Friday, February 27, 2009

Walk on by

I decided to try an experiment. I left my computer on and open to a blank word document, and every time I went by, I typed what I was thinking at that moment. It’s an old trick from my English major days – used to help get the creative juices flowing. So that’s what this is – my thoughts as I passed by.

There’s a big difference between lesser-known celebrities and well-known-for-being-sleazy celebs. Especially when it comes to reality television.

Dieting is simple. Not complicated. There are a couple of basic rules. 1. If you take in less calories than you burn, you’ll lose weight. 2. Eating a variety healthy foods (whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean meat, good fats) is better for you. The problem is not that losing weight is complicated – it’s that it’s hard. Not fun. Takes will power. Means you have to exercise more and eat less Ring Dings. All this talk about specialized dieting (more carbs, less carbs, all protein, more fat, no fat, no sugar, nothing you chew) is making me crazy.

Speaking of Ring Dings – I love them. They are so much better than Ding Dongs. And they come in twin packs! I really can’t have them in the house. Kinda like somebody I know can’t have Hostess cupcakes around. Right, Hallie?

Why is it that when you usually have to wait at least five minutes to pull out of your driveway because of traffic, that the one time there is no traffic anywhere in sight and can pull out immediately, that you only get half a mile down the street and remember something you left behind and have to go back?

Businesses with drive-up services are awesome when you have trouble walking. Why isn’t there a drive-through grocery store around here?

Why is it that when you go to the store for eggs and milk, that you come home with $50 worth of groceries, but no eggs?

People who work at gas stations and banks and redemption centers who have doggie biscuits in their pockets for their canine visitors are awesome.

I love the smell of clean laundry. I’m a regular-scent Snuggle gal. I like to breathe in the lovely smell when the laundry is still warm. Mmmm.

Why is it that when you decide, finally, to cut your hair, after it’s been driving you crazy for weeks, and has looked like crap every single day, and you make the appointment to get it done - that day your hair comes out perfectly and ten different people mention that your hair looks great?

I have to remember to mention - for those who asked or wondered - Yes, I WAS shoveling out my gas grill so as to USE IT. We grill year round up here. There is no other acceptable way to cook a steak, in my opinion, so we just suck it up. I've been out there in my nightgown, with boots and a parka. It's just what we do.

Wasn't there a song about little things meaning a lot? There are a bunch of little things that can make a world of difference in my life: cleaning my computer screen (who knew you were all so pretty?), a shower, ibuprofen, fresh sheets, a phone call from a friend, funny blog entries or friendly comments. Maybe it’s all I need – to focus on the little things that are so satisfying, and leave the big stuff to those who are more qualified to deal with it.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Lady sings the blues

Melancholy is my mood today. I am feeling a tad discouraged.

I’m still unemployed, and I shouldn’t be. I’m talented and smart and a college graduate. I should have an awesome job by now.

I haven’t heard from my birth mother, and I thought I would by now. It’s been weeks. She should call me. Or write me. Or at least send some medical information.

I’m laid up and can’t walk (don’t ask!) and I hate being stuck at home on the couch. I need to be out and about, distracting myself from my own misery with people and activity.

But I can’t. So, in typical ME fashion, I’ve decided to avoid thinking about the whole mess. I am watching everything on my DVR – hours and hours of shows I recorded to watch some time when I had a minute. Well, I have a minute. I have lots of minutes.

I did a jigsaw puzzle. I love puzzles, and have several of them in the closet, waiting for time to put them together. Well, I have time to put them together.

I knitted some really nice socks with soft gray Alpaca yarn and started knitting a ribbon scarf with some funky ribbon yarn I got from the dollar store. Hey, I know what you’re thinking – alpaca yarn and cheapo dollar store yarn are very different, but that’s me – a real renaissance woman. I’m sure I mentioned it before.

I read three books in the last week. One was beautiful fiction, one was an amazing true story, and one was kinda trashy. I won’t tell you which one I liked the most.

I joined Facebook. I really think I am too old to be on Facebook, but I have secured a promise from Hallie that she will teach me everything I need to know. Maybe she can teach me how to seem younger while she’s at it.

