Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Working

If there was ever any question that I work in a "real world" office, here's a quote from a meeting I attending today:

"…we're probably going to do a desk instruction procedure on how to update our desk procedures."

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Friends?

Don't let the crusty, old furball tell you any differently...I think he actually likes her.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Telecommuting

How to work from home with a 2 year old....

Lesson 1: a little pre-breakfast snack while watching Curious George so Mommy can call into a meeting.



Lesson 2: Don't forget the to make sure the Mute is on the speakerphone so everyone doesn't hear the 2 year old playing with the dog.

--In case you're wondering what's in the bowl, it's a nice mixture of non-healthy snacks: Cheetos, tortilla chips, Frito's, and Veggie Booty. Mmm-mmm-good!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

I Do!

On this day 10 years ago, Brandon and I exchanged vows before family and friends, beginning our new life as husband and wife. Happy Anniversary! Through good times and bad, richer and poorer, sickness and health, we're still going strong. We're even still wearing the same wedding bands that we bought for less than $200 (combined). Over these years, our 20's have faded into memories and, by the standards we had as kids, we're OLD now. Thankfully it doesn't feel like it. We've had many adventures and a lot of mundane, just-getting-by days. We've shared laughs, tears, anger, and joy. We've made good and bad decisions, living with each equally. Everything a marriage is supposed to be. And by a miracle, we've been blessed with another member to our family. Someone to fill in the piece we didn't even know we were missing.


For your viewing pleasure and amusement, courtesy of the scanner, it's off to the Way Back Machine...



Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Movie Night

We just made it back home after a night out at the movies. Well, not a traditional movie, but the only cultural event that Brandon and I can enjoy together. The Banff Mountain Film Festival is making it's annual world tour with several showings in the Seattle area. If you've never heard of it, the Banff Centre, located in the Canadian Rockies, sponsors a film festival dedicated to Mountain Culture. It's grown into an international competition, attracting submissions from all over the globe. The entries span the spectrum of film-making: from amusing shorts about ducks to feature length documentaries profiling unique native cultures. There is something for everyone. I have never left a showing without learning something new and being touched in some primal place that yearns for adventure. After the big festival at the end of October, a selection of films hits the road, traveling all over the U.S. and the world. We first saw the festival in Boone, sponsored by the Appalachian State Rec. Department. From the first frame, we fell in love with the event and look forward to a new edition every year. I'm very proud to say that this is the seventh year that Brandon and I have attended and, as always, it didn't fail to deliver. I confirmed two things this year: one, our world is full of beautiful, amazing people, places and things; and two, I never win anything! There is always a door prize drawing during intermission, with the festival sponsors supplying the gifts. Brandon won an awesome prize for the second year in a row! Last year it was a Patagonia jacket. This year he won a free pair of Dunham boots. He so sucks....

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Day 28!

Whew! Only a couple more days and NaBloPoMo will be over! The feeling seems mutual among the participants that have made it this far. The pressure of coming up with an idea every day is exhausting! I have a much bigger respect for those bloggers that manage to do this everyday just because they enjoy it. But you know what, I did it. I stuck with something and feel like a much better person for it. It was actually very liberating to let my guard down a little, even if it was just to come up with new material. I still feel inspired, but I think I'll do better if I slow down the posts a bit.
Because I'm pretty much spent on writing for tonight, here's something from my other pseudo hobby that I want to get more involved in again.







Monday, November 27, 2006

More snow

After being dry and cold in Seattle today, it's snowing again this evening. Not much, maybe another half an inch, but enough to be absolutely beautiful piling up on grass and blowing through the air. The big, white flakes are glistening under the street lights and occasionally the dog will bark as one hits the window.
Sitting here on the couch, watching the snow fall against the living room windows, I can't help but feel a little homesick for Boone. A small town in the northwest mountains of North Carolina, it was home to Brandon and me for the first four years of our marriage. We moved there to finish college and to start a new life on our own. It will always be one of my favorite places. It's an isolated little town (or at least it used to be)in the Appalachian Mountains. It's home to limitless outdoor beauty, Appalachian State University, and a whole community of the most friendly, sincere people you'll ever meet. We left because we knew that this place did not hold the keys to our future, but it will always hold a place in our hearts.
Back to the snow...Growing up in eastern North Carolina, snow was a big deal. It only came once a year, maybe twice if we were lucky, and was usually gone within a day or two. In Boone, you could easily expect to see snow a few times a month from mid-Fall well into the Spring. Most of the time it was just the right amount, enough to remind you that it was winter, but not enough to cause any problems. I remember those times fondly, but it's some of the bigger storms that stand out in my memories.
The first place we lived in Boone was a nice apartment at the top of the hill above the University. If not for the trees, we easily could have seen football stadium. We moved in at the beginning of January before Spring semester. During that first week, a huge snow storm swooped in, dropping about a foot of snow. We bundled up and headed out to play. We met some other students out doing the same. Soon we were sledding and having snowball fights like we were 10 years old again. Being veterans of the area, they took us to a nearby hill to sled. It was huge. I'd never been so frightened and exhilarated at the same time before. I loved it.
The next big storm I remember was one year later. For some bizarre reason, we decided to rent a small house about 30 minutes out of town. It was literally in a holler right on the Tennessee border. It was a great place to live, but I still wonder what we were thinking sometimes. We planned on moving the week before school started. We made all the plans, picked a day, and rented a truck. How were we to know that a massive snow storm was slated for that day? Being young and naive, we decided to carry on with the move. I'll tell you there are not many things scarier than driving a moving van full of all your belongings, in frigid weather, near white out conditions, along windy mountain roads, with at least six inches of snow on the ground. The highlight of the move was not settling into our new home, but meeting some of our new neighbors. In attempting to back the truck into the driveway, the tires slipped on the snowy incline and one wheel fell into the ditch alongside it. While we stood there trying to figure out what to do, a pickup truck came down the dirt mountain road toward us. It had to stop because we were blocking their passage. An older man got out and asked if we need any help. (Not the sharpest stick, huh?) Mind you it's still pouring down snow. After assessing the situation, he generously offers the use of his sons to help us unload the truck and then try to pull it out. Yeah! We might make it out of this after all. While talking to us, he turned to his pre-teen son and said "Boy, go git me my beer out of the truck." Which he promptly did. (It was an open beer too. You just can't make this stuff up.) Eventually, it all turned out OK. Well, maybe except for the bumper of the man's truck that didn't fair so well when he tied the chain to it instead of the frame when trying to yank our moving van from the ditch.
I could go on with the snow stories and others, and maybe another day I will. However, the point I wanted to make is that there are places and times that will always be special in some bizarre way even if you didn't realize it at the time.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

