Life is Sticky. Life is Sweet.

Life is Sticky. Life is Sweet.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

My Pathetic High School Crush

Ever have a high school crush so embarrassing, so pathetic that 18 years later, it still makes you burn with shame? Think about it. I'll give you a minute . . . Got his/her name or face in mind? Okay? Now here's mine.
y sophomore year in high school, all of my friends were in the band. I have no musical talent whatsoever, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to hang out with my friends and be able to join in with the band stories. So I was regulated to the Color Guard, which is the lowest of the low when it comes to the marching band. Band parents--in their bad jeans and ugly sweatshirts--had more respect than the Color Guard. Which seems unfair, in retrospect, since we carried the band's banner and the American flag. But I digress.
My first band activity was not nearly as glamorous as I thought it would be. Lots of yelling and tuning of instruments and ill-fitting polyester uniforms and a dozen girls twisting long hair into French braids. I mean, I didn't expect it to be groupies and vomiting and raging guitar rifts--wrong kind of band--but I didn't want to spend all that time trying to squeeze into evergreen pants a size too small and having my tender scalp mauled by an angry Jazzette assigned to control my hairmop into a braid.
Desperate for a friendly face after being growled at by my "hairdresser," I sought out my friends (any of my friends). I found a few--codenamed Flute, Clarinet, and Cara (lol)--chatting away, lounging about easily in their uniforms. Feeling terribly self-conscious and a lot like an outsider, I wandered over to them, wading through people who gave me odd glances, wondering who I was. I was almost over to them when I saw . . . him.
The world slowed down. People's voices got all murky and distorted like I was underwater. And I'm pretty sure a glowy haze surrounded him while "Dream Weaver" played in the background, ala Wayne's World.

I couldn't believe anyone that cute was in the band. In fact, I think I stared at him long enough that my eyes started to burn. Look, I was 15. I didn't know "subtle" yet. I managed to make my way over to Cara, Flute, and Clarinet, who had been joined by Bass Guitar and Saxophone. They were all more than amused by my sudden muteness.
"Who's that?" I asked, desperate to sound casual, but I knew my face was bright red and I had developed a flop sweat so severe, you could have opened a water slide on my forehead.
Smug, smirking glances were exchanged before one of them told me, "That's Snaredrum."
Forget it, I was done. It was a full-on crush. And a more one-sided crush had never been beheld in the entire history on the Brick Township Marching Dragons Band. Snaredrum couldn't stand me. In fact, I was hiding in the instrument closet while two "friends"--I put that in quotes because they were anything but--asked him what he thought of me. I believe some of the words he used were immature, obnoxious, and pathetic. Ouch. Talk about crush. That didn't stop me from being all stupid around him though.
My tenure in the marching band was short-lived due to bad grades, but since I was still friends with band members, I had a reason to hang out around them, which made it easy to catch a glimpse of Snaredrum every once and a while. At some point during my crush, Snaredrum--that poor, poor guy--went from being an average-looking 16 year old high school student to being:
(yeah, that's Christian Bale in Victorian Era dress from Little Women--talk about dreamy)
Poor Snaredrum. I actually feel bad for him now. I wasn't like a stalker or anything, but I was a 15 year old with a hardcore crush (not as bad as this
, but bad nonetheless).
Flash forward 18 years, I'm a grown woman with a husband and a 3 year old. I no longer have crushes on "real people"--I don't count thinking actors are foxy, everyone does that. ;) But crushing hard in high school taught me a very important lesson:
"No one's perfect--no matter what your hormones tell you--and sometimes it's better to have a silly dream than be disappointed in real life."

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Biggest Loser

I started a 'Biggest Loser' competition at work about ten weeks ago. Twenty-three coworkers signed up for the challenge. Everyone was excited and determined.

Weekly weigh-ins would be optional. All that was required was a $10 deposit into the 'prize pot' as well as an initial weigh-in and then a final weigh-in ten weeks later. A chart was hung in a central location so that people could log their progress if they chose to do so.

Wednesday was the final weigh-in. Eight people showed up and only five people had lost ten or more pounds.

