Thursday, February 28, 2008

Processed Thoughts

I've lost my cooking mojo. I used to make almost all of our meals from absolute scratch -- dried beans, fresh vegetables, homemade sauces, heck. . .homemade pasta. I keep thinking that the next meal will be a good, healthy one. Then I cop out and and throw some vegetarian chicken-ish nuggets in the toaster oven and call it good.

So today I pulled out two of my favorite cookbooks and thought I'd pick a few recipes, make my grocery list and get back on track. But instead, I drank my tea, checked my email and then got wrapped up in reading some woman's 51-part saga of online dating in her forties. So six hours later, I'm tidying up the kitchen and there sit the cookbooks, begging to be used. Instead I tucked them back onto the shelf until I once again get beyond sick of processed food. Oh well, at least we have good bread. (Note to self: Make bread tomorrow)

And my insomnia is wreaking havoc once again. Three hours of sleep last night as well as the night before. How often do I have to exercise in order to be tired enough to get some damn sleep?

And on that note, good night.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Plumber's Crack

I was reared by a father of three girls. Yeah, sure, Mom was around too, but that's not so pertinent to this post. Dad is a very resourceful fellow. Seems to be able to repair, build or re-invent just about anything. I never knew him to take a car to the shop, call a repairman or need a plumber. And as a man with no sons to train in his thrifty, engineering ways, my sisters and I frequently joined him in the garage or the crawl space for "lessons." I occasionally find myself writing my online dating profile in my head and wonder if I should include, "I can change tires, oil, spark plugs, serpentine belts, brake pads and heat sensors." Perhaps that's more of a job application than a come hither.

Now, I've done my fair share of plumbing in our current abode (a rental, I might add.) And several months ago declared I was done dealing with all water systems here. Sure, I've plunged several drains since then, even snaked two of them, but not until today did I have to forsake my promise and dig in. I flushed a toilet and the water sounded very "gushy." I jiggled the lever and left the room hoping that would be that. A few minutes later it was still running -- Martin proudly announced that he had jiggled the lever twice -- yet it did not stop. That sums up all of his repair attempts in the last fifteen years. Anyway, the flapper had a big tear in it. I knew it had been on its way out for sometime, so the cheap-o in me had rescued a replacement from the discard pile at Halfy's (the thrift store where I work) some time ago. I said a quick prayer that it would fit (the toilet is fifty years old and I'm fairly certain the old flapper was too) and plunged my hands into the icy water in the tank (old toilet = no shut-off valve). I got lucky. And I have to say that this really doesn't count as a plumbing job (replacing all of the innards is far more dramatic). It went very smoothly (not characteristic of most of my adventures). Nothing additional cracked, chipped or broke. I had exactly zero trips to the hardware store (installing the dishwasher involved four). And the only scar I have to show is black rubber embedded into my fingertips from the ancient flapper.

I think I deserve a cup of tea.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Just Loafing Around

Just in case any of you were uncertain as to the madness that is being an at-home-mom in the middle of the flippin' country, I give you exhibit one. Tonight, just as I do at least once a week, I placed whole wheat in my industrial grade grain mill, let the stones do their work then with a few simple ingredients made two lovely loaves of bread. It's far simpler than one might think, though a few folks have pointed out to me that it's possible to buy bread at the grocery store that's already been baked and sliced! To quote the late, great Julia Child, "How can a nation be great if its bread tastes like Kleenex?"

Really, again, it's pretty easy. The mill is already taking up counter space. And let's be honest, fresh baked bread is a joy in and of itself. And this cinnamon loaf makes amazing toast. Can't wait 'til breakfast.

Mrs. Fancy Pants

Not everyone can get away with serving dinner in their Oscar gown, but I've got to give it up to Mrs. Diggs. In her finery, she prepared a flawless meal with flair and panache.

She had a neighborhood formal awards party to attend, so naturally called her oh-so connected friend to bring over an array of fancy-schmancy dresses. Unable to resist the rare occasion to play dress-up, I tried on several dresses too and we spent the evening drinking wine, making dinner for the kids (of course), talking to the other side via Ouija board and eating Christopher Elbow chocolates.

Disappointingly, I was unable to find a rockin' bottle of wine (ok, rockin' label). I'm afraid I won't outdo the Bitch wine, but I'll continue questing. Feel free to send suggestions. . .or wine.
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Friday, February 22, 2008

A New Spin on Things

So will it ever not hurt to take my cycling class? I'd been anxiously awaiting the arrival of Friday for the pure joy that is spinning. I once again squeezed into the last spot and started pedalling. A mere six minutes later, my legs were making a strong argument for feigning illness and leaving my bike to sit empty for the next forty-four minutes. But pride is a funny thing, isn't it? So I stuck it out, grimacing for a good 80% of the class. Then again staying for the ridiculously intense core class. How that instructor teaches this class five times a week is completely beyond me.

