or not your birthday gets marked down to be remembered in the coming year. 

It’s more than a little sad when you realize that you haven’t wished someone a happy birthday in several years, and then one year, you just don’t write that precious date down in your planner and it’s as if a tie has been severed. 

The thing I realized this year is that it doesn’t matter whether or not your birthday is marked down in my little black book, because I’ll forget I even have a planner in just a couple of weeks and will rely solely on social media to remind me to celebrate the anniversary of your birth. 

Happy 2012 everyone!

i’m a nut

I love pistachios.  And I don’t just mean to eat.  Sure, I love that salty dusting and the nutty flavor, but what I love most is cracking them.  I wouldn’t eat pistachios at all if they always came pre-shelled.  It takes me 4 counts per nut:  1) pick up the pistachio, 2) crack open the shell, 3) pop the nut in my mouth, 4) throw the shell away.  Pick. Crack. Pop. Throw. 1, 2, 3, 4.  1 2 3 4. 1234.  I love the rhythm, the repetition.  So much so that I’ll eat an entire bag and not even notice.  Good thing they’re good for me.

the cork

It started innocently enough.  Childhood curiosity is a beautiful thing.  Really.  It’s true and honest and genuine…and often embarrasing to others.

A few weeks ago, we were on our way back from Beaumont (a 6 hour car ride) in a caravan with Trey’s sister Robin and her family.  On one of our many bathroom breaks, I stealthily snuck a tampon into my front pocket and proceeded to help usher Robin’s girls into the bathroom stall at the McDonald’s.  At some point during the hustle and bustle, Mary Beth, our 7 year old neice, noticed something yellow sticking out of my pocket. 

tampons“Ooh!  What’s that?”  She squealed.

“It’s nothing.” 

Come on, even in the ladies room, we don’t advertise that it’s our time of the month unless we have to. But she wouldn’t let up.  She was reaching and grabbing and making all too big a fuss about the tiny little package.  Finally, I gave up.

“Mary Beth, it’s a tampon.”

“What’s a tampon?”

“You’ll learn about it when you’re older.  Ask your mom.” 

All us ladies had a good laugh about her curiousity in the bathroom. And we thought that was that.

 

It wasn’t.

 

Yesterday, Trey and I spent the afternoon with his family: lunch, a Barbie movie, home made cake and ice cream.  We were all sitting around the table talking, when Mary Beth came flailing her arms:  “What’s this?”

You guessed it.  A tampon.

She’d seen one sticking out of the pocket in my purse and this time decided to bring it to the dining room table for everyone to see.  Since it was the second time this had happened, I jokingly mentioned to Robin that it might be time to have the talk.

So, there, in the dining room, at a table with my mother in law, Trey, 4 year old Bella, and a friend of theirs from church, Robin proceeded to explain to Mary Beth what a tampon is. While the women at the table were getting a big kick out of it, I’m pretty sure Trey was mortified. 

As Robin tried to be honest and thorough in explaining to her 7 year old daughter the changes that her body would inevitably go through, Mary Beth couldn’t keep her eyes of that tampon.  Finally, after about 5 minutes of trying to tell her what a menstral cycle is, we did what any good natured, fun-loving family would do, and we opened up the tampon and dropped it in a cup of water.  Now that (and pretty much nothing that was said prior) was interesting to Mary Beth. 

Nana (Trey’s mom) said it reminded her of one of those washcloths that comes in the tightly wrapped package but expands when you put it in water.  Robin called it “the cork.” 

I’m pretty sure Mary Beth didn’t retain any of the information given to her regarding her impending puberty.  But we sure had a good laugh about it.  Well, except for Trey…who’s really hoping that, when the time comes, we have boys.

it takes a village

Sunday afternoon, Trey and I attended the funeral for the step-father of a friend and colleague of his.  It was a joyful celebration of life.  We sang lots of songs – old hymns like Will the Circle Be Unbroken and When We All Get to Heaven. We were sitting in the back behind a young couple with their baby girl.  I would say she was about 8 months old, but I actually have no concept of age when it comes to babies. If her mother said she was 3 months or 18 months, I would have believed her.

As the service went on, I found myself watching the baby.  She was quiet, and happy, but getting more bored by the minute.  I scrunched up my mouth, I wiggled my nose.  I winked at her, I stuck out my tongue.  And by the time the eulogy was finishing up, I noticed that I wasn’t the only one paying this child a lot of attention.

The elderly couple sitting directly in front of us were all cooing and smiling at her.  The two ladies sitting behind me were making goo-goo eyes and grinning.  Trey was even waving his fingers at the little girl.

