Monday, June 29, 2009

Why I Can't Afford Not to Buy a Mac

You know those commercials for PCs? The ones that show ordinary people who need computers. They say what their requirements are and then they go into Best Buy and shop for a computer. The Mac always looks tempting, but it's out of their price range, so they buy a PC and walk out happy. They are especially happy when someone hands them a wad of cash, reimbursing them for their PC purchase.
When we started out with computers, about 1994, we bought a Mac. Then about five years later, we bought another -- an iMac that was blue. It was big and took up a lot of the desk, but I was so glad that it didn't have one of those crazy PC towers. Sometime in the 2000s, my boys started lobbying for a PC so they could play games. Well, games were not a high priority for me, but I did want a laptop so I could take my computer out of the house and away from children. I bought my first laptop about 5 years ago. It was a black Compaq and cost around $1500. It did what I needed it to for a few years then it died, taking many of my digital photos with it. I had a new hard drive put in for a few hundred dollars but it didn't run well, so I bought a small compact silver Compaq Presario. It lasted a year and half or two years and then the motor started making a strange noise. I kept backing it up and sure enough, one day, it wouldn't start. Again, I had a new hard drive put in and it works like a glorified word processor. Not to worry though, I'd taken the plunge at Circuit City as it was going out of business. I bought a Toshiba PC in late November, spending only about $900 on it, plus the $199 for Microsoft Office. And now, only six months later, I am unable to turn on my shiny blue Toshiba. I'm only in a mild panic, since summer quarter started today and all of my prompts and lesson plans are on that computer. Not to mention, Quicken, which keeps track of how much money we have in our accounts, all of our digital photos, my previous novel Trail Mix and my current novel The Summer of France, and a list of agents I've sent query letters to. I'm in a bit of denial that it has given up the ghost. Everytime I turn it on, I expect that this time it will boot up. No... maybe this time... No.
So, I'm contemplating whether to contact Toshiba. I know Circit City has gone under, much like the computer. Then it hit me. The company I really need to contact is Apple. I'll tell them my story, how I ended up spending $5000 on three laptops in five years. How I could have spent that money on a reliable Mac that would have lasted five years. And if I'd wanted to upgrade, I could have sold the used Mac for some good money. I could point out that if I'd bought a Mac, I'd have all of my children's photos and I would currently sound like a more persuasive teacher than the woman who hems and haws, trying to remember what was on that lesson plan.
Then, maybe Apple will send me to Apple store to pick out a sleek laptop and when I walk out case in hand, they'll reimburse me the money, just like on the PC commercials where those suckers are buying a PC, not realizing they'll be back at the store within two years to buy another, then another, then another.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Sensations From Our Run

After a night of heavy rain and lightning flashes across the sky, we met at the lake at 6:30. Well, some of us were there at 6:30. Noreen was delayed by a rainbow. "A backward rainbow," she called it because it was in the west when usually they're in the east, but I pointed out that what was the east to her was west to somebody farther east.
The temperature was in the 60s so it should have been pleasant, but the air already felt thick. The first few miles are always the worst. My nose is stuffed up and my legs feel like they are slogging along the path. We run beside the traffic before we turn and go under an overpass. Then we run along the river. Today it was brown and muddy. It looked like it wasn't moving, until we'd pass a spot with rapids and see it bubbling with froth.
I couldn't begin to recreate the conversations that keep us moving. Something about muscles and mothers-in-law and fishing and fathers and ex-mothers-in-law. Our stories are all over the place. Maybe they're only there to distract us from the number of times our feet hit the pavement.
We made the turn at 3.75 miles to head back and Noreen shared a "shot block" with me. It's like a gummy, thick and gooey, sticking to my teeth. "I can't run again until I get this all off my teeth," I protested, chugging water to wash it down.
Noreen and I ran a bit ahead, I think it was the energy from the shots. As we neared the lake, my phone, which was in Noreen's backpack, rang. Spencer was preparing to leave for basketball camp and trying to locate the last few items he needed. I answered his questions and debated whether to run the next two miles or to just go home and help gather things. Earl called and made it sound like everything was under control so I kept going.
Things get fuzzy here. A big focus of our conversations is asserting our wishes. Being women, we talk about doing what other people want us to do, so we all try to encourage each other to follow our own paths. As we ran past the parking lot, Pam strongly urged me to go home to get Spencer to camp. I was tempted. But, he was only going to be gone for three days, and these women changed their plans to run with me on Friday. I kept going those extra two miles.
We saw three goldfinches flit above the tall plants beside the trail. Their backs and bellies shone bright yellow in the morning air. Tiny bunnies hopped into the underbrush, hiding beneath leaves.
When I got home, I tasted salt at the edges of my mouth and felt that burned, raw feeling on my butt where the shorts had rubbed. Long runs can be painful, but they can also be the most fulfilling part of the day, sometimes the week. A couple hours with my friends, sharing accidental run-ins with nature.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Tidbits From My Reading Life