I’ve been going through old photos – kind of an ongoing project to rescue my pictures from those horrible albums with the sticky pages and plastic sheets that they didn’t warn us about a hundred years ago. If I had known those nifty albums would eat my pictures, I would never have put them in there in the first place! Anyway, I’ve re-discovered some terrific family photos, and the memories to go with them. You’ll probably get to see a few of them now and again.

I’ll leave you with this photo of me, back when life was simple. When there were no piles of snow to shovel off the roof. No wonder I’m smiling!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Morning After

I did get a few pictures of the BIG SNOWFALL before I dropped my new camera in the snow. Luckily, after I dried it all out, it seems to be working fine. I thought you might enjoy seeing them.
This is one of my kitchen windows, but it's what every single window in my house looked like during the storm. I kept trying to look outside to see how bad it was, but the wind was smacking the wet, heavy snow up against our window screens and it stuck there. It was a little creepy, to be honest with you. I like to be able to see outside. I'm funny like that.

After it was (mostly) over, when we went out to try to dig out the vehicles, I saw that the snow was sticking to the whole house. This is unusual. Generally, the snow falls on the ground, the cars, the roof - not the side of the house. Weird.

I wish this picture had come out better. This is the path I just created by walking down my side steps and around my car. I was hoping you could see how deep the drifts were. I was walking - well, shuffling, really - through crotch-high snow. Wait, that's not very lady-like. Let's say it was hip-high snow.

Believe it or not, this is after about twenty minutes of car-snow removal. I don't ever remember the snow on my car being this tall.
Still, it is pretty. And fun to play in. And, as soon as the pain is over (snow removal causes pain - it's just a fact of life!) I'll be happy to talk about how lovely Maine is in winter. But first, I have to dig out my gas grill and my trash cans.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Hard Day's Night

Sometimes, here in Maine, it's hard to think about anything but surviving. Especially for those of us who live in the more rural areas. It's as if Mother Nature says, "forget all that other crap you're dealing with and focus on this, right now."

As the weather guys on TV said, we just 'experienced a winter storm.' I would amend that slightly. We just got dumped on. BIG TIME. We're used to snow. We get snowed on a lot, and that's actually one of the things I like about Maine. But this was more - a lot more - than the usual storm. We had about 18 or 20 inches of gorgeous white precipitation, and suddenly, our priorities shifted.

Now, some people will talk about how beautiful it is, and show pictures of trees laden down with glistening snow; or how fun it is to play in, and show pictures of kids and their sleds or snow men. I'm not going to do that. I'm pretty sure there are enough bloggers out there to cover that topic, and they're all right. It IS pretty, and it IS fun to play in. But there are a lot of factors that affect how much fun it is, and I'm going to list a few of those here for you southern folks.


1. How much snow? 6 inches - pretty and fun. 20 inches - too much.

2. How much snow did you already have? If you already had snowbanks too high to see over when you wanted to pull out of your driveway, more snow is not always a good thing.

3. How much space do you have to store snow? One of the biggest issues is becoming 'where do we pile the snow?' We live on a major road, and aren't allowed to push it across the street (although sometimes we do...shhhh!) so it just gets plowed up until the snowbanks are as high as the second story of my house. I am perfecting the 'listen and pray' method of determining when it's safe to pull out of the driveway.

4. Do you have a garage? Huge factor, this one. If you have a garage, your life is totally different than us garage-less folks. Cleaning off your cars after a big storm is a major undertaking, and for us it's usually a task completed in a giant rush while the plow guy waits, looking grumpy. I-HEART-GARAGES. I plan to get one someday.

5. How much snow do you have to shovel by hand? Again, this is a huge issue. If you have a small area to shovel, you may actually enjoy it. I've heard of this, although I don't really understand the feeling. We have to shovel so much you wouldn't even believe it. Front steps and pathway. Back deck. Mailbox (if it survived the big state plow). Path to dog yard. Path through dog yard. Gates (and there are a lot of them). Individual dog spaces (30-plus of them) so that they all can access their houses and food bowls. Individual dog pens, where older dogs or puppies live, so that they stay secure (after 3 feet of snow falls, a safe 6-foot fence becomes a unsafe 3 foot fence). There's more, but you get the idea.

6. What is your method of heating your home? This becomes important relating to #5, because if you heat by oil, you have to shovel a path to the oil-fill pipe, or they won't deliver oil. And today's delivery day.

