Wednesday, November 15, 2006

domestic boredom.

A few weeks ago, when my mom was still in town visiting….we received a phone call from Nielson Ratings. I answered the phone and they assured me that they were not trying to sell me anything, etc. You know – the usual plea to keep you on the phone. He told me that it was not a sales call and that I "could shape TV and entertainment". Wow. Now I must tell you something about myself. I don't work, but if I did I would want people to treat me and my job respectfully. So, while I have NO tolerance for telemarketers, sales calls, fundraisers (let's be honest, the only fundraisers a person is inclined to give to is one that is at the person's hearts and interests – not some random police officer or firefighter who wants you to give money), I gave him a fair fighting chance to not waste my time. After all, he promised me that he wasn't selling anything and that it would take no longer than five minutes. I told him that it better not, because I was feeding my son dinner and making dinner at the moment. So he continues on, confirming that I am, indeed, old enough for his survey and that yes, I do watch TV. Ha. Do I ever. More TV than I ever did in high school, college, post college/pre-married times….and now I watch kids' programming to go with it. While I am answering his questions, my mom and husband keep looking at me quizzically and shaking their heads at me – communicating the ridiculous fact that I am still entertaining this "call." I begin carrying on conversation with my immediate family members while I am still on the phone – defending myself and the man on the phone that this is ONLY a survey and that "no, he is not selling me anything." I apologize and tell the man to continue on with his litany of questions. He finishes with his questions, confirms my mailing address because he is going to send me a TV SURVEY – that I get to keep for a week and note every single thing I watch on television….ha! It is only later that I am finding out how embarrassing and self-revealing this can be. He is getting toward the end of his speech, and adds at end, "And as a reward for agreeing to our survey, we will send you $15 for your time and patience." Because I'm feeling annoyed and feisty that my mom and husband are thinking I'm crazy for appeasing the man on the phone, I reply, "Ha! I just made $15!! You can't talk now, I am a breadwinner too!" The guy on the phone is laughing at this point, and says, "Thank you Mrs. Brooks for your time and for being a sweetheart. We'll be mailing that survey to you. Have a wonderful night." I hang up the phone and say, "See? I'm a sweetheart." My husband decides to be funny by replying, "There is a name for people who are paid money to be called 'sweetheart'." Whatever.

As this week draws to a close, and I am on my last day of jotting down what it is that we all watch on TV. It's funny how self-conscious it can make you. Most mornings we watch Sesame Street and Handy Manny on TV. I know that I am not a parent that relies too much on TV for my child, and so thankfully, there is a box you can check if the TV is on and no one is watching. But, now I am realizing how much the TV is on and no one is watching – it's on right now, and I am not even in the living room. Then there's the self-consciousness of Rob. He says the other night, "Great. Now they know that I'm whipped, because 'Friends' was on for 15 minutes and then mid-show it got changed to 'The Bachelor'." he he. J I am proud to say that I do not and will not ever be a soap opera junkie. Whether or not that is a trade-off or justification for the fact that I watch "The Bachelor", I don't know. Then there were times where neither of us wanted to turn the TV on because we were too lazy to write it down! We'd see the other one turn the TV on and one of us would say, "Did you write it in?" trying to catch the other. Let me draw this pointless story to a close. It was mildly amusing, not too painless, and with $15 in my pocket, you can now say you know someone who has participated in the Nielson TV Ratings. I always wondered who those people were. Even my mother-in-law said the same thing. Well, rest assured, those people exist. And they are probably all stay at home moms who are sweethearts! J

Monday, October 30, 2006

newbie. probie. amateur.

So the half marathon has been had by me. A bit anticlimactic at this point – as I am sure you can imagine. It was something that I really needed to do and did and now I feel so good about it. My main reason for this was I had already really enjoyed running and I wanted to accomplish something for myself that I loved - you know – before it is time for Baby No. 2. However, after the drive home from Waco to San Antonio, I am reconsidering it, since Ben was and is still being a handful from too much activity and not enough rest. (At the moment he is still awake in his crib and fighting sleep even though he's tired.)

I titled this installment "newbie.probie.amateur." mostly because that sums up my first experience of running and also my first introduction to the world of runners. It is a strange cult and I certainly learned a couple interesting things. For instance – the petroleum jelly that they supply is for the insides of your legs to prevent chafing – not your hands or lips. I only found this out by asking the person in front of me if that was for your hands….she laughed and told me what it was really for. My slight embarrassment could have been spared, if they just put a sign saying "hey newbie, this stuff is to prevent leg chafing – unless you're skinny Barbie girl and your legs don't rub together" I had to stand in two lines…one was the chip line – not the edible kind. The second line to get my chip verified. Then you attach the chip to your shoe laces. I thought it would be cool to have that as a souvenoir of my race, but they take that back at the end, too. It's really a neat little system, because there are these mats that you have at the start and finish of the race. Once you step on them your time begins and once you step on them at the end your time stops. So make sure you step on those mats, to get credit for your accomplishment. It's quite accurate, too, because when there are a ton of people, it won't start your time until you cross the starting mat. I also learned that marathons are a lot like trick or treating, except you don't have to work for it. Every mile or so people are holding out drinks and bananas and lemons and oranges – and even candy! I carried two Tootsie Rolls given to me at one of the stations. Another similarity is that there are some interesting trick-or-treaters. All sorts of getups. Some people have utility belts fully loaded with water bottles, energy gels, and all sorts of stuff! I even saw a man and woman with matching hats with horse heads on them. Then you have people who want to match each other and wear the same shirt emblazoned with their group name on them. It's really quite a sight. I suppose we all want to make a statement at times. What that statement is, however, sometimes uncertain….