In other news. . .did you see that lunar eclipse? What a beauty. It apparently was supposed to strongly affect those born early in a few zodiac signs, including Cancer. So I keep waiting for some big change to come over me. If you detect one, please let me know.

Monday, February 18, 2008

'til the cows come home. . .

Nothing says, "Roadtrip!" like six inches of wet snow. This is what I woke to on Sunday. Horozontal flakes were accumulating faster than they could be cleared.

Knowing what my day was to bring, I geared up and headed to the gym to work off some of my anxiety for the big revelation. The surface roads were a disaster despite the many snowplows that were rolling about town. A gentleman was shovelling the sidewalk at the Y in a futile attempt to get ahead of it. He'd given up well before I headed back home. The walk was very slippery, but there was no reason to fight mother nature.

The drive to Mom & Dad's was mostly uneventful -- I'm a big fan of uneventful drives. The highways were wet but free of snow. After 40 miles, there was only light rain for the remainder of the trip. I was happy to arrive to vegetable soup and homemade rolls. The kids quickly settled in playing with the toys that would be special nowhere else but at Grandma and Papa's. Since Dad's paralysis, Mom & Dad seem to have aged a little more than they might have otherwise, but they were well and fine.

The next several hours I was pretty much stuck in my head wondering how and when I'd drop my bomb. I initially thought I'd wait until I got the kids to bed, but then realized that would leave little time for them to work through the news before bed -- and Mom's brain has a tendency to keep her awake with worries. I almost chickened out and then all of the kids disappeared to other rooms and I seized the moment. They are sad for me. They will worry about me. I can't say they were completely surprised. They were moderately aware of how little time Martin & I have shared as of late. Never did they mention the audacity of "breaking vows" or suggest that I stick it out any longer. I feel very supported. But I am still sad that they are sad.

The rest of our time there was mostly business as usual. The ground was soggy from two inches of rain the previous day and it was windy and cold, so we didn't spend time outside like we usually do. Emily practiced drawing dragons, Isaac & Audrey made up numerous goofy games to occupy themselves. I probably brought up politics too often, but that's half the fun of talking to my dad.

And though the stories of soybean farming, skinning deer and shooting opposums remind me of my roots and why I happily left the midwest for the big city some years ago, I still enjoy viewing a cattle parade from the dining room window now and then.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

You Can't Go Home Again. . .

Tomorrow I'll be loading the children into Hot Red Speed (the name the kids assigned to my minivan) and heading south to see my parents. I'm not exactly excited to visit. There are a river of philosophical differences dividing us. I can't say I haven't spoiled a meal or two due to an animated immigration debate or anti-war rant. So though I adore my parents as do my children, my tongue is always sore by the time I return to KC from biting it for the entirety of the trip.

This visit will be extra special though. Tomorrow evening after the kids are tucked in bed, I plan to tell them about Martin & I separating. This will likely devastate them. Perhaps they've picked up on cues over the last year or so, but I don't think anyone takes lightly to the ultimate demise of their child's marriage. I don't want them to be sad for me, and they most certainly will be. Perhaps I should've let them into this earlier on, but it hardly seemed like a subject to approach over the phone. And better now than waiting until the deed is done, right? Wish me luck. Or perhaps wisdom. And lots of patience.

Friday, February 15, 2008


We only drank one bottle. And a lovely one it was. The liquor store gal (yes, in Kansas, we can't just stop at the grocery for our libation) noticed I was spending too much time perusing the wine aisle and offered her help.

I told her I was going to spend the evening with a girlfriend (not that kind of girlfriend) and she immediately pointed me toward this bottle. A lovely Australian red. And a great parting gift to end your next relationship.

He Inspires Me

I've never been one to wear my politics on my sleeve, but Mr. Obama gives me hope. Now if I could just find a yard sign and a bumper sticker (they're on backorder).

Playing Hookie

i skipped my united way job today. there were only two students -- i had them yesterday too -- and nothing would have been come from my attendance except frustration.

so what, praytell, did i do? there's no suspense here. i headed straight to the y. i was excited to take the cycling class again. though intense, i didn't pray for the hour to end through divine intervention like last time. it was a very good workout. and because my lifting routine has been hijacked, i excitedly stayed the extra 20 minutes for the core class. figuring after nine years of yoga, my core could keep up with some scrawny twenty-something's challenge, i was proven wrong. that cute little instructor must have legs and abs of titanium. i felt burning where i didn't know there was anything to burn. i'm fairly certain there won't be any bending down to tie my shoes tomorrow. clogs are more comfortable anyway.

