This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Brace Yourself

What do you think about braces? Do you think there seems to be a lot of children with them? Are there that many problematic jawlines out there?

Perhaps there is. But I can't help but reflect on 'my' generation.

I didn't have braces. My teeth are actually aligned well. I have good genes, I guess. But the bottom front teeth are crooked. I would literally beg my dentist to give me braces. But I was always told that they weren't an issue and therefore, unnecessary.

Out of my pals through elementary and high school, there were quite a few with braces but I would say the non-braced folks outnumbered the braced ones.

My husband also did not have braces.

And over the years, I hear about my friends who did wear braces: a lifetime of upkeep by wearing a retainer, that at some point, becomes forgotten. Some folks talk about how their teeth have uncrooked, although not badly, but they aren't as straight as they were after braces.

It seems, once going with braces, it's a lifetime of care.

And now, it seems to me, that there seems to be a rite of passage in dentistry: braces are assumed to be the next step in dental care.

And I'm not buying it. Literally.

CJ had an orthodontic exam last week. We were told she would need braces. I could see an overbite, although it's not an overbite. They showed me 'flaws' but seemed to hold back in pushing me with the sales pitch. You know "tip-toe" the sell.

And the sell? About $5800 for braces. Yup. Fifty-eight hundred dollars for braces.

My dental insurance may cover some part of it but certainly not all. What do people do when they don't have dental insurance? It's not that unusual to NOT have dental insurance.

Anyway, I'm not sold. I think it's a crock. I have always thought that and then my other pediatric dentist (who I love but had to dump because of the shitty front-desk help) started in on it when CJ turned 10...'it'll be time to see an orthodontist about her teeth'.

But the biggest thing, and the worst sales pitch anyone could make, was when we were leaving the orthodontist and the saleswoman (not the orthodontist) looks at Mi-Mi and says 'This is good practice for you for when you go through this!'

Hello? She's six and you know nothing about her teeth! But the expectation you have is that she will endure this too, because that's what you guys do: provide braces no matter what.

Unless we are told by ten orthodontists that CJ has a jaw mis-alignment that warrants the need for braces...vs. aesthetically pleasing ain't happening.

Besides, as I told my book club pals the other night, I'll let her decide when she's old enough to pay for it herself.

Go Ahead, Catch Me

Today was my second Chase Run.

I've been pretty scared about doing this one again. The first one hurt and I don't like to hurt.

And yet, this is something I have been trying to overcome. The fear of hurt. So I can run past my comfort zone. I'm a chickenshit. I like to run races...comfortably. Is that too much to ask?

So I am scared to do it but I want to do it. I want to overcome this fear. But I'm scared to hurt.

"Sandbagging" is a term to refer to someone who claims to run slower than they actually can. This is actually a negative term but personally, I am OK with being a sandbagger.

I'd like to be given a slower time and run a little faster than that. I don't want to be held accountable for a fast time.

And having a coach doesn't help me sandbag.

I offered to do an 8:45 pace or slower...she decided to have me do an 8:35 pace. That's what I get for trying to be a good know, make sure I make her look good by making my time?

Well, I did (make her look good). But based on HER time. I ended up averaging an 8:25 pace, even 10 seconds faster than the fast pace that Coach B had me going. And it's 13 seconds faster than my first Chase run.

So what does that mean? I can run faster than I think I can.

But it also means it hurts.

The first two miles were great. But it's sort of a downhill start. And I know this. And yet I couldn't hold my pace back. I tried. I looked at my watch a zillion times trying to get out of the 8-teens. I didn't want to feel dead at the end.

At the two mile turn-around, that's when it all hit me: this is hard and I'm hurting and I *still* have two miles to go.

I try to think of nothing. I count, which I do anyway, but I am really thinking about my numbers now. Counting with a rhythm.

During the run, I knew one of the runners was behind me. He quickly got to me about 1/4 mile in but didn't pass me, so I realized he was drafting off me. It didn't bother me and truthfully, I needed that to keep me going.

After about 2.5, he passed me, and compadre Felipe also caught up with me and passed. I didn't care. Every GD one of them could have passed me and I wouldn't have cared...well, just a little. And I probably would have cared when it was all over.

Anyway, from mile 2.25 until 3.80, I wanted to bag it. Stop. Walk. Let all the MFers pass me. I don't care. GO.

But I do care. And I don't want to bag it. I think of vague events I've seen on reality shows, where contestants give up because it becomes too hard. I didn't want to be one of them. Imagine. Inspired by a reality show.

I also thought of Tony Horton and one of his many encouraging quotes "Do the best and forget the rest." So I was trying very hard to forget the rest.

And I did it. I don't know how I made it to the end. But I did.

And I SPRINTED to the end. I heard someone behind me and in the back of my mind, I thought "OK, I cannot let HIM catch ME." And I didn't. So that was the .15 left of the chase run that I decided no one would catch me...all the rest was up for game.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Triple Play

Today I had three workouts scheduled: P90X, a 3-4 mile run, and a wallyball tournament match.

I also have no babysitter this week and Tim works in the great outdoors, so the girls came with me to work. This limits where I can get my workouts in.

And when I say "limits" I mean I HAVE TO GET UP EARLY AND DO ONE OF THE WORKOUTS. Sure, I could wait after work but I have to be honest with myself: when I get home from work, I'm not going to want to do a workout.

So I got up early (which I don't like to do...I love my bed) and started on my Chest, Shoulders, Triceps routine. I had done half of this workout last Monday, which would have been my week 5 of the P90X program, but since I skipped all of the rest of the week's routine, I am beginning week 5 again today.

This one, like all the other ones, is hard. Twenty-five freaking exercises, every one of them works you to the bone. All different types of push-ups and funky weighted exercises. Don't get me wrong: I love it.

But it's not over, if you truly want to follow the routine to the hilt. After the workout that kicks your ass, it's time for a 15 minute Ab Ripper X. *Only* eleven 25 reps each. And if it's on one side, then it's technically 50 reps.

But I did it and now I have my run and my wallyball game to contend with.

I decide that, since it's only about three miles, I would run before the game. I started around 11:10 so I have to make sure I get my three miles in before my 11:45 match. And I did. And it felt pretty good. Much better than yesterday's four mile run. Towards the end, I could really feel the heat of the sun and thought there would be no way I could run any amount if I had to start from this point (as hot as I was).

So I get to the locker room, towel off and put on the kneepads and different running shoes (one day, I'll get a pair of cross-training shoes...). I'm sweating like a fricking BEAST and wondering if it will ever stop.

I pass my opponent and she tells me that her partner is going to be late and I reply with an overeager "THAT'S OKAY!" More time for me to cool down.

So I wait, toweling off, stretching, drinking gatorade...rinse...repeat. I'm ready for the game. I think, in the back of my mind, that we could throw this undefeated team off kilter and pull off a win...or at least a one game win.

And it almost starts off that way. We are racking up some points. We are in the lead. I just think Carlos is a genius partner. Always looking to see where the opponent is and trying to place the ball. Me? I'm just trying to set Carl...or trying to get a killer serve over.

And I'm still feeling good. The one thing I love about wallyball? It's so fast paced. And there's always one point in the game that I feel it: my heart is racing, I'm out of breath, I 'hurt' and it's one of the greatest feelings ever. I doubt it's the same, but my analogy is when drug addicts first get that initial high...the few seconds they get and then it's done. That's exactly how it is for me: it happens early in the game and I recognize it when I get it and then...gone...but it's already pumped me up.

So I'm stoked. And then Carl calls a foul: he went for a ball and the other guy was over the net. Carl rarely calls anything, except his own fouls (in the net). And he is an honest guy...eccentric, but the one quality this guy has is that he cannot tell a lie...nor would he...he is honorable. So when he calls it, I'm sure he's right.