While there were at least 2 other babies who had to be taken out during the course of the service, this little girl stayed happy and entertained and didn’t once make a peep. 

I guess it takes a village to love a child.  To keep her smiling and happy and healthy.  And you’ve got to admit, making silly faces at babies is pretty good for us older folks too.

for short people

 

It wasn’t until sometime around 4th grade that I realized I was short. By 7th grade, it was glaringly obvious. So obvious, in fact, that my friend Doug gave me a brown paper lunch bag as a going away present when my family moved from Jackson to Fort Mill to use “as a barf bag for the trip, or to wear as a dress.”

My height always seemed like a curse. Until one day, the words of Whitney Houston spoke to me and I found “the greatest love of all.” I learned to love my self…and my size.

Being pocket-sized has it’s advantages:

  • I can pretty much order off the kids menu wherever I go.
  • I always get to be in the front during dance numbers on stage.
  • I get to wear ridiculously high heels without fear of ever making Trey look shorter than me, and because of this…
  • I learned to walk well in heels at a very young age.
  • I always have enough leg-room.
  • and, let’s face it, because of my size, I will always be just a little bit cute. 

I always root for the little guy (like Kent on last season’s So You Think You Can Dance). I secretly love (love, love, LOVE) Napoleon Bonaparte. And big people love to pick me up and throw me around…since I’m such a child at heart, I still love this. 

However, as fun as it is to be a Half Pint, some people just don’t appreciate our place in the world and can be downright condescending.  Sometimes, without even realizing it. 

I found this soap dispenser in a church bathroom. 

And I know what you’re thinking…yes, I could reach the wall soap dispenser!

gifts

I’ve been stressing a lot about money lately.  I know what you’re thinking: “who hasn’t?”  Still, it’s more than I’m comfortable with. 

I’ve never been one to save.  I’ve become quite adept at living paycheck to paycheck.  However, debt, of any kind, kind of freaks me out.  It just doesn’t seem fair that I now live in San Antonio and still have to pay for a house in Spartanburg.  Or that we have to pay student loans for a diploma already received.  Yes, I know, that’s just the way it is…but I don’t have to like it. 

Last Friday, I spent the day helping my new friend Kate.  She owns her own cleaning business.  She’s also just had surgury on her right hand, making cleaning a little difficult, to say the least.  So, Friday morning, I met Kate at her apartment and we drove to the house she’d been hired by a realtor to clean since the house is newly for sale. 

We entered the gated community, followed our directions to park in front of the 3,000 square foot, 4 bedroom, 3 bath, 3 car garage brick house, and sat there with our mouths hanging open like Augustus Gloop in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.  It was beautiful.  It was magnificent.  It was selling for $410, 000.00.  There’s nothing like a big. fancy house like that to make all your future house hunting expeditions seem disappointing by comparison.

Kate and I cleaned that house from top to bottom, and it took about 6 hours.  Since I met Kate in a women’s bible study, the faith conversation was already out there.  We talked a lot about our faith.  About the bible.  About our struggles and triumphs.  And about all those little signs God gives us every day that tell us we’re on the right (or wrong) path.  Getting to know Kate better that day really opened my eyes to the fact that I’m holding on to all this money stress, when I really need to just let go and let God.  But that’s always been difficult for me.  I mean, if I’m stressed about money, but decide to give all that stress and worry to God, am I taking it back by looking for a job?  Or balancing my checkbook?  Or wondering what random belongings I have might fetch a good price on eBay? 

Today, I was reading my friend Dorothy’s blog, specifically her most recent entry, woe is me, and I thought: “wow, that’s it, that’s it exactly.”  No matter how tight money is, or how many bills are piling up, I have been so blessed.  We have food on our table every night.  Our livingroom furniture was given to us as a gift.  Most of our home furnishings were wedding presents.  My parents bought me my first car and paid for my college education.  And, since Trey is employed by a church, even our monthly income is the result of gifts from others. 

God gives us thousands of gifts every day, some more obvious than others.  I just need to remember to thank Him for each gift, instead of greedily looking to unwrap the next one.

funky town

We’ve officially been in Texas for about two months now and I’m handling it much better than expected.  I sincerely anticipated a week or more’s worth of sobbing in the fetal position eating nothing but pudding and mashed potatoes…

Mmm, pudding.

Anyway, that didn’t happen.  What is happening though are isolated instances of the above mentioned phenomenon.  Last night being one of those instances. 