The run was a lot of fun. There were a couple downers during the run. The race was an "out and back", so at one point when I am still on the "out" part, I start to see people running toward me down this huge hill and then eventually past me. "What?!" They have already reached the turnaround?! So, I'm like, "OK be positive, so they are already on their way back. It must be up here somewhere soon." Um, not unless you think a mile and a half is soon! The second bad part of the whole race was the last two miles….about 5 people had passed me over the course of a couple miles, and then these 3 girls pass me with fraternity and sorority shirts! I was yelling in my head, "Yeah?! Well, I squeezed out a baby! All you have to worry about it keeping off freshmen fifteen or something like that. The only thing hard about this race is that you couldn't drink the night before!!! So there!" Then comes, "OK Jenny, don't be bitter. In fact, you were once there in college, and definitely NOT running and doing races for good causes, so you have no reason to talk!" When you're running and there is nothing else to do it's amazing how vivid your thoughts become.
When I had about ½ mile to go, I saw Rob up the distance, and he ran the remainder of the race with me. What a good guy, huh? He even ran out of the way before I hit the finish line. He wasn't going to take that away from me, he said. I finished pretty close to my expectations at a time of 2:00:11 – which was a 9:11 pace. I am very happy about that – it wasn't freakishly exceptional, but it wasn't turtle-slow either! After competing and walking around the zoo afterward for the sake of my brother-in-law Matthew and my son, Ben….I am DONE for a few days! Thankfully, all those rich people and businesses who want to advertise their support donated all those park benches to the zoo. I don't know what I would have done then, because I utilized pretty much every bench as we toured the zoo!
You can imagine WHO took this picture - my pretending trying to stretch right, cuz that lady up on the platform keeps trying to get us all to stretch!

The amazing CHIP.


3 miles in - passing by the starting point.

My super husband running the last 1/2 mile with me....about 15 minutes after the mean thoughts about the sorority girls passing me.


Ben and me enjoying sno-cones.

The Results.

Check me out.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


OK - sometimes I fear that I will run out of things to talk about. Does this make me uninteresting? Aw well...what are ya gonna do. I guess that's why meeting new people is an important and good thing. If any one person was interesting enough - we wouldn't need other people and MySpace would definitely not exist. I met an interesting person yesterday the "old fashioned" way - not on MySpace. This leads me to write about it, in turn forcing myself to confess something.
I run. Yep. Sure do. My feet are uglier than before. I have two bruised toes. The middle ones – they're twins. Ben points at them and says "ow". I have removed some monster calluses. I'm pretty sure my boobs are smaller after nursing a child, and running so much. Thank goodness for Victoria's Secret bras. But, hey, I got some pretty tight abs out of it. And I am pretty sure that I could outrun any rapist or serial killer if they tried to chase me in our gated apartment complex.
I met someone Sunday night that also runs. She is very cool. This mom of 2 teens has run FIVE (count 'em) FIVE marathons. (ha - I almost typed marathongs!) The funny thing is that she looked like a runner, and I wanted to ask her if she ran. Having just met her, I didn't want to sound weird, and what did I know about running? But now, after having an intuition that she was a runner, I feel I have achieved a higher Mecca in the running world! Add that to my long list of aches and pains, ugly feet and bruised toes!
I will tell you more about her when I get done talking about selfish does that sound? Gonna do it anyway. About a month ago - I signed up to do a half marathon. I have been so scared to tell anyone for fear of me failing at it and everyone asking me about it, and then me telling them that I failed. Pretty bad, huh? I have kept it a dirty secret - the only reason I told my mom was because Rob started telling me to tell her. That's how afraid I was. So here I am - signed up. The sad part is that I had been thinking about running and marathons nonstop. I found myself thinking about them randomly, then I found reasons to think about them more. So and so on TV is running one. Lance Armstrong is running one. I found out my friend signed up for one, and I got jealous! Jealous. The whole reason I was jealous, was because here was a person who decided to do a half "Mary" as the pros seem to call it on what seemed like a whim, and I, who had been running for quite some time, was TOO CHICKEN to make a choice. Instead, I would play wishy-washy ol' Jenny and drive my husband crazy because I was all talk and no action. Yeah, guys don't like that. Pretty bad, huh? I quickly squashed that jealousy for the simple reasons that I shouldn't be jealous of a person that decides to do something GREAT! So I threw my check in the mail, and Rob found us a hotel since it is up in Waco, TX.
Meeting this person proved to be a good thing. She inspired a renewed confidence in myself and meeting someone who has run multiple marathons – not to mention the Boston Marathon – which after meeting her learned that it is, like, the crème de la crème of marathons. You have to actually "qualify" to be able to run it. You can't just be Joe Runner and go and participate. The half marathon is on October 29th at 7:30 a.m. I am also happy that it just happens to be daylight savings time. Extra hour. Yeah. It is called the Miracle Match Marathon – and it is a fundraiser for bone marrow donors here in the state of Texas. Please pray for me on this day!