And he has called things in the past. And it's almost always a "okay, let's do it over". There is a 'gentleman's game' no matter how competitive we are. We do the same if we think a call is made on us and we disagree. IT'S A WORK LEAGUE FOR BUDDHA'S SAKE.

And what happened when Carl called the foul? The GIRL on the team contested it. Not just contested, but with a whiny-eight-year-old-tone "HE DID NOT!" Text doesn't at all relay the silliness of her tone.

But Carl didn't back down. He was right there. He knows what he saw. And the guy finally acknowledged a do-over.

So she serves again and guess what? During the actual play, she yells at Carl "*YOU* WERE IN THE NET"...think "nanny nanny boo boo"...and how you sing-song it? That was her tone. GOD I WAS PISSED. You don't knock Carl. My partner. And you stop being a douche bag. Is this how you fuckers win games? You bully people when they call fouls on you?

I found it condescending. The girl can play volleyball...and is a decent wallyball player...BUT THEY AREN'T THE FUCKING BEST. And I guess she played college VB or something, so she must be the authority on the game BUT THIS IS WALLY-FUCKING-BALL and I don't think you played in any nationwide wallyball tournaments.

I am just reminded about how bad sportsmanship can ruin a game. We lost. We lost badly in the second game. I wanted so bad to kick their asses after that, to show them that they ain't the shit they think they are. But apparently we aren't the shit I think we are :).

And they still aren't, in my eyes. Don't get me wrong, I'll play them again, but there won't be any 'good game' coming out of my mouth. If you can't play with respect, you ain't playing a good game.

Perhaps that is why we lost. I lost respect and I couldn't play a good game...yeah. I'll go with that one.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Today's Run

Today's run:

Positive: I ran.

Negative: Only four of my six mile goal.

Positive: I ran four miles.

Negative: I had tummy problems.

Positive: I ran four miles with tummy problems.

Negative: I felt nauseous.

Positive: Four miles is better than zero miles.

Observations: There were a group of non-city workers (i.e. teen aged boys, "dad" looking guys) working on the bridge at Lake Lynn. It seemed pretty admirable but I wondered if they had the OK from the city. I saw a few nails lying around and thought how pissed someone would be to get a flat tire riding over the nails.

Also, there was a bride and groom getting their pictures taken around the lake. At my second loop, they were actually seated on a bench by the greenway so I stopped as the photographer snapped away. I didn't want to ruin their picture with the scowl on my face.

Girls' Nights Out

Tim was off in Brevard having a fun time doing adventure racing (camp). While he was out, I decided to make the evenings fun for me and my girls and try out different eateries.

Wednesday night was Chubby's tacos. We all agreed that it was fun and great but girls' felt it was just too spicy for them. This might have to be one of the work-lunch destinations for me.

Thursday night was supposed to be a little hole in the wall Chinese place called China Court, but the girls didn't seem to get their taco fix, so we went to El Dorado next. I'm not a fan of these types of places as everything tastes the same. The staff, however, was very flirty with me. When I left, one dude said 'See you tomorrow'. Yeah. That'll do it.

Friday night was my pick. I warned them early on: Friday is sushi night! I thought of a few places: Kanki's, because that was my first real sushi place. Sushi-Thai because that is THE first place I had sushi. And then Waraji, which is right around the corner from our house and is full of high praise. I decided to go local (they all are, BTW) and avoid the temptation (by my girls) to go mall shopping, and chose Waraji.

I had been to Waraji for lunch a few years ago. My memory of it from that moment does not match the memory of it from Friday's meal.

First of all: I won't say much about the sushi I ate. Why? Because it was good. It was delicious. But I have not ventured outside of my california-roll-with-no-roe, except to have the special cucumber rolls. So my opinion is EXTREMELY limited about sushi. One day, I want to try different things, but I'll need a lot of sake to help me out.

So I'll just be superficial and comment on the atmosphere: there wasn't any. I was sadly disappointed. I felt like it was just a very simple place, with simple decor, that did not match my previous, wrong, recollection of ambience.

Perhaps if we had sat at the sushi bar, or one of the four floor tables, I would have had a different take, but sitting at a table just felt like sitting at a take-out Chinese spot.

The waitress was extremely wonderful. At some point in the beginning of the meal, Mi-Mi's neck started to ache. She was brought to tears at how painful it was (like an odd twist?) and the waitress asked if she was OK. After explaining the situation, she would continually bring out warm wash cloths for Mi-Mi to set on her neck.

So, food: good...based on my limitations. Staff: great. Ambiance? Eh. Unfortunately, I would have rather gone to Kanki's and surround ourselves with the mall clatter.

Saturday I had planned on Bali Hai. But then temptation hit me and I envisioned a gayest time with my girls at The Melting Pot. But I have banned that place because it is so ridiculously overpriced...but I was serious about going and using the "priceless" commercial to validate the expense.

But CJ suggested Lone Star...well, that was my other option, and she acknowledged that's where she wanted to go.

Lone Star used to be close to "local". It was local to NC. Tim worked for them in Greenville and the Cary location. This was his first job after leaving the military. And the times he worked at the one in Gville are memorable.

And although, technically, our youngest is not named after these two girls, she does share the same first and middle names with two of Tim's co-workers.

So it's not hard to twist my arm to hit the place.

The meal was as you would expect: good and plenty. I did notice that the salad had more iceberg than usual. Cutting prices?

The restaurant was virtually empty for a Saturday evening, at approximately 8PM.

The manager was doing her table checks and seemed overzealous, like, 'I am soooo glad you are here because I'm about to lose my job'.

The waitress, while nice, was a bit over-the-top.

And again, because I must be so conceited, I felt like a couple of the male staff members were flirty. For instance, my wine was delivered to me by the bartender, much to the surprise of the waitress. No biggie but we had TWO bar orders -- a cherry coke (coke & grenadine with cherries) for my little lady.

Another dude picked up our cleaned up plates a few times, always chit-chatting.

Hey, I'm not complaining but, well, you know, seems a bit low...

But we enjoyed ourselves and I hope to introduce them to more local places, since I was unable to hit all the ones I intended.

And CJ, my picky eater, actually enjoyed her sushi. I don't know how she did it, but she managed to eat california rolls, with chopsticks, without the seaweed, crab and avocado.

My Favorite SYTYCD Routines: Week Three

Kayla lost her partner Max last week, which I didn't particularly like (losing Max, not Max). But the first dance for her and her new partner, Kupono, was beautiful:

Janette and Brandon had a hot hip-hop routine. The hip-hop routines have to really be AMAZING for me to appreciate the art. I mean, I think hip-hop looks great but on this show, I expect a 'story' or something that isn't just flat out doing steps. This one, for me, was one of them...and Janette's outfit...DAMN.

And then the Paso Doble from Jason and Caitlin WAS FUCKING FANTASTIC! The judges found flaws but the music, the steps and those perfect bodies made this incredibly entertaining for me:

And then the group dance on Thursday's elimination show was pretty cool...and to one of Mi-Mi's favorite songs:

Picking Cotton: Our Memoir of Injustice and Redemption by Jennifer Thompson-Cannino, Ronald Cotton, and Erin Torneo

I have to curtail this post to the book. I can go on and on about my beliefs in the 'justice' system. For those that know me, I apply these beliefs to some of the high profile crimes. And this book, much like the other great book Bloodsworth, shows how mistakes can be made. The crux, I think, of this book is the fact that the victim, who so KNEW her attacker and made sure he would rot in hell, would come back and admit her mistake at identifying the wrong person.

That is what this novel is about.

And it's something I think more and more people should read about...make themselves more aware of: the fact that thousands of men (and women) are wrongfully accused and convicted.

There's the case of Cameron Todd Willingham, a probable innocent man who was executed in 2004, based on outdated arson theories.