Disappointing? Yes. Surprising? Not really.

Taking care of yourself is hard.

Upon starting back at work this fall, it took me all of six months to gain fifteen pounds. FIFTEEN. I was taking care of my students and job responsibilities, taking care of the house, taking care of my kids. Myself? Not so much.

I ate ALL of my kids' Halloween (Christmas and Valentine's too) candy. There were nights that I ate dinner... twice. When I was alone in the car, I'd hit a drive-thru window for one (or two) large orders of fries. I finished my kids' waffles, chicken nuggets and ice cream. I couldn't walk through the kitchen without grabbing a handful of something-- sugary cereal, cookies, chips. When Liam would wake up crying in the middle of the night, he would get a bottle and I would get a few handfuls of M&Ms. I was like a human vacuum cleaner.

I was 'too busy' and 'too tired' to work out. I deserved to sit on the couch every night.

Soon, my closet started shrinking. I was having a hard time putting together enough clothes for the week that fit. I was changing outfits two, three, four times each morning-- trying to find something that looked decent. My jeans became unbearably tight and yoga pants became my new best friend.

I'm not sure when I bottomed out. Maybe it was after Will and I made two dozen chocolate chip cookies one night and he woke to find all said cookies gone. Maybe it was when I found myself eating day old french fries from Liam's car seat. I was getting winded by the stairs at work and racing my four-year-old was getting harder and harder. Maybe it was the impending dread of chasing my kids around Hurricane Harbor and running into current and former students in a bathing suit. It was probably a combination of things.

Ten weeks later and I'm down those 15 pounds-- back to where I started this fall. It was hard. But it wasn't THAT hard.

Binging on cookies, fries and ice cream is good; but buying a great dress and being proud of the way you look is better. Sitting on the couch with munchies in hand every night is good; but the pride of finishing a few miles on a cool night at the shore is better. Feeling good about yourself-- the choices you make and the example you set for your kids-- that's the best.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Why a "Second Wife" Would be a Good Thing

In this blog post, I'll be referring to Erick as Husband since this post is hypothetical, doesn't refer to my life in anyway, and will never happen.
*********************************************************************** and Wikipedia (my favourite website and also my nickname) both define "plural marriage" as "polygamy" and "polygamy" is defined as "the condition or practice of having more than one spouse at one time." In fact, in you look up "plural marriage" on Wikipedia, the site immediately directs you to an article about polygamy and Mormonism.
I'm not 100% sure why plural marriage and Mormonism is still so linked. More and more non-Mormon Christians are embracing plural marriage. Now, when I say "plural marriage," I don't mean those weird women in prairie dresses and bouffant hairdos from the compound raid a few years ago. I'm also not talking about creepy 50 year old men who marry 13 year old girls. I'm not talking about those men who marry one woman in one state and then another woman in another state who don't know about each other until the man dies and the two wives come together for the will-reading and mad-capped madness and murder ensues (of course, I could just be watching too many episodes of Law & Order). I'm talking about consenting adults who enter into a marriage with more than one spouse.
Mostly, it's men who take more than one wife. You hardly ever hear of a woman who knowingly wants--and takes--more than *shudder* one husband. I watch Big Love. I know the social stigma that goes along with being a plural wife: living in secret, children of second--or third--wives who don't get included in Christmas card pictures, insurance fraud, blah, blah, blah. What I want to talk about is the good stuff that plural marriage can produce.
Imagine you're exhausted after taking care of your kid(s) all day. The house never seemed to get straightened up. There was an epic battle over "Who took my sippy cup?" (this battle is also possible in a house with one child). A PB&J sandwich somehow ended up being jammed into the DVD player. Potty training is more of a tunnel dream than a reality. Now you have to make dinner and listen to your husband complain about his day in the office (when--at this point in your day--you'd kill to be stuck in a cubicle for 8 hours). Then you wash dishes (or load the dishwasher, if you're lucky), bathe the kid(s), and get them settled into bed after several abortive attempts at bedtime. SIGH! It's finally quiet. Time to catch up on your reading/Facebooking/blogging/"Glee"-watching, right? Nope, your hubby's giving you that look. You know the look. It's the one he gave you the night you conceived your little darling(s). You know what would be a lifesaver, right now? A SECOND WIFE.
Yeah, I said it.
I would hand over sex duties to a second wife in a second. Don't get me wrong, I love sex. I do. It might take some coaxing some nights, but I do enjoy it once I've involved and engaged. But sometimes I think that having another woman around to pick up the slack would be great. Now, when I say "another woman," I'm not talking about having Alice from The Brady Bunch around to make lunches. I'm talking about a second wife to help with housework, bullshit with, and have sex with Husband when I'm just not feeling "The Look" nights.