I had a busy day yesterday, well, busy for me.  Trey’s mom and sister came to pick me up around 10am Wednesday morning to go to the June meeting of the San Antonio Women’s…well fooey, it’s either Coalition, Company, Club, or some other C word that basically means  a group.  My mother-in-law, Deb, signed the 3 of us up to sing as the entertainment for this month’s luncheon since it had a Mother-Daughter theme to it.  After the luncheon (which went well, I might add…good food, good speaker), I decided it was time to call Yo Yo Ma and fill her in on last week’s babysitting adventure (AKA: Camp Leslie) and the luncheon.  We had a great talk…but I could tell she didn’t want to get off the phone.  After that I watched Fargo  (gotta love William H. Macy) and waited for Trey to get home.  I could feel the funkiness creeping up on me by this time, so we went to Whataburger for dinner (dude, there’s no Jack-N-the-Box in sight, but these Whataburger things are everywhere…what I wouldn’t give for an Ultimate Jack with mini churros) and used our 2 free movie passes (yes, we got them from our cat litter points) to go see X-Men: First Class.  The movie was excellent (minus January Jones’ complete inability to act).  But when we got home my funk was in full swing and I spent the evening in tears, curled up in Trey’s lap, watching How I Met Your Mother in hopes that it would cheer me up. 

I guess it’s homesickness.  It’s just not behaving the way I thought it would.  The way it has in the past when my family moved to a different city.  It’s like a new breed of homesickness. 

I must admit though, there is one great thing about living in Texas:

bacon pancakes & airbrush dreams

Last day of vacation.  So sad to see it go.  This has been the most relaxing week of my entire life – hands down. 

As a farewell to Lake Junaluska and our week of lazy freedom, Trey and I went to Joey’s Pancake House (http://www.joeyspancake.com/) for breakfast.  And if you’re a smart cookie, you already know what I ordered. 

No, but Eggs Benedict is an excellent guess. 

Read the blog title and guess again.

BINGO!  Bacon Pancakes.  My arteries were screaming no, my my tastebuds were saying “Ooooooooooooh, yeah.” And yes, they were as glorious as I thought they would be, if not more so.  Imagine it: three golden flap-jacks with two inch strips of bacon baked right in and a scoop of butter the size of a small orange all topped with Joey’s fresh maple syrup.  De-lish.  The next time you’re in Maggie Valley, you must go.  But get there early – by 8:30am, the place usually has an hour long wait.  And they’re only open for breakfast.

On our way back to the house Trey & I were laughing to ourselves about how touristy Maggie Valley really is.  It’s like Myrtle Beach, only without the water.  Everything else you’d see on the strip on any given day in August can be found in Maggie Valley too.  Herds of Harley Davidson bikers?  Check! Teenagers wearing far too little clothing?  Check! Stores with innertubes and beach towels out front (Eagles, anyone?)? Check!  And of course, airbrush booths.  We shan’t forget those.

It still baffles me – leaves me dumfounded – boggles my mind – how (HOW? I beg you!), in this day in age, in a progressive society, how can there still be a market for anything airbrushed???

squeaky clean

Yesterday I had my semi-annual dentist visit. I love my dentist office. I always have the same hygienist, Robin, who insists on telling me I have beautiful teeth. “If more people took care of their teeth like you do, I’d be out of a job.” She’s precious. And she always asks me about theatre. What shows are going on, what role I’m playing, would it be appropriate for so-n-so’s grand kids to see? However, while I love her chit-chat, I must say it’s a bit difficult for me to return the conversation when her hands are in my mouth! I mean, yes, that’s her job – to get in there and clean my teeth and make sure all my pearly whites are super healthy…but don’t ask me questions when you know I can’t talk! Also, have you ever noticed that when the hygienist is flossing your teeth, she (yes, she – have YOU ever met a male dental hygienist?) rests her hands on your face and pushes off on your chin/nose/cheeks for leverage. That’s just weird. And then your face is all powdery from the latex gloves. Eew.

While I understand that going to the dentist is no one’s favorite thing to do, I hate it for a different reason. I don’t mind the poking and prodding, the pushing off my chin to floss my teeth, the long waits, or the suction tube thingy that they stick in your face…I hate not knowing where to look. If you look straight up, the light is in your face and your eyes start watering. If you look to the left, it’s like you’re being rude and looking away. But if you look to your right, there are boobs in your face! And you certainly can’t make eye contact with the person who has their hands and several utensils stuffed in your pie hole…that’d just be awkward. Can you close your eyes? Seriously…what’s the etiquette there?