Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Turtle Hurl.... Er, I mean, Turtle Twirl...

Today we took the kids to Story Book Land, a delightful amusement park with rides geared toward younger children - nothing too big or scary, for the most part. The kids loved it, gleefully riding the small roller coaster, the elephant airplane ride, the little train around the park, and what quickly became their favorite, the Turtle Twirl. The Turtle Twirl is a Tilt-A-Whirl, long one of my (and my mom's!) favorite rides at an amusement park. I shriek without meaning to and laugh out loud when on the ride, which my kids love. So I went on the ride twice with Eleanor. Afterwards, I realized I'm getting old. Because my stomach can't handle the spinning rides the way it used to. I used to be able to do the Tilt-A-Whirl or Silly Silo as much as I wanted to. Not anymore. So I told the kids, "Mommy's not going to do any more spinny rides today." And we went off for lunch.

After lunch, I felt better! So when Jefferson asked me if I would go on the Turtle Twirl with him for his final ride, I said, "Sure!," since I hadn't yet been on it with him. We had a blast, spinning as fast as we could. I thought I felt fine - until we got in the car to go home. I jokingly told Brett if I were going to toss my cookies, I'd aim the other way. About 5 minutes later, I thought to myself, "I'm really not feeling well. Maybe I ought to look for a bag or something in case I really do throw up." Good thinking on my part, because right after picking up an old Ziploc, I hurled. Four times. Into the bag. It went something like this:

Anne: *hurl*
Ellie: "Mom, what are you doing?"
Anne: *hurl*
Ellie: "Mom, what doing?"
Anne: *hurl*
Ellie, louder: "Mom, what are you doing?"
Anne, quietly: "Shut up!"
Brett: "Mommy isn't feeling well."
Anne: *hurl*

I'm proud to report I got nearly everything into the bag. Except what went down my face and onto my shirt. I think it will be a while before I will go on a Tilt-A-Whirl again. Or before Brett will want to let me in the van. But at least I used a bag.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Eat Well. Move Often.

This is my new slogan. I even had a magnet made for my refrigerator, so you know it's official. Bwah ha ha. It reminds me that my goals are healthy eating and lots of movement, regardless of what happens to my body. It's a great slogan, right?

Well, yes, so where has the recent fixation on dieting come in again? I've been mulling over restarting Weight Watchers, or relogging calories on SparkPeople.com, or just "dieting" by restricting food. I'm not happy with my weight, true, but I think the truth is I'm less happy with what my body looks like now because the effects of age are showing - I'm developing jowls, I have lots of new spider veins on my legs (nice and dark blue - a color I like in general, but not on my skin), things are sagging. My bat wings are getting bigger, even though I have no intention of trying to fly. All those things have me back to thinking, "If I could just get skinny, those things would go away!" Some of them might. Most, probably not.

And I want to think I'm a "normal" woman, for whom dieting is not a massive anxiety-inducing word. I want to think I can do WW for a while and lose some weight and be fine. I keep trying to convince myself my brain is like everyone else's (oh, so many places I could go with THAT, but that's for another blog post). But it isn't. Because the thought, just the THOUGHT, of "having"to diet has sent me into a bingeing tailspin. See, I AM a compulsive overeater, and the more I try to restrict for the purposes of losing weight, the more I binge. When I let go of the idea that I MUST lose weight and focus instead on avoiding the big trigger foods and trying to do things like add in veggies, the freaky mindset dissipates and I don't overeat as much. Sounds counterintuitive, but I know it's true.

In the meantime, you'll be happy to know I've been living up to about 50% of my slogan - the "Eat...often" part. So now it's time to "Well...move"! And that includes moving this mindset off of dieting and back to healthy eating. Even if I never lose another pound and develop bat wings big enough to shield Gotham City.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Sunny Day, Chasing the Clouds Away!

Jefferson: "Mom, what day is it?"
Me: "Monday."
Eleanor: "No it's not, it's Sunday!"
Me: "No, Ellie, it's Monday."
Eleanor: "No, mommy, see? It's sunny outside! It's Sunday."
Me: "Sweetie, it is sunny, but that has nothing to do with the day of the week. It's Monday."
Eleanor: "Stop talking."
Me: "What?"
Eleanor: "Stop talking. I'm right, it's Sunday."

Whew. Guess she told me. I'm sure someday she'll figure it out, but for now I find it cute (and a bit frustrating) that Ellie insists every day on which the sun is shining is Sunday. Brett found it cute that her solution to the argument was to tell me to stop talking. He's wondering if he can use that sometimes. (No.)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Five Years

It's been five years, little girl, but you are not forgotten.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Choose Your Own Adventure

For some reason, as I was driving the other day, I got to thinking about free will versus predestination. I don't know why this popped into my head. My mind was wandering all over the place, trying to reconcile the two, if that were possible. Because I've always felt like certain things in my life were predestined: having my mom for my mom, meeting and marrying Brett, etc. I've always *wanted* certain things to be predestined. I even want to believe some of the bad things in my life were predestined, because it makes them feel easier to bear. Like losing Madison. Or Jefferson having Tourette's. Or even my own struggles with anxiety and food. Being able to believe those things were predetermined and happened for a reason makes me a little less crazy about them. But just a little. I want to feel like some things are predestined because, perhaps oddly, it makes me feel safer and more loved.