7. What is your back-up heating method? This relates to loss of power situations, which we had to deal with this time around. Luckily, we have our power back now, but there are 70,000 people in Maine who are still without electricity as I write this. If you have a good system to heat your home while the power is out, then you're in a better spot. Us? not a great back-up system. Gotta think about that one for next year. I was surprised to find out that wood pellet-burning stoves, which everybody was buying like crazy up here when oil was so expensive, actually need electricity to run. Who knew?

8. How hard is it to remove snow from your roof? I don't even want to think about this, but it has to be done. Sigh.

There's more, but I think you get the picture. It's beautiful, all right, but sometimes it's hard to notice that part, at least until you get by the surviving part. I took some pictures yesterday, and if any of them came out, I'll post them later on. In the meantime, I have to go and catch up on reading blogs. No power is bad for my blog habit!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

5 Things I Hate About...

Since we're racing again this weekend, I decided to leave a little slice of the real me here on my blog. I know most of you think I'm all sweetness and light (those of you who know me in real life, SHHHH!), but in reality I do have a dark side. There are a multitude of things that irritate me. A lot. I think I'm going to start listing some of these in the hopes that blogging about them will make me feel better.

Because there are so many of these things, I'm going to group them by category. For our first installment of THINGS THAT BUG THE CRAP OUTTA ME, we'll tackle television.

Now, you probably all know by now that I love TV. Really really love it. I grew up in a television-watching family. We did lots of other things - played board games and cards, read lots of books, played the piano and sang, even conversed with one another. We just did it while the TV was on. It doesn't seem weird to me. I was programmed from when I was small to multi-task. It's just who I am.

That being said, there are things I can't stand about the blasted box, and I'll give you the short list.

1. VOLUME CONTROL - Why can't all the channels adhere to some sort of rule about similar volume? I am often watching some channel, for instance TruTV (formerly known as Court TV) which requires me to turn the volume up a lot just to hear it. Then, I'll change the channel, and because I have a short attention span, I'll forget to turn it down first, and I'll get blasted out of my chair by the other channel SCREAMING AT ME. Arghhh. And what is it with the commercials being so much louder than whatever show you're watching? Are they hoping, if you fell asleep, that you might wake up if the Geiko lizard yells at you? Double arghhh.

2. MUSIC - Why don't any of the so-called music video channels show actual music videos anymore? I used to love to go to sleep to VH1 or CMT. It helps me keep current on what's happening in the music scene, since, left to myself, I'll listen to my Ipod oldies and never hear anything made since 1980. Unfortunately, they don't play music videos anymore. Instead, they opt for crappy reality shows, like AGING ROCK STAR PICKS THE BIGGEST SKANK, RAP ARTIST I NEVER HEARD OF FINDS THE WEIRDEST SLUT WITH BAD TEETH, DATE MY MOM/DAD/UNCLE/SECOND COUSIN/SISTER ALL AT THE SAME TIME, FORMER CHILD ACTOR DESPERATE FOR ATTENTION CHOOSES REALITY TV OVER THERAPY, and my personal favorite, GET THE 12 WORST HUMAN BEINGS ON THE PLANET AND MAKE THEM LIVE TOGETHER AND PERFORM STUPID STUNTS FOR OUR AMUSEMENT. Bring back the music videos. I miss them.

3. LOGO ABUSE - Why is it that every channel feels the need to display their logo in the bottom corner of the screen during the whole freaking show? Are they having an identity crisis? Did some high-priced marketing expert tell them that it will subliminally affect our viewing habits? Look, I KNOW what channel I'm on. I know, because I PUT THIS CHANNEL ON. I do not need a constant reminder. Lose the logo.

4. POP-UP ADS - Along the same lines as #3, I hate hate HATE the animated pop-up ads for upcoming shows that jump up and scare me during the show I'm watching. They are distracting and irritating. AND, worst of all, they sometimes block something I need to see ON THE SHOW I'M WATCHING NOW. They are bad for my blood pressure, and they must be stopped.