The cold, rainy weather we've been having has finally paid off. It's snowing! It started with flurries mixed with rain about 3 o'clock this afternoon. By 4:30, it had totally changed over and the flakes just kept getting bigger. Right now there's a good half an inch on the ground and the road in front of the house is lightly covered. I think we lucked out living at a slightly higher elevation than most of Seattle. It'll probably be gone by morning, but it was really fun tonight.
I took Abigael out into our parking lot to show her the falling snow and she loved it! I finally managed to get her back to our patio, but she refused to come inside. We ended up playing outside for at least another hour. The only times she came inside was to either get the dog or stick her hands under some warm water. We caught snow flakes on our tongues and threw snowballs for Zak to catch in his mouth. She had a blast. I think we'll definitely have to take her up to the mountains this winter for some real snow.







(You can see a few more photos here.)

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Traveling

How ironic that a few days ago I posted a picture of my visit to Westminster Abbey in London. I just found out that one of my cousins, Melissa, has relocated this month to London for a job. That is so awesome. I'm really happy for her. What a great adventure. But as Brandon read some of the posts on her blog aloud, I couldn't help feeling a little (or a lot) jealous. She's at the beginning of a beautiful new journey. My trip was a big check mark on my life list of "things to do." I feel so fortunate that Brandon was so supportive and encouraging of my solo venture. But there's got to be still more, you know?
When we got married I told myself (and Brandon) that we would offer our children views of the world that we never had. Not to mention a good excuse for me to finally visit those places. How cool would that be to walk with your children along the Great Wall of China or thru the jungles of Costa Rica. To climb the pyramids in Egypt and the stairs of the Eiffel Tower. Let's face it, everyday people spend thousands of dollars to take their kids on trips to Disneyland. Do we have to do that? Why not take that same money and turn it into something unique and, yes, maybe even a little educational? The more time that goes by, the more I wonder if we'll be able to do those things. Of course, Abigael is still pretty young, but life has a way of passing by much too quickly. Well, I'm determined not to let that happen. I guess it's time to break out the maps and Google searches to plan for that trip in a few years.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Friday Night

It's getting late and I still need to make my daily post. Unfortunately, my eyes are very, very heavy and the synapsis in my poor brain are just refusing to fire. The movie "Titanic" is on TV right now. I had forgotten what a good movie this is. In all the overkill in the media when it was popular, it's easy to forget that it was so romantic, dramatic, mesmerizing. Even ten years later, how can you not fall in love with both Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet while you watch the story unfold?
Wow...I'm really reaching here. Oh well, we can't be charming and entertaining all the time, can we?
I almost forgot, my friend, Rob, now has a part-time gig as a morning radio host in Boone, NC. His show is now streaming on the web, but that is waaayy to early for me. I may have to wait until I'm back on the East Coast for Christmas. So if you get a chance, check him out and let me know how his show is.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Turkey Day!



It's a quiet Thanksgiving Day in the Lockwood home (except, of course, for the cranky two year old.) All of our family is out of town and our local friends are with their's. That's OK, we've been looking forward to a nice, easy day for a while now. The weather is perfect for being lazy (rain, wind and cold), so there's no guilt about sitting in front of the TV all day, watching football. I wasn't going to go through the work of making a big, traditional meal for just the three of us, but things got a little out of control at the grocery store last night. Needless to say there's now a 7 1/2 pound turkey breast in the oven and a bag of my folks' North Carolina pecans waiting to be turned into a pie.

In the spirit of the Holiday, a few things that I am thankful for (or at least are pretty cool):
-Brandon. My husband, my best friend, my PIA, my motivator, the love of my life.
-Abigael. The best thing that every happened to me.
-The continued reasonably good health of all of us. Despite the hardships of this past year with Brandon's leg, it could have easily been much, much worse.
-Both of our parents. You couldn't ask for more loving, giving people. People who are there through good and bad, always there with a helping hand, an encouraging word, or a just a hug.
-Our home. Although we are still living in an apartment, it's a roof over our head that we pay for ourselves. It's not the lap of luxury, but it's warm, dry and full of love.
-The ability to have the little things in life. Those amenities in life, that while aren't necessary, definitely make our day-to-day life easier, more entertaining, and sometimes more complicated.
-The USA. It may sound corny, but living in a country where all of the above things are possible and attainable. It's not perfect by a long shot, but it's a lot better than some of the alternatives out there.
-The Future. It's never too late to make changes, learn new things, or reach for new goals.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Hug someone you love!


***LATE EDIT***

MMMMMMM...Thanksgiving Dinner!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Wow!

Holy crap! I was sitting here listening to the late news when the sports segment came on. I happened to look up in time to see that Gonzaga had just beaten my beloved Tar Heels in the NIT Season Tip-Off Tournament. What is this world coming to...? I'm not sure whether to be upset for Carolina or happy for the underdog. (Between you and me, I think I'm leaning toward the little guy.)

Contraband

I'm borrowing the idea for today's post from Rob. He wrote about having the instinct to take advantage of those opportunities that don't come along everyday. Even for those of us that are adamant about following the rules, sometimes you just gotta break 'em. It may not sound like much to some, but taking a picture in a "forbidden" place can be pretty exciting.
Rob issued a challenge to own up if we had ever taken any pictures in the Biltmore house . Well, unfortunately I was never able to make it there, but I'll up you one. Here's my entry:
In the spring of 2003, I traveled to London to fulfill a lifelong dream of visiting Europe. While there, I visited Westminster Abbey. Walking under the great cathedral ceiling and among effigies of those long dead, where kings and queens had been crowned, was like a dream come true for me. Against all the rules, I snapped a few pictures on the sly. A great memento to remind me of that place in time.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

#103


"Oh man!"