On the other hand, of course, I'm a believer in free will. I want to believe it was my choice to choose the colleges I attended, the men I had crushes on, the places I've lived. Plus, with the number of decisions we make every day, it's hard for me to fathom that we would have no true choice in them. I also have a hard time understanding how some horrible things would be predestined and that Whoever predestined them would feel they were O.K. Like child abuse, murder, or even "milder" things like car accidents and natural disasters. I want to believe that when I choose what feels like the Right Path, that I've had some actual say in the matter and that it makes a difference (in my character, to others) whether I tell the truth or lie, whether I work hard or cheat and steal, whether I strive to be the best parent I can be or just say, "What the heck, they'll turn out like they'll turn out."

So I struggle with this often - craving the security that comes with believing certain parts of my life were (and are) predestined, but also wanting to believe other parts came about because of the choices I've made. I can't imagine not finding Brett. But if I hadn't come to the University of Virginia, I don't think it would have happened. How could it have? I feel like it was my choice to move east, and that's what led me to him. A mixture of fate and choice? On the other hand, I applied to 6 grad schools, all over the country, and only got into 1 - University of Virginia. None of my professors could understand how I only made it into one. And since I hadn't gotten any funding from UVa, I figured I'd wait a year, work in Iowa, and reapply the next year. I remember saying to a friend something like, "Well, if I were supposed to go to Virginia, I would have gotten a scholarship, but I didn't, so I guess I'm not supposed to go." The next day, Tom Noble (my future advisor and medieval professor at UVa) called me and told me they had a fellowship for me. My roommates all hooted and hollered and said it must be fate. Was it? Was it fate that my parents moved to Virginia my senior year in college and encouraged me to apply to UVa - a school I certainly wouldn't have considered had they stayed in Iowa. All those things - my parents moving, being rejected by 5 other grad departments, and getting a phone call about a fellowship the day after I said I'd only go if money came with it? Fate? Coincidence?

Not only that, but in my final year of undergrad, I got interested in Elvis Presley. Who would have thought that would be me? Me? An Elvis fan? Especially 25 years after the guy had died? But I did - so much so that when I was teaching myself HTML and wanted a subject around which to build a web page, I chose Elvis. And crafted a huge website about Elvis that actually became fairly well-known (in the Elvis world, at least)... and which ultimately led me to Brett, who himself was an Elvis fan. So even if I had come to UVa, if I hadn't taught myself web design or been interested in Elvis, would I have crossed paths with Brett? Doubtful. It feels like fate to me. But the decision to come east, to learn HTML and to fall in love with the King feel like free will choices.

How to reconcile that? I know there are many out there who would argue (correctly) that my logic is flawed and irrational. But to me, fate and choice blend together every day.

Finally, at a red light, it came to me. Maybe God has designed our lives like a Choose Your Own Adventure book. You know, the ones you read as a kid, where you got to a certain part of the story and had to choose what came next. As in, "Do you stay in Iowa? Turn to page 142. Do you move to Virginia? Go to page 37." See, you still have a choice. You still determine how the story turns out. But the stories have already been written.

I like this idea. I don't know if it's remotely true, but I like it. I don't know if it fits anyone's theological belief system. But it fits mine. And right now, I'm going to choose to go give my soul mate a big old squishy hug. Of my own free will.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Thank Ya, ThankYaVerraMuch!

(Overheard this week while I was cooking dinner):

Brett: "I'm a princess!"
Ellie: "No, dad!"
Brett: "Yes, I'm a princess! I'm Snow White!"
Ellie: "No, dad, you're not a pwincess - you're ELVIS!"

He always knew he wasn't a princess, anyway. He's the King!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Curse of the Couches

For Christmas this past year, we traveled to Boston to visit my husband's brother and his family. The day before we were to fly Jefferson got sick, but we made the decision to travel anyway. Bad decision. At least for my in-laws' new couch. The first evening we were there, Jefferson said he wasn't feeling well, went over and sat on the couch... and proceeded to throw up all over it. My sister-in-law was very gracious about it, but, well, let's just say we won't be surprised if they don't invite us back soon.

This past weekend we visited Brett's parents for Memorial Day. On the last day of our visit, just about 15 minutes before we were set to leave, Eleanor sat down on Grandma Bunny's couch to read a book... and promptly peed all over it (the couch. Not the book.). Grandma Bunny is not, let us say, the breezy type. And she was already upset about a dish Ellie had accidentally dropped and broken the day before. Bunny tried to be gracious, but needless to say, I'm not sure we'll be invited back there, either.

My question is, what are my kids going to do to MY couch now?