Friday, September 22, 2006

double whammy - two birds one stone - whatever.

Yes, the category 'pets and animals' will do. My subject title seeks to accomplish a couple of things...I call it 'double whammy' because this is my 2nd blog in a day, and 'two birds one stone' is what seems to have happened today - except that it was my car and not a stone. I did not hit two birds - it was only one bird - and 'hit' isn't the word I'd used, but more like ran over.
As if I wasn't already saddened and left with a lump in my throat after I heard and felt the thump under the car's tires, I was even more upset to find out that it is two types of birds that I hit. Read below this statement I pulled off a doves website (who creates these sites, BTW?!):
Question: What is the difference between pigeons and doves?
why you might ask - cuz I hit one today! ran over, whatever.
Pigeons are biologically part of the dove family and are actually descendents of the ancient Rock Dove. The dove is smaller than the pigeon and does not have the ability nor instinct to fly home. (or in my case, the instinct to get out of the way.)
Now the reason I chose to google this was because I felt bad. But then I have always wondered what the difference between the dove and pigeon is. I especially wanted to find this out today, to maybe make myself feel better about ending a life today. The bad news: the pigeon is part of the dove family. This made me feel more awful, because you always think of the dove as being a peaceful, innocent creature. It was a promise from God to Noah that there would never again be a flood like the one he endured. Doves get released at weddings. OK - so those are the only two I can come up with. If you have any more examples, I would love to hear them. But here's the good news for me: the pigeon is the dumber of the species - so I don't feel as bad. (Read above factoid) And if they are the dumber of the species, than chances are they are overpopulated. Doesn't it always seem like there are more dumb people in the world than smart? Overpopulated. You get what I mean.
Geez - I am trying to make myself feel good, and all I am doing is slamming dumb people and pigeons. And now that I think about doesn't the music trio, TLC, bash men by calling them pigeons in the song titled "no scrubs"? There must be a correlation here.
I have successfully made myself feel better. After all this bird didn't even fly away, and since I thought it would dodge me and fly away, I didn't even try to drive around it, b/c I thought if I did it might just find my tires regardless.
So, while I have thoroughly and logically relieved myself of all guilt, I still do feel really bad. Really. Isn't it biblical that we are to protect the "weak in spirit" the "meek at heart"? Who am I to say that this stupid bird had it coming to him? That he deserved it through his stupidity and simpleton nature? Take care of the poor, the brokenhearted, regardless of our low opinion of them? Thankfully it's only a pigeon, but I am afraid there are times where I/we/others feel that ill will towards people because we can justify it in our hearts and minds that it is their fault while continuing to hold our judgments. And that makes us feel better. And it is definitely much easier. Let's bring compassion back!

Required number of flair.

I have been thinking about what I am about to write for a day now, but it is definitely a topic that we all deal with throughout life and throughout circumstances. Every time I think of the movie "Office Space" there are many scenes that come to mind. Beating a fax machine to pieces with bats and clubs. The white guy named Michael Bolton who listens to gangster rap in his car to work, but is fearful "brothas" may catch him in the act. Then there are many quotes that come to mind, such as "pc load letter? What the f--- does that mean?" Now the one that has come to mind recently because of an exchange at our local Starbucks has brought me to the keyboard. (Note: And I am quite proud to say that we do in fact HAVE a local Starbucks!) Anyway the quote has to do with the required amount of flare that is necessary for one to work at the infamous Schlotkey's….not an actual venue of course, but quite obviously similar to one we all do know. Whatever, not important. I don't know of any person that has not viewed this cult classic turned mainstream pop culture movie, so I know you all remember how Jennifer Aniston's character is chastised by her chummy, nerdy loser-of-a-boss. He rattles on about how so-and-so exceeds the required amount of flair on his work uniform, while Jennifer's character sticks to the basic amount of flair that is necessary to be an employee of Schlotkey's.

