Saturday, September 28, 2013

"Can I have your fat?"

I've been losing weight lately, and I haven't even been trying.  I think that all the working out at the gym with a trainer is finally paying off.  If I had to guess, I would say that I'm increasing my lean body mass enough that it is having a positive effect on my metabolism.  Finally!  I went to the gym this morning and I am getting very strong.  I was able to "skin the cat" on the hanging rings, and I was able to jump up to a pull-up position and hold it, while holding my legs out perpendicular to my body.  And I can do push-ups.  Regular push-ups.

I have come to accept the fact that I will have to continue with a pretty regimented work-out routine because when it comes to food, I am hopeless.  My aunt and I have discussed the fact that we have both asked the question, "Can I have your fat?" to people we have eaten dinner with who for some unfathomable reason don't like the fatty edge of pork chops or steak.  We decided that anyone who has uttered the phrase, "Can I have your fat?" better face the fact that they will always have to be super active if they don't want to balloon up.

Also I was reading some of my old blog posts and I came across a telling old gem.  I was writing about how I found the story in the song "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" disturbing, but not because they all died in a shipwreck, but because of their food situation:

The dawn came late and the breakfast had to wait
When the Gales of November came slashin'.

They had to wait for breakfast because of the terrifying storm.  Ugh, I hate waiting for breakfast, and then...

When suppertime came, the old cook came on deck sayin'.
Fellas, it's too rough to feed ya.
At Seven P.M. a main hatchway caved in, he said
Fellas, it's been good t'know ya

Well?  Did they eat lunch?  That cook is a real downer.  Like it's not bad enough to be in a cold, scary storm, but for the cook to refuse to feed you supper because of it?  Especially after not serving breakfast? That sucks!  And then at seven p.m., when the main hatchway caved in, I bet everyone was really depressed and scared (and hungry) and that old bastard rubbed it in by saying, "Fellas, it's been good t'know ya."  Way to think positive, Old Cook!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

It's my birthday soon! (I think), I'll be 43! (I suspect) Updated with a new message from DAD!

It's that time of year again:  my birthday.  Today isn't actually my birthday but I am pretty sure it's happening sometime soon. I am not quite positive how old I am going to be either.  If you are new to the blog you are probably thinking, "Wow, this lady is really an idiot," and although that may be true, it is not my fault I don't know how old I am or when my real birthday is.

When I was a teenager I put together these facts: 1) My parents met in January of 1969.  2) They got married in June of 1969, a mere six months after they met.  3) My mother wore an empire waist wedding dress,

and 4) I was born in September...... of 1970, so they say.  I innocently questioned if their wedding was of the shotgun variety those many years ago and they both were defensive about it.  A bit overly defensive, if you ask me.  So I have long suspected that I am actually a year older than they tell me I am.

Two years ago around my birthday I asked again if I was born in 1969 or 1970 (I figure they will slip up and the truth will come out eventually), and this is what my dad told me in an email:

"Here's what I remember about your birthday. In September 1970-do the freaking math will you!........ (see? defensive. Too defensive??? You decide.) You were born in a Catholic hospital in St. Cloud with nuns in attendance. Mom was in labor for over 24 hours and she passed out between labor pains. At one point she told the cute little red-headed nurse she wanted to go home. The nurse looked at me and said, "Do you want to take her home Mr. Lindahl?" I didn't.  You finally popped out in your own good time and all was well except we missed some insurance deadline for coverage by an hour or two so the good old nuns changed the dates of your birth to get us the coverage we needed. You ended up costing us not much. Whew! You may have been born on the 30th of September but it was in 1970 NOT 1969. Sometimes you acted like a little bastard but you actually are not one. Happy birthday and legit or not, I love you! Dad"
I totally did not expect that I had the wrong day for the first 41 years of my life, but at least I was only one day off.   And then several days ago I got this:

I think my dad is gaslighting me.  Or my birthday is actually September 17.

My parents are coming to visit me this weekend and take me out for a nice birthday dinner.  I can't wait for this year's birthday bombshell.  What could it be this time?  I'm adopted?  I absorbed my identical twin in the womb?  I was born a boy?  Who knows?!