so my dear aforementioned mrs diggs will be joining me at casa diggs tonight (my house is casa diggs, hers is chez diggs) along with her youngest. we think it would be great if our little ones married. then they could hyphenate their names. quinn and audrey diggs-diggs. anyway, there will be wine. though not as much as last time. we learned our lesson and will not be drinking five bottles of wine. perhaps one and a half. water too. even at our ages, we can learn from our mistakes.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy V.D.!

yup. that's what i said. i've never been much of a fan of said holiday. that's one thing martin & i have always shared. an adamant distaste for phony romance and obligatory gestures of love.

my dear mrs diggs called me to remind me that the kids would be participating in card and candy exchanges at school. i had only realized it a few hours prior, so her warning was well deserved. we're all experiencing culture shock. i think i'm reeling the most from it. the kids could barely sleep last night in anticipation of the silliness that would be today. they all came home sugarred up and toting bags and boxes of faux sentiment and genetically modified sugar. mmmm, mmmm, good. emily was even sent a special lollipop from a special boy. holy cow. i'm so not ready for all of this.

so a few days ago i was reflecting on what exactly turned me so very very off to v.d. i remembered receiving red and pink carnations from the wrong boy more than once. carrying around three separate bouquets at school doesn't exactly say, "credible girlfriend" to the boy who you actually like. not getting the box of cheap chocolates from the my secret crush always hurt a bit. but it was the year i was working at Katie's Cafe on valentine's night when a new kid in town -- a bit of a rebel (i don't know if he was even enrolled in school) named eddie -- apparently had a thing for me. such a thing for me that he delivered to my workplace a live rabbit. yes. i don't know what says, "be my valentine" more than a fuzzy pooping biting farm animal. perhaps he was just buying me dinner in a very round-about way. anyway, i vaguely remember keeping it for a couple days and then being forced to return said gift. nothing ever happened between the boy and me. though i always referred to him as "eddie rabbit" after that.

and i've not celebrated valentine's day since.

so if you're thinking about setting me up with one of your friends after martin and i separate, please tip him off that i'm completely serious about not wanting even a card mid-february. that's non-negotiable.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

so yesterday i decided i'd run. it had been several days and my legs were no longer holding a grudge. i hit the treadmill first thing -- i'm energized and ready to roll. about five minutes in, i'm pretty sure that running is just my warm-up for weights. yup. i hit the mile mark, slowed down and lifted. and i've shaken up my weights routine. . .a bit too much. i don't really have a routine anymore. i need to figure that out. so after a weak-at-best weights session, i went back to my old standby, the eliptical, and put in 40 minutes. so much easier than running. i must not be getting any good from it.

so today i decided i would force myself to run. and i did. shorter walking breaks, faster pace. i managed nearly four miles. i wasn't miserable. we'll see what my quads say about it tomorrow. but i'm happy that my stamina seems to be improving. again, a long way from that half-marathon.

winter is wearing on me. the seasons in kansas are so. . .sincere. they work very hard to get their points across. i should correct that and say that summer and winter are bullies of sort. spring and autumn are their perennial victims. did someone say "portland"?

Monday, February 11, 2008

a fish died today. i hate our fish tank. i used to love it. i nurtured it, cleaned it, admired it. then one day martin told his grandmother that, "it practically takes care of itself." funny how since he wasn't tending to it, it clearly was self-sustaining. let's just say, it's not the lovely tank it once was. i don't suppose i should take out my resentment on the fish. they are fed daily and i top off the water when it becomes grossly low. it's not like srs is going to come haul them away.

i ran again today. i made it a little easier on myself by taking walking breaks of about a minute following each mile. i made it a little more than three and a half miles. i think that way i'll be more likely to be able to add distance. and my legs don't seem to be angry (yet). i'd love to be able to run a half-marathon eventually. good thing eventually is a long long time from now.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

i received heartbreaking news today. my dear thrift store will be closing its doors in about three months. the owner was hoping to transfer the lease to a couple of volunteers, but their credit didn't come up solid enough for the landlord to let them take over. so she will take the financial hit, break the lease and shut the doors. running a charity resale shop is more taxing than one might expect. so right around the time martin & i separate, my favorite workplace will be gone too. hopefully i'll be rocking out with the fundraising and ymca jobs and it won't sting too much.

a laundry mountain awaits. . .