So, I was ordering a Frappaccino – Pumpkin Spice for my sweet-pumpkin-of-a-husband and a coffee for myself. I inquired about the Ethiopian blend, only because I don't like coffee that is too strong that it can't be weakened with a little cream and sugar. This young kid (probably in college) doesn't necessarily look like the avid coffee drinker and I hate to judge a book by its cover, but he just didn't look like much of a coffee drinker, unless it's blended with ice and suffocated with lots of flavor (ie. sugar). But none the less he blows me away with this explanation involving many adjectives that I am not sure anyone would use in explaining coffee. I was so stunned that at this point all I remember are bold, citrus-ey, floral. So I asked this young man if he was a coffee drinker. Startled by my question, he mumbled something to the effect that he drank coffee on occasion mentioning that he worked at Starbucks and that he was a student and it helped with studying. Blah, blah. Then he adds, "I have also taken this class through Starbucks, that, well, you know, it's suggested you take if you want to move up, you know." I kind of smile/smirked and said, "Well, I suppose a lot of life is like that, huh." Not really a question, but a remark.
I have certainly learned a lot in life, and through my experiences I know that many people I know have learned a lot too, but completely different things. I have a friend through MySpace that is my age (26) and has 4 girls and has just completed her Master's. I have a friend who seems to travel all the time and still manage a full time job. I know another friend who is so completely random in his life that he up and quit his civil engineering job and decided to go back to school for an MBA. Same friend who has run with the bulls, ran a marathon, and helped build houses in Mexico. I have a friend who is a special ed teacher and the passion in her actions is undoubtedly apparent. I have countless other friends, but these are the ones that come to mind at the moment. I admire all these friends for their own uniqueness in the world, that if I were not careful, my admiration could turn in to something more detrimental to me. Jealousy, envy, all those ugly things in a person. But I'm not, and I've realized that the important thing is what you do with the cards you've been dealt. I look at my husband who is a fighter pilot and has accomplished so much and is such a strong person in body and spirit, but even there are times where he doesn't feel he adds up. This just shows me that it is a common thread in all of us.

Do I feel useless at times? Heck yeah. Some days all I've felt like I've accomplished is that my child is still alive, breathing, fed, etc. As for me and what's left of it, I can't say I've added much to my character. As a mom it's easy to let that happen because you're always 2nd and if there are more children you're even further down the list. I try to take advantage of my position and the fact that I don't have to earn any bread for the family and build myself. I work at doing things that I'm not good at. This builds so much confidence in me.

So today, do you know who I saw on Sesame Street? I am sure that is not a question any of you are used to hearing! Ha! Well, I saw Ruben Stoddard singing the ABC's with Elmo this morning. I got to thinking, "Wow, that sucks. He was the winner of American Idol and he's on Sesame Street co-starring with Elmo…a muppet!" As I started thinking, though, I thought maybe he is fulfilled. And if he is, then it doesn't matter if he sells millions of pop records or not. What is most important is if you feel fulfilled as a person. It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks.

Lately, it seems that whenever I can bring a smile to Ben's face, I feel more accomplished than any rich, successful person. When it comes to required number of flair in life, I believe that if you are satisfied with the number of pieces of flare on your Schlotsky's vest, then that is all that matters. THAT is the required number. You can only exceed in accomplishments on your own will and motivation – not any core value listed in any company's mission statement.
You are your mission statement.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

it's all over when someone poops in the pool.

So, I started with this title to get your attention - but it really DID happen....It all began on a Saturday afternoon when in the middle of a hot San Antonio afternoon, the pool was completely empty. Hmmm...that's weird - Rob said, "oh it's probably cuz it's too hot". I looked at him incredulously - did he just say that?! You don't run outside when it's too don't take your child outside to play when it's too don't go outside when it's too hot AND THERE'S NO WATER. But you don't decide to go outside and swim in a pool when it's too HOT. Whatever....this brings me to a point I'd like to make spontaneously, seeing as I hadn't intended on this next subject. Men have to have an answer for everything - even if it doesn't make sense! If I can get any resounding amens from women out there who know from experience, please qualify my statement! Even if you don't and decide to support your husbands, it's OK, cuz it's still TRUE. Even my husband knows this, cuz one day, he says to me out of the blue, "You know, I need to be better at saying 'I don't know' to something, rather than always trying to have an answer." This was a statement made with no female prompting, I assure you. But to give some credit to my husband and perhaps a few smart men out there.....a lot of times he ends up being right. Always? No, but occasionally. I really wrote this blog to tell you that our coffeemaker broke and it was a sad thing in the Brooks' household. There was much verbal lashing, snide remarks, wrinkled brows, frowns, crying, and much more. All this heartache because some one had to go and poop in the pool.
But, I am joyful to report that, not only is the pool open again for anyone else who would like to drop a loaf in it - we do have a brand new shiny coffeemaker.
Let this be a lesson to you all, that when someone poops in the pool, your coffeemaker will break. I learned this in a Philosophy class in college. If A, then B. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

MySpace Detox Program

After successfully completing the MySpace Detox program for a full week(OK, so I fell off the wagon a few times and found ways to get my fix), I have determined that I am not an addict. So, in all seriousness, we are finally settled in one place for the next few months, have cable and internet again, have beds and best of all - MULTIPLE ROOMS (!) that we are out of the La Quinta and in to an apartment here in San Antonio. It's a great complex, full of great ammenities. Nice fitness room, pool, refreshments in the leasing office. So it's a great place to grab a bottled water since it's so dang hot! And quite a bit more humid than we're used to. The move went well, and it is just really nice to be here so far. When we first arrived here we went through a bit of sensory overload with all the retail venues, restaurants, and the...ummm...Starbucks! All of these available within a few minutes of driving! I can hear the angels singing every time I scoot myself into a Starbucks! So you might think I am crazy and overreacting - but you live in a small town 90 miles away from any sort of large city, and let me know how it works for you. (I still miss Clovis, though.) We, however, are going to have to tone down all this consumerism, because I have found out since unpacking our scale, that it is, in fact, NOT broken, DOES NOT need calibration, but that I have indeed added about 3 pounds more to I guess if you want to lose a few pounds - go live in Clovis!! Maybe I should go back there for a little bit.
All in all - we are doing well, and adjusting to a bit of normalcy while we're here. We intend on enjoying the benefits of a large city - Sea World, Six Flags, etc! We hope this finds each of you well and content in all you do!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

From the mouth of Ludacris himself!