I've only read the first few pages of this book, but already it strikes me as incredibly true. Entre Nous by Debra Ollivier begins by trying to figure out the secret that makes French women so enviable, successful, indomitable. One adjective doesn't seem to cover it all.
One secret is that French women love sensual pleasure. The feel of smooth pebbles running through the hands. The smell of lavender wafting through the air. The taste of a subtle spice. The sound of a violin with its achingly high notes. The sight of a sky so blue it makes the eyes water. Maybe the reason they wear those silk scarves is because it feels so soft, like a caress whenever they move. So lesson number one from French women: experience everything around us.
Okay, here's something that French women have that I definitely missed out on: discretion. Ollivier says everything they do is deliberate and thought out. I am the queen of output control issues. I've just recently been able to stop embarrassing myself at every outing. No, I take that back. Just yesterday at a swim meet I made a snide remark about a high school boy who is always "injured" and I looked up to see his father there. I continue in my role as least discreet.
Next comes self confidence. French women don't second guess what they wear, who they go out with, their haridos. They seem to have supreme confidence in their choices. Maybe that's because they actually think about them before they jump into them. I'm sure I'll learn a lot from this book. But maybe I should read it in small doses so I don't get depressed about my lack of Frenchness.
Another French book, well, it was written in French and translated, is The Elegance of The Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery. It's a little existential for me but I love the scene where the landlady and the cleaning woman get together for tea. Both of them are deep thinkers but must hide their intelligence from their "betters." When they have tea, they always make coffee, but not to drink. They just like the smell. So they make coffee and enjoy the aroma while they sip tea. It seems somehow decadent, doesn't it? What would our Puritan anscestors say? Waste not, want not. But is it a waste, if they enjoy the scent? Maybe we just need to widen our focus on allowing ourselves to enjoy more of those sensual pleasures.

Like a Magnet

Interesting that today in the Chris Brown-Rihanna case, the judge warned that the two of them must stay 50 yards away from each other. It seems normal that the judge would tell Brown, who was arrested on Feb. 8 for hitting his then-girlfriend before the Grammies, but the judge also took the time to explain to Rihanna that it's a two- way street. She needs to stay away from him. It's as if the judge wants to save this young woman from her worst inclinations, as if she knows that we women seem to repeat our mistakes over and over.
I have a friend who is repeating her mistakes. Sometimes we women follow the pattern so closely that it's eerie. She was married to a man who treated her badly. Oh, nothing like being beaten, but belittlement was a constant state. She had children and focused on raising them. She's a great mom. Then, when she stepped into the community and out of her mother role, she was wooed with words. A man enjoyed spending time with her. A man found her attractive. He found her interesting. She didn't cheat, but she realized that life had more to offer. She knew she had to give her daughter a better role model than a woman who was cowed and subdued by a husband.
Within months of her divorce, she married another man, a man whose sole purpose in life was to make her happy. Before long, she was living with constant criticism. She couldn't do anything right. The house wasn't clean enough. Her children from the first marriage were too disrespectful. The hammer of condemnation hit over and over again. Enter another man, a man, who though far away, offers her support and admiration.
"I'm in a really good place with my life right now," she says, and believes it. Maybe that's the scary part. She thinks that's true.
I don't lecture. I was a chubby teenager and I didn't need anyone to point it out to me. I knew it. Deep down, she knows. But denial is sometimes a comforting place to rest. Maybe today is good and maybe it will stretch into weeks of good or months of good. And I'm happy for her. And when it's bad, I won't say, "I told you so." I'll want to protect her. I'll listen.
But I'll be tempted to remind her that this isn't a dress rehearsal. This is it. Our only chance and we need to live with joy while we have the chance.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