5. TIMING ISSUES - WHY, oh why, can't shows all be an even number of minutes? Remember the good old days when shows were 30 minutes, or 60, or 120? I loved the old system. Now a lot of shows are one or two minutes over, which totally screws up your ability to record one show at 9 and another - on another channel - at 10. I rarely watch TV when it's actually on. I love so many shows that it is more efficient to record them, and then zip through them later (early mornings before anybody else is up, usually), skipping the commercials. I have two recording devices: a DVR/cable box combo in the living room, and my kitchen computer, which is also a TV. Even with both of these, sometimes I still get screwed up with stupid shows that last one hour and one minute. This drives me crazy. Gray's Anatomy is guilty of this one a lot. ARGHH. And don't get me started on sports delays messing up my recording of The Amazing Race. Triple Arghh.

There you have it. Some of my pet peeves. What bugs YOU about TV? Next time, I'll tackle bad drivers!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Thanks, I needed that

Last night I managed to get out to dinner with 'the girls' and it was wonderful, as it always is. These are friends I've known for thirty years (which seems impossible), I love them unconditionally and I think they feel the same about me. We talked and laughed, and I had some kick-ass Shrimp Portofino. I really needed to get out of the house. It was good for my soul, and the leftovers will be an awesome lunch today.

Yesterday I gave a little shout out to a couple of my commenters, and then I was thinking about the whole blog comment thing. I love to read my comments. They are often more witty, more funny and more insightful that my actual blog. I probably shouldn't point that out, or you'll stop reading my blog! But, if it weren't for this blog, those particular comments wouldn't be there for you to read...well, you get the picture.

The advice I get is usually spot-on, and many times I've had things pointed out to me that I hadn't thought about quite that way before. I especially love it when a little 'discussion' breaks out between two or more of the commenters. Gosh, that truly amuses me. As a giant extravert, being home alone, as I am so much right now, really bites. Daily contact with you through your own blogs and your comments here is a real delight. Thanks for being the smart, funny, caring people that you are.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Mother Nature makes her own plans

Well, it turns out I'm not going to the state capital to check out the Maine archives today. Mother Nature had other ideas, and is dumping heavy, wet snow on us at this very moment. We have about 6 inches, and it's still snowing now (at 6:30 AM). I think it's pretty, but it's going to be heavy shoveling, and not good for traveling. Since it started last night, it also caused the postponement of my bi-monthly 'Meet the Girls for Dinner' outing. Every other month (as best as we can manage with busy schedules) I meet my two best friends from college for dinner in Portland, which is centrally located for all of us. We get together and talk really fast and laugh our asses off. There's nothing like it in the attitude adjustment arena. If you could hear us, I think, (as long as you couldn't see us with our little wrinkles and expanded waistline) you'd think we were still those girls from college, draped over those silly couches in the dorm lounge, listening to Meatloaf and giggling over boys.

Anyway, we're re-scheduled for tonight, so let's hope the storm gets its bags packed and outta here soon so the crack road crew can do its magic before 5:00!

I'll have to put off my trip to the archives until next week, because the kids are racing again this weekend, and I have to get them packed and ready tomorrow.

Ah, the best-laid plans of mice and men...

Which reminds me of that book "Of Mice and Men" which has to be one of the most depressing of the Steinbeck books (which is saying a lot.)

Ok, I'm going to stop writing before this turns into stream-of-consciousness drivel that isn't even interesting to me! Have a great day everyone, and thanks for all the funny, witty and supportive comments. They totally make my day! Special shout-out to Kim-D, who commented twice yesterday - You make me happy! and to Andrew, who is one of the most quick-witted people who has ever lived.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Gotta have a plan, man

While I’ve been sick (and, if you’re wondering, I’m still not completely over this stupid virus) I haven’t been totally wasting my time. No sirree. Not me. I am nothing if not a multitasker. I can cough and knit at the same time. I can surf the web and lay on the couch simultaneously. I can feel sorry for myself and watch all the Tivo’d episodes of Gray’s Anatomy in one 6-hour marathon. I am a renaissance woman.

I need a plan. I am just waiting around, waiting to hear from the woman in Portland, the one I believe to be my birth mother, the one I wrote to TWO WEEKS AGO asking for information. I can’t stand it. I need to be doing something. I am not the sit-around-waiting kind of gal.

So, I evaluated my options. I could:

1)Send the letter again. Maybe she didn’t get it?

2)Send a new letter. Maybe the new words will spark something in her that my old words did not.