And as Ronald Cotton states in the book, had he been convicted in the 70s for the rape that Jennifer Thompson accused him of doing, he could have been executed.

Instead, he spent 11 years in prison. He proclaimed his innocence, only to fall onto deaf ears. Who would believe him?

Well, someone did and those people were able to (eventually) use DNA in a rape kit to find the real rapist. The real rapist that had admitted to the crime to several people, who worked alongside Ronald Cotton in prison, and yet would never confess to the proper authorities to release the innocent man.

The book focuses more on the general aspects of how they felt, what was happening during the legal events. I thought it was extremely noble for all parties involved to come out and admit the flaws. Jennifer Thompson can truly relay the 'sorry' she felt for convicting an innocent man, for taking away 11 years of her life, for HATING him, because she KNEW IN HER HEART THAT HE DID IT. And yet, she was yet another victim of just a bad person: Bobby Poole, who was her actual rapist.

It's just an awful story that lends to a happier ending. I don't think the 'redemption' part - releasing a wrongfully-convicted man as quickly as Ronald Cotton was released - is that easy for everyone. Who wants to admit they were wrong? From the victim to the prosecution, it's embarrassing to stand up and say "Oops. We made a big boo-boo." But I'd rather see that -- and yes, they face the consequences of their bad investigations -- and release innocent people pronto.

But they don't. Currently, in this day and age, our system still limits DNA testing to prove innocence (or not). In other words, THERE IS DNA AND WE WON'T TEST IT because 1) the conviction is the conviction by a jury of their peers 2) the inmate has to pay for the test 3) some courts simply will not allow DNA testing.

It simply is a big ball of red tape and ignorance and, the attitude that 'this is the way the system works'.

This book gave us a happy ending. But the sad truth is that we are convicting on flimsy evidence. We are using some statistics to proclaim suspects: how many times do you hear the media broadcast '80% of the times, it's the spouse' (I made that up...but I've heard similar, without validity). So the '20%' that are innocent are already suspected and if your alibi is a little bit flimsy, think about how easily you can be convicted. We have that going on in Raleigh right now... I don't know if Brad Cooper is guilty or not, but the media and the Kary Keystone Kops seemed to be convinced he is, it's finding evidence to build their case.

So I couldn't curtail this post to just the book. There's just too much going on in the country that makes me think 'why are we still following archaic methods? why are we still excited to quickly convict? what happened to innocent until proven guilty?' I missed my calling. I don't know if being a lawyer was my calling but it was certainly working for the innocent *and* convicting the guilty so they can rot in hell.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Are You There God It's Me Margaret by Judy Blume

This was a book I have read a hundred or more times as a tweenager. This was a defining book for me: entry into 'woman'hood. What that means? Growing boobs, liking boys and having my period.

Yes. This is a chick book. More importantly, a young tween chick book.

I recently bought the book for CJ to read. She seemed to enjoy it but since she doesn't share her thoughts often, I have no idea what she got out of the book.

And then my big girl book club had this as this month's book to read, which I was thrilled to do. I wanted to see how I would relate to this much favored book of my youth.

Well, it didn't work out like I had hoped.

It seemed less deep than I recall it being. I felt, in my memories, that I really KNEW Margaret and her struggles with her friends, her parents, her puberty, and the boy she would have a crush on.

But my recent reading of it shows that most of this is touched upon very 'lightly'. A few pages, paragraphs and that's it.

The worst part? The details were altered. I am sure they were altered to be more in line with *this* day and age, but I don't know...I didn't think it was necessary. But because when I read it in my youth, the details were still in my brain and when I re-read it and they weren't made me wonder how much more of the book was altered. I was really disappointed that they felt the need to do that. I mean, no one rewrites Jane Eyre to make it more 'with the times'!

The interesting part that I picked up on, however, was the religious aspect of the book. Funny that none of that ever passed through my head as a child. I mean, I probably accepted it as part of life but NOW, it seems to be a bit 'politically incorrect' to have tweens reading about an 11 year old trying to figure out what God should be to her.

BTW, I mean politically incorrect for THOSE OTHER PEOPLE. For me, I don't care. And actually, I appreciated this aspect of the book and how, I feel, it had to be pretty controversial, even during my younger days, to have an 11 year old talk to God about whether she should be Jewish or Catholic, with agnostic-like parents.

A quick check on wikipedia shows that this book, as I just stated, is usually requested to be banned from libraries. And in 2006, the 'belted sanitary napkins' was revised to 'adhesive sanitary pads'.

Chubby's Tacos

I had been seeing a few random musings on blogs and Triangle-related sites full of accolades for Chubby's Tacos. Chubby's, it seems, is a Durham local favorite. And now, they have a Raleigh location.

I decided to take the girls there before book club on Wednesday. From the outside, I thought it was just going to be a divey-on-the-dumpy side kind of place, but I was surprised to see it ended up quite cool and funky. We decided to sit at the 'bar' since Mi-Mi wanted to sit on the 'purple chair'.

The menu is laid out with "$2 tacos", "$3 tacos" and "$4 tacos" with a list for each type. There are other things to order too: burritos and quesadillas. And like many similar joints, there is a salsa bar.

Mi-Mi opted for a cheese quesadilla. CJ had two ground beef crispy tacos. I decided on the Spicy Carne Asada filling for my soft corn tortilla, and one of their grilled flaming shrimp special fillings. We also added an order of guacamole and chips.

YUMMY. Loved it, loved it, loved it. The atmosphere is so nice and the food tasted spicy and fresh.

And it is spicy. The guacamole could not be eaten by my guacamole-y loving children. And CJ's ground beef tacos were too hot for her...but perfect for me! However, I had my own two tacos to deal with.

The grilled shrimp was sooo good with nice plump shrimp and obvious spiciness throughout. The carne asada was more shredded-liquidy but still good. I was expecting more chunks and less liquid BUT STILL GOOD.

Unfortunately, there was no way I could eat CJ's two (now halved) tacos and the two I got. Plus the guac and chips! So I know for next time to order them, maybe, one at a time...

Chubby's Tacos is located at Wycliff Road, in the Lake Boone Shopping Center where Sushi-Thai and 2nd City Grill also are located.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Icon Memories

No, not those little 16x16 images I work with everyday on my computer...but the idols of my generation: Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson.

I loved Farrah Fawcett. I was sucked into the Farrah phenomenon in the late 70s and proclaimed myself a fan even until a few years ago.

I thought she was just the most beautiful person in the world. I wanted her hair but for the most part, I just wanted to admire her. I have no real good reasons other than being a young girl who fell in love with a beautiful woman.

What turned me off from Farrah was the fact that she mucked up her face with all of that plastic surgery. I have no idea what she did but it was so obvious that she no longer was the Farrah that I admired.

And although I knew she would soon pass after hearing about her cancer diagnosis, it still is unbelievable that *this* icon of my youth is gone.

And to overshadow Fawcett's passing would be the major icon of my generation, Michael Jackson.

CJ actually told me about it on the way to dinner. A friend of hers texted her the news and I couldn't believe it. It's a shock because it was so so unexpected.

But other than the shock of this, the other emotions are mixed. I'm in disbelief but he was amazing with Off the Wall and Thriller...and then several after those albums...but we all know this to be true: what the fuck was wrong with him? What happened? How did you go from normal to what he became?

I remember being in the Philippines, dancing in a pizza shop with my BFFS, to Don't Stop til You Get Enough. That song was the most amazing song ever. Rock with You brings melancholy to my soul: I'm back to being 10 years old, to the aura of that period.

And the same for Beat It.

That song really hit me when I was at the state fair in Miami, Florida. I was in the eighth grade and I got on the Himalayan ride -- you know, the roller coaster carts that go backwards really fast -- and Beat It played and it was one of the most fantastic rides I had ever experienced.

