Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Forty Year Old Fourth Grader...

The best part of being a parent is having a valid excuse for doing kid things. I went on a field trip today with my fourth grader's class. Taking a fourth grade field trip as an adult is great because you actually learn a few things. We went to Annapolis and toured the State Capitol Building. Then we took a walking tour of old town Annapolis and identified the Georgian architecture. Very interesting to me. I don't know how the actual fourth graders felt about it, but the forty-something year-old fourth grader was soaking it all in.

We then went down to the Annapolis Harbor for lunch on the pier. Brown bag lunches. Hey, we're on a fourth grade field trip, remember. And then we boarded a tour boat for a cruise around the Severn River out toward the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

Lucky for us, this is Commissioning Week at the US Naval Academy so lots of special events were taking place. One such event was the arrival of the Blue Angels to the Naval Academy. And guess what? Just as our tour boat was cruising away from the dock, the Blue Angels started their practice flights over the harbor area. We were treated to an awesome display of high-speed aerobatics and aerial manuevers.  The fourth graders went wild! And at least one of the parents did too. I loved it!

The above pictures are very cool shots, but they don't give you any perspective on the size or low-flying proximity of these jets. So take a gander at this...

They were right on top of us. The sound and feel of the jets passing over was so powerful. I'll say it again...It was awesome!

And as an added bonus, I got to spend the day with my sweet son.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Sunshine and Skeeter the Good

Today I was awarded a Sunshine Award by a fellow blogger, Mary at Life in a Small Town. Here's the trophy badge that came with the award:

Thank you Mary! But, as with the receipt of many honors, comes responsibility. I must pass the goodness along to others. I am supposed to...

1. Post the logo on my blog and/or within the post. (Done.)
2. Pass it on to 12 other bloggers.
3. Add links to these 12 bloggers within your blog.
4. Let them know they are receiving the award.
5. Share the link of the person from whom you received the award.

I must be an anti-social blogger because I don't think I know 12 other bloggers to pass this along to. But I will bestow it on the few I do know.  Here are my chosen few:

1. Cold, Colder, Coldest
2. Finding Home
3. Northeast Kingdom Photography
4. It's Just How I See Things
5. Just... a Moment

Okay, that's a short list but a really good one. I do know a few other bloggers but Mary has already given the award to them. Anyway, thank you again Mary!

Friday nights are usually "Family Movie Night" at our house. We do it up right. We all cozy up on the couch in our pjs and I bring out the movie treats. We have reusable popcorn containers, red and white striped, tall, rectangular, old style. And the popcorn is always laced with something sweet. M&Ms. Mini-marshmallows. Or both. Reese's Pieces, if we are feeling daring. I don't know how the boys will carry these nights into their adult lives, but these movie nights are memories that I'll reflect back on when I am very old. I won't remember the movies, but rather the laughs, the blanket snuggles, the sweet saltiness of my boys' childhoods.

Last night we watched "Bedtime Stories". You gotta love Adam Sandler. As I have said before, I find funny people attractive (see #83). I wouldn't say that Adam rates at high at Ben (#84), but he's cute in a sympathy-evoking sort of way, like a litter runt. You just want to take him home because who else is gonna love him?

"Bedtime Stories" is silly like most Adam Sandler movies. Sandler's character, Skeeter, is a hotel handiman who has been short changed most of his adult life by one particular evil-doer, his boss. Can you relate? But Skeeter maintains his good humor and full heart thanks to being raised by an all-wise, loving father who taught young Skeeter to keep the magical viewpoint of a child even as an adult. Skeeter doesn't realize this message until late in the movie and is plagued, until his triumphant ending, with the belief that "there are no happy endings". Thus we have to watch Skeeter suffer a bit before he blossoms into a fully self-actualized, balanced being. By the way, I don't think the kids appreciated this fine plot nuance; they liked the Bugsy, the guinea pig afflicted with elephantiasis of the eyes, and the Booger Monster best.

There is a pivotal moment for Skeeter when something happens that he perceives as miraculous when in fact there is a completely plausible explanation for it. As fantastically predicted by his young nephew, thousands of gumballs rain from the sky. Skeeter views this as a sign, a turning point in his life where his fortune is finally coming his way. Actually, Skeeter was below an interstate overpass on which a big rig filled with candy had wrecked and was accidentally dumping its load right on top of Skeeter's pickup truck. What the burning bush was to Moses, the gumballs were to Skeeter. A message.