In my haste to keep up with the daily posting for NaBloPoMo, I totally missed the big milestone: Post #100! I was going to celebrate. Or at least make a post to commemorate the occasion. Oh, well...at least the post I did make on that day was a pretty good one. (That last picture makes me smile every time.)
So, yeah Lockwoods! Way to stick with something for longer than three months! At first, I thought 100 posts over a year and half may not seem like much. But then to put it into perspective, it takes the typical TV show four or five years to reach that milestone. Not too shabby.
When I started this blog, I really didn't know what would become of it and it's still an ongoing journey. I wanted to use it to help both of our families stay a little more involved with our daily lives. Since I'm horrible at keeping a scrapbook, one day I'll print all of this out and put it away for Abigael.
For more selfish reasons, I also wanted to join the "blog club." Maybe even become some kind of a writer. I think the exercise of writing everyday this month is really helping in this arena. As each day comes to a close, I start to panic a little for an idea to write about and somehow I've been able to come up with something every time. I'm starting to really enjoy the challenge. Hopefully, I can maintain that excitement on December 1st.
But, for right now I'm proud with what I've done. Here's to 103 more!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Hero

We just finished watching Heroes. I know I've said it before, but I really like this show. It doesn't have the deep, emotional storyline of something like Battlestar Galactica. But you know what, it shouldn't. It's meant to mimic a comic, and I think it does a pretty good job. The hour passes way too fast and leaves you wanting just a little bit more. I think it's the simplicity that makes it strike a chord of its own. No one's life is as complicated as the dramas that we think are so great. We're all just plodding along in our normal lives, wishing for just a little more. A little something to make us different. Who didn't wish they had some super power when they were growing up? It's the lucky ones that haven't had given up on these dreams, their wishful thinking hasn't been completely beat out of them by the trials and hardships of real life.
There's always been one thing that bugged me about super heroes though. They're a bunch of babies! All you ever hear is: "Poor me" "I'm such a freak." "How could anyone ever love someone that crawls up walls or flies or shoots lasers out of their eyes or can change shapes" Waaahhh. Hello! You've got a frakin' super power! How cool would that be! I don't know if I could even pick one, is there a bad super power? OK, it might suck if you had to be green and angry or blue and furry, but most of the others would be pretty cool. What do you think?

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Need a change

OK. That does it. I was just flipping thru the NaBloPoMo Randomizer (which you should absolutely do if you have a few minutes to just surf around) and was so impressed with all the creativity out there. Everyone has such wonderful themes, names and ideas. I'm so jealous. If it's one thing that I'm really bad at, it's coming up with names or titles. My pets' names are Zak and Matt, for goodness sake, and I didn't even think of those myself.
I'm not disappointed with the content of our blog, actually I'm pretty happy with it so far. But, we totally need a new name and/or tag line. Something catchy and tells you a little about us before you dig into reading. So, it's time for a change. I'm setting a goal and I'm enlisting your help. By the end of the year, if not sooner, I'd like to update the site with a new name and look. If you have any ideas, I'd love to hear them. Friends, family, strangers, send me your thoughts. I need all the help I can get.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Picture Post continued...

It's time for the comparison to this picture. What do you think?



While in California, we dressed the kids up for a homemade attempt at a holiday photo shoot. Considering we were trying to wrangle three toddlers, I think we did pretty well and even managed to get a few good shots. Here are a couple of my favorites of Abigael.



Friday, November 17, 2006

Heading Home

Although it's been a little stressful at times and I'm not looking forward to the flight home, I'm so glad that I brought Abigael down to California with me. The visit with her grandparents, aunt and uncle, and cousins has been so good for her. Right now I'm looking at her passed out on the couch taking a nap (over an hour now) and I know she's had a great time too. She and Emma seem to get along wonderfully, it's such a shame that they don't get to see each other more often. I'm not too worried though, the entire family is very committed to making sure the cousins feel close even though they live so far apart.
Today was another fun one. Emma spent the night with us at Grandma and Popi's house. The girls woke up with bright, shiny faces and started the day with a big breakfast. Mid-morning, Kathie (Grandma) and I walked with the girls up to the neighborhood park. As soon as we hit the grass, Emma took off for the swingset and Abigael made a beeline for the jungle gym to fling herself down a slide.




...Oh well, I was interrupted and now it's time to head off for the airport. It's been a wonderful visit but I think we're ready to head home.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Onion Breath

It was a fun day today. After a quick bit of work, I checked out of my hotel and headed over to Gabbie's house for a day with the family. Grandma met us there with Abigael. I had hoped for a huge, heartfelt greeting as I hadn't seen her in two days. She was so wrapped up in her play though, it seemed like it took a good twenty seconds for her to even recognize me. That's ok (sniff, sniff), I know she missed me.
For an outing today, we took the kids to the bowling alley a couple of blocks away. Emma had tried it once before, but it was a first for Abigael. It was so cute to watch her lug her bowling ball up to the line and push it down the lane.
She had fun, but it was short-lived. We waited a little too long to go out and the kids were anxious for lunch. (I think Abigael has eaten more in the past three days than the last three weeks.)
We finished our game and headed next door to the adjoining diner. Abigael ate about a quarter of her grilled cheese sandwich, a few french fries, and some of the bacon off of my cheesburger. She seemed to loose interest in eating so I started giving her extras off of my plate. First a dill pickle chip, which she ate fairly quickly. She reached over and grabbed another one. No problem, anything I can get her to eat, halfway healthy, is fine with me. Then she did the unthinkable. Her small hand crept over to my plate again and poked at the raw onion that had been served on the side of my cheeseburger. She wrapped her chubby finger around a piece of it and pulled it up to her mouth. Almost in slow motion, I watched her mouth open and then her teeth crunch into it. NOOOOOO! It was too late, she had taken a bite. I watched in horror as she did it again. She had crossed over to the dark side. Anyone who's been around me while I'm eating, knows that I detest onions, especially raw ones. The smell alone assaults my senses and almost makes me gag. I get alot of teasing about this, but I don't care, it's just the way it is. So, you can imagine my disapointment as I watched my sweet, innocent daughter munch happily away. I tried to console myself that "at least she's eating." But even that backfired a little later when I gave her kisses before naptime and all I could smell was that awful onion breath.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Picture Post