UPDATE:  I just got this from my dad.  At this point I don't think he is trying to drive me nuts.  I think he is losing his marbles.  Time for the home!
Errrrr, BTW, I've been thinking lately and you may actually  be 45 on Sunday, not 44 or 43. Sorry, it's all just a little fuzzy about dates and all back then. You know college kids in those days. It was the 60's you know. Oh well, who really cares how old you actually are anyway. See you this weekend. Dad
It won't be so bad, Dad, you could maybe be the prom king! (that's an optimistic maybe)

Monday, September 23, 2013

Smart kids

I am teaching high school English this year for the first time in a very long time.  In the recent past I have mostly been teaching people with remedial reading skills.  I was very excited to be able to finally get back to teaching people who already know how to read well so we could get past the fundamentals and move forward with the content and themes of selections of reading.  However, I think I may be in over my head. For four of my five classes I'm totally fine.  I'm teaching the eight parts of speech and literary elements and have a plan for how to build on those things to get them to read more complex things, and eventually write somethings they can be proud of.  But the last of my classes is Honors English.  This is a class of 9th an 10th graders that are miles, MILES, above their peers academically.  And after correcting their first essay test, I suspect that a few of them are miles above me as well.  (Not really, but only because I have 30 years of experience on them.)

Just to give you an idea of how smart they really are:  I was correcting one test and came across a word I hadn't heard.  I was about to circle it but then something in me stopped myself and I looked it up.  It is a word and he used it perfectly in context.  I just didn't know it.  I almost made a total ass of myself.   As I was reading through one of the essays, I said, "Unbelievable" under my breath and Mitch asked me what I thought was so unbelievable.  I read him the first several paragraphs of one of the essays.  Mitch said, "Ha! Google the first sentence of the paragraph and I bet it will pop up.  That kid copied that from a college paper!"  But I know they didn't copy their essays from the internet because this was an essay test and they didn't know what the question would be until they came to class, and then they wrote their answers RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME.

I find it thrilling that there are such smart kids in the world and that I get to spend some time with them this year.  I think I forgot that there must be an equal and opposite to the low kids I've been working with for years.  However, I have to wonder if I am the best thinker for them to learn from.  Just yesterday I ate more beets than I cared to eat just so my pee would turn red.*  I will have to bring my game up considerably for these kids and that might be kind of fun.  If I can do it.

*it worked, and it was cool.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

I got beat up by a tree

I mowed the lawn today for the first time in weeks.  We haven't been able to mow for weeks and weeks because we haven't had a day without rain.  Not that it's been raining a lot, but lately every time that I thought, "Hey, I should mow the lawn." it would then rain really hard for five minutes.  Long enough to get everything soaked and make me say, "Screw this."  The grass was loooooooong.

I was on the tractor, mowing under a stupid tree that has really low branches. I was ducking down so as not to get beheaded, when the tree literally grabbed my hood and tried to strangle me.  I couldn't stop the tractor because I was leaning over on the wrong side.  The tractor kept going, but my hood dragged me back and as I was being ripped off the mower, the tree branch scraped along my face and a particularly hard branch punched me solidly in the shoulder.  My face hurt so bad that I was sure I was bleeding profusely, but I wasn't.  I have a thin welt and scrape that runs from the left side of my mouth to my ear.  Like the Joker. They call it a "Glasgow Smile."  Really attractive.  Thanks a lot, tree. That looks weird, but my shoulder is KILLING me.  It hurts to even touch the skin.  If I knew how, or dared to use one, I would get a chainsaw and cut that stupid tree down.  

Sunday, September 15, 2013


I am a mother with a full-time job (still celebrating that), two teenagers, and a house.  When I started working I thought to myself, "Hey, why should I spend every one of my weekends cleaning up the house and doing shitloads of laundry?  There are two nearly grown people who live with us who have lots of time to kill. They can help.  Last year I made a daily chore list and one of them would do half one day and then they'd switch and do the other half the next day.  Well, it became kind of a competition to see who could leave a bigger mess for the other the following day.

