Archive for January, 2010

30% success rate.

I think I will become a weatherperson.  What other job can you be wrong 70% of the time and still remain employed? 

Yes, the snow came.  They predicted 1-3″. 

We got 6.  6!

And happy day for me, Spawn was spending the night at my parents’ house, so not only did I get to sleep in, I didn’t have to deal with the kid wanting to go outside at 6am. 

I would be perfectly content to not step foot outside again until it warms past 70°. 

— Mox

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Here we go again.

Have I mentioned that I do not care overmuch for cold weather?  I have? 

At this rate it will be June before my feet have thawed. 

The kids woke up disappointed this morning, since most of them were expecting to have a snow day today.  But the storm track changed and now the forecast is for snow this evening.  Just in time for the weekend.  Which, if you’re a kid, doesn’t really matter all that much, just so long as you can get the sleds out. 

Next week is Catholic Schools Week.  We always end up missing at least one day of school during this week, every year.  Last year it was the Great Ice Storm of 2009 that shut it down.  My suggestion would be to make CSW later in the school year, say, April?  Because everyone — kids, parents, teachers — loves the fact that there is no homework that week.  Give us the snow days if you must, for there is no homework assigned when you’re out of school, but also let us have the week of CSW to enjoy.  I’m just saying. 

I went today and bought two more pairs of Smartwool socks.  I was a little dubious about wool socks, since I am one of those people who can’t wear wool.  It itches me to death, y’all.  Even a wool sweater over a blouse or turtleneck gives me the itchies.  But my mother bought me a pair of the Smartwool socks and I tried them and I have been very pleasantly surprised.  My feet have stayed dry and therefore warmer than with ordinary cotton socks.  But yikes, the Smartwool socks are expensive!  For what I paid for one pair I could have bought 3-5 pairs of regular socks. 

Current forecast for Groundhog Day is partly cloudy.  I would very much like for the little bugger to not see his shadow.   

— Mox

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So last night I went to the gym while Spawn was in art class.  My goal was to warm up for a mile on the walking track and then spend some quality time with the machines, in order to reacquaint myself with my lost abs. 

Couple of things wrong with this plan.  First of all, going on a Tuesday evening is like going to a family reunion, there are so many people there.  The walking track was full, and I do mean full, of resolutioners and they were just sort of meandering all over the place.  Look, I know it’s the dead of winter and it’s dark outside, but if you’re going to walk and talk, you need to pull it on over and let the serious burners get by.  Second, trying to move from machine to machine is damn near impossible when people are resting on machines, even though there are big signs all over the place saying “don’t rest on the machines.”  If you want to visit with your neighbor, there’s the lobby.  I want to get on, do my reps, and move on. 

Burning daylight, people.  Let’s get moving.  I’ve got less than an hour to get this done. 

Oh, I got my workout in, but not without a lot of irritation and gritted teeth. 

Y’know, I try to be considerate of others.  Mostly I’m successful, but mostly I’m also human and I fail.  But I get really irritated when it seems like the Rest of Humanity is pretty much focused on what’s going on in their own little realm.  Whatever happened to the concept of consideration? 

This is why I try to do my workout in the mornings. 

— Mox

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My best friend has a 20-year-old son who is in desperate need of a clue. 

The kid has been the Kid From Hell almost from the moment he turned 14, and his mother is now mostly gray-headed as a result.  He fell in with a bad crowd, started smoking pot, ran away from home, wrecked two cars, got arrested, went to rehab… the list goes on.  But now he’s back home, turning the rest of his mother’s hair gray. 

For all of his swagger and bravado and general bad-assedness, the kid is at least respectful and polite, at least to people who are not his parents.  He’s a smart kid, and articulate.  What he doesn’t have is an ounce of self-esteem, and he hides under a mop of long, unruly hair and baggy clothes. 

Recently he expressed a thought that he would cut off his long, curly hair and donate it to Locks of Love.  His reasoning for this — that the chicks will dig it — is secondary to the fact that cutting his hair would go pretty far towards cleaning his look up. 

Enter his Aunt Moxey.

I seized upon this idea of his pretty quickly, and told him I’d help him find a style.  I’m not here to give him a morality lecture on getting laid because he donated his hair to kids with cancer.  When you’re a 20-year-old guy, you don’t want an abstinence talk from someone old enough to be your mother.  And it’s not my issue, anyway.   

I sent him a picture of a hairstyle I found and he told me I’m on the right track, which quite frankly surprised me he would even respond.  Maybe he’s humoring me, these kids today, it’s so hard to tell. 

If I can pull this haircut thing off, I might hedge my bets and take him to the mall. 

— Mox

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One of the things I love about living in the small-town south is the way people pull over on the side of the road, stop traffic on the streets in town, for a funeral procession. 

Granted, I haven’t been to too many funerals elsewhere, but here, it’s a little old fashioned thing we do.  My husband, who’s from a big city, thinks the whole process is ridiculous.  But I was always taught that when someone dies, there is a certain protocol that dictates your response.  If you know them well, or members of their family, you show up to the funeral home.  If you do not know them well, but have a passing acquaintance with them or their family, you send flowers, food, or a card.  If you send food, homemade is best.  (Unless you are a lousy cook, then you get a pass.)  If the family requests no flowers and instead suggests a donation to a charity, do what you’re asked. 