Friday, February 8, 2008

i didn't cycle this morning. i should be better about allowing my muscles to rest. it's my brain that needs the distraction of the workout -- my thighs just want a three day weekend. so i took an anusara yoga class. it was just what i needed. the instructor is a delight. she's trying to coerce me into becoming a teacher myself. i've considered that since my early days of iyengar yoga when anna suggested the same thing. another something for me to kick around.

and i probably will start working at the ymca. i'll find out more next week, but it looks like it would be office style stuff and i'd be hopping between the two centers i frequent. and really, since i'm driving there practically every day, i might as well bring home a paycheck, right?

soooooo. . .emily is still not turning in a lot of her work at school. seems she's turned in virtually nothing in math. i've chatted with the teacher a few times and he's indicated that she wasn't showing him much, but when the progress report came home today, it's clear that she thought she could do nothing and get away with it. she came home acting sick and asked me check her temperature. very dramatic. i wonder where she gets that from. . . she had also mimicked my signature on the report, then tried to erase it. she's genetically prone to deceitfulness (her maternal side). i walked over to school and spoke to her teacher. for awhile, he will be giving me her assignments a week in advance. that way, if no work comes home, it's already here. here's hoping it makes a difference.

ok, back to my friday night at home with the kids. i hope someday i have a life more like most everyone else, when weekend time is actually restful family time (that might be an oxymoron) -- but you know what i'm getting at.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

you knew i was kidding myself when i said i would run four miles today, didn't you? today's three miles were excruciating. my quads haven't forgiven me for running and lifting on tuesday, so they nagged me all through the run and for a couple hours afterward. i really want to take that cycling class tomorrow, but that might be more than my legs will stand for.

the other two kids went to the dentist today. he took out isaac's "shark tooth." three of the five teeth isaac has lost have had the permenant tooth come in behind it rather than beneath it, creating a not-so-great layering effect. the bottom two came out in reasonable time and the new teeth pushed forward reasonably well. this top tooth was a beast. it's been about six months and the deciduous tooth wasn't going anywhere. dr. riggs warned me that it would hurt quite a bit, then numbed him a smidge and got it out. isaac didn't fuss at all, but looked pretty shocked after it was all said and done. what can i say, the boy can control himself -- at least for folks other than his mother.

and no new cavities for either of the kids.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

i decided to move. to this web address. i was hesitant to air my dirty laundry at my personal web address, but really needed to rant. when i was so very quickly discovered, i realized that it would be a bad way to break the news to my parents and others (yeah, it was a bad way to break the news to you. sorry.)

so i guess i'm taking suggestions as to how to let friends know that my fifteen year marriage has been rotting out from the bottom and now it's all about to fall to pieces. feel free to add your two cents.
ok, so yesterday i was so excited about caucusing, i forgot to mention that i actually tried running again. but this time with no weather, no hills, trucks. yes, i hit the treadmill. i managed three miles before i bailed, but for a girl who doesn't run, i think it was a pretty good start. i'm a long way from that half-marathon my girl michele runs. i'll give it another whirl tomorrow. i'm shooting for four miles, but my quads are fussing tonight, so we'll see what the morning brings.

on another note, i was surprised to receive an email from my very first and very favorite yoga teacher, anna delury. she's having a four day retreat outside of santa barbara in may. i'm strongly considering finding a way to make it happen. a little bird told me that a dear friend in cali is a yoga junkie too. i wonder if she'd be interested in joining me. . .

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

judi would be proud. martin & i caucused this evening. now, kansas usually holds its primary long after the candidates have been pretty solidly established. i was shocked just a week ago to hear that our democratic caucus would be held on super tuesday. martin was fortunate enough to see mr. obama speak last week and we both became excited about the idea of caucusing and actually counting for the first time since leaving california. so this evening, we knew we needed to be at a nearby church by 7:00 pm to be herded over to one side of a room or another and be counted.

alas, it was not so simple. . .

anticipating a turnout of about 200 johnson county democrats, a handful of volunteers and some folks from the kansas democratic party opened the doors at 6:00 pm. less than an hour later, several thousand determined liberals lined 75th street in freezing rain waiting excitedly to be counted. because of the sheer numbers, a traditional caucus was not able to be held. after many folks spent close to two hours outside, then another in a crowded room, the eventual conclusion was to have us sign a paper and be counted that way. the consensus in the happy, chilly crowd was that none of us knew there were so many democrats in kansas. it felt very good. i feel very hopeful.

Friday, February 1, 2008

I'm giving this post a title so I can link to it....

confidential to you-know-who-you-are: i know what you say is true. and i thank you for saying it.

ok, back to what you're really not interested in. . .
never one to turn down the suggestion of my friends at the neighborhood ymca, today i found myself taking a cycling class instead of my mundane eliptical ritual. when i walked in, brian, the always-smiling-morning-scan-your-card-guy, coerced me into the last spot. a 50 minute class, i was watching the clock about seven minutes in. holy moly. that was some workout. i'll definitely give that another go. it's followed by an optional 20 minute core class, but i was jonesing to hit the weights with my newfound knowledge from my class on tuesday. i might've overdone it a smidge and did a number on my right trapezius. so now i smell like icy hot.
ok, i did it. i went to yoga too. amazing how i can exercise for nearly three hours on only three hours of sleep. surely the sandman will grant me sweet dreams tonight.