For example, Kira would have dishes one day and she'd do a half-assed job of doing the dinner dishes, putting the plates and silverware in the dishwasher and not starting it even though it was jam-packed, but then "soaking" the cooking pans and "forgetting" anything left on the stove.  So the next day Sam would have the dishes and he would start the dishwasher, but then he would have to "soak" all of that day's dishes because they couldn't fit into the dishwasher.  Meanwhile, on Kira's kitchen day, Sam's chore would be to do the laundry.  If you do a load of laundry a day, it doesn't pile up and isn't that hard to keep up with.  Well, he would throw one load in the washer, and then MAYBE put that load in the dryer, but he couldn't be bothered to turn the dryer dial far enough so it goes long enough to actually dry a load of clothes, so when the dryer stops they are still damp, but he brings them up anyway to fold, but then doesn't fold them.  So he leaves a load of wet clothes in the washer, a load of damp clothes in the dryer, and a load of too-damp clothes in a heap on the couch.  The reason he has three loads is because when Kira had laundry day she "forgot" to do it.  And so on and so on and so on.

So this year I thought I would get creative and make them do one set of chores for an entire week and then switch over on Sunday.  I made charts:

I hang them on the fridge with a hanging pencil, like at the bank, and the kids have to check off what they do when they do it.  I thought it was INGENIOUS.  I could hardly wait to show Mitch.  I envisioned us high-fiving and celebrating my super-parenting with a gin and tonic.   When I finally got to show him he looked at me with pity, and said, "You know that they are never going to let you live this down.  This is what you will be remembered for."

Sure enough, when Sam got home and I told him all about the new system, he looked at me with a smirk on his face like I was kidding.  I AM NOT KIDDING!  I DON'T WANT TO HAVE TO DO THIS SHIT!  He said, "Okay, it's a good idea, I guess.  I'll get started.  Let's see, first thing on my list is to empty the dishwasher.  But look, Mom, it's empty so should I cross it off?  I can't cross it off because I haven't done it.  But if I don't do that chore can I move on to the next one?  What if I don't have all my checks?  Will I lose credit?"  and so on.  And then later he called down the stairs to me, "Hey Mom!  Are you sure I can't give the bird dirty water?  I really feel like I should give the bird dirty water, but the list specifically says 'clean water is important.'  So what should I do?"

But you know what?  Every stupidly specific thing I put on that list is on there because they have done something stupid to require the specificity.  They will say they cleaned the bird cage and then I look and her water is almost gone and full of bird shit.  That's not done right.  And when I call them on their shitty work they say, "Oh.  I forgot."  Really?  I FORGOT?

The chore lists aren't working as well as I had hoped.  Right now as I'm typing this I am looking at a sink full of dishes, shoes and school bags crowding the back door, and laundry in various stages all over the living room.   So I will throw this out there to the internet:  How do you get your teenagers to be actually helpful and productive without driving yourself nuts?  Anyone know?  .................Anyone?  

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Power Bones

When I was at the gym yesterday my trainer was trying to get me to have good form doing "power cleans."

(This is a power clean)

I don't like to have the bar land on my shoulders like that because it feels like it is going to break both my collar bones, and then I'd have to walk around with both my arms in slings for about three months.  My trainer assures me that the bar will not break my collar bones and with more practice of letting a huge, heavy weight bar pound repeatedly on my shoulder bones, I will develop "Power Bones."  I said, "...what???" and he said, "You know, power bones, like these," and he pulled his collar down and showed me his power bones.  They look dense and kind of stick out, like they are mostly scar tissue.  I said, "But I don't want power bones..."  and he looked at me like I was nuts.  Like, who wouldn't want power bones???  I don't want power bones.  Do you want power bones?  

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Kira in the Car

"Mom, do penguins have knees?"

I don't know why, but this made me laugh and laugh.  So I looked it up.  LOTS of people wonder this same thing.  I even came across a blog post that answers that very question, complete with a picture of a penguin skeleton.

See the knees?  No?  How about now?

Yeah, there they are, but you can't see them on penguins because they are up inside their bodies.  Can you imagine?  

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Story

Okay, yesterday I told you about the daily torture my newly teenaged daughter puts me through.  In her own special way she lets me know that I HAVE NO CONTROL OVER HER.  I have no control over her and it scares the crap out of me.

