Monday, January 31, 2011

One skate, RIP

My left Rollerblade broke this last Saturday. I mean it cracked from heel to tongue. Dead, unusable, pain-causing...in more ways than one.

I got my first set of Rollerblades back when I was in 7th grade. I was 13. I paid more for them than I paid for anything up to that point. I mortgaged all of my spending money that I had saved and some that I had not yet received. My father was not one to allow "pre-spending" of money, but I had an already established passion of rollerskating in parking lots.

My dear friend Micah, brought me to a discovery of just what joy a smooth set of roller skates could give when they paved the parking lot in my 6th grade year. We were are a tiny school, and we played in the field to the side of the parking lot and in the gravel lot on rainy days. The black top was really nice when they put it in, and it called to us all...

The roller skates made it a land of freedom and speed. The black sparkling surface stretched half of the old lot. It was stupendous. I always loved roller skating, but the mixture of the sun and wind made it akin to flying...My $10 skates were black and had yellow wheels and I thought that nothing could bring such joy...

Then I went to Montgomery Cyclery with my dad. My dad spent a lot of time in bike shops. I know he bought a few, and I know he got them tweaks and presents...but I had no idea that they sold anything else until one day I was reading on the floor (as I was want to do)...and happened to fall in love with my first true love, some Rollerblades.

To this day, I cannot remember if my dad introduced me to my drug of choice or if I happened to notice them. But I remember lacing their HUGE, plastic, hockey boots and falling deeply in love. They were the original Lightnings in White with black inner boots. And the smooth speed when those wheels hit the polished tile absolutely took my breath away.

I replaced 2 sets of wheels before I hit high school and innumerable brakes. The speed, oh, the SPEED was freedom in it's finest form. The wind in my hair, the sun on my back....the bite of cold through my jacket...or lack thereof, that resulted in several bouts of pnuemonia......

Actually one of my most treasured memories, was a day that it snowed at school....It was right after they finished paving the rest of the parking lot which resulted a doubling of my rink, so the black top was fresh and smooth...and the sky was black, the snow started falling, but it melted the second it hit the pavement. As I screamed through the wind, the snow whipped around me, transforming it to some kind of fantasy that will never again be attained until I get to heaven. Truly. That mix of speed and magic has never been touched since.

When I was 15, Sears or JCPenny had an impromptu sale on the upgraded Rollerblade Lightnings, in a smoother chic black on black that I couldn't say no to, especially as the bearings on my older skates had seen better days...I skated in rain, snow, sleet and it was really beginning to tell. My speed, although I was stronger, started to lag...So, I happily bought my upgrades for a steal....and have had them for 20 years as of this spring.

In college, hills were a dear friend, the flying feeling was even more pronounced as I screamed up and down, and felt the shackles of the world fall away...it became almost a religious experience, the separation from my cares, stress, or pressure of my future. It felt as if God himself was running his fingers through my hair...soothing me...

I actually fell in love with my husband on these beloved skates. He was a random request of a skating partner one hot August day in college. I just wanted some companionship on the pavement that day and he was the first to be able to keep up with me on skates....sometimes I giggle that they were a bit of a backwards Cinderella moment...because the skate "fit"... :) Of course, we found that we were a match far past the pavement, but it was the start. Another one of God's gifts through my skates!

I skated until I was 6 months pregnant with Gabriel, at which point, my core balance failed me. When I had him, I finally was released back to them and feared falling which would impair my mothering ability. That worry didn't release me through the rest of my kids...I get out there periodically, but my true enjoyment was tempered by my need to care for someone after I took the skates off...until this weekend.

This last weekend was the first time where my kids are all at the point that they have a certain measure of self-sufficiency...and I felt truly free to enjoy the speed...until I started up a sparkling hill in my neighborhood and was unable to to correct the leaning of my skate....and found the crack...

I cried. I admit it. I was devastated. And they are just stupid skates...but the joy that they have brought me over the years really is unmatched, shy of my husband and kids...It was like an end of an era.

I have researched purchasing some new skates, and am planning to do so, but after the 20 years of devotion to my black pair, I feel a bit the harlot. There are some beauties out there and I found a road group that actually does a marathon of varying distances from Athens to Atlanta, on in-line skates...I am SO very tempted to try for it this October...so who knows... It appears that I may be tempted beyond what I can bear for that... :)

The idea of whipping down a road blocked off for ME for an entire day sounds like heaven...and God can run his fingers through my hair again...yes, I believe I will have to try for it.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Blessings and Prayers?