My mom sent me this picture today. It's a photo of me at three years old. My first thought when I saw this was "Oh goody! It's time for another post about how much Abigael looks like her mommy." My second thought was "Wow. I sure had a big head." Finally, I took a longer look and noticed the scar above the right side of my mouth. The part of me that changed when I became a mother felt a sharp jab in the heart. My thoughts flew to the image I see in the mirror today and I couldn't believe the difference. This scar is hardly noticeable to me now. But on the little girl in this picture, it looks huge.
It was an accident. The story goes that I was running through the house, tripped and fell into one of the living room coffee tables. I have a memory of sitting on the center armrest in the front seat of my dad's car, holding a towel to my face. I'm pretty sure he ran the red light right in front of the hospital. I could be wrong, but I'm also fairly confident that I remember being strapped down to a board in the emergency room so the doctors could stitch me up. This isn't a particularly traumatic memory for me and the scar on my face has just always been a part of who I am (Actually, I don't even notice it.) However, it does make me wonder about the persistence of memories. Abigael is two and a half. Will she have memories of being this age too? Will those memories be good or triggered by some traumatic event?
On a more selfish note, I'm so thankful that Brandon and I haven't had to face anything like this yet. My heart breaks a little when I look at the little girl in the picture above with an objective point of view. All I can think is "How brave my parents were." Just a year after this photo, they were challenged again with another life changing event. I had to have open heart surgery for a small defect which was causing a heart murmur. Everything went fine and I've gone on to live a full, active life. But what was it like for my parents? I think about my darling daughter and my eyes tear up at the thought of something like that happening to her. The Lord willing, we will never have to face a similar challenge. But with the example of my parents to follow, I'm sure I would be able to rise to the occasion.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Home Alone

Hello all! So this week as Christie has said I am home all alone... Just me and the animals (yes they need a break from the terrible 2 1/2 yo too!). Last night I was actually able to pick up the house, clean the dinning room table, do the dishes, vaccum, and do some homework all without wlking back into the living room to find an even bigger mess than before!! But it was very lonely without my girls... Without Abigael constantly asking for juice and to watch Dora. Or without the rythmic snores of my sweet wife in bed (love ya hon!). I will ride to school today for BOTH morning and evening classes!!! It is actually a very beautiful day out the sun is shining and IT'S NOT rainning. There is supposed to be a huge storm coming in tomorrow morning AGAIN so I'll take what riding I can get!! The Chocholak's will be here today!! I can't wait to see Julian's eyes when he sees the bike I he commisioned me to build-up for him!!

OH and by the way I haven't totally abandoned Christie and this Lockwoods site for Track Daddy I just figured most few people that read this don't want to hear about bike this and bike that.... >>>

Monday, November 13, 2006

Too tired...

OK, this will probably be a cheater post. I am just mentally exhausted. Abigael was up for a few hours last night, which always makes for a pleasant time. She had fallen asleep before her usual bedtime and I think her body just didn't know how to handle it. I went into work for a few hours this morning and then rushed home to finish packing for our trip to California. Abigael and I finally made it out the door, but after that it just seemed like it was one thing after another. I won't go into the gory details, but take a neurotic mom, a ton of luggage and a carseat, a 2 1/2 hours airplane ride, and a 2 1/2 year old girl , stir briskly and use your imagination. She was a good girl for the most part, but we were tired from no nap. By the time we hauled all our stuff to the car rental counter at our destination, I was so delirious and frustrated, I accidentally rented from the wrong company. I didn't even realize till I had pulled away and wondered why they couldn't find my reservation. Oh well, they seemed eager for my business.
Right now, Abigael is spending the night with Grandma and Popi and I'm trying to unwind in my hotel room near work. Hopefully, everything went well for bedtime, she had already had a few meltdowns before I left their house. Must have been me, because she seemed say "Bye, Mama! I stay here!" just a little too eagerly.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Sunday

It's a cold, dreary morning, but so far it's been just perfect. Maxine woke up at 5:30am a little freaked out, being in a strange place. I jumped out of bed and whisked her out to the living room before she woke Abigael (which thankfully didn't happen.) She wanted to lay down on the couch and after I fetched a few items for her, she quickly settled down to go back to sleep. With this small gesture, everyone in the house was able to sleep in till about 8:am. The girls had a great time playing this morning, entertaining themselves, giving Brandon and I a little break. Although, I am a little concerned with how bossy and possessive Abigael seemed to be sometimes. It was a side of her I'd never really seen before. It didn't seem to be too bad, but we did have to talk a couple of times about sharing. Her teachers say that she's an absolute angel at school, so I'm hoping it's just because she was home among her own things for a change.
...fast forward several hours later...
Tomorrow Abigael and I are off for an adventure of our own. I have some meetings for work down in L.A., so I decided to take Abigael along to visit Brandon's family. She'll spend a couple of nights with Grandma and Poppi and a few days with her Aunt Gabbie, Uncle Dan and cousins. We'll be down there all week, it should be a lot of fun and really good for the cousins. Wish me luck on the 2 1/2 hour flight, it'll be interesting...

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Happy Birthday: Part 2

After a long, busy week, we were definitely looking forward to restful weekend. Things weren't looking good when the girl woke up at 5:30am this morning. Brandon got up with her, so hopefully I could sleep in a little. Unfortunately, she was in Crabby Abby mode, and nothing was making her happy. Since I couldn't sleep, I got up to give it a try. I grabbed a sippy cup and the kid and headed back to our bed, leaving Brandon to rest on the couch. I tucked Abigael in and laid down beside her. She tossed and turned for about 10 minutes, but I persisted, knowing she was tired. It worked! She finally went back to sleep and we both slept for another two hours. Ahhhh! There is no better joy than waking up the smiling face of your baby girl .