While Grace was gone, I decided to clean her room. I know, I know. First, she should be responsible for cleaning her own room. Second, I shouldn't mess with her stuff. But there were piles of clothes and bags and notebooks and papers. My friend Sheila said, "I always loved it when I would go to camp and my mom cleaned my room."
I remember always hoping a fairy godmother would clean my room, but she never showed. So, I started with the floor. The floor of Grace's room is rarely seen. When she comes home, she throws her book bag, her swim bag, her lifeguard bag on the floor in front of her closet door. I was going to concentrate on the floor until I saw the older cat go into Grace's closet. I opened the door and saw him peeing (more like dripping) on the pile of clothes there. The cat went to the vet for a urinary tract infection and I switched my focus to the closet. I picked up every item of clothing, vacuumed and scrubbed the wood floor, organized the shoes. Found a place for her backpack and other bags on the shelf along the top. As I cleaned, I found $1.80 in quarters and dimes, along with a dollar bill folded into a tiny triangle. Spencer had carried out some trash for me and run things up and down the stairs. He was going to Panera to hang out with friends so I gave him the $2.80 I'd found so far.
It took me three days of hard labor to get this room in shape. I threw out two bags of trash, mostly papers, and organized all of her "keepsakes" into bins that are easily retrievable. I pulled a crushed gift bag from under her bed and looked through it. I found two birthday cards with a $25 Panera gift card and a $20 bill. Her birthday was in January. I put the cash in her money drawer, but I was sweating and decided the gift card was buying dinner for us.
Her bed, which was mine when I was a girl, but it had a canopy while now it is a mere four-poster, was listing at one end. We took off the mattress and boxspring so Earl could reinforce the frame. OMG! You should have seen everything that was under there. Some normal things, like her sewing basket and a bin with her American Girl doll wardrobes, but also trash and bags and boxes.
Tucker was excited by the booty I had found so far and was willing to help. He picked up a small festive Christmas box and opened it. Christmas cookies! Gag! I'd found her Halloween candy in the closet on a shelf, so I guess the next thing to look for would be Valentine candy.
It took more than a day to clean out from under the bed and vacuum so Earl could fix the frame. Then we replaced the mattress and boxsprings and put on the freshly washed bedskirt, mattress pad, sheets and quilt.
I still had the hard surfaces, her bedside table, dresser, bookshelf and desk. Grace refuses to throw away anything. This year, when Spencer was taking government she would consult her notes whenever he had a question. So I filled a bin with school notes. Another bin is full of her drawing and writing notebooks. This emptied up a lot of space on her bookshelf for actual books which previously inhabited the floor.
Finally, I moved on to her desk. I found many of the applications to college swim teams that had been sent by coaches. I organized those in a folder and put them at the front of her file folders. I found more birthday cards, including a $20 check from my parents, again from January.
So Grace was up $40, and we had a nice dinner at Panera, and her room is clean. For now. I know it won't last, but maybe in July when we have to clear out the desk and fit a twin bed into her room for the French girl who is coming, there won't be as much clutter to clear out.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Boy Weirdness

