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Anyone else notice a trend in my tweets?

Apparently, there’s a whole lot of sucking going on….

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Boobies, Horny Dogs and Patrick Swazye (And, No, None of These Things Have Anything To Do With Each Other). Just Another Random Tuesday

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Lazy Blogger

I haven’t written much lately. It’s not that I don’t have stories to tell, things to say or rants to make. I have plenty to say, I just don’t haven the energy to focus and write. Which stinks because it’s a good way for me to relieve stress and blow off some steam.

But I’m so tired. I’m worn down. I feel like hibernating—and it’s only mid-September. I feel so lazy that the simplest, most basic tasks seem exhausting. I did a few loads of laundry Sunday afternoon and it sucked every bit of life out of me. I don’t think it’s the seasonal change—I am so happy that it’s starting to cool off a bit and I can break out some sweaters and my beloved boots—I think life is catching up to me. I had a vacation (that I still haven’t written about. What’s the statue of limitations for that?), my birthday, my anniversary, dog shows and work. Plus, all the little stuff that adds up to long and busy days. I hope whatever this is stops and life gets back to normal.

Mondays are for Mammograms

If you’re feeling particularly sadistic, make sure your schedule your mammogram the week you have your period. I had my first mammogram at 35. Since I’m adopted and don’t have a medical history, they wanted to establish a baseline to check against. Now that I’m 40, I guess I have to do this every year. I had my appointment yesterday—the day before my period started. I made my appointment months ago and didn’t realize I scheduled it when I was going to be on vacation, so I pushed it a couple of weeks without really paying attention to the calendar.

It takes the pain and magnifies it a million times. It’s bad enough the tech has to grab what little boobage I have and wrestle it into this machine to smash it into a pancake, when they’re already sore and swollen (I apologize to my male readers for the visual!) it’s like having vice grip attached to your tatas while someone cranks it tighter and tighter until tears spring from your eyes, your boob feels like it’s burning and you’re just about to cry “Uncle!” when the machine mercifully released your bruised and battered boobie. Repeatedly. (Bill’s thinking, “Shit, she’s never going to let me near THOSE again!”)

“Bitch in Heat!”

I went to my first dog show a couple of years ago. When I got Gracie, they told me I was required to show the little diva, and although it sounded fun and I watched the Westminster Dog Show on TV, I had never actually BEEN to one. So I begged and bribed asked Lesley to come with me, and we drove to the middle of nowhere (or close to it) to meet Gracie’s handler (who also owns Gracie’s Baby Daddy) at a dog show. I realized quickly that it was not going to be as easy (or as inexpensive) as promised, but I was willing to give it the old college try.

A couple of weeks before Gracie started showing. I met Gracie’s handler again at another show so I could see what this was really going to entail. I wanted to talk to her about how I needed to groom Gracie beforehand. I also wanted to watch everything from how they get the dogs ready to go into the ring, to how the judges look them over, to how people behave (Did you know that Rottweiler owners are big into clapping and cheering for every single dog while Samoyed owners think it’s not appropriate to applaud until the very end? File that under Weird Shit You Never Wanted To Know.)

Bitch in Heat!

Bitch in Heat!

So the Sammys are getting ready to show, and Gracie’s handler has me walk one of the male dogs to the ring for her. As I’m taking this dog over, a woman is dashing through the crowd with her German Shepherd, sees the obviously male dog I’m walking and starts bellowing, “Bitch in Heat! Bitch in Heat!” At first I wasn’t sure if she was talking about herself or her dog. But I realized she thought the boy at the end of my leash was ready to break free and start humping her little bitch. I was stunned. I looked around to see if anyone else thought this was strange, but no one blinked an eye.

Gracie has a show this weekend and she’s in heat. If we’re lucky, this will be her last one (show, not monthly visitor). She only has two more points before she becomes CHAMPION Gracie, so I think I’m going to go out with a bang (pun intended). I’m going to bring a bunch of bodyguards to surround my precious baby to make sure no rouge dogs knock her up. And I’m going to walk her through the crowds and announce “Bitch in Heat!” With a bullhorn.

Maybe that should be my new tagline?

Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner

Although it’s not unexpected, I’m still sad that Patrick Swayze passed away yesterday. Dirty Dancing is one of my all-time favorite movies. I love those Saturday afternoons when I don’t have anything to do and find it on TV. I will stop and watch. Every. Single. Time.

One of the best movie lines ever...

One of the best movie lines ever...

For more random reading today, check out Keely at the UnMom.