After an uneventful day around the house, we packed up and headed out to drop Abigael off to play with Maxine (she is only two months older than Abigael.) We had traded baby-sitting with our friend Erin. She would watch the girls in the early evening while Brandon and I celebrated my birthday a few days late. In return, we would take Maxine home with us for a sleep-over. We hurried to the theater downtown, making it just in time to catch the last matinée of the new Will Farrell movie, Stranger than Fiction. I absolutely adore him, he can make me laugh just with the way he carries himself. The movie was great. It won't win any Oscars, but it was definitely a well spent two hours. A perfect date movie, just the right mixture of comedy, heart and storyline. After the movie, we walked around the corner to one of the local martini bars for drinks and an appetizer. By 8:00 pm, our date was over. So we went to pick up the girls and headed home. They see each other frequently at day-care, but I don't get very many chances to see them together. Oh my god, the cuteness was almost paralyzing. They held hands walking out to the car and sat in the back seat singing all the way home. In typical two-year old fashion, they manged to empty half of Abigael's toy chest all over the living room floor within 10 minutes of setting foot in the house. We finally managed to bribe them with cookies to lay down on the couch. Luck would have it that the Wizard of Oz was on TV and that seemed to hold their attention long enough for the sleep fairy to blow her dust on them. We just put them to bed in Abigael's room. Hopefully, it will be a quiet night and a late morning.


--Random
Brandon noticed this in the signature of a online forum posting.

"There are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, Chuck Norris lives in Oklahoma."

Friday, November 10, 2006

Now I lay me down to sleep

Abigael, as she fell asleep on the couch tonight....This blog should probably be called "All the things you're NOT supposed to do with your kids to get them to sleep." In a long list of things that will probably come back and bite us in the butt, we've been letting Abigael fall asleep on the couch at night instead of in her own bed. After she's sound asleep, we move her and she blissfully sleeps until at least 4:30am. When we made the decision to move her to the "big girl bed" after the night of the great escape, we struggled for many, many nights to get her to stay in bed long enough to go to sleep. We asked, we were stern, we gave in, we threatened, it was just way too stressful and not working. One night after an hour of fighting to get her to stay in her room (let alone her bed), we gave in and let her lay down on the couch. Within fifteen minutes she was out like a light. Thus began our ritual over the last couple of weeks. A snack (usually a couple of cookies), some milk, and then, curled up in a blanket, she watches TV with us until she drifts off. Some nights it takes an hour or so, but others, like tonight, she's passed out within two minutes. I started to become a little concerned that we might be starting another bad habit. My fears were laid to rest last weekend when she came up to me around naptime and said "I tired. Abigael need to go to bed." She headed to her room, crawled into bed, asked me to "make it dark" and went to sleep. WHAT?! I couldn't believe this was my child and I couldn't have been happier. So, I'm not worried. From the sleepless days as an infant to the co-sleeping so mommy could get some sleep to moving to the crib to finally going to sleep on her own, we've run the course on all the bad habits. And each one we've overcome when she was ready. She'll get there eventually. In the meantime, it's nice to have a little peace in an otherwise crazy house.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

NaBloPoMo

WooHoo! I've made it over a week now! I'm sure my family and other two readers are wondering if I'm sick or under some weird hex for posting nine days in a row now. Nope, I'm participating in NaBloPoMo, otherwise known as National Blog Posting month. Led by Fussy, hundreds of bloggers have embarked on a quest to make a post every day this month. It's a spinoff from National Novel Writing Month, except for people with not so lofty goals. Anyway, it sounded like fun and would give me a chance to be a more active participant of the great blogosphere. So, here I am, nine days in and I'm realizing that it's going to start getting tough now. I hope I didn't underestimate my creativity and attention span. No matter, I just wanted give you a little advance notice if things start getting a little weird around here. Maybe the real me will finally come out. Scared yet...?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Random Music Post #2

It's been a while since I've purchased any new music. As we all know, pop music exists in cycles. Everything on the radio will suck for a while and then for a couple of months we get hit with a handful of good albums. Needless to say, I survive only by the grace of my iPod. I get by in my little comfort zone of "oldies" from the last century and the few standby groups that continue to put out good stuff. Every once in a while though, something will come out that catches my attention. Last year it was The Killers' Hot Fuss album. Full of energy, fresh sounds and catchy lyrics, it was put it in heavy rotation on my shuffle mix. But because the world is full of one-hit-wonders, I was hesitant to buy their new album recently. Fortunately, I decided to heed the advice of Cynical Dad's praise and take the plunge. OH MY! All I can say is AWESOME! I'm sitting here at my desk at work plugged in and can hardly sit still in my seat. The energy is incredible! I just flew through a data entry task that I've been dreading. Definitely two huge thumbs up! If you love the orginality of the 80's New Wave scene mashed together with a modern alt rock energy, you have to get this album.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Happy Birthday to Me!

Yeah! Happy Birthday to me....you know the rest. (Holy crap! 34!) Yep, another year set to start again. I view birthdays the same way some people do New Year's Day. What's done is done and it's the perfect opportunity to point your life toward another goal and hit the gas pedal. It's a good time to pick up the pieces of all those little hobbies and aspirations you've been meaning to follow-thru on, forgive yourself for dropping them in the first place and put them back together.
But before we move on, I just want to take one more moment to appreciate how great my life is right now. I've been married to a wonderful, caring, passionate man for almost 10 years. (Holy crap again! Just kidding Brandon. I love you!) We've beat the odds and toughed it out through good and bad. We've proved that we can get through anything together. This relationship has given me the best gift I ever could have hoped for, my daughter Abigael. She's the light of my life and has already taught me more about life than I think I've taught her. I have a great job that provides me with lots of challenges. It supports us with enough so that we can be a one income family for a while and my daughter can be raised by my husband instead of daycare. Mostly importantly, I still see myself as young with my whole life in front of me.

I saw this meme floating around a few months ago and have been wanting to fill it out. I thought this would be the perfect day to finally get around to it. Courtesy of Cynical Dad.

You're supposed to take the following 150-item list and bold the items you've accomplished.

LIFE EXPERIENCES MEME
Bold the ones you've done (my comments are in italics).