Yesterday as I was enjoying a Breaking Bad marathon while lounging on my bed she came in and said, "What are you doing?  Huh Friend?  What are you doing?  Let's do something together," and she climbed behind me and sort of sat me on her lap and held my arms down and petted me like a dog while talking to me in a southern accent and calling me her friend.  I couldn't move.  I was immobilized by the weirdness and her unbelievable physical strength.  I called Mitch to help me.  He came in and laughed.  Thanks for nothing Mitch!  Then he pushed her off of me (and it wasn't easy, I think I may have been overestimating his toughness for YEARS) and he held her down and told me to run.  All the while he was laughing because she was still talking in the southern accent and calling me "friend."

I ran.  She got away from him (I think he let her go) and caught me right outside her room and tussled me in and pulled me onto her lap on her bed and started holding my head and petting me again and calling me her friend.  It was so ridiculous and silly that I was beyond words.  Mitch came in and he was just as flabbergasted as me. Why is she like this?  We were both laughing because of the ridiculousness of the whole situation.  Mitch pulled her off the bed but then she was on the floor.  Without missing a beat she crabwalked backwards toward the door.  It was so creepy.  There is a very short little corridor just inside her bedroom door.  She was blocking the door.  Mitch looked at me and said, "Uh oh," and then Kira very gently shut the door, leaned her back against it, propped her arms and legs against the walls and said, "Well, Friends, here we are."  We were trapped.  We tried to each take a limb and drag her away from the door, but with whatever two limbs we could NOT grab, she would prop herself into the little corridor with the other two and she was IMPOSSIBLE to move.  We thought we might have to pop the screen out of the window and escape that way.  Every time we tried to be stern and parental with her, she would make us laugh.

Eventually Mitch said, "Okay, that's it." and he forced a foot between her and the door and then he sort of oozed down the door and displaced her enough to open the door.  It was horrifying to witness.  How can he make his body do that?  How did he KNOW he could make his body do that?  We escaped.  Finally.

So she is not only an unpredictable, weird, funny teenager who is out of our control, but now she is STRONGER THAN US AND KNOWS IT.  Help us.  Someone help us.

Monday, September 2, 2013

The Set Up

I knew that when Sam was little that he was easier to handle than 99% of kids and that I was lucky.  I knew that the chances of having two easy kids wasn't very likely, but I went ahead and risked it anyway and had another baby.  I knew when I was told it was a girl that I would possibly encounter some conflict when she got to her teens.  But I had no idea.

She tortures me.  The other day we were all in the car and she started narrating everything that was going on in the deep voice that movie announcers use.  You know, the guy who says, "IN A WORLD...." and then goes on to tell about a boring movie in a melodramtic way?  Yeah, she was doing that.  But she was just copying everything we were saying.  For instance, I would say, "Kira stop doing that!" and she would say, (in the deep voice), "MOM WANTS ME TO STOP DOING THIS."  Sam would say, "Kira, seriously, it's really annoying."  and she would say, "SAM SERIOUSLY THINKS THIS IS ANNOYING."  It was funny at first, then it was annoying, then it was really annoying, and then it got ridiculous, and then it got funny again. Eventually we all had to stop talking so she wouldn't have anything to narrate, but then she started narrating the songs on the radio.  She was narrating that song by Kelly Clarkson, Stronger, and I was just trying to get home.  We were close. I was flooring it.  Just a few more miles.

Kelly Clarkson singing:  What doesn't kill you makes you stronger...

Kira in the movie voice:  WHAT DOESN'T KILL HER MAKES HER STRONGER...

Kelly Clarkson: Stand a little taller...


Kelly Clarkson: Just me, myself, and I...


And then I totally lost it and almost had to pull over because I was laughing so hard I was actually in pain.  I had tears streaming from my eyes and I could hardly breathe.  It wasn't that funny!  Why was I laughing that hard?  I think she just wore me down and made me crack.  Up to that point it was just irritating and kind of funny.  All she was doing was narrating whatever anyone else said, but for some reason, converting the pronouns of "me, myself, and I" to "her, herself, and her" in that ridiculous voice just made me lose it.  It was an uncomfortable, totally out of control feeling and I didn't like it.

This isn't even the story I meant to tell here.  This was just the set-up to let you know what I go through on a day to day basis.  The real story is so so so much worse.  But this post is already long enough so you'll just have to wait and read it tomorrow.