To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee, One clover, and a bee, And revery.
The revery alone will do, If bees are few.
--Emily Dickinson

Monday, February 28, 2011

Let us all sweat together in silence

I don't really like working out. I do it because I'm told that if I don't, my body will break down into a gelatinous mass and I'll die more quickly. Always a bookish type, sweating annoys me, but I go and faithfully walk on the treadmill.

Today at the gym, I'm minding my own business, just walking and breathing, when a strange sound floats through the din of machines. Someone is singing. Two rows back on the recumbent bicycle row, a man is singing aloud, clearly grooving to whatever is coming through to him on his Ipod. That's disturbing enough, but he's singing really badly. It's some sort of strange falsetto that sounds like aliens chirping. Everyone around him is politely looking away, strangely focused on the readouts of their machines with slight smiles on their faces. It was sort of amusing. But I felt trapped. I was more than half-way through my work out and had 15 more minutes to go before I could quit. So I listened for 15 minutes straight. I wanted to go scrape my ears out with a wire brush by the time I was finished. Of all the days to leave my Ipod at home!

But Bad Singing Guy isn't the only one whose noisy habits have crossed my radar while I'm at the gym. There's also Loud Grunting Weight Lifter Guy, who sounds like he's constipated every time he lifts a barbell, and Excited Catch Up Woman, who sees one of her friends and stops to fill her in on escapades of the weekend.

Okay, see, now at this point you're shaking your head and suggesting that I just break down and buy a treadmill and walk at home. It's not like I haven't thought about it. But I actually need to have to go to a separate place to work out. An in-home treadmill would just turn into a coat rack and I'd procrastinate the inevitable. That's why I'm proposing that when we all have to gather at the gym, let us all sweat in silence. It will be much more pleasant that way. And next time I'm remembering my Ipod.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Sick kid syndrome

As I write this, my eldest daughter is curled up on the couch, her blond head nestled lovingly against her pillow pet. She's watching the antics of an old Yogi Bear cartoon, her stuffed lamb tucked underneath one arm. She's sick. A fever. A cough. And a crusty, runny nose. Like every other parent, I drop whatever I'm doing and nurse my child. Sure, I grouse along with the other moms when I'm out and about. Everyone knows that a sick six-year-old can be miserable and demanding. But secretly I kind of like it. When they're feeling at their worst, that's when they need me the most. I really don't mind fetching mugs of hot tea, making homemade chicken noodle soup and playing endless games of Disney princess checkers.

My kids are growing up faster than I care to admit. They're more independent. They're thinking for themselves and asking me to do less. Just today, while building a homemade tee pee out of some long sticks and miscellaneous blankets, Emma said, "You know Mom, I can figure these things out myself." Yes, I know and the tee pee was constructed. Inside I cringe. In a way, I've done this to myself. I've always wanted to raise strong, independent girls and it appears that that they're on that path. Hurray! I just don't want them skipping down that path too quickly.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Sports insanity

Let's make one thing clear: I love my husband. And while we are alike in many ways, we are also different in a few key areas. I love books and basically have shunned technology. (That's why so many of my friends are astonished that I started this blog. :) He revels in technology and figuring out the latest gadget. I am not particularly athletic and don't like to sweat much. He likes nothing better than to get out in the sunshine and swing a golf club or suit up and have hockey pucks whistling at breakneck speeds toward his face. I like to attend the occasional high school football game to enjoy the youthful exuberance, the brisk fall air and a warm cup of cocoa. He enjoys all different sports all the time. He can spout obscure statistics and pick out strategic plays. I once took a book with me to the U.S. Open so I'd have something to do during the boring parts.
So when it comes to events like the Superbowl, I try and survive them while he revels in them. To him the Superbowl represents the best teams of a season going for the big trophy, to me its a celebration that football season is about to be over. I'm sure my stance about sports annoys him, as his desire to view every game every weekend does me. But he puts up with my hobbies, so I must put up with his. Although I think playing with paper is a much more honorable pursuit than tracking the antics of sweaty men in tight pants. But that's just my opinion.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Breakfast in bed

This morning I was banned from my own kitchen. Two six-year-olds had taken up residence and were putting together breakfast for the whole family. I'm not sure if other people's kids do this, but I really like the fact that mine do. These are not fancy breakfasts. This is cereal poured into a bowl for each family member. They have also mastered the art of microwave oatmeal, so they make that for themselves. There's a lot of ruckus. A lot of shouts of, "Mom! You can't come into the kitchen!" They want to do it all on their own. They want to be independent. (Sigh) Then they carefully carry the tray to the bedroom and we all sit on the bed and eat our cereal together. There are a lot of knock-knock jokes exchanged and yes, the kitchen looks like it has been hit by a tornado. There's cereal spilled on the floor and on the stove. I usually can't find the cap to the milk, which has been left out. And there's just a sense of randomness and chaos everywhere I look. But I really don't care about all that. It's easily fixed. The lessons my girls are learning about putting others needs ahead of their own is important. The family time we share is priceless. And in a few years, I bet I'm going to miss those knock-knock jokes.