It's an incredible day, an incredible week. Ed McMahon, Farrah and Michael. All three are people that were part of my life at some point in my nearly 41 years of age.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Parking Problems

Not me, but these drivers in this video.

My cousin Joyce sent this to me awhile back. While cleaning up my mailbox, I finally watched it and thought it was HIGHlarryUS. I sent it to $Bill and Tim and $Bill confirmed that it was funny. I thought I'd share it with the blogosphere, at least those who pass through mine:

Tribute to Ed McMahon

As you know, Ed McMahon died today at the age of 86. Most of the 'now' generation would not know him and although I'm not quite as old as Ed, I am old enough to have watched Johnny Carson for years, as well as Star Search, and who could forget Publisher's Clearing House.

I heard about this commercial on the showgram this morning, as they paid their respects to Ed McMahon. I thought it would be a good tribute to him, that he was just a funny, good sport kind of a guy.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Wiggin' Out

What a grand past couple of days, celebrating CJ's 11th birthday. This one was a doozy, as she has just finished elementary school (June 10th) and moved into her own bedroom. Big rites of passage.

Friday was her birthday. It was a regular work day for me and Tim but Lauren (personal camp counselor) had big plans for CJ.

They made 'vampire' cupcakes:

"Team Edward" is on the top two rows. The third row are the characters from the Twilight Series. And the bottom row is the lion, the twilight 'logo', and the lamb. It was quite amusing to hear CJ tell us that she 'ate Edward' and how proud Mi-Mi was to say 'i ate bella because no one likes her'. Like she took one for the team.

Lauren brought over supplies to make personal pizzas for them - cheese and mushroom, CJ's favorite.

CJ's BFF Sarah came over in the afternoon and Lauren whisked them all away to the mall. There they tried on shoes, outfits, and built-a-bear.

The evening was dinner at Brasa, which is a brazilian steakhouse that CJ has been to once. She remembers having lamb there and that is the reason she wanted to go back.

The premise of this restaurant is that waiters bring meat after meat after meat -- and pineapple too -- to your table for you. Sirloin, Filet, Chicken, Sausage, Pork Tenderloin, Lamb, and do it all over again.

That evening, we presented her big present: a 26" LCD flat screen for her 'new' room.

The room is not quite finished so Saturday was spent getting it complete. I helped Tim with getting paint on the remaining walls, repainting the doors and *I installed the new doorknob* :). I tried to install the closet handles, which are not doorknobs but technically, drawer handles, so these were not as easy to install on 2" thick doors, vs. 1/2" thick drawers. Since it appeared that I added more work to Tim, I gave up (although to his credit, he told me how to do it and I'll probably finish that up today).

So I left Tim to finish the job while I took the girls out to celebrate day two of CJ's birthday.

Can I say: I love having daughters!!! They are so much fun and we can do things that I even love to do!!

First thing: get the girls' hair fixed since they both decided they wanted bangs and created them their self (not grammatically correct but you know what I'm saying!).

Next? We went next door from the hair salon to the nail salon. Manicures!! CJ and Mi-Mi have never had a real one and I was concerned about how they would do but they said it was so much fun. Next time, we'll add pedicures.

We then came home to pick Tim up so we could have lunch at Fat Daddy's. That was a good break for him as he was still working on the finishing touches on CJ's room.

We dropped Tim back off at home, where Mi-Mi decided she would stay to help her dad. So now it was just me and CJ.

We headed to a beauty supply place, where we had stopped at a few weeks back. It is a great big shop, full of fun beauty supplies that CJ and I could stand around and look at all day. But the goal for today was to purchase a wig!! Yes, you heard correctly: a wig.

They have some amazing wigs. Long, short, funky, etc. CJ wanted long hair and tried on a few. I wanted short hair so I tried on a few. We both decided on one and walked out happily with our purchase.

Next stop was Tarjay. CJ found a size 1 pair of skinnies in the women's section that FIT! They were loose around the waist, but fit perfectly everywhere else. The girl is tall. I plan to get the waist altered for her but the girl's sized jeans (which weren't skinnies) were highwaters on her.

She got a few other things but most importantly, curtains and a comforter set for her new room.

Shopping was not over yet. We stopped at Goodwill, per her request (I love goodwill :)). There, we found amazing boots and CJ purchased two pairs. One black, with hot pink heels. The other denim, to the knees. And they both fit me too.

Funny thing: I had no cash. Goodwill accepts checks & cash only. Who writes checks anymore? So CJ was the only one with money, to which she told me 'don't worry, i got this'...

We decided to put our wigs on before we got home. We must've looked freaky putting a wig cap on in the car, in the parking lot of Goodwill. Were we getting ready to go back in and rob goodwill??

We made it into the house with our new dos. The dog and the cat quickly scrambled for safety.

The day still isn't over. Once Tim was finally done with all the work he sets out for him to do, he barely had time to rest before CJ and I decided to form our rock band. We got dressed up, in our new wigs, and CJ loaned me her new pair of black/hot pink boots. I was transformed into "Midori", singer for CJ's band...and Tim became our hot drummer.

We played for nearly two hours. Did I mention that I can't sing worth a shit? But they played along anyway and we had a blast.

I thought about my own family and how no one would have done this with me. My mother was not that kind of mother. Dress up and sing karaoke? Same with my dad. I don't know if she'll remember this as an amazing time as I will...I sure hope so. It felt like I was having my own birthday celebration!!

We ended the evening watching Taken. That was a great movie to watch with her because Tim got a chance to get on his soapbox and tell his daughters how they need to listen to him...

Then she was off to her new room...and I went to sleep thinking about my little Mi-Mi and how she doesn't have a choice in the matter, losing her roommate...and it's much like Tim and I: CJ's growing up. And there's nothing we can do about it.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Liar! Liar! Pants on Fire!

My little Mi-Mi is a big, fat liar.


I don't lie.

Tim doesn't lie.

CJ has not been caught in a lie. So I think: CJ does not lie.

But Mi-Mi? She has had the tendencies for a long time. But this incident, well, took the cake.

The other night, I was brushing my teeth, getting ready for night-night. Mi-Mi walks into the bathroom (when she should be asleep) and asks/tells me something. I noticed that she has a 3x3" cut in her hair...AKA "bangs".

I ask her: do you have bangs?? Who cut your hair?!

She says: it's not cut.

"I'm looking right at you, sweetie. Your hair is cut."

"No it's not."

"Yes it is."

"No, it's NOT."

"Did you cut your hair?"

"No. It's not cut."

"Did CJ cut your hair?!"

"It's not cut!"

So, I finally end the blatant lies and send her little, fat lying butt to bed. I come downstairs to explain the whole scenario, full of exasperation, to Tim.

Recently, CJ decided to cut her hair into bangs too. This was very very frustrating for me. Why on earth would you cut your own hair?

And because Mi-Mi does whatever CJ does, I figured she followed suit...or perhaps, the new stylist of the house, CJ, decided to do it.

So I was not happy about 1) they cut their own hair and 2) SHE BLATANTLY LIES TO ME WHEN I CAN SEE THE TRUTH!

What to do?

The first thing? Get them both to a salon and have their bangs cut properly.

The second thing? I have no fricking clue.

My Favorite SYTYCD Routines - Week Two

This week, my favorite dances included Melissa and Ade, who I loved last week. This was a funky routine that made me love the naughty ballerina even more!

Asuka and Vitolio's routine gave me chills. This was beautiful and heartfelt. I felt like Asuka's facial expressions throughout the routine were amazing:

And Karla and Jonathan also had an amazing routine that gave me chills. I paid only a little attention to Jonathan. Karla blew me away. And I think she is filipina. Yes, yes she is. I just looked her up:

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Oh Those Funny Dreams

I mentioned how weird I think it is to share dreams with people, even last night, I had another running dream.