Skeeter took his message and preceded to make changes in his own life which by no coincidence had dramatic effects on his fortune. Up to that miraculous gumball moment, Skeeter had allowed others to control his destiny, had assumed that he didn't deserve better, had believed that he wouldn't receive the good things in life. Until that moment, there were no happy endings for Skeeter. Through a self-serving interpretation of a random event, Skeeter takes personal responsibility for his life, changes his life view and makes a better life for himself. And in the end Skeeter the Good triumphs over His Boss the Evil. And he gets The Girl.

Typical Hollywood movie pattern, but I like the simple messages of good over evil, personal responsibility, helping others and not always thinking about yourself. I don't live in a fairy tale world where good things always happen to good people. Good people have a lot of misery sometimes. Life can stink. But our interpretation of the seemingly random events shaping our lives determines where those random events take us next. Did those gumballs fall because accidents always happen to me? Did those gumballs come crashing down and now I have to go get the damage to my truck fixed? Did I just get a year's supply of gum-chewing pleasure for free? Sweet!

I don't know how to end this reaching analysis of Skeeter as a prophet other than to say I hope some gumballs fall on you today and you see it as a good thing.

Friday, May 21, 2010

I'll Keep My Thankless Job, Thank You Very Much!

We moms can go for days, months, even longer feeling unappreciated by our children. And then they go and do something like this:

And that makes up for it all!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Conversing about Converse

Running buddy, LP, bought me a pair of Converse. I think this is the first pair of Converse in my life. She heard from some other runner that they were good to run in - lighter weight than running shoes, more mobility for your feet, etc. Maybe would be a halfway point between running shoes and barefoot.

Since I seem to be the product tester for different new running footwear, I tried them out today. I set out for an easy 4 miles. At the end of mile 2, I took of my Converse and finished up in my socks. (No duct tape.) Trying to be conscious of running toe-to-heel, I could feel the sole tread on each footfall. I felt that little diamond pattern being imprinted in reverse on the ball of my foot. So off they came.

While they may not accompany me on any other runs, they are so cute and will look great with shorts and capris this summer!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Don't Let The Door Hit You in the Back Panel on Your Way Out

Oh happy day! My laundry room has now caught up to this decade. My old trusty Kenmore died a few weeks ago and now the replacements are set up and ready for business. I said replacements not just replacement. Even though only the dryer died, hubbie thought it prudent to go ahead and get a new washer too. I didn't even have to ask. Sweet.

The new dryer came last week but the washer had to be shipped and only arrived today. The nice people at Sears hauled away the dead soldier and his, sure to die soon, partner. She, the washer, wasn't thrilled about going but I was glad to see the last of her. I told you in my other post about how much I disliked that little pair, but it seems that actually she was the problem all along. He, the old dryer, was innocent. Since our new dryer was delivered over a week ago, I've seen, and heard, which one was the true trouble maker. It was she that made all the noise. It was she that used all that water and energy. It was she who made the house rumble like a Pompeiian aftershock. And she let him share in the blame all these years. That vicious minx.

But she's gone now. She didn't even look back as she waited in the garage those last few minutes.

That's okay. I didn't linger either. I rushed right back in to welcome the happy couple to their new home.

They look so happy.

And I can see a future of laundry bliss waiting for us all.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Bet I Can Make You Say "fwaw" at least 9 Times

This is a collaborative blog post. I can't claim credit for all the ideas put forth below. My running buddies plus one running buddy's husband are responsible for most of what you about to read. I am just compiling the information. And I made the prototype. And I modeled for the pictures. I was put up to all of this. Really.

A few of my barefoot running friends and I were ruminating over the trials of barefoot running.  We were lamenting the choices of footwear available to the barefoot runner. "Barefoot running" is a misnomer for many people actually doing it. They're really not barefoot. They are wearing something: socks, sandals, Vibram FiveFingers, Nike Free or something. And if they are wearing something more than socks, they paid a decent amount of money for whatever it is they are wearing. So our general lament was that we hadn't yet found a foot covering that provide the free feel of actual barefoot running that is reasonably priced (who wants to pay alot for something you can do for free?) while also providing enough protection for any distance or terrain.

Let me clarify something here. We, my running buddies, are a group of Forty-something White American Women. I like to call us FWAWs (say it with me...fwaw). Some of us are seasoned marathoners (not me). Some of us are relatively new to running in the grand scheme (me). All of us love to run and push ourselves hard. That said, we are not the Kenyans. (For those who don't follow running, the Kenyans is a complimentary, awe-inspiring reference to the group of runners from that country who dominate the professional running world. And the original barefoot runners, I would guess.)

By "we are not the Kenyans" I mean, we FWAW run on suburban surfaces: asphalt, sidewalks, treadmills. And we grew up running in Nike shod feet. Not barefoot on organic surfaces. So our legs and feet aren't seasoned for true barefoot running at great distances. Sure, I did my 5-miler and have done several other barefoot miles since, but I, in my true-to-FWAW ways, want the feel of barefoot running with all the conveniences of shoe-foot running, thank you very much.