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink. Of course not. Hello, I'm a girl.
02. Swam with wild dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain. Does Grandfather Mountain count?
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive. No, but I have driven a Porshe and a Corvette, as well as a delivery truck and a right side Jeep Cherokee.
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid.
06. Held a tarantula. You've got to be kidding.
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone.
08. Said 'I love you' and meant it.
09. Hugged a tree.
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea.
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise.
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game.
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby's diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne.
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment.
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can.
32. Held a lamb. Petted one. Can I change this one to black bear cub? Did that!
33. Seen a total eclipse.
34. Ridden a roller coaster.
35. Hit a home run. As much softball as I played growing up, I don't think I ever did. I'm claiming this one just for all the years I put into it.
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was watching. No choice, when you're a horrible dancer but you love to do it.
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day.
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment.
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 50 states. 30 down though!
41. Taken care of someone who was shit faced. And had the same done for me.
42. Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched wild whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger's table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your cds Is there any other way?
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke Unfortunately for those there to witness it.
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Posed nude in front of strangers
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party. Maybe crashed is too harsh, I've been to a few parties I wasn't invited to.
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days. Why would you do that?
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on television news programs as an "expert" I did get interviewed for a Crime Stoppers report when the movie theater I worked at was robbed.
83. Got flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas Of course I was only ten years old at the time.
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Gone to a movie by yourself.
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror.
96. Raised children Working on it!
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
98. Created and named your own constellation of stars
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over That's how we ended up in Seattle
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn't stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn't have survived.
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds. I'd be happy with 30 right now.
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Petted a stingray
110. Broken someone's heart. I hope not.
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. Broken a bone. My thumb the first time I tried skiing and my ankle walking down some stairs.
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a body part of yours below the neck pierced I tried my belly button but took it out after a few days.
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol All of the above
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours Piece of cake.
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone's mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed
132. Petted a cockroach Ewwwww! That's as bad as a spider.
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad and the Odyssey
135. Selected one "important" author who you missed in school and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating. Just fish.
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you're living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn't know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146: Dyed your hair
147: Been a DJ
148: Shaved your head
149: Caused a car accident
150: Saved someone's life

I've done 68 of the 150 things, not too bad for someone who thinks she hasn't done anything. I think I'll go work on the rest now.

Monday, November 06, 2006

HaHaHa!!!

I dare you not to laugh at this.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Book Meme

WooHoo! My first meme. I'm in the club now! Rob over at Popcorn tagged me with this book meme last week. I spent a couple of days thinking about it and then got distracted with work, so I'm a little tardy in posting it. It was a lot harder than I thought to go back through time and my memories and recall the possibly thousands of books I've read over the last thirty years. I'm sure later I'll remember something I should have included, but for right now, here goes nothing!

1) One book that changed your life:
I thought a long time about this one in particular and came up with nothing. I'm pretty stubborn and independent by nature, I couldn't think of a single book that "changed" my life, but I could think of several that have stayed with me and influenced my interests over the years.
Going back to my youth (sort of, this book has followed me to every place I've lived), One Monster after Another by Mercer Mayer. I still refer to storms as Typhonigators. The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck. You have to read the trilogy to fully appreciate the storyline, but this was my first introduction to Asian culture and drove me towards reading a lot about the history and beauty of that part of our world. I can't recall where my love of science fiction specifically started, but I'm thinking it was just a natural progression from Nancy Drew to Madeleine L'Engle(A Wrinkle in Time) to Stephen King to Piers Anthony and beyond.

2) One book that you read more than once:
Just one? These are some of my standbys: 1984, almost all of the Anne Rice novels several times each, most of Stephen King's early books, Stranger in a Strange Land, the Bio of a Space Tyrant series...the list of old friends could go on and on.

3) One book you’d want on a deserted island:
Could go one of two ways on this one. In the spirit of the question, I'm torn between a sentimental favorite and a logical choice. The Little House on the Prairie books by Laura Ingalls Wilder for guaranteed enjoyment and escapism or the Bible for the enough variety and mental challenge to last a long time. OR I could go the easy way out and chose something like Primitive Wilderness Living & Survival Skills: Naked into the Wilderness.

4) One book that made you laugh:
There must have been a few, but I honestly can't think of very many. I tend to like my TV funny and my books more serious. One series of books does come to mind though it is a little obscure but totally hilarious in its satire: Bill, the Galactic Hero by Harry Harrison (and the sequels.) Funny stuff for sci fi.

5) One book that made you cry: I tend to actively avoid anything that might make me cry, but every once in a while something will sneak up on me.
Bridge to Terabithia. I think I read this book in the third or fourth grade and it haunts me to this day. The story of two unlikely friends who forged a beautiful bond that ended in tragedy. It still makes that sad place in my soul very heavy and it's been 25 years.

I picked up The Time Traveler's Wife on a whim because I was itching for a new book and it sounded interesting. I try not be be a sucker "popular"books, but I thought "what the hell?" I am so glad I did. It was not what I expected at all. The fascinating plot and great presentation, totally made up for making my eyes tear up.

6) One book you wish you’d written:
Any book. Great aspirations, but no follow-thru.

7) One book you wish had never been written:
I'm probably going to burn for this one, but I'm choosing Catcher in the Rye. I just don't get it! I've read it at least three times. Each time with a few more years of life experience to draw on and I still don't understand the big deal . Besides, if it hadn't been written, there might be a few more people with us, instead of being victims of senseless acts of violence.

8 ) One book you’re currently reading:
How many books am I not reading right now? I'm going through a phase where I have a lot of interest but not enough energy. I'm really bad for picking up a book at the airport for a flight, reading it for the duration of the trip, and then forgetting about it once I get home. It's like an addiction, I wonder if there's a name for it. Half-read books currently on my nightstand: Christ the Lord (autographed at a book signing last year), Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, The Andromeda Strain, and Intensity.

9) One book you’ve been meaning to read:
See above list. Oh, the list is much longer.

10) Tag five people: ummmm....I'm a totally loser and don't have any blog friends to tag. So if any of my four readers feel like chiming in, go for it!

---OK, it looks like I put a lot more effort into this than was intended. "ONE book...." Oh, well. It was a fun trip down memory lane and I even ran across a few more books I'd like to read.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Apparantly I've still got it...

Silly fun or lazy post, you decide....

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The South

That's a Southern accent you've got there. You may love it, you may hate it, you may swear you don't have it, but whatever the case, we can hear it.

The Midland

Philadelphia

The Inland North

The Northeast

The West

North Central

Boston

What American accent do you have?
Take More Quizzes


(Link to quiz courtesy of seanbonner.)