"Wouldn't you get jealous of another woman having sex with your husband?!"
Nope. I'm not the jealous type. And if I agree to a plural marriage, I understand that Second Wife will be having sex with Husband. In that case, he's her Husband too, which means I can't be jealous of them doin' it.
"Wouldn't you hate having another woman's kids around?!"
How would it be any different from having step kids? Erick has a daughter from his high school relationship. She's 16 and reminds me a lot of me at 16--moody, artistic, mouthy, and never, ever, ever wrong. Ever. Besides, maybe Second Wife would be able to have that ever-elusive Andrew Liam Stott.
"What if you got divorced?!"
Then I'm divorced. And Second Wife can marry Husband and be First Wife.
Look, I'm not making light of polygamy when it's that dark and scary plural marriage with underage girls being Eighteenth Wife and pregnant by the time she's 14; or when older men force out the younger men so all the marriage-aged girls can be snatched up by old guys; or when families with multiple spouses defraud the government with insurance fraud, food stamps, tax breaks, and etc. I'm talking about having another wife around to pick up the slack when you just can't handle it anymore. Now, who wouldn't want that break every once and a while?

PS Message me if you're interested in the position of Second Stott Wife. Must be able to clean, cook, be willing to have a baby or two, love Philadelphia sports teams, and live in a tiny apartment in Hillbilly Hell, PA.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Bring it

Ran a 5k this weekend.

Enjoyed the good weather and the company of a good friend. Had a good run and made a pretty good finish time considering the difficulty of the course.

Finishing a 5k is usually accompanied by a 'runner's high'-- a euphoric sensation that screams, "Holy crap, I just ran three miles!" It's a great feeling-- a rush of accomplishment and pride. It's a personal source of happiness and it's one of the main reasons I find the time, usually sacrificing sleep, to train regularly.

In this particular race, along with my usual high, I got an epiphany.

I was about halfway through the course when I realized that my energy level was pretty strong and stable. (Cross-training on my non-run days has really made the difference.) My pace, though not particularly fast, was consistent. As I progressed through the course, I was able to pass people as their endurance started to fail them. I've been running these races for the last year and in that time I've found myself passed by seniors and preggos and moms with double jogging strollers on many more occasions than I would care to admit.

But this race was different. I was the one doing the passing. And it felt awesome.

In the final stretch, the last half-mile or so, I found myself fourth in a line of runners. The three people ahead of me were all men, probably in their late-thirties/early-forties. We were all pretty close to each other and I had this unexplained impulse to overtake them.

The first guy was cake. He seemed to be slowing down and I didn't have to work too hard to pass him.

The second was my favorite. He seemed to be struggling hard and sweating harder. He had a bit of a belly and I know this because he was running while lifting up his shirt. Like a girl gone wild at Mardi Gras, he was displaying his hairy chest and abdomen for all to see. I honestly don't know how he managed to hold the position for so long, hands pulled up to his shoulders while he continued to pound along the course. It was a nice distraction from the race and I had to resist turning back for another look once I had passed him.

The third was 'the guy in the orange shirt', who I'll affectionately refer to as 'Orange'. Orange, I think, could sense me making my move. At this point, there was probably less than a quarter-mile left. I came up gradually and ran just behind him until I was ready to make a decisive run for it. I passed him, but never built a decent lead. He was able to overtake me again fairly quickly. An instant rivalry was born, and I charged. I passed him, but again Orange came right around me. We continued like this for the last 60 seconds or so of the race, but it felt like so much longer.