As I sit here amidst all these boxes as we begin to put our house in to a box, I am beginning to get nostalgic and a little sad. But before I do, for some bizarre reason all I can hear in my head is "Roooooooolllllll out!" from the lyrical rap genius, Ludacis hmself!! And to be entirely honest, the only thing keeping me from belting it out and throwing some 'bows, is the simple fact that my son, Ben, is STILL napping! As we embark on this move in the next few days, any 'bow dropping while rapping a little "Roll out" would definitely be felt by each individual in our clan as we gear up for the next few weeks of resettling! Even an enthusiastic "Word!" will surely be felt by us! :) And if I am still in the mood for "throwing some 'bows" I know that my enthusiasm will reach all who read this wherever you are!
OK - in all seriousnes...we're moving! And it has really surprised me at how much I am beginning to miss this quiet little town, we call Clovis. Some call it Cowtown, but around here that name does not stand out much as everything in the "High Plains region" lives and breathes cows and dairy. Literally. Anyway....(gosh it's sad how once you're out of college and no longer have papers to write, that the only transition word I can think of is 'anyway'.) Yeah, so anyway, we're doing great here - Rob had his fini flight yesterday. So he got hosed down with water and champagne poured on him (well, in his case, sparkling grape juice) as he landed the Viper for the last time for a while. I swear, they're like a fraternity. And we're supposed to be grown ups! This is about all the insight I really have for today, but please keep us in your thoughts and prayers! We would really appreciate it!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Shocked with Shox!

So some may think that I am just blogging to blog by reading this silly blog! But in all seriousness and severity - I assure you that while I may sometimes look for a senseless reason to blog - this is NOT one of those times. I will explain....The three of us were at the mall the other day - let me inform all who may be unaware of the North Plains Mall in Clovis, NM. This is not a "shopping" mall - well, it is in fact a shopping mall, but there is not much available for actually shopping. In fact, it has lately become a place in which we take our son, Ben, to exhaust himself, so that he gets his daily dose of heebie jeebies out (which by the way, we have no idea where they actually come from). Annnnyyyyyway. You know those little 50 cent rides outside Walmarts or some big shopping place...which really used to be penny rides when we were little tikes? Well, Ben has grown to LOVE these things and there is a little cluster of about 5 rides or so in the North Plains "shopping" mall here in town. What am I talking about?! Oh yeah, Nikes! One of my favorite material things....of which I promise you there aren't many. Material things, that is. So we're walking in the mall, and we're done "shopping" (not really - mostly working on the whole heebie jeebie depletion thing) and I suggest we take Ben to one of these "penny rides." Rob says, "are you sure?" and he starts leading us AWAY from Ben's Heaven. So we follow him and he leads us into the sports store. There is no need to mention which one it is, as it is the ONLY one in the mall. We walk over to the shoe wall and Rob grabs the one pair of Nikes that I have been eyeballing and says, "You like these?" Clearly, a rhetorical question. He tells me to try them on. At this point my eyes are as big as saucers, and for those of you who don't know why - it is because my husband, not only is frugal, but constantly teases and rolls his eyes about my brand loyalty to Nike. He thinks it is crazy and senseless to spend that amount on sneakers. I was so flabbergasted, I kept whispering to the lady assisting me that I didn't know what had gotten in to him. But, I sure did have permagrin for some time afterward. Got to test drive them on a 4.5 mile run this morning, and they feel GREAT!!! You know what else?! I call my best friend from college, Emily, and she is like a Nike Queen....I think she may have been my influence....and I start telling her this amazing story. I am describing in detail the color (the shox part are a mint green) to which she says, "is there a mint green 'swoosh' on the toe part of the shoe?" Why, yes there is....and she tells me that she got the same pair a month ago! Isn't that just a classic textbook case of "ESP-N"?!??! To think that my best friend and I can still be as close as when we lived together in the dorms while we live so far apart! And to think that my aspirations of becoming a Nike Queen are within reach? There just isn't much else you could ask for. Except maybe for those "penny rides" to be a penny ride again....think of all the heebie jeebies we could get rid of.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

GV means "Great Value"