Friday, November 03, 2006

Gimme a break

I love this expression.
Reminds me of Jim from The Office. (If you watch the show, you know what I'm talking about.)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Snack Time

I wouldn't be the one to say that Abigael is needy, but she does tend to really like lots of attention. Anyone who's been around her knows that she loves interaction and demands it from everyone she meets. Needless to say we start to get a little worried when she disappears from the room we're in for more than five minutes. The quiet that settles over the house when she decides to play alone is almost eerie.
Last night was one of those times. I was going from room to room, making dinner, picking up toys and watching a little tv. Abigael wandered off, giving me a brief respite from the hand pulling to play and pleading for Halloween candy. Without the chatterbox running, I became lost in my own thoughts. Absentmindedly, I walked down the hallway and turned the corner into the kitchen. I stopped in my tracks as I saw Abigael sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor. Her legs were stretched out in front of her, a small plastic bottle between them on the floor. She looked up at me and froze. Her eyes twinkled and a smirk stretched across her face. "I eat!" she garbled through a mouth full of food. I walked across the kitchen and knelt down. She watched me and giggled. "I eat Zak's food!" I looked in the bottle she had filled herself and laughed. I guess she needed a snack.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Aarrrgh!


Halloween was yesterday and unlike last year, Abigael was totally into it. She loved her costume and took great delight in pointing out every other pirate she saw. We practiced a few times at home and she did a great job of saying "Trick or Treat" right on cue.
Abigael's "school" participated in the holiday and took the kids trick or treating around the campus. She was able to hang out with her best friend, Maxine, and made out with a pretty good stash.


Last night Brandon and I took Abigael up to Magnolia village for the community Halloween celebration. About two blocks of the main street was closed to traffic and all of the local business opened their doors and candy jars to the young and young-at-heart. Abigael had a blast admiring all the costumes, dutifully pointing out and naming each one she recognized. "A duck!...Another pirate!...A witch!...Elmo!...Another pirate!" She had a great time and even woke up this morning asking to go trick or treating for more candy!



A much need sugar break!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Morning rituals

Now that Abigael is sleeping in her "big girl" bed, she likes to wake up at ungodly early hours. This morning she beat my alarm clock and was up just before 5:00 am. Thankfully we've just about trained her to stay in her room and play quietly until we can at least clear the fog enough to get up with her. This morning she did well and stayed in her room, but kept herself occupied by singing and talking very loudly. After a few minutes she began to call out for mama, daddy and milk. I got up, poured a sippy cup for her and took it in. She sweetly looked up at me from her bed, grinned and said "Tank you, Mama." I tucked her back in and asked her to please rest a while longer so her Daddy could sleep. "OK, Mama." I shut her door behind me and went to take my morning shower. Ten minutes later I headed down the hallway toward the kitchen for the all-important first cup of coffee. Just as I passed Abigael's bedroom door, I heard her doorknob click behind me. I slowly turned around and saw a hand, holding her sippy cup, emerging from the door frame. The hand paused for just a second and then dropped the cup to the floor. The tiny hand pulled back into her room and the door closed behind it. I stood there for a few seconds just dumbfounded. Between the giggles I fought to hold back, all I could think was " What is this? Room service?" I don't think I've ever felt more like a maid in my own home.
Well, at least she stayed in her room and I had some peace and quiet for a little while longer...

Monday, October 23, 2006

Is it Art or History?

The Seattle Art Museum (SAM) is currently expanded its facilities to include the Olympic Sculpture Park. It's located down on the waterfront bordered by Western Avenue, Broad Street, and Elliott Bay. I used to go this way to work so I could take Hwy 99 instead of I-5, but have avoided the area both since I started working in Kent and construction started on the Park. Well, this morning on a whim (i.e. I was running late and wanted to avoid the Denny disaster getting to I-5), I decided to take this route. There is now a huge pedestrian bridge over the Western and large banks of earth on either side of the road. The park is scheduled to open in January, so I wasn't expecting to see any installations yet. However, while waiting for the light to turn green this morning I looked up and saw this:

Art or History?

(Sorry for the crappy quality. I snapped this from the car with my cameraphone.)

I had to look at this for a few seconds and reach way back to realize what this was. A giant Typewriter Eraser! When I got to work, I did a couple of searches and found that it must be this piece by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. It was probably donated by Paul Allen. When I saw this piece silhouetted by the morning light, I couldn't help but laugh out loud. I absolutely love it, but will anyone under 30 even know what this is?

This is definitely one of the things I love about living in Seattle. You never know what you're going to see around the next corner.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Random music post

Driving into work this morning, I was grooving to a particularly good set of tunes on the local "Classic Rock" radio station (i.e. oldies with guitar riffs. How sad that Queen is now relegated to that category). The next song to come up was “Centerfold” by The J. Giles Band and I was instantly time warped back to 1981. When I was eight or nine, the local roller skate rink had a special time on Saturday mornings for the younger kids to skate. For a couple of hours, you could fine tune your skills without having to worry about being run over by the know-it-alls. My mom would take me and for a little while I was cool, making the circle several hundred times and singing along with the music blaring from the speakers. Anyway, today as a 33 year old mother, I turned up my car stereo a little more and sang aloud again...“my blood runs cold...my memory has just been sold...” It crosses my mind, was a song about a guy fantasizing about what was under fuzzy sweaters and buying adult magazines really appropriate music for eight-year-olds? I guess the music kids listen to today really may not be so bad after all.


(Note: As I searched for the links to put in the post, I came across the album listing for the band. I had forgotten they had done such classics as "Freeze Frame" and "Love Stinks." Awesome.)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Appalachian State News....sort of

I was checking my lastest feeds in Bloglines and came across this post on the Appalachian Alumni office blog maintained by Rob.

Mountaineer Madness at midnight
The 2006-07 Appalachian basketball season gets underway Friday night with the fourth-annual Mountaineer Madness. A special guest host will be on-hand that night - 16-time world champion Ric Flair:

Flair will help host the event as he joins the ASU faithful in ushering in the 2006-07 men’s and women’s hoops seasons.

The evening begins with volleyball taking on SoCon rival Davidson at 8 p.m. on the Holmes Center floor.