3)Drive down there and knock on her door. Soooo tempting, but a bad idea. I am not trying to traumatize, frighten or antagonize her. I am trying to tempt her, to entice her to want to respond. I’m trying to awaken something in her that she has probably ignored or denied for almost 50 years. I don’t think showing up on her doorstep is my best next step. Plus, what if she calls the police? I do not want to show up on an episode of Cops.

4)Call her again. This may be the right choice, but for some reason, every time I think of picking up the phone, my stomach cramps and my intestines liquefy. I’m terrified of calling her, probably because the last phone call nearly destroyed me. I may not be ready to put myself through that emotion again just yet.

5)Do something else.

I’ve decided to choose number five. I’m doing something else – something I feel comfortable with, something that I feel confident will make me feel better. When all else fails, RESEARCH.

Yes, research is my plan. Information is my friend. Throughout my life, information about my origins has been my imaginary friend. It’s been like an elusive little butterfly, flitting away from me every time I reached out for it. Now that I finally have some information about where I came from, I’m hungry – no starving – for more. It’s like I had one Utz chip, one pistachio, one sip of Mike’s Hard Lemonade. I can’t stop now.

I’m making plans to spend a day (or more if need be) at the Maine State Archives. This is where information lives. Every time I think of this building, I can hear movie theme music in the background – Rocky or Star Wars. That’s how I know it’s the right plan. If epic movie soundtracks play in your head, you’re on the right track, aren’t you?

At the archives, I may be able to find more evidence to prove that the woman I’m currently stalking is indeed my birth mother. I will try to follow the timeline, starting from my birth. I’ll get a copy of her first marriage license and her second. I’ll try to find a record of the birth of any other children, including the woman I think is my sister. I’ll find birth and death records for other people in her family – MY family – and see what that tells me.

Spending the day poring over ancient records sounds like just the thing I need, but I had better bring my inhaler. Unlike information, dust is not my friend.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Quick Post

Just a quick post - busy racing weekend (again!) and not much time, what with the whole 'trying not to die' thing still going on. My younger son, Alex, was the subject of a newspaper article yesterday, and the reporter also filmed him for a YouTube video. He's thrilled to get his 15 minutes of fame, so I thought I'd post the video here.

Isn't he cool?

Friday, February 13, 2009

Blast from the past

I'm back. I know I haven't posted since Monday, but I have a good excuse. Actually, I have a great excuse. I had a little relapse. Okay, a big relapse. My cough got so bad that I had to go for an emergency breathing treatment - so as to continue breathing in and out the way that I have come to enjoy so much. I will tell you that asthma and bad colds do NOT go together. I now have some drugs and a new inhaler that are helping immensely, and I feel like I'm finally on the mend. The good news is that I did not get pneumonia this time, and that is a huge improvement on the last cold.

I've also been feeling a bit down, as the days pass without word from the woman I believe to be my birth mother. She's had the letter for well over a week now, and still no contact from her. I know she may need more time, but each day seems so long as I wait for her to have a change of heart. As time passes, I am more and more sure that she is indeed the right woman. If she wasn't my birth mother, I think she would have already called. I keep hoping that she will - at the very least - provide the medical history I need, and tell me the name of my birth father, although I think this one is less likely. There have to be some painful memories there, and who knows if she can get past them?

While I've been resting/coughing/choking, I have been looking through my collection of photos, picking some out to scan. Hallie over at Wonderful World of Wieners has offered to help me scan a bunch of old pictures with her snazzy new scanner. Isn't she nice? I took the first batch over there on Monday night, coincidentally just before the big relapse. Hmm. I'm sure one thing had nothing to do with the other. Anyway, I thought I'd share a few with you - mostly the ones that Hallie laughed at the most. I'm not even going to pretend that I didn't think they were funny, too.
My brother and I in our snazzy clothes on a snazzy couch with that mod triangle pillow and those groovy drapes. Honestly, what the heck am I wearing? 1960 was a good year for fashion, I guess.

My birthday photo. Don't you love the juxtaposition of the big round collectible plate and my big round head? I especially like the outlet placement. This was taken in my grandmother's kitchen. Some of you may remember that my grandparents lived in an apartment that was part of the big farmhouse I grew up in, so I spent a lot of time on these gray vinyl chairs with the chrome knobby accents. Good times.