In this dream, me and my buddy Steve and a friend of his (whom I didn't know) decided to run to work. I was going to join them on this run, which happened to be from my part of town. Steve -- in real life -- lives in Cary.

So we are running down Glenwood Blvd, which is one of the busiest roads in Raleigh, and we are running down the traffic lanes, as if we were _allowed_ to...sort of like how bikes are allowed to be on the side of the road.

We were running and merging into lanes, as though we were cars. And we spoke not a single word to one another...just trudging along.

Then I remembered "Shit! I have a four mile run with $Bill at lunch! I can't run this route into work (my note: i don't know the distance but i have a feeling it was around 13.1 miles)! I won't have anything left at lunch!!"

And then Steve, me and Steve's friend 'pulled into' Crabtree Mall, where I had finally decided to stop my part of the run and save it for $Bill.

See why it's weird to share your dreams with others?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A Day At The Museum

CJ went to the Museum of Natural History Friday with Mi-Mi and our personal camp counselor, Lauren. Out of the blue, she decided to include me in her day...via text & photo messaging:

CJ: These r whale bones

CJ: This fish was lookin @ me

Me: Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!

CJ: I no

Me: is looking at u!

CJ: Its eatin a mouse

CJ: Dino head

CJ: Turtle

CJ: I got presants

And my present? A pink, glow turtle keyring.

Loving Frank by Nancy Horan

Finally. I finished this book.

I started on it after Coraline, which is well over a month ago. I didn't have this overwhelming urge to read pages and pages of it. And it is a good book. I think it has more to do with a slump in my reading and the deception that this book is a 'short' read (it has 356 pages in teeny-tiny print).

I almost gave up on it but I'm glad I didn't.

This novel is about Frank Lloyd Wright and his love affair with Martha Borthwick, known through out the book as "Mamah". I could not STAND this name as I would pronounce it as 'mama' in my head. With practice, I was able to change it to the correct pronunciation of 'maymuh'.

Despite the illicitness of their affair, I didn't dislike Mamah. I didn't adore her either. I will not ever understand how this woman could leave her two children for a man. And when I say leave, I mean that literally: she left her young children for Europe with Frank Lloyd Wright. Frank himself left his wife and six children behind.

But since I'm not a man, I can't relate to him. But I can relate to Mamah as a mother. And it crushed me to think this woman, who embrace feminism (set in the early 1900s) and following true love, would do it by sacrificing her children.

I am no traditionalist. I think love is love. And I think people marry for many reasons besides love. And I believe that if the marriage is not salvageable, then choices should be made to move forward to a happier life.

The only traditional piece in me with regard to this? To try to work it out first. I don't imagine that the marriages that last (with love) for the lifetime are without bumps. Sadly, I think, at least in the Western world, the first choice is to leave and divorce. There is no 'let's work this mess out' anymore.

But back to Mamah. She sought a happier life, but it was at the expense of her children. And she was GONE. Gone to live with another man without her children.

Although Nancy Horan's novel is fiction, it is based on actual events that are known about Frank Lloyd Wright. What little she found of Mamah's life is incorporated within this novel. All the way down to the tragedy that took Mamah's life and her two young children.

I didn't know much about Wright, other than some of the homes he built, as well as famous buildings. But I can say that this novel depicted Wright as not someone I had vaguely formed in my head about him.

He was selfish. Arrogant. Sneaky in a snarky way. Frivolous. Egotistical. And an elitist. If he was nothing like this, then the novel has influenced me enough to think more negatively about this man.

I went to wikipedia to read more about him and discovered that he had married at least twice more after Mamah. This was more disheartening as Horan ended the novel in such a bittersweet, romantic, everlasting true love way.

Friday, June 12, 2009

What Is Going On?

A week ago, CJ had another 'injury' with her left leg.

If you recall, she had to have a splinter pulled out of her leg. Her LEFT shin.

Then last week, someone stepped on a toe on her left foot.

She seemed to be doing OK, although she complained about the pain. The last couple of days, she said her toe nail was surely going to fall off.

Today Tim took her to an Urgent Care to take a look at it. Apparently, it was infected as it was full of pus (TMI!!!). They numbed the toe with a shot and cut the nail down. Now she has to stay off of it for a few days and soak it in epsom taking an antibiotic.

She's a trooper though, but unfortunately, she won't be able to run the mile race that she was looking forward to doing, which was to happen tomorrow.

Then we have Tim.

Tim has been full of injuries. His job consists of construction, so he typically comes home bruised, cut and battered.

But a couple weeks ago, he, too, received a splinter. Not just any splinter. A *metal* splinter.

And then last Thursday, he stepped through some boards that were not nailed in and hit his left ankle. When he got home, it had swelled up to the size of a tennis ball. I wanted him to go to the doctor. He wanted to go to the comedy club.

Then he raced an adventure race -- six hours -- on Saturday.

I thought he was going to get his ankle looked at while at Urgent Care with CJ. He texted me and told me that he passed out during the third shot: one tetanus then two lidocaines. The second lidocaine shot sent Tim to la-la land. As he said it "They gave me the first shot and said 'let's see what we can do'" to which he replied "Um, I can still feel stuff". So they gave him a second shot, which went right into the wound and he said "I felt extreme pain, then had a dream and when I woke up, they had ice on me."

Needless to say, despite his first time passing out, nothing was done to remove the metal splinter. He will have to try again. But this means he will not be doing the race either. It's just been too much excitement for one evening.

So You Think You Can Dance

For the fans out there, it is better known as SYTYCD.

I. Love. This. Show.

It is one of my all-time favorites. It is so fun to watch. I don't know the appeal of Dancing with the Stars after watching this one.

The dance numbers are incredible.

The dancers (aka contestants) are incredible.

And usually the dances are flawless, to someone like me.

And almost always, the show makes me feel so good and happy because it is so entertaining.

I love the choreographers, even though I think Mia Michaels has gotten quite an ego over the years. I recognize their styles: Wade Robson, Mandy Moore and SONYA.

I find myself not wanting to delete the shows so that I can watch the numbers again. But thank buddha for YouTube, as I can watch them over and over without taking up space on the DVR.

I just finished the first week of the top 20 finalists. LOVED IT. Everyone was incredible; every number was amazing. So as part of this season, I am going to share my very favorite numbers, even though, at least with this week, I loved them all.

But the standouts for me are Wade Robson's number, that had Kupono and Ashely:

Then Mandy Moore's routine with Ade and the Naughty Ballerina (AKA Melissa):

Finally, from the competition, this samba was surprisingly HOT:

The elimination show had this amazing opening number with all of the contestants. Just by comparison, when I watch American Idol's opening number? Well, I don't. I have to fast forward it because it's almost always, IMO, total fucking crap. But NEVER with SYTYCD:

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The End of an Era

OK. I am a bit over dramatic with the title but there is a bit of resemblance to it. My oldest, CJ, has finished elementary school.

The end of childhood.

The end of young friendships.

The end of a simple time.

Her school had a "Moving Up" ceremony. For the last few weeks, she has been so excited about it. She found a beautiful 'graduation' dress. She was going to wear make-up.

A couple weeks ago, she and three of her BFFs went to the mall to shop for a fellow BFF's graduation dress. They all found matching strapless bras, flip-flops and tank tops. And the whole time they were out and about? Not a single phone call or text message *to me*.

I took it hard. I akin it to how a father must feel when he is no longer *the* guy that his daughter wants to be with. I was no longer her 'cool' mom to go to. :(

So me and the girls were slow to get up today, on the last day of school for both of them. We managed to get up and CJ wanted me to curl her hair. I did and also put on some make-up for her. She asked if she could wear a pair of my shoes. Sure, I say but I am thinking "What pair could she possibly wear? They won't fit." And lo and behold, she comes out of my closet with a pair of wedged sandals. And. They. Fit.