This was competiton.

Besides an occasional heated game of air hockey or Rummikub with my husband, I am not a competitor. I never played a sport, never ran for a position of any kind, never even entered a cheesy radio contest. I'm a formidable Jeopardy oponent, but only on my couch, as I would never actually be a contestant. In my career and in my family life, cooperation is the name of the game. And don't get me wrong, cooperation is good, but this was something altogether different.

This was awesome.

This was, in fact, so awesome that I was completely caught up in the moment. And in the last few seconds, Orange sailed right past me and over the finish line.

But this story isn't about winning or losing.

It's about an awakening.

And next time, Orange better bring it.

The Name Game

When I was pregnant with the Princess Elizabeth, I--like many other moms to be--did the whole Name Game Q&A:
What name sounds good with my last name?
Should I go traditional?
Should I go modern?
Dare I make her a junior if it's (gasp!) a boy?
Who do I ask for advice?
Well, I quickly learned that certain family members wanted my baby to have a trendy name (Tyler, Taylor, Jayden, etc.), which I shot down immediately. I have a very trendy name (there were 5 Amys in my elementary school and I went from kindergarten to 5th grade known as "Amy D." to distinguish me from the other 4 Amys). I didn't want my child to go through school known as Tyler/Taylor/Jayden S.
That being said, I went to the completely other end of the spectrum: picking out names that no normal person would ever name their child. Erick balked at the idea of his daughter trying to heft the stigma the name "Wealthow" would saddle her with. And what little boy wants to hear a Little League announcer try to stammer out "Aelfgar Stott" when he's coming up to bat? So I abandoned the idea of naming my child after Old English fables.
So, what's a mom to be to do?
First--with nightmares of being called "Amy S." for the first 6 years of my school experience haunting me--I eliminated all names I knew would glut the elementary schools: Hannah, Olivia, Emma for girls and Jacob, Ethan, Aiden for boys.
Second, I completely and irrevocably removed any and all possibility of my kid being named Taylor, Tyler, Jayden, or similar off the table. Luckily, "Twilight" hadn't been published yet, so I didn't have to go through The Great Bella-and-Edward Fiasco. There was no debate. I'm the Mommy and I said so.
Third, I ran through names of girls I hated (ironically, the top three all had "T" names) or guys who dumped me (that list was fraking enormous). Those were out.
What was left? Names from literature or history, I decided.
After reading and re-reading some of my favourite books, I decided on these names for each sex.
1. Elizabeth: This, obviously, was the winner. Elizabeth Bennett is definitely the top heroine of my literary collection (don't get me wrong, I loved "Moll Flanders," but I couldn't face trying to name my daughter after a character who unknowingly married her own brother). Elizabeth is smart, feisty, loving, opinionated, and loyal to friends and family. Another plus for the name "Elizabeth" is my obsession with Queen Elizabeth I of England and her mother . . .
2. Anne: "The Concubine" by Norah Lofts was about Henry VIII's second wife, Anne Boleyn. That book single-handedly started my obsession with England and its royal families. In fact, while on vacation to London with Mom & Beth, we visited the Tower of London and were within feet of Anne's tomb in the Chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula. I was so overwhelmed, I burst into tears and couldn't even get close enough to it to pay my respects. Interesting side note to "Anne": Trying to figure out how to turn "Boleyn" into a middle name wasn't easy.
3. Victoria: Actually, I don't even know if Erick knew this name was even in the running. Again, it's an English queen's name. Victoria I of England always intrigued me. She was ruling as times were changing and she must have witnessed some pretty fascinating, first time events. Of course, she thought that Women's Rights were a "mad, wicked folly" and married her first cousin, but I still dig her.
1. Liam: "William" is a name that runs rampant in Erick's family. Everybody seems to be named William and I've met about 48 Bills and Billys. Erick and I both agreed that naming our son William would be boring, so we decided Liam was much more fun and--while not actually my chosen name of William--was close enough. Besides, I have a crush on Mr. Darcy and his first name was Fitzwilliam.
2. Andrew: No big, long story about this one. I just like the name. And his nickname would have been "Drew," not "Andy."
Since Erick liked both boys' names, our "son" would have been named Andrew Liam.
When we found out our Traveller (as we originally called Lizzie) was a girl, we decided together--don't let Erick insist otherwise--that Elizabeth was the name for our daughter. I was allowed to give her a lovely Irish middle name that didn't make the first name cut (I don't know how: Reagan is a great name!) and Elizabeth Reagan was born.
Doesn't she look like an Elizabeth?
PS: Good thing I shot down "Jayden" too. There were 6 babies born the week I was in the hospital. 5 of them were named "Jayden"--boys and girls--and I could already hear their teacher calling their names during attendance: Jayden A.? Jayden B.? Jayden C.? Jayden D.? Jayden E.? *shudder* No thanks.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Nostalgia is Evil . . . and Tempting