Being a parent means a lot of things to different people and it almost always translates differently for people - since we're all different, right? Every day I discover something little that shows me just how being a parent has changed me. For instance - I am a cheap person. I'm not going to call myself frugal or some other politically correct term. I'm cheap....I love the dollar store, I love Walmart, I love the bargain...especially the "hunt"! With that being said, if there is an area where I am not this said cheapo, it is when it comes to my son, Ben. Normally I am the type of person who buys GV brand foods and products. Anyone who is like me knows that GV translates in to "Great Value" at the good ol' Sprawlmart (as my husband likes to call it). I will almost always choose this brand over Keebler, Nabisco, Pilgram's Pride, you name it. (with the exception of great foods such as Doritos and Oreos, some things just can't be substituted!) So back to this topic about how being a parent changes you in the littlest of ways. Several months ago, Ben was sick with some vomiting and diarrhea - so what do you go and buy to maintain hydration?! C'mon let me hear you all say it - Pedialyte! Doctor recommended, huh? So I cruise down the aisle that holds this product and what do I come across? Pedialyte alongside the off-brand-not-as-cool-stuff-are-you-really-going-to-buy-the-cheap-stuff-when-your-kid-is-sick?! wannabe Pedialyte. And do you know how much this off brand stuff costs?! LESS THAN HALF THE PRICE! So being the conscious consumer, I pull down a bottle of each and turn them both around to investigate the labels. Hmmmm...says they have the exact same "active ingredients" to relieve and rehydrate your sick child. After logic and reason set in that the off brand stuff will work just the same because their labels read identical and after standing there in contemplative thought, what do I do?!! What do you think I did?! Yes, you all know it after this long story. Yes, I did walk off with the $6 Pedialyte-I-want-the-best-for-my-child-any-respectable-parent-wouldn't-dream-of-buying-that-cheap-crap-if-they-loved-their-child! stuff. There you have it folks.

Friday, July 7, 2006

the mysterious category called "Other" I started thinking today about a topic that crosses my mind, oh, let's say every time I have to fill out some sort of bubble sheet, scan tron, survey, questionaire, etc.....which since I am out of college isn't too often. But every once in a while when presented with the average survey - there is a certain spot in the form that causes me to stop and just gape at the piece of paper before me. Wanna know what that is?! It is the Race/Ethinicity portion! Seriously, who would think that causes people to stop filling out whatever it is they are filling out and just stare blankly? Now that I think about it, probably more than I think. I think for quite some time, I have confused myself AND "the system", because whenever I had to fill one of these out in school or college (which we all know is pretty frequently) I think I just colored in the bubble of that which I felt like the most - THAT day! I feel more "white" today or do I feel more "asian/pacific islander" today? Because, in all honesty, for a while I felt like I didn't want to be thrown in the "OTHER" category! The way I saw it was "who wants to be labelled 'other'?" What does "other" mean? Does it mean "you're just too complex to be given a specific category?" or does it mean "we really don't care what you are because it's not a name/place that we recognize right off the top of our heads, so we're going to call you 'other'?" Well, which is it!!!? You know it would be one thing if my blood had a majority of one ethnicity in it, and I could just abide by the "majority rules" method....but, no, it's gotta be 50/50! So, this is why for years I colored in the bubble based on the way I felt that day. More "white" today or more "asian" today? Then came the problem of wondering if anyone out there in one of these categories was going to think I was some sort of poser or sellout. I imagined them wondering, "does she honestly think she is white, just because everyone around her is white?!" or "does she really think that she is Asian/Pacific Islander just because her mom is?! She's never even lived in any of those regions!" Quite a tangent, huh? Well, I am saying today, that I am proudly choosing "other" on this myspace space...and saying yes to my heritage and blood. How am I doing this, you may wonder. By proudly choosing "other", I am embracing both my dominant ethnicities, but essentially saying "Yes - I am ambiguous!" Any of you ambiguous friends out there, I know you feel this! Word!

Thursday, July 6, 2006

Rachel Ray - there is hope for me yet.

Soooo.... I don't have any natural skills in the kitchen! It's OK, I can admit it, and I am sure my darling husband would quickly argue with me, and if he were to actually be honest - he would provide some sort of disclaimer to the effect that I have SO MANY other attributes that he doesn't even notice that I struggle in this area! But seriously, if I were to try and pretend - I would look even more stupid acting like I CAN cook. So with that being said, I absolutely, positively love Rachel Ray's cooking style and approach. She has formed me in to a capable person in the kitchen. While I am not outstanding - I am literate and can follow direction, so because of her and because of school I can produce something edible and dare I say somewhat enjoyable. 30 minute meals is what she draws on for her audience, and she has surely suckered me in - as well as proven herself and the concept she endorses. For anyone who has limited time, or has little ankle biters (aka children), these recipes are super because they save on both time and money (in the fact that she uses several interchangeable ingredients with the same recipe to get something entirely different). Now that's cool! So I sound like an advertising testimony (much like Jessica Simpson promoting ProActiv, huh?) - but it is true - I have transformed from someone who hated the kitchen because she didn't know what to do with it or in it - in to someone who will actually cook a meal for someone other than her husband. And that says a lot because needless to say I didn't have much confidence making food for other people!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Worried that I haven't been Worrying Lately.