The ceremony itself was quite nice. It was a bit sad because the principal is also leaving for middle a principal, of course. He started at the school when CJ started there, so there was a little twinge of melancholy for me.

The speeches were awesome. We heard from Mr. Hill, who was principal of CJ's school back when it was a 'decrepit' building and how he built it to what it is today. The advice he gave was borrowed from a previous speech at the same school, from the 60s I think. I won't get it right but it was close to something about 'as you leave here, I want you to drink, steal, and swear...drink from the fountain of knowledge; steal yourself away from bad people; swear that you will be a better person.'

He told them that he knew how excited they were about the next venture. But he told them to slow down. Life comes by fast and in a blink of an eye, they will be sitting in these chairs watching their own children moving out of 5th grade.

The principal's speech was just as moving. He talked about how nervous he was for these students, as much as their parents, because he knew that the next phase would bring them temptations, frustrations, and doubt. But he told them to be the person they are from within and do what they know is right and not what others tell them is right.

And the one thing that sort of freaked me out: they proclaimed them the class of 2016.

2016?!? WTF? Where did the time go?

Then they had the slideshow of pictures of the 5th graders through the past year. You must know that by this time I was already through one tissue, trying very hard to suppress my noisy gasps, sobbing because I know that this is the end of CJ's innocence as an elementary CHILD.

I've already seen it over the past year. About a week ago, I think CJ and I had our first "I hate mom" tiff. And for the past few months, I have been troubled by CJ -- and her BFFs -- 'elimination' of one BFF. There were five...or maybe there were four...and one was dropped or replaced.

I've tried to talk to CJ about the whole "clique" thing and making sure SHE makes the decision to de-friend someone because SHE wants to...not because her friends want to. It hasn't changed anything. And during the slideshow, I cried for the lost friend when I saw a picture of the four girls -- the girls without the lost friend.

Once the ceremony was over, and the students were released from school, the clique came back into the gym, attached at the hip as usual. It was quite cute. But I walked over to the lost friend, sitting with new girls I never knew. I touched her shoulder and gave her my congrats. I told her that I hoped that she and CJ would resolve their issues and that I missed seeing her come over the house. She gave me a weak smile and said Thank You, which tore my heart into more pieces.

The girls will be able to hang out more during the summer, except for one, who will be gone the entire summer. And then? They are off to different schools. And no matter what, this will end that clique. And even though I know she will make new friends and new cliques, it will be sad that these friendships right now, so fun, so gleeful, so giggly and innocent, will be gone.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Summer Heat

Summer officially begins on June 21st but the heat and humidity is already here.

During today's morning run, I eventually remembered my training during the heat of last summer.

It doesn't just suck because of the heat and humidity. It sucks in the fact that it sucks the life out of me.

I started off this morning, which felt pretty decent. I carried my Coach Bubba towelette to help with the sweat getting in my eyes but I thought 'I don't think I need this!'

I was wrong.

And while I didn't have glaring sunlight on me, my legs were not cooperating. I trudged along and noticed my first mile split was 10:13. I wasn't feeling as though I would get much faster than that so I didn't look at my watch anymore.

I trudged along and thought about a recent blog posting where a guy wrote that part of his training was to follow through his training no matter what. I knew I could get four miles in and I wasn't going to give up.

And I didn't. And not only did I *not* give up. I actually ended up doing a sub-10 mn mile overall. Now THAT surprised me!

And I got six strides in at the end. I was spent. I wanted to quit. But only a little bit. It wasn't the forefront thought in my mind. Really, my thought was more along 'these strides aren't going to be as fast as last week'. And I was OK with that.

That is huge for me.

And I remembered last year. Running seven, eight, nine, ten and eleven miles in this heat and humidity. And feeling bad about myself. "I suck" thoughts clouded my brain.

But I don't suck. Running doesn't suck. It's the heat that sucks. And yet, I feel a great sense of accomplishment running in it and knowing that I can do it.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Good Experiences Are Not Equal

There is a route that I take to work that is really beautiful. It is a wonderful 'user' experience for me. The road is twisty with brick medians between the lanes.

A couple years ago, this road was nothing but dirt. One could theoretically drive through it but it would be a very bumpy, maybe dusty or muddy, depending on the weather, ride.

It was eventually paved and along with this nice median-riddled road, a nice wide greenway meandered alongside the road. Amazing!!

But with this road came big houses. You know, those McMansions. The overpriced, overbuilt homes that people with small dicks buy to impress somebody.

And then suddenly there were No Parking signs put up alongside the road. In a sense, it made sense because they were put up around a very sharp -- almost 90 degree -- turn and the road narrows there, and there are many pedestrians, runners, and/or bikers. This road with the pretty greenway goes right into Umstead State Park, one of the most beautiful gems we have in Raleigh.

So there is a bit of bitterness about losing the 'soul' of this road to the little dicks. But you can probably tell that *I'm* not one of the bitter folk.

Regardless about the little dicks, the road is not a road meant to speed on. There are wildlife all around, in addition to being an active resource for runners, bikers, walkers, hikers, etc.

And recently, the speed limit was downgraded from 35 mph to 25 mph. When I saw the new signs, I thought "Great. I get tailgated by "co-workers" doing 35."

So far, I have had one bimbo tailgate me to the point where I could see the natural color of her hair by her roots in my rear view mirror. I don't budge. I will not budge.

But I have been closely followed by others who would rather zoom passed me if given a chance.

I also hear people put blame on the little dicks in the neighborhood. 'If it weren't for these fat cats in their McMansions, none of this would be like this! And *we* paid for it!!'

The "we" implying us taxpayers in the city.

And the complaint of 'none of this would be like this' is meant for the pretty median-lined road. Some people feel the medians are not necessary. Sure. I could buy into that but, um, I think it looks nice. It also serves a purpose to SLOW THE FUCK DOWN. But for some reason, the user experience sought by the assholes that work at the same company I work at is to get to work as fast as possible. But if they're behind me, they ain't getting anywhere until they actually reach the work site, where they can just FLY BY ME as I flip them off and curse the shit out of them -- only they can't see it or hear it. :)

Here are some pics of the route, the 25 mph zone begins:

One of the little dick Subdivisions:

This is the nearly 90 degree turn. Notice the pedestrian on the far left. I always think that one car going just a little too fast is going to do some damage:

This is the start of a real windy part of the road:

The first part of the S:

The second part of the S:

This is a picture of what the medians look like on this road:

And the road that takes me to the major road that takes me home and turns from 25 to 35:

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

I am in a reading slump.

Either the books I am reading are not interesting enough for me or I am just in 'reader's block' phase.

But I managed to finally finish one of the two books I am trying to get through. This one was supposed to be finished by May 27th for book club. Ahs well...

I knew Practical Magic from the movie with Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman. A terrible movie, BTW. But it was chosen for book club, which was an odd choice as it wasn't a recent release (the movie came out in 1998).

Overall, it was OK. More than OK, but less than good. What is the word for that?

Perhaps it would have been more interesting had I not been reflecting back to the movie. Did I mention how bad the movie was?

Sally and Gillian are sisters who have magic in their blood. Their aunts take them in when they become orphaned and the book details a little bit about how hard it is to grow up with aunts for witches.

The girls become women and have lived different lives, all away from the hometown of their aunts'. Gillian leads a wild life; Sally is domesticated (and widowed) with two daughters.

But Gillian seeks Sally once her good-for-nothing boyfriend dies of mysterious causes, quite possibly because of Gillian dabbling in potions.

Then the book turns to describe a bit of the lives of Gillian, Sally and Sally's two daughters. We also get to live in the lives of two others, Ben and Gary.

