Friday, August 27, 2010

Pain is a four-letter word

Since my baby is ten years old, I thought it might be time to start working off some of this baby fat. (Also, I discovered Netflix has workout videos.) So yesterday, I changed into my spandex/ lycra workout shorts, threw on a tank top over a support bra, laced up my new running shoes and propped up my laptop on the bedroom floor, workout video ready to go.

The dogs thought we were going for a walk because I'd put on my running shoes, so I spent the next ten minutes trying to get them to quit jumping on me. Treats worked. They spent the rest of the time snacking and laughing at me as I huffed and puffed through a thirty minute torture session led by a smiling, upbeat, size two Attila the Hun.

Now, in my mind's eye, I'm still the in-shape, sleek and slim model-type I used to be. Sure, I weigh about forty pounds more, but I carry it well. In fact, I look even better with a little meat on my bones, don't I? My bedroom mirror tells a different story. All through the workout, I kept catching glimpses of a pudgy, cellulite enhanced, gasping middle-aged woman. Where the heck did she come from? Would someone please tell me who stole my body and left this in it's place? The age and over-indulgence fairy, apparently.

Today, my muscles are so sore I can't move without saying "ouch" or "ohhhh" or "I'm an idiot." I opted for a yoga video instead of "Bikini-Ready in Four Short Weeks."

The only thing that's going to get me bikini-ready is a close encounter with a plastic surgeon.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Day by day

My routine is kind of settling down into getting everybody off to school, laundry, breakfast, computer time, Food Network, lunch, dogs, more computer time and waiting for my family to get home. I'm trying to get as much reading and research done as I can now because, hopefully, I'll be substituting soon so my alone time will be coming to an end.

My love affair with the Food Channel is still in full bloom. Unfortunately, this has happened after my kids have developed a taste for frozen convenience foods and junk, so their palates are not digging my new penchant for fresh herbs and made-from-scratch recipes. If I could turn back time, I'd have loaded up my little darlings with fresh food from the start. As it is, I have to stoop to subterfuge with a little help from my food processor. What happens in the kitchen stays in the kitchen!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Land of the lost

The kids and Dalt are back at school. I spent the usual three hours last night signing stacks of papers and reading class rules and expectations. The kids are happy with their schedules and teachers and Dalton is happy to be teaching strictly world history classes all day, no more computer tech courses. I told everyone Monday morning that I had a feeling this would be the best year ever, and it seems they've taken it to heart.

Yesterday morning I watched Julia Sweeney perform her one-woman play entitled "Letting Go of God." In it, she chronicles her journey from devout Catholicism to devout atheism. It's well written, entertaining, and very intellectually sensible. And at the end, I cried and cried and cried. It was like watching a born-again story in reverse. She has become an evangelist for atheism, and just like I felt after watching "Eat, Pray, Love," I know it could so easily have been me. That cynical, resolved, resigned woman could have been me, but for the grace of God.

What can I do? When I first became a Christian, it was so real and so personal and unique an experience to me that I was sure if I just told people about it, they would immediately get it. And a few did. But most just thought I was a crazy zealot. I've since learned to tread more softly. I try to follow the lead of God and plant seeds of Truth when the opportunity arises. My heart is broken for these lost people. But what more can I do?

I'm going to pray about it.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

And that's all I have to say about that

The kids go back to school tomorrow, Dalt went back to work last week, and I have no job prospects. What else is new?

I made a spectacular dinner last night. Sauteed fish with a butter lemon sauce, oven roasted garlic and rosemary new potatoes, and steamed broccoli - delicious! Dalton was gone on a fire call, so we didn't get to eat together. His was still good though, even warmed up in the microwave. I've also been making some super yummy donuts lately, from refrigerated biscuit dough. At least we've been eating well!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Waiting to exhale

Zach's finally home for good from Iraq. He's been back in the States for a few days, but they had his exit ceremony today and he's with Ali and Alexa even as I write this. I kept telling him it would go by fast and, now that he's home, it seems like it did. But right up until yesterday, it seemed like forty forevers.

I've been holding my breath since last October. Breathing is better.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Pray, Love, Feast

I'm in New Braunfels with Dalton. He had to come to a swift water rescue training class for the fire department. They hold the class in the Guadalupe and Comal rivers because they have relatively controlled swift water areas that are perfect for training. Several different fire departments have sent people down for it; there are three of our guys and about twenty in the class altogether.