With Grace gone this week, it's just me, my husband, the two boys and the two male cats. Way too much testosterone in the house, except for the cats who are actually "its" now, but they are always weird.
Tucker will fight with me about everything, as if that is his goal in life. I took him to guitar lessons the other night. It's about 1 1/2 miles from home, but since he has to carry a guitar, I drive him and read a book while I wait. He wanted to stop by Taco Bell on the way home, but at 6, when his lesson is supposed to begin, he was still running around the house gathering things. He needed to grab his money for Taco Bell. I said no we had to leave. Argue, argue, argue. In the car, he continues to harangue me about why I wouldn't let him go get the money. We get to guitar lessons and I said he could just walk home because I didn't feel like waiting for him after he was so rude.
"Then I'm not getting out of the car," he said. "I'm not going to guitar. I don't want to walk home."
Aaaaargh! We were 10 minutes into the lesson and he hadn't gotten out of the car yet. I ended up driving him home, but there was no Taco Bell in his future.
Then yesterday, my husband who works very hard at home and at work, was frustrated by Tucker's constant presence on the couch in front of the television. My parents visited last week and introduced him to the Game Show Network. It's his new favorite channel -- Family Feud, Match Game, $10,000 Pyramid. "Get your clothes that are on the dryer put away," my husband said before leaving for work in the afternoon.
I sent Tucker to put away clothes when I was getting Spencer from work. This morning, I discovered piles of clothes still on the dryer. I woke Tucker at 8.
"Go get your clothes put away!"
"Wait, wait. There were two piles and I put away my pile," he said, working on a technicality that made perfect sense in his 13-year-old brain.
"But your clothes were in the other pile too. Go put them away."
Sometimes when my husband and I fold shorts or boxers, we might inadvertently put Tucker's in Spencer's pile and vice versa. Tucker figured he could benefit from other's mistakes. Maybe he'll make a good lawyer if he lives that long because I might strangle him before then.
Spencer has been working a lot of hours as a lifeguard. He comes home with strange stories, like the boy the other kids call "Pepperoni Nipples." One day when it was raining and he was in the lifeguard chair, a mother came over and asked if she could have the umbrella from the chair. He was taken aback that an adult would ask for the umbrella when he was stranded in the chair and would be exposed. He suggested she go stand under an overhang. But when he got home, he asked just to make sure the adult was the one in the wrong instead of him.
Yesterday he was lifeguarding again. A family with four kids under five were at the pool. The little girl went down the slide that ends in the diving well and began to scream when she hit the water. She couldn't swim. Spencer jumped in the water to save her. Afterward, he had to fill out paperwork, which is standard when they have to "make a save." He asked the mother how to spell the girl's name and "she seemed really annoyed," he said. Maybe because that was the second kid from that family a lifeguard had to save that day. He is definitely learning a lot about the adult world while working as a lifeguard.
But, sometimes their boy weirdness takes a good turn. Tucker had watched The Cake Boss on TLC and wanted to bake a cake yesterday morning. So, after swim team, he found a recipe from the Joy of Baking for a white cake. I helped him get the batter in the cake pans before I ran off to get Spencer to work and then to a meeting at the College. When I returned home, I turned the first cake onto a plate while he made a buttercream frosting. We talked about how to ice a cake and what was causing all those crumbs under his knife. I put the excess frosting in a plastic sandwich bag and we added red food coloring. I slit the tip of the bag and he decorated. He started going for a smiley face then changed it to the Pringles man. I'm not certain I've ever noticed what the Pringles man looks like. Then he decided the Pringles man was a teenager and had zits, so he added red dots all over the cake, which makes it a little less appetizing. But it turned out delicious.
"Now we can eat cake and watch the Game Show Network," he declared.
And we did.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Ecstasy and Ivory