Ha! So I am worried about the fact that I haven't been a complete worry wart lately. Do you think there is something wrong with me?! Or is there something finally RIGHT with me? The answer lies in one of those questions, I prefer the latter one. It all began last week, when I noticed that I had been worrying less....I waited to write about it, because for all I know it could have been a random anomoly. But it seems to have occurred for days now - almost a WHOLE week. Weird. So something you must know about me for this to make any sort of sense. I confess. I have a small baby. That statement in itself was always a hard thing to vocalize, because the emotions attached with this truth have torn me apart for the majority of Ben's 14 months here on Earth. I know I am a girl, and even more, a mom, but I guarantee you that this is no exaggeration - just ask my husband, Rob. He has tried all approaches as the supportive husband, using biblical truths, common sense, rational thought - you name it, he tried it to get me to quit worrying about things I have no control over. As a side to anyone who doesn't see where I come from in terms of parenting or mothering - you do all this reading and listen to all these doctors - and size and growth are always emphasized. And rightfully so - you do the majority of growing in your childhood years. So while this topic has literally consumed me to the point of sadness and depression, lately I have finally let go of all my concerns. Is it because Ben's growing fast? Gosh, NO! He's still a runt, but in some way God has finally gotten through to me, something that I thought would never happen. (Something I am almost sure Rob would have thought would never happen.) Back to a few days ago - when it all began - I start telling Rob on the phone how I thought something had changed in my thinking. (Of course adding the disclaimer, "I am sure that I'll fall back in to worrying again in a few days, but I just have to tell you that there is no point in me worrying about things I can't change, and it's just easier to trust in God to grow Ben the way He will anyway.") He laughs! Wanna know why? Because these are things that he has been telling me all along, along with all the supportive friends and moms out there. And here I am speaking these things as if they were epiphanies! And you know what?! They WERE epiphanies to me at that moment, because while I have been hearing those things all along from Rob and friends, when you're blind to something you're blind to it, and there is no amount of support you can receive here on Earth if your heart isn't open to God. And mine wasn't, because I didn't want to release control and stop worrying....I wanted it to be my ballgame, and continued to believe that there must be something I haven't tried to make Ben a chubby baby. Do I still wish he would be bigger? Sure - but I have really come to terms that God is going to make him who He wants him to be, and I can either enjoy the person Ben is molding in to or I can be riddled with worry and fear....and by then Ben will be all grown up and I will have missed it. Ben IS a thriving and developing little boy, whether or not he is big or small...I am just now realizing that. The funny thing is that every one knew that before me, and I am the one who is with him the majority of the time.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Ben and the Chili Pepper.

If the title of this blog hasn't already scared you away - then I will have to be upset with you that you would want to read a story about MY son involving a chili pepper. Nothing good can come of this story....but I will tell it anyway....since all is OK now and he didn't die! :) So, my friend needed someone to stay at her house, while the packers were in her house packing up her house. They are getting ready for their next move in this military lifestyle, and she wanted to go and see her husband's fini flight (aka last flight here at Cannon). So Ben and I got to play with all of her little girl's toys and eat lunch there. It was a great time and all was well in the world of Ben, until my friend and her toddler daughter come home. Ben and Riley run off together, and next thing we know Ben is screaming! Since her house is either in disarray or in a box, Ben had managed to find this little pile of dried flakey stuff that was on the floor. After taking a sampling and crying and spitting - I asked my friend what this was on the floor. She said it was dried chili pepper remnants. She has a lot of red in her house, and being that we live in the southwest - I figured it was something from a dried chili pepper bunch used as great southwestern decor. So yes, my son was very unhappy and cried and drooled like no other for 15 minutes! It was horrible, but he recovered, and took a long, hard nap. Poor guy! I have to admit here that at first it was funny, but then after the heat in his mouth wouldn't quit - I really started to feel bad for this little person. Kids, let this all be a lesson to you....

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


So as you may know, my son, Ben, is 14 mos. (1 year, 2 mos for those non-parents out there - someday you will reference age in months!) Anyway....he is such an individual and has so much character. A trait of his that is easily apparent to even people who don't know him very well, is that he is EXTREMELY independent. He is a hands on, first hand experience-type child. Rarely does he want to sit in your lap or snuggle. In a nutshell, he is either sleeping or in motion. He certainly is a sweet boy though, and loves to be chased and laughed with. Lately we have been working on walking as long as he is holding your hand, and not running off. So far it has been going well, but the hand is key. If he's holding your hand, he'll go in desired direction...if he's not - well the opposite holds true. So today, we were on base doing a few errands, and I have really started to notice something. While he is friendly to most people (he pretty much introduces himself to anyone), he has shown a unique fondness for men and women in service dress - especially a flight suit! Today we were leaving the military clothing sales dept and a man in BDUs walked out after us. Let me mention - Ben and I were NOT holding hands - so he naturally gravitated to this man waving at him. It was THE cutest thing - and totally melted my heart, probably because Rob has been gone and will be home in a few days! (He's in Canada, eh?) So.....holding hands was now enforced. However, Ben continued to direct his gaze while this man walked clear across the street, got into his truck, started it, put it in drive and drove away. Ben was watching so persistently and obviously that the man was waving out the window as he was driving away in the opposite direction. I apologize for the silly story, but it's those moments for me that really make my heart overflow with love for Ben. And it's those moments that are crucial to any parent, who gets stuck in the monotony of parenthood. Anyone who knows me pretty well, knows how I tend to do more worrying over my child than positive thinking. I know that my worrying comes from a good place, but it does not condone that worrying. That worrying takes the place of all the joy and happiness I could be experiencing with Ben from our God who made us and loves us. So, I plan to remember that truth for the next time my troubled heart wants to rule....(which could very well happen as soon as I click the "preview & post" button!)