I personally have tried on the FiveFingers. I have seen people wearing the FiveFingers. If you followed the link, you know what they look like. Weird, huh? Strictly my personal opinion, but they are even weirder when looking down from your own head at your own feet. The first thing that came to mind as I looked down at the aqua-colored camo print FiveFingers on my feet was how could my husband get the image of me in these shoes out of his mind? There was something much too amphibian about me in those shoes that didn't sit well with me. Now I know many men today, thanks to the Avatar movie, are engaging in private fantasies about sexy, blue-skinned, alien hotties but the FiveFingers would take private fantasies a whole other nightmarish direction. I felt sexually repulsive in those shoes and while I would do many things to improve my running experience, sabotaging my marriage is not one of them. So no FiveFingers for me. The other FWAWs agreed.

All of the above was being bantered about by us FWAWs the other day when one FWAW's hubbie said, "Why don't you use duct tape?" Yeah, that's right. He suggested duct taping the bottoms of our feet. Duct tape is strong. Duct tape is flexible. Duct tape is the miracle solution to most everything. It's brilliant!

But of course, you see the problem. You can't repeatedly duct tape your skin. I mean, really, we FWAWs aren't stupid. So the next best thing is to duct tape your socks. Right? So was born the Duct Feet

This is the first prototype. I have a feeling there will be need to be others.

But this may be the solution to the FWAW barefoot running dilemma...inexpensive, retains the barefoot feel and quite stylish. They come in all sizes, different colors and you can choose your side-embellishment. For this model, we went with the lightning bolt in honor of Usain Bolt (Jamacian, not Kenyan, but arguably the fastest man alive right now). This model is called the U-Insane Bolt.

And amazingly, look how fast the U-Insane Bolt made me. You can actually see the wind...effect I added in Photoshop.

We came up with a few marketing slogans. How do these grab you?

"Who Needs Fingers When You Have the Duct?"

"Run Like MacGyver"

"Ducts Don't Have Fingers"

"Protect Your Feet - Duct and Cover"

CYA Note: these are not attacks on Vibram, Vibram FiveFingers, its other products or those who wear their products. Don't get mad or legal on me. This is just really funny stuff and you know it.

So there you have it - the latest, must-have offering in barefoot running accoutrements. To place an order, simply leave a comment on this blog post. If you are local, we do custom fittings. Just BYOS (bring your own socks.)

Monday, May 10, 2010

My New Face

I have a new face! A new business face, that is. I have been walking around, talking around this little photography business of mine for quite some time. And now finally, I've put a face on it. Here it is!

And to go along with it, I have started a second blog, CDScott Photography. The new blog is an infant, barely formed. But come see what it will grow into.

And you may already know about the CDScott Photography website on zenfolio. It has gotten a little facelift lately. Come see the changes! 

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Goodbye My Friend, It's Hard to Die...But Your Replacement Will Be Delivered Between 9 and 4 on Monday

Nearly twenty years ago, my husband and I laid the cornerstone of our domestic life together by making our first major appliance purchase together. In the early days of 1991, we bought our Kenmore washer and dryer set.
Like salt and pepper shakers, forever married, they have sat side by side in our various homes for almost two decades. They have survived four moves. They have waited idly in the basement in one home while we waited for the washer/dryer pair left by the previous owners to die. They were happy to get back to work once those behemoths finally died.

They washed hundreds of cloth diapers for two baby boys without complaint, giving a whole new meaning to "heavy duty".

Those are their good points.

They have bad points too.

They are loud...they have made many quiet evenings not so quiet.

 They use LOTS of energy.

 And water.

They mischievously vibrate across laundry rooms untold times even when specifically told not to.

Secretly, even considering their good points, I have prayed for their demise. After the first decade, I couldn't take their bad points. And all that advertising for new high efficiency flashy colored metallic finish laundry machines was more than I could resist.

But these guys live forever.

They just wouldn't stop. They kept on washing and drying, in their loud, energy inefficient, boring white ways.

Until yesterday.

I smelled it...the burning of some unknown rubberized component. Eeew!

I felt the extreme heat of the dryer's top. Ouch!

I opened the door and the jeans cried, "Save us!"

We all backed away and waited, me silently praying.

Later Hubby assessed the damage and determined the costs of parts and labor, considering the age of the dryer, outweigh the long term cost of my trip to Lowe's today. So, prayers have been answered. And of course, now money will be spent.

Happy Mother's Day to me!