There were about a hundred of these photos. Different poses, different outfits. All the same. Those are real roses in my hair, by the way. I remember my mother picking them and being worried about thorns.

Just a bunch of cool teenagers on an exciting double date. I'm the one in that beautiful, hand-sewn red-checked blouse and the high-waisted denim wraparound skirt (also hand-sewn). You can't see it, but that blouse had SNAPS instead of buttons. Say it with me, "WHAT A LOSER!" Also in this shot are my boyfriend, who would go on to become my husband, my friend Vicki and her date Mark. We're making homemade pizza at my house. Notice the high-tech Dixie cup dispenser in my kitchen. I only wish you could see the avocado and orange carpet tiles on the floor. Really. I'm not kidding.

My dorm mates sometime during my freshman year at college. Can you find me in my big perm and my signature Stevie Nicks shirt? You can't tell here, but I was rocking the sleeves-like-wings outfit. I was nothing if not fashion forward. My beloved roommate is in the back row in a tan sweater. She's still one of my favorite people in the world and the closest thing to a sister I ever had.

Okay, now before you pass out from laughing, I want you to know I had a good reason to look like this. Honestly, I did. I was working for a newspaper, and they had a float in the local parade. We were dressed up to look like old-fashioned newsboys, and we carried those canvas sacks and heaved newspapers at the crowd. I know I look ridiculous, but I still think Brandon was the cutest thing ever in his little hat.

This is the one Hallie mocked the most. Me as a giant pink blob. She accused me of wearing a big housedress or my nightgown. First of all, I was at a wedding when I was nine months pregnant. In AUGUST. It was hot and humid and I was lucky to find anything that fit me. I had been allowed up from my ordered bed rest to attend the wedding of a dear friend of mine. I think I looked pretty good, considering the circumstances. Second of all, the dress wasn't that bad. It was actually a pretty pink cotton fabric which had everything one needs in a maternity dress: it breathed, and it fit over my giantness. Here's another view of it:

See? Not that bad, right? Okay, the big wide collar was kinda hideous, but that was the style back then. I don't care, anyway. It was the last photo taken of me with my one little boy before I had two little boys, and it makes my heart contract just looking at it. That's what is so good about looking at old pictures - it helps you remember those special moments. And it gives you the opportunity to have a good laugh, even if it is at your own expense!

Monday, February 9, 2009

More racing, still sick, but proud

Well, it was another weekend of racing, and it was even more fun with me hacking up a lung the whole time. The kids had a terrific time, though, and I managed to enjoy them enjoying themselves and tried to ignore the fact that I was still sick.

The boys (Brandon hates it when I call them that - at 16 and 21, they're men!) entered three races, and ended up with a second place, a fourth and another first, but this time it was Brandon who took first place in the Open Class (also known as the Unlimited Division.) Alex had the fourth fastest time with his eight-dog team, and second with his six-dog team. Brandon was racing 12 dogs on a 10 mile course. Both of them got some pretty nice prize money and they were both very happy. I thought, with Brandon's first place, that it might be fun to take a look at some pictures from his dog sledding career.

First, here's Alex with his 6-dog team, screaming out of the starting chute.

When Brandon was small, he used to take naps in one of the spare sleds at the race site with one of his trusty stuffed dog companions.

Sometimes he had a snuggle buddy - a little girl whose dad was also racing.

Here they are playing in the snow. There was never a lack of fun stuff to do when the snowbanks were 10 feet high!

Brandon with one of our favorite dogs, Cinder. I think one of the biggest perks of growing up in a racing kennel was loving the dogs and shouldering the responsibilities of taking care of them. There's a lot of work - heavy, hard labor - taking care of a kennel of dogs and training them, and he's always had to do a fair share of the work.

Brandon started out racing with Cinder in one-dog junior class races. These races were really short, sometimes only a couple of hundred yards, up to maybe a mile at the most, but always on a closed course, in sight of the nervous moms and dads the whole time.

Here he is with that same little girl, a few years later, discussing their upcoming race. This was a one-dog junior class race in Marmora, Ontario. Brandon ended up seventh and won his very first prize money - seven dollars Canadian and little bags of candy and dog treats. Kathleen beat him, but he didn't seem to mind. He made me give him $7 American in exchange, and refused to believe me that he was only supposed to get about $5.50 for it.