Um. I may or may not have commenced my first book attempt since I was 15. Keep me in your prayers when you think about it. Thanks. :)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

mid-life crisis

I never thought I would have a mid-life crisis. Who am I? Where am I going? That kind of thing, and while I do not believe that I have lost my sense of self, I realized the other day that my "baby days" are numbered. Amelia will likely start school this fall and Charlotte is already more self-sufficient than all of her siblings. And the next few years will roar by with the speed of a freight train.

And so I am looking at having an empty house with all the kids in school in 3 or 4 years. This has yet to happen to me. The kids are so spread out that there has ALWAYS been somebody at home. It is a truly weird thought.

So, the next thought in that parade is What Will I Do? Not like it won't be fabulous to clean without somebody following RIGHT behind messing it up for me! But surely that won't take up all my time. And so I find myself wondering what I shall do? Do I volunteer in the kids classes? Do I take classes to pursue another career? Do I get a job? Do I finally pursue some of my passions? Do I think I might get PAID for some of my passions? Do I suck it up and go back to education? Do I teach? Do I try to get involved in the educational administration to try and fix some of the glaring issues that have always made me crazy?

And then, this all leads to what will I do when all the kids are GONE? What happens when I am an empty-nester? Will I be an empty-nester? How will I know how much I need to let Elise go to find her own life? Will I be able to do what I need to?

My belief in raising kids has always been that if I've done my job right, then they will live their lives independently. It's actually my goal that I will have made myself useless...except praying for them non-stop...and as few "Love You Forever" trips as possible... :) But with Elise, I know that the fine line will be even thinner and will have to be handled even more wisely....

I doubt that I will find the answers quickly...and I doubt that you have any of them for me...but I just wanted to say them out-loud and ask God for a little help and wisdom here. I want to KNOW what he wants me to do. I want to find where he wants me to go. And I want to be able to do it with a good attitude. So, God, please start prepping me, please?

I'm listening.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Rat 1-20-11

I said that I would rat out myself in conjunction with my New Year's Resolutions, so here we go:

I've lost 2 pounds, already. I've NEVER been able to say that over a 2 week period. EVER. It makes me SO excited to work out. I actually gained a pound and 1/2 the first week and it was SO depressing, but even with the gain, my pants were fitting looser and so I didn't panic.

I've been working out very consistently, 5 or 6 days a week. I made Ethan get me Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred and am following that...and then usually I add some other exercise after. It's funny, my clothes are getting looser and I am feeling stronger and better...such that it is so disappointing when I see myself in the mirror, because in my head, I feel much more like my old, fit self. I also took advantage of the free 30 day trial of www.JillianMichaels.com to log my exercises, steal new recipes and record my food intake...Which I really like, I may actually pay for it, when my trial comes to an end! :)

Speaking of old, I do not know if it is my exercise choices, or my age, but if I do not do the warm-ups/cool downs or at least stretch, I am so tight and stiff...hopefully being consistent in working out will loosen up my muscles...we shall see.

I am not doing brilliantly going to bed earlier. I did for about a week and it was lovely! But this week has been so busy and has devolved into me exercising late and causing me to be all wound up after...I am planning to continue working on that!

Meals...I have been very good about this and found some yumminess that I need to share (both are courtesy of www.JillianMichaels.com :

Smashed Sweet Potatoes With Coconut Milk
Ingredients
1 1/2 pounds potato(es), sweet, scrubbed and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
1/2 cup(s) coconut milk, light
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pinch nutmeg, ground
Preparation
Place the sweet potatoes in a glass microwave-safe bowl. Cover and microwave on high until very tender, 4 to 5 minutes.
Transfer the hot, cooked potatoes to a mixing bowl. Add the coconut milk, salt, and nutmeg. Use a potato masher to mash the potatoes and combine with the other ingredients. Serve.