The biggest rule of all is this:  it ain’t about you. 

That’s something we tend to forget from time to time, being all wrapped up in our own worlds.  But nowhere is it more apparent than when we’re called to grieve.  Personally I had to stop myself a few times, dial down the Mox Show, in favor of a more somber line of thinking today.  It’s hard, for me, because I don’t do tears well.  I’m not a weepy sort and I don’t have a lot of patience for high drama.  I don’t wear my emotions too close to the surface, and instead will opt every time to go for the chuckle. 

Funeral homes are not the place to bring your stand-up act.  I’m just sayin’. 

As I watched my best friend say goodbye to her father today, a man who she had a strained and stressful relationship with all of her 42 years, I saw that she was finally beginning to grieve for her mother.  Because her father required so much attention and care, and the responsibility of it fell squarely on her, the youngest, the grief she felt for her mother had to be put on a low simmer these past four years.  And it made my heart hurt for her, because I knew the tears she cried today were double. 

On the trip out to the country cemetery, with traffic pulling over respectfully for our procession, I realized the truth of that Hallmark-worthy saying:  be kinder than necessary, for everyone is fighting some kind of battle. 

— Mox

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A bit moist around the edges.

One of the reasons Winter is at the top of my Dislike List is due to its’ unrelenting nature, at least around here.  While I actively loathe the cold and snow and ice and windchills and all that stuff, winter in this neck of the woods is first and foremost Gloomy. 

Gloomy and I are not friends. 

I have all of the classic symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder — the lethargy, snappishness, carb-loading.  I try to get regular exercise and work really hard to resist the temptation that is cheese fries, but there is only so much a body can stand.  Which is why there is wine in the refrigerator.  Recently I bought a full-spectrum light and spend my morning newspaper-reading time under it. 

I throw everything I can at it, folks. 

Right now we are in Day Seven of Gloom, and the preceding week has been alternately rainy, foggy, and rainy.  Did I mention there was rain, also?  I’m beginning to sport webs between my toes. 

So tomorrow I’ll be part of a classic tableaux — that of black-clad mourners in a rain-swept cemetery — as I help my best friend put her father to rest. 

This has been such a great week. 

— Mox

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Make that double-ow. 

Every so often I make an attempt to do something out of my comfort zone.  Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn’t, but I guess the important thing is that I try to get off dead center once in a while.  And I’m not much of a risk-taker, anyone who knows me well will tell you that.  Yet some of the times I’ve felt most alive have been when I’ve stepped out of my little box and tried something new. 

Last night my new thing was trying out some of the machines at the gym.  Oh, don’t laugh, I find the machines and the weights to be intimidating as hell.  Most everyone in there seems to know what they’re doing, and I have this annoying habit of assuming that I stick out like a sore thumb in a new situation where I don’t know anything. 

Hey, what can I say?  This is why I read a lot. 

Over the weekend, my husband suggested to me that I meet him at the gym so he could show me the machines and tell me how to work them.  Which was a great idea, considering the most I’ve ever done is to walk into the room and look around, like I was looking for someone, because all those bars and seats and weights and stuff make absolutely no sense to me.  I mean, you look at a bicycle and you know what it’s for.  Same with a treadmill. 

So while Spawn was at art class last evening, I met my husband in the weight room at the gym and he proceeded to teach me how to use the machines.  But first he had to find out what muscle groups I wanted to work out.  Um…?  All of them? 

Yeah.  I have no idea. 

Usually I’m not so indecisive, and he can tell you that straight up.  But having no idea what any of the machines do, I had no idea what muscle groups I might be wanting to work on.  Since he’s working on his core, and I’ve been complaining about lower back pain (the kind you get from bending over something and then straightening up) (like, oh, laundry baskets), he settled on teaching me machines that work my core muscles. 

If it had been anyone else working with me I might have “um-hm”ed a bit too quickly, just to not let on what a doofus I am about this stuff and slink away quietly after a reasonable period of time.  But this is the man I have known for 25 years.  He’s wise to my tricks by now.  He just kept telling me, over and over, how to do the workout, how many reps to do, which machines (thank god there were only three, I couldn’t have learned any of the others), until it started to click.  And then he suggested to my grateful ears that I go walk the track for a mile or so, which is something I know how to do. 

I like to walk because it’s the basic formula of putting one foot in front of the other, and there isn’t a whole lot I can do to look like an ass.  Besides falling down, of course.  Which I have done.  And do.  But it’s my default exercise, and if you can’t manage the left-right-left thing then you are in trouble, indeed. 

I knew when I went to bed last night that I was going to pay for my weight machine experience, since my little wimpy noodle arms were already feeling the vague ache you get from using muscles you didn’t know you had.  So I took a couple of Tylenols, a hot shower, and went to bed.  This morning, I felt it.  Not as badly as I thought I would, but it was there.  Which means either a) I didn’t do enough reps or b) I’m in better shape than I thought.  As much as I would prefer to think b), I know better. 

Another piece of good news was my husband’s suggestion that I don’t do this weight machine thing every day.  THANK GOD

— Mox

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