It's beautiful here. I've gone down a few times to take pictures and I've really enjoyed it. It's been luxurious to be able to sleep in every morning and join the group at lunchtime. We leave tomorrow. I really want to come back soon with the kids. I think they'd love it.

I went to the movies today, by myself. Some people are bothered by doing things alone, but I don't mind. I learned to enjoy doing things alone when I lived by myself for a while in my twenties. I think every young woman should live alone for a while. You learn a lot about yourself that way. There's no one else's opinion that counts when you live alone. No one else's needs or wants conflicts with your own, so there are no excuses for not knowing what you want. Where do you want to go out to eat? What movie do you want to go see? What are you going to cook for yourself for dinner? You have to figure these things out, and sometimes it's not easy. But it's important. If you don't like being with yourself, who else would?

Anyway, I went to see "Eat Pray Love." It's the kind of movie I would have loved in my twenties.

I've been kind of casually following the author, Elizabeth Gilbert, since I saw a lecture she gave on writing a year or so ago. Honestly, I've been a little jealous because she had the balls to write a memoir on her experience and I can't finish anything. Well, I finally saw the movie, and like I said, I would have loved this movie back in my twenties. I was on a similar spiritual quest back then. Eeerily similar. I find myself grateful that I didn't have the money she had to take her quest to India because I might have done something similar and ended up on the wrong path forever.

Fortunately, I did not.

Instead, I met a wonderful woman who led me to the real Truth, got baptized in the swimming pool at a health club and have never been the same since. I keep stumbling down the path, but my Shepherd will never let me get lost again. I love Him. But He loved me first.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Love and loss

As an amendment to my previous blog post, it occurred to me that everything I posted about my mom's negativity was pretty negative. That's pretty funny. I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. :) 

Last Sunday, one week ago today, we took a family trip to the lake with a friend of Dalton's who has a boat. It was a beautiful day for boating and we had a great time. On the way there, we were listening to Dalton's radio as we always do in the car. He's the assistant chief of our local fire department, so even if he can't make a call when it comes in, he likes to keep up with what's going on. A medical call came through for Tarkington First Responders, a 12 year-old having an asthma attack, not breathing, CPR in progress.

We didn't recognize the address, but it was a 12 year-old out here on the Prairie, so there was a good chance it might be someone Joe knew and went to school with. We talked about how unusual it was for an asthma attack to result in a CPR call and listened as two ambulances got there and performed CPR all the way to the hospital. They said the boy was breathing on his own, shallowly. Later on, Dalton called some of the guys and found out the boy didn't make it. Nobody had a name they could give us.

So, we had our day at the lake and it was a wonderful time. We took turns being dragged behind the boat on a tube/float and anchored the boat off a tiny island in the middle of the lake to eat lunch and swim for a while. We all laughed when a herd of tiny perch swarmed Dalton as he was sitting still in the water. They had a feast taking little nibbles off his back. He said it felt good, but he couldn't see that it looked like he was being attacked by a swarm of mini-piranhas. Joseph and Savannah swam with me and Joe kept grabbing handfuls of muddy sand to throw down our backs. By the end of the day our butts were dragging. We were exhausted and waterlogged, but it was a good kind of tired.

About an hour after we got home, Joe came out of his room holding his cell phone and crying. He handed me the phone and it was a woman who said she was a neighbor of the family of the boy who had died. She thought she was talking to me and had just blurted out that the boy who died was one of Joe's best friends. He had been at our house the previous week and Joe had stayed with him just a few days before. In fact, Joe had been trying to reach him on Saturday to see if he could come over. We were all in shock and heartbroken for Joe. He's been through so much for a 12 year-old.

It turns out the boy was staying at another friend's house and had a seizure out of nowhere. An autopsy was performed to find out the cause, but it will take a few weeks to get the results. It's suspected it might have been an aneurysm.  

It's been a rough week. Joe cried a lot the first couple of days. So did I. It brought back a lot of the emotions from when Nathan died three years ago. Joe knows it's okay to cry and get it out, but grief is not an overnight process. He's stayed busy with friends and things, and we've talked some about it and have even started laughing again.

We know where our loved ones are and that we'll get to see them again someday. But, like I always say, when a little bit of light leaves this world, it takes a while for your eyes to adjust.