Random Thursday Thoughts: The Vacation Edition

I’ve been ignoring my blog and I really didn’t mean to. The past week has been full of milestones. I have turned 40, celebrated my 10-year wedding anniversary, and went on vacation. I’ve had a million things to write about but haven’t been able to direct a single thought into a coherent post. In fact, I started writing this post TWO DAYS AGO with a glass of wine in hand, thinking I was going to relax and let the words flow but I got sidetracked (OOH, SHINY THINGS! PRETTY), so this is what ya get… I’m sorry.

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We were in Sonoma/Napa for a week, and as amazing as the trip was, I think I’m thrilled to be home. We had an amazing time, but I’m on wine and food overload.

When we got to the Napa Valley, we were armed with a list of wineries we wanted to visit, and we agreed that we were just going to taste—sip and savor the wine and spit it out—not drink.

On Friday—our first full day—we hit three wineries. And I’m guessing it was one too many. Somewhere along the line, that whole tasting plan went out the window. I didn’t eat breakfast that morning, and by the time we had lunch it was about 1:00. Since it was our anniversary, I had wine (natch) with my salad. After that, we walked down the block to a tasting room for a winery we like. They sent us to another winery, and that winery sent us to yet another…

I’m sure I got carried away with the whole Hey It’s Our First Day of Vacation and It’s Our Anniversary! And I drank. We split a tasting of about 5 wines at the first place. At the second, we tasted-—and I use this term loosely because these are pretty generous servings—about 5 or 6 more. The third place? I’m pretty sure there were about 7 wines. And my tastebuds were numb.

Add to that the fact that it was 105 degrees.

I didn’t get super sick/drunk, but I definitely had too much wine/sugar/heat that day. After that, I paced myself, but I have eaten my body weight in parmesan cheese, salami and sourdough bread—all with a heavy amount of olive oil. Plus, we had dinner in some amazing restaurants and I felt compelled to try a little of almost everything. I feel like that guy on The Travel Channel’s Man vs. Food, who takes on every food challenge he can find. 96-ounce steak? Sure! 12,000 hot wings in 10 minutes? Done. I ate the equivalent of a wheel of cheese, had more frisee and tomatoes than I can count. I slurped soup, peeled shrimp and inhaled pasta. I know I’m lucky but I was so happy to have a plain green salad with iceberg and Italian dressing on our way home.

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Last Friday was our 10-year wedding anniversary! Ten years is a big deal for us. We have stayed together through raising three sons (his), the death of two parents (his), biological clocks ticking exploding (mine), job changes (ours), and a million other little things that added up together make for a crazy life.

It hasn’t always been easy, but I probably wouldn’t change a single day of it (well, maybe a couple). I feel lucky to have met and married my best friend, my partner in life, and the one man who’s most equipped to deal with me and all of my idiosyncrasies. I love him more than my shoes and I’m looking forward to many more years together.

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So I turned 40 and it really wasn’t that bad. Certainly not as bad as I thought it would be. I’m not sure what I was expecting—maybe I thought I’d suddenly become decrepit overnight, hunched over, blind as a bat, complaining about my sciatica—but it was a pretty smooth transition. No additional wrinkles, no gray hairs (as far as you know), and I actually feel better than I did in my 20s. I think I look better, too, if I do say so myself.

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When I was in Northern California I spent the day with one of my best friends. We met on the first day of high school (twenty-mumble-mumble) years ago and we’re still in touch. She saw me through braces, bad perms and ugly school uniforms and she was my maid of honor at my wedding.We don’t talk often and probably see each other even less, but we seem to pick up right where we left off when we do, and for that I’m eternally grateful.

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Tonight I’m putting Crazy Gracie to work. We’re going to take our first agility class together. I’m sure much humiliation (for me) is in the cards. Stay tuned for the update.

Perspective

The tragedy of life is not that it ends so soon, but that we wait so long to begin it. —Anonymous

I think I’ve thoroughly established around here that Julie the Cruise Director Bill is a doer, a planner, a get-up-off-your-ass-and-move kind of guy. He is always on the go, making plans, going places, meeting friends. He likes the idea of sitting still, of just being, but can’t really wrap his head around actually doing that.

For my part, I’m The Master of Chill. I have no problem lounging around, doing not much of anything except riding the couch, watching the TV and/or reading a book. For me, there’s a lot of pleasure in doing nothing. A perfect day is one that extends infinitely ahead of me without plans or demands. It’s how I get my bearings, find my center.

Most of the time Bill and I balance each other our pretty well. He drags me out (sometimes kicking and screaming, sometimes willingly) to do things, and 85% of the time I’m glad he did. Some days I insist that we’re doing nothing and I plant myself somewhere and refuse to budge like a willful child. About 85% of the time Bill will tell me later in the day that he needed to do nothing that day.