This morning, like most, my guys are all sleeping. My husband, my two sons. My daughter is off in the Bahamas, and I have the luxury of reflecting on my girl time. That's what I have every Saturday morning when I gather with my friends and we run. We laugh, probably more than we run. Words tumble over each other as we all share our week, our emotions, our lives.
This is a picture of all of us when we attempted a hiking trip. It wasn't as successful as our runs are, as far as accomplishing the hike, but it was definitely successful in allowing us to spend time together.
Any problem or joy I have, I can take to the trail and know my friends will commiserate or rejoice with me.
The run yesterday (8.5 miles)involved a couple stops to remove pebbles from shoes (Najah), a bra flash that was probably seen by a dozen cars travelling along the nearby highway (Noreen), and an insistence that we make it all the way to the halfway point before we slowed and drank some water (Pam). Well, and the sprint at the end (me). I just think it is wrong to run 8.5 miles and not be breathing hard at the end. We run slow enough the whole way that we can talk and laugh. If we pushed ourselves to run faster, we could finish sooner, but who wants to leave friends sooner? So we run slow and talk, but at the end, we've started sprinting. My friends complain about it, but I notice they do it anyway.
The end of our run yesterday included a lap around the lake because we needed another mile. So we turned off the paved trail and took to the dusty path that goes 1.2 miles along the serene lake. As we turned the corner to reach the deck, Picabo and I crossed a grassy strip to run on the paved trail. Najah and Noreen stayed on the path. The incline (hill) at the end loomed ahead of Pam and me while the lake path stayed more level.
"I think this is where the sprint starts," Pam said.
I started lengthening my stride, feeling my thigh muscles stretch out. I felt powerful. After I reached the top of the hill, I let gravity keep pulling me down the incline and Pam continued to sprint, passing me. I ran until we both stopped beside the deck. Noreen and Najah joined us.
"That was so cool," Noreen said. She didn't have the energy to sprint, but Najah's stride lengthened and she began to sprint. Noreen felt Najah's energy pull her along. We were all breathing a little heavy as we returned to our cars.
After last week's near injury for me, my friends had discussed what they would do if I couldn't run.
"If I were injured, I'd bring my bike and ride along," Noreen said.
Pam said the conversation last week was, if Paulita can only walk, we'll walk. If she can only stand, we'll get together and stand. I guess it's really not about the run at all. It's about the friends. But luckily, we could all run yesterday.
Saturday's run included spotting a deer with an extremely long tail (could it have been a dog?), incredibly ADD conversations that were always caught up in diversions before they returned to the point (sorry Naj!), and a surprise reunion with one of our old running buddies (Yikes! A toad! said Richard as he leapt into the air like a male ballerina). We laughed at everything and nothing.
I love my running friends. They keep me sane.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Hidden Treasures

It started with a crash. Maybe a year ago. I think Grace was in the living room when the framed picture fell from the wall above the fireplace. The glass shattered and I stood, accusatory, with my hands on my hips. Who knocked it down? Was it the cat? Was it the kids? Turned out, the wall was slightly soft and the picture hanger had just come loose, taking with it the heavy picture.
We had lived in the house less than a year, so Earl called the man who had renovated it. He hadn't touched the wall over the fireplace, he said, but he offered to come help tear it down, see what was back there. Instead, we opted to merely set a painting on the mantle and lean it against the wall. But, as the year passed, we saw signs of water damage around the molding. Water was coming in the chimney.
We had the "brick doctor" grind out the mortar and shore up the chimney.
Earl wanted to tear out the wall but I urged him to wait until my parents' visit ended. They left yesterday and today he dug into the wall.
I vacated to the front porch, expecting lots of drywall dust. I still had three classes of papers to grade and then I needed to record grades by today's deadline. The occasional curse word drifted out the window.
He pulled two layers of drywall off. Wallpaper remained on one of the drywall sections. Then he started in on the plaster that had been applied directly to the brick chimney. The drywall and plaster weren't crumbly and dusty, instead, they were wet and came off in big chunks. He threw them into plastic trash bins and pulled off the next section.
"Look at this huge hole," he called at one point. A hole in the brick. He reached his hand in. "I think this is the chimney."
Did a hole in the chimney mean that the smoke wasn't going up? But there had been drywall there. I wasn't sure. I went back to grading papers; he kept ripping down wall.
He concentrated on one side of the wall, believing the other side to not be as bad.
"I was wrong," he called, as he began pulling out clumps of wet wall.
Then "Shit. Ants!" He jumped from the ladder and went out the back door, for bug spray I assumed. I stood in front of the gray mantle and heard a sound like pop foaming, just little bubbles bursting. It was the ants falling from the wall to the debris on the mantle.The cats stood, heads poised, watching the wall, unsure what to think.
I grabbed a plastic trash bag while I waited for Earl. He came back with a red can of ant spray and drenched the wall. The ants froze in place. The smell of bug spray mixed with the scent of mold and old people's house, filling the living room.
Earl kept at it for awhile, using a chisel to pry off sections of concrete or plaster to the brick chimney. The hole in the bricks started at the place where a metal encased electric wire began.
"I can't figure out," he started. Then, like a light going on, he said, "Sconces. They gouged holes in the brick and inserted an electric wire to put sconces over the fireplace."
I saw the neighbor climb from his car and I hailed him. I knew that Earl needed a man to show this mess.
"What'd you find?" the neighbor asked. "Better not be treasure."
"Oh, don't you worry," I assured him.
When Earl was finished, we had two huge, heavy trash cans of debris that previously formed a soft wall. We had a brick wall over the fireplace with a hole an electrical wire, no molding and concrete patches.
Still, somehow, the pink of the brick chimney shows promise. If the brick doctor can fix the holes and somehow match the mortar to the bricks,make it look a little neater and less jumbled, it might turn out to be a hidden treasure after all.
Picture by