When he was a little older, he moved up to 3-dog junior class, which competed on the longer trails - usually about 4-5 miles. It was hard to see him head out into the woods, but he was a pro from the very beginning and handled whatever happened out there all on his own.

Now he's racing twelve dogs, going much faster than I am comfortable with, but he still handles it fine. He tells me it's a rush like no other, speeding through twists and turns, up and down hills and around sharp corners with just the swishing sound of the sled runners and the wind in his face. Being out there with his beloved dogs, doing what they - and he - love best, he's about as happy as I could ever wish for. Whatever he does in the future in his life, I think he got a great start, learning that it was good to work hard for something you really loved.
Next weekend he's not racing, but Alex has a huge race, so we have a few days to get ready. Mostly that means I'm doing laundry like crazy, getting all the gear ready for another trip. I wish the Merry Maids would stop by and take care of all this stuff so I can find a minute to get over this damn cold.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Take Two Blogs and Call Me in the Morning

Well, I survived another day. And, you'll be happy to learn that I did take a shower. I even went to the store for supplies. Of course, when I got home, I collapsed, but still, it's progress, right?

I really appreciate all the good advice about what remedies work best for you. I really am feeling just a little bit better, even though Hallie told me I sounded like crap (thanks, sweetie, I love you, too!). She also told me that I needed some tough love and that you all were being WAY TOO NICE TO ME.

I beg to differ. The people in my house do not care if I am sick. They probably don't even notice that I am sick until there are no clean clothes or dishes or food. Now, before you get all mad at them, I have to say that this is my own fault. I have conditioned them to expect that I will forge ahead, taking care of everyone and everything, regardless of my own mood, health or attitude. If I point out that I am sick and need their help, they'll provide it. They just won't think to OFFER it. And my Catholic upbringing causes me to suffer in SILENCE. Pathetic? Maybe, but I can't help myself.

So, your well wishes and good advice and kind comments are COMPLETELY APPROPRIATE not to mention really appreciated!

I finally am almost caught up on my bloggy friends. Reading about what's going on in your world has made mine brighter. Some of you are also sick, and I send you my warmest wishes for speedy recoveries, and this advice: Drink lots of fluids, rest, and read blogs. It'll make you feel better.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Aim low

I think I've just figured out that if your ambitions are especially low, you have a much better chance at making them happen.

Yesterday, my only goals were:

1. Not to die (Totally nailed this one, although my loved ones tell me I look like death. They're nothing if not supportive.)

2. Try every single remedy suggested to me by my really smart, medically experienced blog commenters. (I almost nailed this one. I think I tried all but one, and it was only because when I found out how much this one medicine cost, I almost had a stroke.)

3. Read some of the blogs that I'm getting so far behind in reading. (I got through about half of my favorite blogs, and it made me feel better, even though I was getting dizzy toward the end.)

4. Think of something to blog about, and type it. (SCORE! I know this isn't exactly Shakespeare, but in my condition, I think it's pretty impressive.)

5. Figure out how to prop myself up just right so that I can sleep and not cough. (Almost mastered this one, and actually slept for an hour and a half. At one time. Why is it that if you ever finally get to sleep, when you haven't slept for a long, long time, and you really need to sleep, that the cats suddenly decide to chase each other around you in a circle like a herd of wild freaking elephants? They are so lucky I don't own a gun.)

Today my plan is to do all of the above, and add: Take a shower.

Baby steps. It's all baby steps.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I win

Dear Mr. Virus:

Okay, I get it. You win. You are the MAN. You are all-powerful.

I am but a weak and pathetic loser. I am completely incapable of fighting you off.

You are impervious to any combination of drugs available over the counter.

I will not attempt to battle with you any more. I will just lie here (or, actually, sit here, since lying down makes me cough and choke) and wait for you to go away. I will keep trying to breathe, since you make my asthma really bad, and pray that you do not turn into pneumonia, like you did last time.

If you could please think about starting to move out soon, I would really appreciate it. Pack your bag, call a cab - something - because you depress me. And I really don't need that right now.

In the meantime, I salute you. You kicked my ass.