Until a few days ago, though, I wasn’t really sure why he was so unrelenting with doing. There’s almost an urgency to it sometimes, as though if he can keep moving…what?

We were having one of those State of Our Marriage talks that happen from time to time. Nothing serious—more like a check-up more than anything. You good? Yup. You? Yup—and the topic of living life came up. Bill was reminding me that it’s not just doing what you have to do, but really living life—actively participating, taking charge, having fun and not letting it pass you by.

I’m all for that, but I’m a proponent of balance, too.

And then he said something that made everything click in place:

“I’m 55 years old. My father died when he was 75. If that’s any indicator, I’ve got 20 years left. I’m not about to spend that time waiting, watching life pass me by.”

That slapped me hard. Suddenly, 20 years doesn’t seem that long.

Granted, it’s a somewhat fatalistic view of life, but I suppose there’s a lot of truth in it. We talk about going here, doing that, writing more, traveling, doing things that make us happy. So what am I doing? What am I waiting for? I want to spend more time with my husband, doing things together, having fun. And not just because he may only have “20 years left” (truth be told, he’ll outlive me!), but because I don’t want life to pass me by. I don’t want to wake up when I’m 80 and wonder what I did all my life. Because as much as I love my Tivo, it’s not what I’m going to remember when I’m sitting in my rocking chair at the old folks’ home.

I’m not going to live my life like a game of Beat the Clock, but I will definitely say “Yes” more. I will try to get out more and burrow in my house less.

What have I got to lose?

So I Think I’m A Bad Daughter…

…and I feel guilty about it but I can’t seem to help myself sometimes.

A couple of years ago when I switched jobs, I gave my parents my new work number but I told them not to call it unless it was important.

The job switch gave me a good excuse because I now share an office and I have a schedule and a job that has people in and out of here all day long. I don’t have the time to chat all day and I don’t want everyone in my business anyway.

This offends my mother to her very core.

In my last job I had my own office and she knew it, so she’d call to yack about nothing. If I had time, I’d pick up and talk for a bit, but then she started to take advantage. She’d call up and when I had to interrupt her to take another call—a WORK call, no less—or if someone came in and I had to put her on hold, or god forbid, call her back, she’d get pissy about it. If I didn’t call her back in the time she felt I should have been able to, she’d call and leave snippy messages on my voice mail: “Where ARE you? I thought you’d call back by now.”

She got so aggressive about it that when I’d tell her, “Mom, I have to go” (because my boss was standing in the door or something) she’d pause and say, “Mmhm. So anyway…” And launch right back into whatever she was talking about. I’d try (gently) to interrupt her but she pretended she didn’t hear me.

A few times I just hung up on her midsentence.

Was it mean? Absolutely. But she was disrespectful too. She didn’t care that I wasn’t being paid to talk to her all day. She called to talk, and talk she was going to do.

Since I don’t call her during the day now, I try to call my parents a few nights a week on my way home. This has worked out well because I can usually get them both on the phone at the same time and don’t have to repeat or clarify anything in a second conversation later. And there’s a set end point. The 30-minute drive is over and I have to get inside to take care of the dog and see my husband. Now, my dad is totally cool with this, by the way. By the time I’m driving home from work, they’re finishing dinner and watching Letterman and Jimmy Fallon from the night before. My dad wants to catch up on his Tivo. He gets on the phone, says what he wants to say and gets off the phone. He’s not offended at all. (My mom is NOT a say and it and get off the phone type by any stretch of the imagination.)

About an hour ago my cell phone rang. It was my mom, which is unusual during the day, so I automatically assume something must be wrong. My dad is 80 and my mom is 76, so I feel like when they call at unusual times, it’s THE CALL. Which makes me feel shittier about this whole situation.

I pick up and immediately ask what’s wrong. My mom’s voice is tight but she says everything is fine. “Are you sure?” I asked. She assured me that everything was fine.

“So why does it sound like it’s not?”

“You didn’t call last night.”

“Whaaa?”

“You didn’t call on your way home last night.”

“I didn’t realize I was on a schedule.”

“You usually call on Monday, Tuesdays and Thursdays.”

Okay, that was news to me. Frankly, last night I wanted to put the top down, blast some music and just drive. I’m entitled. I had a long week and was tired but I feel guilty now because I didn’t call. Because it was Thursday. And I always call on Thursday.