Thursday, June 11, 2009


I'm feeling a little anxious about my daughter's trip tomorrow. I have full confidence she'll be safe, but something feels empty knowing she's growing up and travelling without me.
She is going with Science Club and a great teacher Mr. W. to the Bahamas. No, you don't need to picture night clubs and alcohol and slinky dresses. Instead, she's packed a mask and snorkel, fins (always attractive) and lots of bug spray. Twenty-eight students from her school are going to this rather primitive island to study Tropical Ecology and they'll earn college credit while they're there.
This is the kind of thing Grace thrives on. She loves animals and studying their habitats. As long as she doesn't run into any snakes, she'll be fine. I picture her slightly sunburned sitting in the common room sharing her notes in the evening, tired but happy.
As much as I complain about my kids, it feels very satisfying to see them branch out. It's taken 17 years for her to practice flying from the nest and returning. I have full confidence she'll succeed, but suddenly I feel like maybe I'm not ready for her to go. That must be why they call it empty nest syndrome.
I have another year with her here at home. I hope I remember to enjoy it. I'm sure this trip will be a nice nudge, reminding me how quick the time spins away.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Riches Galore

Sometimes people think about, if I won the lottery, or if I were rich, I would... People have all kinds of different answers. I'd shop at Whole Foods or I'd buy all the books I want. Some people want designer clothes and others want huge mansions.
Well,for me, I'll know I've made it when I can buy sufficient raspberries to satisfy myself and the kids. During raspberry season in June and September, I limit myself to buying two pints and I carefully separate them into bowls. We sprinkle them with sugar and pour some milk on them and eat them for dessert or breakfast. I usually pay $2 to $3 per pint, so that's $4 to $6 for a small bowl for each of us. Luckily, my husband is not a raspberrry fan so we don't have to share with him.
This week though, my ship came in. No, I didn't win the lottery or sell a book, but there must be a bumper raspberry crop because they were only $1 a pint at Kroger. I stocked up. Then I went back and stocked up again. Last night, preparing for the arrival of my parents, along with my brother and his family today, I bought some raspberries to mix with cantaloupe for a fruit salad. I love the contrast of the red berry against the melon. And Grace is making chocolate mousse and requested some raspberries as garnish along with the whipping cream.
Of course, now I'd better go get started on the shish-kebabs, chicken or steak with tomatoes, zuchinni, summer squash, peppers, onions and red potatoes.
And maybe I'll make one more trip to the store for more raspberries before the sale ends tomorrow. This week, I'm rich!