Easy Salmon Cakes
These amazing salmon cakes will make you feel as if you're at a seafood shack by the beach. Even better, they're baked, so you can enjoy them, guilt-free.
Ingredients
1 small onion(s), finely chopped
3 teaspoon oil, olive, extra virgin, divided
1 stalk(s) celery, finely diced
2 tablespoon parsley, fresh, chopped
15 ounce(s) fish, salmon, canned, drained; or 1 1/2 cups cooked salmon
1 large egg(s), lightly beaten
1 1/2 teaspoon mustard, dijon-style
1 3/4 cup(s) bread crumbs, soft whole-wheat
1/2 teaspoon pepper, black ground
1 lemon, cut into wedges
Preparation
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and celery; cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in parsley; remove from the heat.
Place salmon in a medium bowl. Flake apart with a fork; remove any bones and skin. Add egg and mustard; mix well. Add the onion mixture, bread crumbs, and pepper; mix well. Shape the mixture into 8 patties, about 2 1/2 inches wide.
Heat remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in the pan over medium heat. Add 4 patties and cook until the undersides are golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a wide spatula, turn them over onto the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining patties.
Bake the salmon cakes until golden on top and heated through, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve salmon cakes with lemon wedges.

I also discovered steel cut oats which are the best thing since peanut butter on bread. I make them according to the directions which only takes me about 15 minutes (or I make them ahead) and then add banana and honey and cinnamon. Ummmmmm!!!

Non-TV activities for Elise (and the other girls) have included coloring pages and listening to Russell Hoban's Francis books on audio CD and my reading aloud Little House in the Big Woods. All of which have been great, however, they all feel that I MUST sit with them for all activities...which don't really help my working out plan or doing that which I need to. So, still a wash, just now. Still searching...

I have been better about my phone/internet addiction in the evening, except when Ethan works late or falls asleep...I need a new book. I've read my old ones, too many times...I am contemplating a Kindle so I do not have to store a million new books....again, we shall see....

I've been pretty good about making sure there are new blog entries...I posted an Amelia-ism on being sick...but was cautious about being too graphic...which is too bad because some of her commentaries are pretty hysterical!! :)

SO, there you go. Thanks for letting me rat myself out...knowing that I have to, makes me more honest with myself.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

Hmm. I really hate New Year's Resolutions. Really. And it's not because I break them. It's because I feel like they loop. I feel like I make the same ones over and over. Ironically, I feel like "there's nothing new under the heaven" and each and every year that reasserts itself.

I am going to try them a little differently this year though. So you are coming along on the ride...mostly because I need to 'fess up to someone...so there you go.

I am going to make only 7.
1) I'm going to cook newer and healthier meals. For Ethan and myself AND the kids.
2) I'm going to work out at least 4 times a week for at least 45 minutes.
3) I'm going to sleep at least 7 hours a night...which puts me in bed no later than 11:30. Ever.
4) I'm going to blog at least once a week on each of the blogs...here and Just a Little Bit Downsy
5) I'm going to lose 2 pounds each month. I figure I can totally do that, and the result will be 24 pounds at the end of the year. Which will also result the 10lbs I need to lose to get healthy again, and the 20lbs to sexy. :)
6) I'm going to lock up my computer and phone after 9pm so I can work out, and pay attention to books and my lovely husband...I'm not missing anything important.
7) I'm going to find other activities that Elise can focus on other than TV.

I am also going to rat myself out. Every two weeks. I will share a new recipe that I have tried. I will tattle on whether I have worked out, slept, and if I managed to ditch any weight. And I will say if I have wrestled back my evenings from the internet.

And I will tell you what activities I've tried with Elise. And if there was any success.
Yes, I am aware that I am using the internet to keep myself honest, just as I'm swearing it off...well, just a little... But we use what we must, huh?

To loop back to the beginning of this post, just for a minute, the verse that I mentioned, Ecclesiastes 1:9, "What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. " Hmm...at least it is not a mark of my failure, just my human-ness. And human is okay...and as my mantra is over on Just a Little Bit Downsy, at least we are not alone! God is with us even on the little stuff...and happily gives us our daily bread...and daily support...which is just cool.

On that thought, I am going to make one last resolution. I'm going to pray over the resolutions...I'm ashamed to say I've not thought of that before...have you?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Amelia-isms on Being Sick

Amelia said, literally with her head over the puke bucket,

"Can I have goldfish?"

Umm no.

"Why can't I have just a tiny snaaaaack?!?!?"

Because, apparently, I'm a mean mommy.



On *ahem* gastrointestinal distress:
"Mommy, my bottom is sick again. Do I have to wear the crunchy panties [pull-ups]?"