Because Hoffman doesn't divide her novel into chapters, the book feels like it's rambling like a run-on sentence.

I read some quotes on the book jacket about Hoffman's "prose". I didn't find it prosey at all. I felt like, if anything, much of her writing was based on cheeseball, high school teen, trying to write something meaningful.

But it wasn't bad enough for me to stop. Really, once Gary joined the picture, I became very interested in the storyline and that ended up being the last 75 pages of the novel.

Bug Bite

During Thursday's run, when it was so frickin' sunny and I was sweating like men NORMALLY do...I felt a sting on my left temple.


My hand immediately goes to it and I discover it is some bug stuck to my forehead. I was so fricking sweaty that this poor bug was just flying along, minding his own business, when SPLAT! He gets stuck to my head as though I was flypaper. His only way 'out' was to bite the shit out of me and have me swipe him away.

Now, I have a fricking welt the size of dime just setting on the side of my temple. Well, not just setting, as it itches too.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Comedy Special

Thursday was a night out in Raleigh for Tim and I.

I had booked tickets for Rich Vos about a month ago, once I found out he was coming to Charlie Goodnight's.

I am a Rich Vos fan, ever since I saw him on the best season of Last Comic Standing: season 1.

Tim and I saw him in Raleigh in 2007, with his wife, Bonnie McFarlane, a fellow comedian and a season 2 Last Comic Standing. I am also a huge McFarlane fan because she is fucking FUNNY. And I thought she had a bad rap during that season because she was a great female comedian. So to me, this was a double-header, as they came for a Valentine's special at Goodnight's.

Goodnight's offers a great deal: $30 Thursday tickets that includes dinner at the Old Bar. I booked it with a lot of ruminating: should I book a Thursday show? What if he doesn't do his best material for us cheapos and waits for the big shows on Friday and Saturday nights?

But I don't like to do things that everyone else does on the same day: Friday and Saturday will be big date nights for the commoners. *I* have to be different. And I think: I am supporting him on the off nights. Isn't that worth some brownie points?

So we head out to the Old Bar with low expectations.

The Old Bar used to be in the basement of Goodnight's. Back then? Mediocre food.

Then it became The Underground, one of Tim and I's favorite restaurants. But then it closed and became the Old Bar again. Both times it was open, the Old Bar was and is, supposedly, Mexican/Tex-Mex.

And I will say that the Old Bar hasn't done much to improve an image of 'quality' meals for a night at Goodnight's. Although for the price, it will suffice if for only the cost of the tickets alone is worth $30. But this is not a place worth dining out for any other reason.

Granted, there is a special menu for the $30 evening. Perhaps the food on the other part of the menu is worthy? But I think not.

The choice was one appetizer:
spinach and artichoke dip
chips and queso
or chips and salsa any other Mexican/Tex-Mex establishment, the chips & salsa are on the house. The waitress states that the spinach and artichoke dip is the bomb. OK. We'll take it but I tell Tim that this isn't an often seen item on Mexican/Tex-Mex menus.

Then there is the choice of two entrees:
Black Bean Burrito
Taco Salad with Sirloin Black Bean Chili
Chicken Quesadilla
Spinach and Artichoke Quesadilla
Chicken Sandwich

That's it. No fajitas. No tacos. Enchiladas? Just this. And I found it scary that there happened to be an appetizer *and* an entree with the same ingredients.

I asked the waitress if she thought the taco salad or the chicken quesadilla was good. She said to definitely go for the quesadilla. I did. And it was just...fine. It wasn't horrible. But it certainly wasn't anything to write home to mom about. I've made better quesadillas at home...

Tim's black bean burrito was just that: a tortilla filled with black beans. That be it.

I had a Corona. They didn't have Corona I think. The waitress, in hindsight, looked at me funny and at the time, I thought it was because they didn't have any. Now, I believe she didn't know what the fuck I was talking about.

Tim had a margarita. When he ordered another, he asked if it could be topped off with Grand Marnier. The waitress was like "i'll see what i can do". Um. It's a fucking BAR. You don't have to see what you can do. You tell the bartender what the freaking order is.

I realize now that the Old Bar is a sell out. They don't give a shit about food. Or they would actually make something of it.

They don't care about hiring a decent waitstaff, or you'd have someone that could actually do a decent job.

It's all about getting people in on the special with $20 worth of food product and get them on everything else: $8 mixed drink prices; $20 wine bottle prices for wines you can get for less than a quarter of the price at Kroger's.

When we got to our table in the comedy club, their appetizers at the table were: $4 popcorn (in what amounted to the equivalent of the "small" popcorn at the movies), $4.50 hummus, etc. I would be afraid to know where the hummus came from. Oh. And none of the apps matched anything we saw on the menu downstairs. Well. Maybe chips & salsa for $6.


But the comedy is worth it. Rich Vos was great and held us hostage (his words, not mind) for nearly two hours. As usual, there were the folks in the audience who think they can befriend the comedian and just 'chat' with him during his routine. I loved when he ripped them apart.

In the end, the price was worth the TICKETS ALONE. The Old Bar is NOT AT ALL IMPRESSIVE.

And I realized that there is no longer a restaurant upstairs either. Gone. I found out when I walked all the way up the stairs, in hopes of hitting the restroom (normally located there) and finding that not only were the stairs dark, but the whole god-damn floor.

I don't want to see the comedy club go away. But they've got to do something about the rest of the place.

And I still have another set of $30 Thursday special tickets for Greg Giraldo's show in July.

My Recent iTunes Purchases

Amazingly, I don't frequently download music for iTunes. No, I don't rip things off...I always purchase. But I don't actively find a lot all at one time. It's usually: hmmm...I like this song, let me go buy it.

Even though songs are only .99 - 1.29, I have a chronic condition not to purchase anything unless I really, really, really know I want it. It's an investment!!

So the past few days, I downloaded quite a few songs. I like them all. But you can see the influence from my kids...and perhaps, you might see the influence I had on my own kids. :)

Boom Boom Pow by Black Eyed Peas
Don't Trust Me by 3OH!3
Forgiveness by Diane Birch
If U Seek Amy by Britney Spears
Jump Around by House of Pain
Katherine Hit Me by Franz Ferdinand
Knights of Cydonia by Muse
No You Girls by Franz Ferdinand
Poker Face by Lady GaGa
Toxic by Britney Spears
Unsung by Helmet


"Depleted": that may be a little bit of exaggeration regarding how I feel physically, but it is pretty close.

In the past two weeks, I have started a new routine which ends up as a 'two-a-day' workout routine.

And while I can whine and try to show some humbleness about this 'aw, it's nothing' really is *something*.

I am in pretty darn good shape. Barring the GI issue that seems to keep my belly in a constant bloated state (yes, TMI, but it's another issue that may be addressed in a blog post), I have been in the best shape EVER. And I am FORTY-FUCKING years old :). I love it! And I want to stay this way.

But, alas, my body is not actually _used_ to this. So no matter how cocky I get in my head ("I am the WO-man! Here me roar!"), my body will not GO when it does not want to go.

Granted, I'm in enough shape that GO is pretty good.

Yesterday, I ran with hubby. We did the 5.5 mile loop that goes through Umstead State Park. The route is relatively rough, but I would argue that the clockwise route is twice as hard as the counter-clockwise route. Tim and I did the counter-clockwise route.

Yesterday's routine for me? Morning was the nearly 1 hour and 40 minute Yoga X routine from P90X. This MFer is hard. The first 40 minutes consists of non-stop flow with vinyasas at every bit. I could already sense how much more tired I was doing this yesterday than the week before.

My next workout of the day? A 4-5 mile run. I was cocky enough to think I could tackle the 5.5 mile loop.