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Aborted Run

Well, the mileage on today's run is a little shaky, but according to the Gmaps Pedometer (which refuses to recognize the bike trail so counts the road mileage)that is how far we went before I felt that jab on top of my foot.
"Go on without me," I called to my running friends. "I've got something in my shoe."
I bent over, swiping my finger under my sock. It felt like a thorn had worked its way under. Nothing. I ran a few more steps. There it was again. A jab.
I sat down on the bike trail, untied my shoes and peeled off the sock. I turned the sock inside out. Nothing. I put it back on and noticed a red spot on top of my foot. Maybe my shoes were too tight. I loosened the tie over the part of my foot next to the ankle and ran a few steps again. Weird!
It seriously felt like something was jabbing me and was that just a little twinge going down that tendon toward my toe. We were almost at the turn around, so my running friends were rounding the corner and coming back toward me. I had just managed to get warmed up in my shorts and short-sleeved shirt in the brisk morning air. Walking was making me cool and that pain in my foot persisted.
I explained my dilemma, Pam took my shoe and relaced it, advising me not to wear it so tight. "Let's walk some," she suggested.
After only a few steps, I felt a twang. That's the word my running partner Stephanie had used. A twang. Something definitely feels wrong.
Now the old me would have toughed it out and run back to the lake, twang or no twang. But the new me wants to avoid injuries, especially now that those size 10s are fitting comfortably.
"I don't think I should go," I said.
Funny, because as I walked up to my friends, they had been in the process of saying that at this point, at the halfway mark, you get back to the beginning even if you have to crawl. Here I was saying, nope. Not gonna make it.
"Did you bring your cell phone?" I asked Najah. I thought I could call Earl who was dropping Grace at the SAT at 7:45. Nope, no phone.
Noreen suggested I wait while they run back and then someone would come pick me up. Then Najah turned to me with her big eyes wide. "You need someone to wait with you, don't you?"
I know she was only pretending she didn't want to run so I wouldn't be alone, which I appreciate, but I hate that she ruined her own run.
As we walked toward the parking lot, searching for some sun to wait, a couple ran by and said the time was 7:38. We sat and talked, chill bumps covering our legs.
Najah pulled her long sleeved shirt over her legs. We talked about scars and kids and teachers.
We walked toward the road, wondering what time it was and how long it would take them to run back to the car before Noreen came to retrieve us. We watched people walk in and out of the coffee shop and regretted that we didn't run with money.
We watched people drive up and park so they could go on walks and runs. We thought about asking if we could borrow a blanket or even just a dog to snuggle with. No one even spoke to us as we waited.
When Noreen arrived (YEA!) we climbed in the car and that twang was still there.
I don't regret the run, though on this gorgeous day with the clearest sky ever and the mist rising off the lake. I only regret that I didn't make it back to the lake.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Teenage Influence a la francais

I didn't run this morning because I was up at 5:30 working on a French essay. Oh, you didn't know I was studying French? That's because I'm not.
I was helping my daughter with her French essay. I'm pretty rusty in French. I can make myself understood, but the writing and getting all of those le and la and de and des in the correct place is a little sketchy for me. I sent the essay to my friend Clare, who teaches French, last night without even reading it through. The glance at the essay haunted me through the night and called me to the computer early. She had used conditional tense when she should have used future tense. We worked for over an hour on the essay, but it still has many mistakes. I discovered later that the email to Clare had bounced back.
After I dropped the kids off at school, I drove to the library to return some overdue books and thought I'd run when I got back home. That's when I got the urgent text message. "Email project to Mr. Hecker asap. Can't find flash drive."
The flash drive held the powerpoint project on the book SeaBiscuit that she finished at 10 last night. I'd reminded her twice to get the flashdrive before we left the house.
If I hadn't gone to the library, I would have been on a run without my phone when she texted. As it was, I was across town, driving home from the library and she would have to wait until I got home to send it.
I didn't run after I sent the essay because a heavy fatigue had settled on my shoulders. I unloaded the dishwasher and made a cup of tea, ready to read the newspaper when the chimney guy walked up the back sidewalk and said he would start putting up scaffolding.

I suppose people are tired of reading complaints about my children. Truthfully, I'm tired of complaining.
I let the whining children ruin my morning. They kept me from a run that would have helped my mood and my health. I need to be responsible for myself and rise above their squabbles. That's why I'm going out the door now for a run.
Oh, did I mention I confiscated Tucker's phone this morning too. I'll save that for another post. Or maybe I'll just let it go while I'm running rather than boring you all.

Cockadoodle Doo or Cocorico?

 We stood in the middle of the road, having walked together 13 miles that day and Claudine grasped my forearm. "Mais non! It doesn'...