Recently, I've been having these days of nostalgia. I like to call them . . . well, The Days of Nostalgia, really. I know that's not very original, but I'm sort of jelly-brained at this point in my life.
Mother's Day was pretty not-great for me. Erick caught a cold and spent the day sneezing and sleeping. Lizzie was her usual out-of-control, wild child self. All I wanted was a nice day that started with a cheese omelet, fried potatoes and a slice of toast, which I demanded my germ addled husband prepare for me (he did too, poor thing). Then I wanted Lizzie to hand me a card scribbled with purple and brown and black crayon--always her colour choice trifecta--which she didn't. No homemade card for me. :( Next, I wanted to go to my mom's house with my whole family, grill up some burgers and hot dogs and eat on her sprawling front porch. Unfortunately, it was 25 degrees on Sunday, so we ate inside. Plus, Erick opted out of dinner because of his cold. On top of all that, I re-aggravated an old back injury (multiple car accidents + a klutzy fall down a flight of stairs = gimp) sometime the week before, so I've been in agony for days. Nothing helps with the pain, so I'm just muddling through my day to day activities. Sitting for long periods of time is almost like I'm enjoying this medieval Chair of Torture:
(yes, those are metal spikes)
So, I was getting Lizzie into the car on Sunday to head over to Mom's (after frantically realizing 10 minutes before we had to leave that I hadn't had Lizzie make Mom a card and forced my poor daughter to "COLOUR MORE!" on a piece of writing tablet paper) and I saw this face in the car window looking back at me:
"Holy shit!! Who's that old lady??!!" I thought before realizing . . . . "Oh. My. God. That's me."
Pain, exhaustion, stress, and a recent bout of depression (aka The Bad Place or My Black Mood) had aged me beyond my years. I saw flyaway frizzy hair, crow's feet, a furrowed forehead, double chin, clenched teeth (against the pain of lifting Lizzie into her car seat), and an outfit I would have never worn out of the house if I still lived in New Jersey (baggy jeans, old white shirt, white socks and my blue Crocs).
How could this have happened to me? How could I have fallen this far?
I drove over to Mom's 5 minutes away, playing the usual car games with Lizzie ("Up, up, up, up, up the hill! Down, down, down,down, down the hill!"), but thinking back to my Pre-Lizzie Days:
I had a job I didn't love, but didn't hate it either. A place I went everyday and sat at a desk and laughed and gossiped with the girls I worked with. If I wanted to sleep until 11 am on the weekends, I could without feeling guilty about sticking Erick with taking care of Lizzie when I should be up, doing Mommy things like making her breakfast. Music played in my house wasn't sung by The Backyardigans, Mickey Mouse, or Dora. I could go to the store and not have it turn into Expedition to Grocery Store (coming soon to a theater near you!!), with juice cups, extra outfits, diapers, wipes, toys, and crackers stuffed into my purse, leaving no room for my wallet or the grocery list. I was able to hold real conversations with real adults that start with the phrase, "Lizzie did the cutest thing last night . . . " My biggest fear was whether or not I was going to be able to get to Barnes & Noble and buy a few new books. The list goes on.
Now this is the part of the blog when I stop being Bitchy McBitterpants and gush about how I would never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever go back to those days because that would mean I wouldn't have my daughter. Well, I'm not that kind of mom. Given the chance, I'd go back and do a few of those days over again in a minute. Then I would come right back to my current life and sing "We're Knights, That's Right" and play air-guitar with Lizzie.
Nostalgia is a powerful draw. Any mom who says she wouldn't go back and do a few of her kid-free days over again is fibbing.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Tactless Wonder, a One Woman Show