The madness continues at 10:30 p.m. as Mountaineer Madness begins. The ASU men’s and women’s basketball teams will be signing autographs and posing for pictures as fans enter the Holmes Center.

Admission is free. The men’s basketball schedule begins November 13. The women’s basketball team begins play November 11.

With regard to the volleyball team, it is currently in second-place in the SoCon and boasts the league’s player of the week, Dianna Thomas.

RIC FLAIR!! How cool is that!!! And I bet Rob is probably going to get to meet him...Well, at least take pictures to share, OK?
WOOOOOOO!

(I'm jealous...)

Saturday, October 07, 2006

MIA

Sorry I've been away for so long. It's been a crazy, rough summer and I've been trying to keep my mind focused on work and family. Not as easy as it sounds when your hormones and brain chemistry decide to go on strike.
Things are starting to even out all around, so I'm going to try to get back in the habit of posting. Until then, if you haven't already, check out Track Daddy for some more recent news.

Love to everyone!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Velveteen Rabbits...

It looks like we're not the only ones giving a second chance to cherished toys from childhood. Rob, a long-time friend from Hope Mills and Boone, wrote this beautiful post about passing along a piece of himself to his daughter: Horsey rides again!

Here are just a few of our treasures that have found a new life after more than twenty-five years of dust, dirt, and dreams.

"Mom, I can't believe you still have trouble with this thing....I'm only 2 and I've already got it figured out."

"Talk about endless fun! First it was fun to look at the pictures and throw around!....

Now there's words too! How cool! A Story!"


"Yes, I'm totally cute in this little red rocking chair. Now how about turning it the other way so I can watch some Dora on t.v.?"




"Did someone ask for a Superhero?














Never fear! My reversible cape allows me act as Superman OR Batman!"

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

For Simpson's geeks only

The daily sydicated airing of The Simpson's came on the other night. The theme music perked Abigael's ears and she pulled herself away from chasing the cat long enough to watch for a minute.
It was a more recent episode. The opening featured all the couches in town coming to life and going after the residents of Springfield. Abigael stopped dead in her tracks absorbing the racing colors and changing scenes. At the very end of the opening credits, Homer had ducked into a store for safety only to find out his hiding place was "Couch World." He was surrounded and disappeared under a pile of sofas.
Abigael turned and looked at us with the most serious face, shook her head sadly and said "Poor D'oh."

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Viva la Floyd!

Well, it looks like Saturday is the "do or die" day for Floyd...

I readily admit that I knew nothing about cycling (professional or otherwise) before I met Brandon. Sure, there were the occasional hightlights on "Wide World of Sports." But words like peloton, domestique and maillot jaune, were as foreign to me as...ummmm..well...a foreign langauge. That changed shortly after Brandon and I were married many years ago (I love you honey!). With our first apartment in Boone, we got cable TV and began our decade long ritual of watching sports together. I explained the finer details of baseball and basketball, we cheered every Super Bowl together, and he exposed me to every obscure sport he was in love with that month. No matter how his tastes changed though, the one constant has always been bicycles. It doesn't really matter what kind or how they're ridden, they are his passion and I support it (as long as I don't have to trip over bike parts in my house.) As a result, I have lived vicariously through his adventures, even having a few of my own.
Back to the pros...Unfortunately, the only place you can watch any cycling on TV in the States is on OLN. I only say unfortunate because you have to navigate bullriding, fishing and Survivor reruns just to catch a few minutes of coverage. Needless to say, we live for July each year. Three solid weeks of as much Tour de France coverage as you can stand. Phil Liggett, Paul Sherwin and Bob Roll become our best friends for a time and 4:30am (Pacific time) doesn't seem like an weird time to get up to watch the long mountain stages. For a year we've been looking forward to the 2006 edition. A Tour without Lance would be fun and exciting to watch because anything would be possible. We couldn't wait to see George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer and Floyd Landis carry on the American charge. Of course, less than 24 hours before the start everything changed with Operación Puerto. I won't bore you with the details, you can read the links if you don't know the story.
We watched every day. The sprinters never failed to amaze with their explosive speed. Once unknowns shot out of the peloton to take charge of their dwindling teams. This was the way it was supposed to be, everyone had to work for every kilometer and nothing was guaranteed. On Stage 17, Floyd defied all odds and rode for his life, creating a beautiful moment in time that was destined to live on in legend even if the yellow jersey eluded him. But he did grab it and wore it proudly to the podium in Paris. It was a proud day for athletes and fans alike to see hard work and determination win out. The small guy can come out on top sometimes.
Now all of that is in jeopardy. Before all the evidence has been processed, the media, the officials and even fellow cyclists have tried and convicted Floyd of cheating. Is it so hard to believe that a test could be inaccurate or not tell the whole story? Is is impossible to believe in this age of "win at all costs" that not everyone is cheating? Well, I refuse to. I cannot live my life thinking the worst... always suspecting that someone is lying, denying the dream that miracles can still happen. I know the odds are against him, but I'm hoping with all my heart that Floyd is vindicated. I want my daughter to grow up in a world where dreams and heros of all kinds still exist. Please don't let me down....

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Abigael-ism

So we sat down to our nightly ritual of "what is Abigael not going to eat tonight?" It was a lazy evening and we splurged on take-out from Red Mill Burgers. For a change of pace, I was able to mostly enjoy my meal while Abigael picked the sesame seeds off of her burger. Occasionally I pleaded with her to take a bite of burger or french fry (jeesh, what kid won't eat fries?!) Finally, her attention span disappeared with my patience. I took her plate away and we talked while I finished eating. As a last resort (I know, she'll eat when she's hungry, but it still bugs me), I asked if she would like something different to eat.

Abigael: "Yes. Sand-mich."

Me: Eyeroll. Hello...a hamburger IS a sandwich. "OK, honey. What kind of sandwich would you like?"

Abigael: "Hmmmm.....a birthday sand-mich."

Me: "Honey, it's not your birthday. Are you sure you don't want your hamburger sandwich?"

Abigael: Determined furrow in her brow. "Birthday sand-mich!"

Me: "Alright, I give up. What is on a birthday sandwich?"


Abigael: Big grin. "Birthday Cake!!"