Thursday, June 15, 2006

my personal underworld.

My personal wha? Yes, the underworld. So - my husband - whom I love dearly, which is usually why I tease him so. He is a computer guy. I say, "honey, I am just not an internet person, what do you do on there?" He replies, "I don't know - just look up stuff."'ve got me here. I live in Clovis, a small town with not a lot of retail sometimes, I get on the internet and "window" shop at my favorite stores. The usual....Ann Taylor, Loft, Old Navy, Gap, etc. However, Rob is really big in to airplanes (go figure) so he is part of this forum type thing called There is a wide spectrum of people on this site - probably a few pilots, people who work with military aircraft, and probably people who are mostly just airplane junkies. So with all this being said - I have been known to tease him about this FREQUENTLY saying "how is the 'underworld' today?" I am going to announce that I now have no reason to tease him as I am now enjoying my own slice of ridicule and I owe it all to MySpace and the person who introduced me to this thing....(you know who you are). Every day I tell myself, "today I will not become a MySpace junkie." So far, it has worked, but I must keep the habit in check. After all I still want to be able to tease my husband asking him how the underworld is doing. While Rob does not have a MySpace account, I doubt he ever will, I am publicly announcing in the name of love and humility that I am sorry for giving him a hard time about his "underworld" when my own internet underworld has seemingly emerged. I suppose we all have our vices.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Reason to run. I said before, I am NOT competitive....but when I was large and in charge (aka - pregnant and hormonal) I would still drag my large and in charge self to the gym on base....And when J Lo's video "Get Right" was on MTV I would actually feel sexy and tough! The beat and dancing would actually make me think for a split second (literally) that I was as tough and hot as Jennifer Lopez in that video! Ha! .....I said split second, okay?! I would do the elliptical for an hour and most every time I was there, there was this girl, petite, probably near the same age, black sweats and sweatshirt (old school Raiders to be precise). Well, this girl would run the treadmill for the entire hour I was on a silly little "pretend like you're running, but you're not, pansy elliptical." Don't worry I am not dissing the elliptical - it is a great machine! From that moment on, I decided that when I was done being large and in charge and was no longer two, but one - I would start running and an hour would be my goal. Now - while I have not run a complete hour yet (51 minutes and 5.3 miles are my longest and furthest), I still don't know about running the treadmill for that long. 20 minutes feels like 2 hours on that thing, and I would never be able to wear sweats the whole time, nor do I think that is very healthy. After that tangent, there is also another reason I run....I don't have to drive a whole stinking 10 miles to base. Yes, it's a small town - 10 miles is the other side of town. After having a child and learning that your child occupies a lot of your time (I can't even begin to imagine multiples at this point) it just wasn't worth the effort. I liked the idea of running because all I had to do was put on shoes and step outside! It was great...that was until I started getting bad cranky knees. I don't know what the medical term for this is - other than the fact that I was having some really bad joint pain to the point where I felt like I could literally not run another moment. The Flight Doc said it was some like "patellofemoral syndrome" aka runner's knee. Yeah right, like an uncompetitive, unathletic person could develop something that sounded so technical. he tells me to basically home remedy it before taking any more aggressive action (ie physical therapy). He suggests all these crazy things like: tylenol, icing, stretching.... :) You know .... warming up and stuff? Crazy thinking, I know. I thought to myself, "Wait a second, the whole reason I chose running was to save time, because it was quicker, I didn't have to drive to the gym, and all I had to do was go outside. Now I am supposed to ice my knee and stretch?!! What has this world come to that you have to warm up before you exercise?! Come on!" So, long story longer - I still have episodes, but just taking it a little easier and a steady pace have helped a lot.

Saturday, June 3, 2006

5K - as in distance, not money

So - I guess I should have written this post on the day I ran it, but I am posting it as the date it happened - it's just that now the feeling of excitement is over (what little of it there was!) So - yeah - I ran my first competitive run and finished 3rd for women. I was pretty excited and my medal has become a fun new toy for Ben, which is reason alone to be glad I ran it. To be honest - at least half of the people who showed up were walkers, and it was a run sponsored by Fellowship of Christian Athletes - a national high school club. The run was for baby Cade who received a liver transplant - and the surgery was successful! The run itself was a new experience for me. A couple of things you should know - 1) I have never been an athletic person, and probably am still not now and 2) because of number 1 I have never really competed. (I know, a big "duh" right?) Having said this - it was a new experience, primarily because I have never really run with others. I have been running on my own since Ben was born (the reason for this has its own little story - I will explain in my next blog entry) a little over a year ago, and I have always found myself to run my best when I am alone. I find myself in my own little world, and I do my best when it's just me and I am not focused on anyone else and how they are doing. It's just me (& not Ben - as much as I love him to pieces), feeling great, enjoying the outdoors, talking to God and so on. So - while I still have these thoughts of running a marathon or a half marathon, I am not sure how I would do. Since I shouldn't base my conclusions on one experience, I will have to try again....and maybe this next time I will just imagine it is me (& not Ben - as much as I love him to pieces), feeling great, enjoying the outdoors, and talking to God and so on.....