Gleaned from my VGF Sarah's blog, "Trying to Survive." I'm not a LOL kind of person, but this almost sent me to my knees. Oh, who am I kidding? I hyperventilated until Erick asked me if I need to go to the hospital.
The Tactless Wonder, a One Woman Show
Married life is tough. You either need tact or be really good at lying. I have neither skill. Ask anyone who knows me. I have not only stuck my foot in my mouth on several occasions but I have shoved it down my throat far enough to pull it back out my ass and stand on it again.
Tonight was one of those nights.
Tom decided that he was going to make "his" meatloaf. As opposed to "my" meatloaf that I never make the same way twice. I was totally okay with this. Tom is a pretty fair cook and I always appreciate a break from any mundane chore. Tom lovingly made his meatloaf while I was sleeping. I woke up shortly after he put it in the oven. I never even bothered to check his work. He's a big boy and I'm not his mommy.
The meatloaf dinged and this is what I pulled out of the oven.
I KNOW, RIGHT!? You don't even need to tell me: I was there. I already knew I wasn't going to eat it. I had it all planned out. I got everyones' plates ready and was going to tell Tom that I wasn't hungry if he asked any questions. It was a good solid plan. Tom helped me get dinner to the table (very rare) and started to count plates. He asked where mine was and wasn't I going to to eat it and I choked, almost literally. I panicked. Bells and whistles and alarms went off in my head as I stammered. My answer was not quite what I had planned. It was more along the line of "It's scary." Actually that's exactly what I said. Foot, Mouth, no need to formally introduce you two--we've been here before. Not only did I say that but I proceeded to defend my position, even further degrading my sweet husband. I'm a fantastic wife, aren't I!?!?
I just kept ramming my foot further down my throat until I was at least up to my knee. I know it's been a while so, Knee, meet Mouth, Mouth, this is Knee. At this point the semi-smart person would SHUT THE HELL UP! A smart person would have never said a word in the first place. I'm apparently neither. No, I'm definitely not.
Case in point: I proceeded with my little defense case to the point of telling my now seething and wounded beloved that salt and pepper and ground beef does NOT make a meatloaf. It's a hamburger in loaf form. And there it is folks! I just shat my foot out of my ass and am parading around like I'm Miss Fraking America! I wonder if the circus will take me in because this is truly a sight to see. Thankfully, my last remaining brain cell took over and I finally put a sock in it. To make matters worse, I had posted a status update pertaining to Tom's hard work. It wasn't nice. I should not have said it AT ALL. To make matters worse, I checked Facebook after dinner (because I'm a bit obsessive) and my very good friend Amy had posted this just for me.
{Note from Amy: Here is where the scene from the first Addams Family movie when Wednesday is playing with her food and the food is squirming away from the fork should be. You know, if I could figure out how to upload a video!!}
It was perfect! I didn't even have to play the clip. I laughed so hard I almost peed myself. I was laughing right up until I felt Tom walk up behind me and read over my shoulder.
Awkward . . . . .
I think he knew what scene it was too. My only brain cell was still in control and walked me into another room. The next hour or so was filled with a boat load of awkwardness. Lots of it. I was never so relieved to see Tom leave for work even if I didn't get my usual kiss good bye. For the record, I did apologize at one point and it was promptly and summarily dismissed. I earned that.
I also told Tom that I expected him to be honest with me about my cooking. I'm sure he'll use that one early and often. I earned that too. I'm an ass, plain and simply. If anyone knows of a good doctor that can put my foot back where it belongs, let me know. They can sew my mouth shut while they're at it so I can't do it again and lose weight at the same time. If not, someone find me an agent because I'm sure I could make money off this freak show.