Here’s the thing I wrestle with. I know my parents are getting older, and the more they age, the more they hold on. I know there will be a day, a day not that long from now, when I wish my mother was around to call me, to check in. There will be a day when I will miss her calling me up to nag me about something. Like I’m 4 and not almost 40. I know all of this. But I can’t help but feel annoyed.

My mom has a ton of friends. She’s active with card groups and golf and she volunteers and goes out to lunch with friends. But she seems lonely to me. And she seems to expect me to supply something that I just don’t know how to give her sometimes. And it simultaneously makes me angry and breaks my heart.

This isn’t a post about bashing my mother. I really am frustrated and don’t know how to handle this with her. I’ve tried to talk to her but I don’t know if she understands it. My grandmother (her mom) had already passed away by the time my mom was my age, and I don’t have kids, so I’m sure there’s a correlation to all of that.

I’m really trying to be patient, and I’m trying so hard not to be frustrated, but sometimes it’s all I can do to swallow my irritation.

I feel like a bad daugher.

Playgrounds Are for Grownups

My friend Chris’ birthday was about a week ago, and his wife threw him a surprise birthday party Friday night. She chose what is basically an indoor playground for the location. There are oversize bouncy houses, blow-up slides that are two-stories high, zip-line ropes and swings.

When I got the Evite, I e-mailed Lesley and said, “Really? This is weird, right? It’s Chris’ 40th birthday and we’re going to a freakin’ playground?” (THIS is the kind of good and supportive friend I am, folks!)

“Yup! His wife swears he’s going to love it.”

Okay, whatever. Not my birthday.

So for the three weeks leading up to this party, we were all sort questioning the logic of this. I mean, C’mon, we even had to sign waivers saying if we got hurt it was our responsibility, not theirs. Um, yeah, when  you have a bunch of 40-year-olds swinging from playground equipment you can bet your ass someone is going to get hurt and that waiver won’t mean shit.

I spent most of Friday afternoon wondering how in the world I was going to get out of this.

But as the wise Lesley kept reminding me, we need to keep an open mind.

This was either going to really suck—or be the most fun thing we’ve ever done.

Well, let me tell you, we had so much damn fun! I feel like an asshole for complaining about this. Less than a minute after being in there, 20 adults were running, flying down the inflatable slides, swinging and hanging from ropes, climbing up things, playing Air Hockey (yes, I got my ass kicked) and ping-pong and pelted each other in The Most Dangerous Game of Dodge Ball EVER!

It was awesome. And like Lesley said after watching this video, we all looked to damn happy!

My 40th birthday is later this month and I’m thinking about having it at a roller rink.

All Skate! All Skate!

(Chris, you better be prepared to lace up some skates!)

PS: Sorry about the video quality. I’m got to try and resave it. I think it saved down too small.

The Kids...

The Kids...

(Not)Cool Runnings (Updated 4/13)

It was a beautiful Easter morning. I was looking forward to a quiet morning, relaxing around the house, not doing much of anything. Bill had other ideas. Apparently, it was time to get me off my ass and working out again. (Meaning: Hey, fatty, move it!)

As I laced up my tennis shoes, which haven’t seen much more activity than a walk around the mall, I thought about how much this run was going to hurt.

At first it wasn’t so bad. Bill and the dog set the pace. We ran down the paths that wind through our neighborhood. I was tight but my stride was good—I felt all graceful and gazelle-like. But about a half mile into it, my legs started to feel heavy. I slowed down but I kept moving. And I kept getting slower and slower…and slower. Until I walked.

Bill and Gracie slowed down to wait for me, walked with me until I caught my breath and then took off again. We ran out onto a dirt trail along a wash. In my head I was Carl Lewis. In reality, I was Quasimodo—hunched over, arms akimbo, feet barely lifting off the ground, sucking in air.

It was brutal.

We probably only went a couple of miles—and I walked most of it—but it was so hard. I used to be in great shape but through a collaboration of things, I got out of the habit of going to the gym this past year. Starting again is one of the hardest things to do.

I actually lost weight when I stopped working out but I’m probably the least healthy I’ve ever been. I lost muscle and strength and any fitness I had. And I’m sure it’s the reason I’ve gotten so sick lately.

As exhausted as I am and as sore as I feel, it was a wake up call that I need to start moving my ass again. I may not be able to move tomorrow, but when I can, I’ll start hitting the road (and the weights) again.

Wish me luck.

MONDAY 4/13

Bill suggested that I should have titled this post “So You’re Saying I’m Fat?!”

I can barely walk today. I am so unbelievably sore and am cursing the fact that I wore high-heeled boots this morning. Even my hair hurts.

Then Bill had the balls to ask me if I’m meeting him at the gym tonight.

Fucker.