So off we go and I'm doing OK until the first hill, which is barely a 1/4 mile into the run. Uh-oh. My legs are feeling kind of shaky. And not only that, in my excitement to meet Tim for the run, I realized that the only food I had to fuel me up for this run was two PB toasts from 7:30 AM (run was @ noon). Normally, I have more food between PB toast and running.

And it was HOT. The sun was just burning into my skin. I had no hat. No fuel belt. Again, I wasn't tormented by that too much. Tim brought water and would offer me water every so often, which I denied.

But once we got into Umstead, he stopped and demanded I drink water. Little did he know, I was going to do that...

We continued running and I was really zonked in the legs. I kept a good pace (reminder: in good shape :)) but when I got to the spillway, I told Tim "I'm walking this".

And man-oh-man, that wasn't pleasant either!! Imagine running in such hot humid heat, where you can get a little wind from just running...and then STOPPING in the middle of direct sunlight? It is not a good thing.

I was hot as hell. My feet were fucking hot. Need I remind anyone who reads my posts how much I HATE THAT? I handled it well (I think I am mellowing in my old age :)). Tim's one bottle of water was looking like a rare jewel that I wanted for myself. I wanted to pour it onto my head and to my feet and into my mouth. But I didn't and conservatively took a sip and gave it back.

The walk up the spillway, AKA "half mile hill", was long and hot. There was no shade. And I had nothing in me, even mentally, to do anything remotely close to a jog to get up it and get it over with.

In fact, once at the top, I offered to run DOWN the remaining down part until the next hill (which I hate more than half mile hill) but since Tim offered 'I don't mind walking; I'll probably do a lot of that on Saturday' (he has an adventure race scheduled), I took advantage of it and said I had no ego that day and I was walking it.

What a trooper he was. We continued until we got to Harrison Avenue where we broke back into a run. I could do it but man, it didn't feel good.

And as usual, I get those weird smirks, smiles, and comments about how sweaty I am. Hello? It's fucking hot and I just ran (with that long walk break) 5.5 miles, thankyouverymuch.

And I happen to be a really bad sweat-er...especially for a girl.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

My Tattoo: Session 18

I noticed I've been labeling these entries as a new tattoo but now that I'm into this many sessions, I think I can drop "new".

Today was easy! Kat thought she had more shading to do, which is what she did at the last session. She didn't realize new stuff needed to be drawn on and she hadn't prepared for that (I had no idea). So today was about 30 minutes of finishing the shading of what was left, plus some touch-ups that she decided to do elsewhere.

The area that she shaded, which is the upper left shoulder area, is not too painful. There were a few spots that I had to grit my teeth, but overall it was fine.

She changed needles and I heard a high pitched whine and discovered that this actually felt good. And the area she was hitting was throughout the lower back, and then some...just touch-ups throughout.

But I heard her change needles again and this time, I heard a low drone. It sounded mean. And it was. I kept waiting for her to turn the dang thing off because anytime it touched my skin, it tickled then PAIN. And that's how my session ended.

I was able to talk to her about my next tattoo. Yes, I have jumped ahead to another tattoo that I want. A few weeks ago, I was so excited about my idea that when I explained it to Tim, ecstatically (as if I discovered the meaning to life), he looked at me with a straight face and said 'how about get THIS one done first?'

OK. Point taken.

But fortunately, Kat's attitude was like 'sure, i don't mind working on little things while I do this one. And she even drew an idea on the area that I have in mind. :) So I'll have to ponder a bit more what I want but I may have an entry for a "new" tattoo, not too long after (or during) this one.

This picture is fresh, hot off the press. Look for the red spots -- that would be the fresh ink.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Fried Brain

Today: All ready to go and get my run in early in the day. Go to where I know my watch and iPod are and cannot find them. "I just saw them here yesterday? Who moved it?" I think "Why would anyone move it? Truly, no one knows that I keep my supplies here." I am befuddled but the good news is that I found the camera that has been lost for a week and a half. :)

It dawns on me: duh. I used it last night. They are both in the car. I feel like a complete idiot. I searched for a good five minutes with absolutely NO CLUE as to where it was. Shouldn't my memory be better than that?

Later that morning, I see a blurb on some upcoming events at the comedy club. I just casually look at the date of Rich Vos' showing. I have made reservations for that show, which will be sometime this month. Um. No. The dates are June 4th-7th! That is THIS week! OMG.

I double-check my online ticket order and sure enough, my reservation is for this Thursday. I had already planned - and sent invitations to all my Raleigh friends - to attend a book signing by one of my favorite authors. I am sorry. It's Rich Vos night for me.

Now, afternoon: I have a second "workout" of the day - a wallyball match. I get to the gym and search and search for my Food Lion bag full of clothes in the car. I just put it in the car this morning! Where the hell is it? I look in the back. I look in the disaster area that is the 'trunk' of the mini-van. I think I found a dead animal (JJ).

Then I remembered that I had taken it all in this morning when I came in to run. DUH TIMES TWO. WTF is wrong with me today?

Now, I have my workout clothes on, sneakers too. Ready to go and head for one last bathroom break when I realize I forgot to put my kneepads on. I have just locked the locker and tied up my shoes.

Seriously? Where is my brain today? I feel just fine, other than the sore hip flexor, ankle and calf...

Monday, June 01, 2009

Not A Happy Camper

Last year, we decided to try a 'personal camp counselor' for the summer break, rather than put CJ in summer camp. For the most part, CJ did not enjoy summer camps and for a few of the ones we tried, the camp didn't seem so personable.

So we put an ad out and found a wonderful person who is now a great friend. She was on break before heading out to her first job after graduation and hung out with the girls all summer, at the pool, the mall, the house, where ever. It was a great experience for all of us.

We struggled to find someone last year, however. I feel very lucky with who we found because I received so many people interested but then tell me at the end that they found other positions elsewhere. I was down to the wire.

This year, I knew I had to get on the ball to get someone for the summer. My current babysitters were busy: one is still in school and the other was preparing for her own first job. I found two postings for summer child care and contacted both.

They were both impressive on paper. I was really impressed when one of them, after answering my questions, wrote back with questions of her own. We had both come over and while the girls clicked with both ladies, Tim and I liked one of them the most.

So I did a very poor job of e-mailing the other girl back. I meant to tell her, the day after meeting her, that we had decided on someone else.

I did e-mail my other babysitter -- the one I thought would be unavailable over the summer -- that we were going with someone else. We had already offered the position when we found out that our other one was actually going to be around for the summer.

But for some reason, I let this one go.

So Friday, I got an e-mail from the young lady asking when she was going to start. :( I felt soooo bad that I had to answer her with 'I'm so sorry. We went with another girl. My girls really like you. Hope you have a great summer.' Well, something to that effect.

I guess that wasn't enough for her, as she wrote back with a stern tone, using my first name instead of Hi.

To my understanding, I thought I was going to start watching your girls after I got back into town. I denied 2 other jobs because I thought that we had an agreement. It would have been nice to let me know that you were looking at other people. Now the 2 jobs I could have had are already taken.

I don't know if I should reply back with another apology or leave it alone. I'm leaning toward the latter.

I forget that these are young minds? Not used to rejection? Not used to the fact that you don't just 'get' things by asking or offering?

I mean, what I really want to say is: 'We had to meet you first. We had to see how we all clicked and while my children thought you were nice, my husband and I did not feel you were the best choice.'

Or, 'There was no agreement about anything. We discussed what your responsibilities would be if we hired you.'

Or, 'You shouldn't assume you are the only person we would be talking to. My children are the most important people in the world. We are very careful about the choices we make in who watches are children.'

She was a nice girl. She is? But the snit of an e-mail has put her off my list. What if the one we hired doesn't work out? Did she think about not burning her bridge? Of course not. It's pretty evident that she has a lot of growing up to do and our instincts were right on the money.