Friday, August 24, 2007

Drama King

Sawyer's new trick is, when he doesn't get his own way, to burst into tears and race into David's office, slamming the door behind him. We basically ignore the whole thing (while inwardly admiring his dramatic flair). The other day, though, David went in to talk to him and he said that Mommy didn't like him anymore because I yelled at him. And then I had to explain that Mommy will always love him, but it seems that when I ask him to stop something, nicely and politely, he won't until I get frustrated and yell at him. So now, when I ask him to stop and he doesn't, I say, does Mommy have to yell? And that is working. For now.

But I digress. Yesterday, Sawyer had preschool. It was the last day of the summer session. He had his face painted like a monster, which he was pretty excited about. He was a little bit wound up but, I could tell by the whining, tired.

After Sage went down for her nap at 1 p.m., I told Sawyer he'd have to do quiet time. This meant he could stay downstairs, but we weren't watching TV. I wasn't going to talk with him or take care of him. I needed Mommy break time.

He begged me to read him a book, so I told him no, I would read to him after quiet time. He did the whole running-into-Daddy's-office thing. I of course felt bad, so after about two minutes, I went in. And this is what I found..

Monday, August 20, 2007

This apple did fall far from the tree..

After dinner the other night, when it had cooled down to an inhabitable temperature for mortals here on earth, we walked across the street to our neighborhood park. It has a pool, playground, basketball and tennis courts, a paved jogging loop, and a couple baseball fields.

The kids had a blast climbing and going down slides and digging in the sand. Then Sawyer decided he wanted to run the bases. I "pitched" to him, and then he'd take a "swing" before heading off around the diamond.

Then he wanted me to run too. And so I did. We raced around the bases, with Sage in hot pursuit. Sawyer could not stop laughing, clearly the best sound on the planet.

I wish I could say that this was something that I remember doing with my own parents. But it's not. I can't recall doing physical activities with them - not riding bikes together, not going for walks, and DEFINITELY not running.

My father was 36 and my mother 32 when they had me (I'm the youngest of three). I remember thinking they were "old" parents as most of my friends' parents were significantly younger. It wasn't just the calendar that set them apart.

Both my parents were overweight. Sedentary. My father's horrible eating habits and lifestyle led him to border on obese. It also gave him high blood pressure and diabetes. Thus he emabarked on the slippery slope from which he could never regain his footing. On came the strokes, kidney failure, congestive heart failuer and other issues which eventually killed him. My mother, although still overweight, is fortunately in excellent health aside from arthritis.

I am pushing 39 and am trying to set a good example for my own kids. Sawyer knows that Daddy and Mommy exercise. He joins in when he can, his personal favorite being the stretching portion as he contorts his little body into all kinds of hilarious poses. He also loves running around outside, and, as the little sister, Sage is Monkey See, Monkey Do.

I am very aware that we had our children a little later in life - certainly later than my own parents had us. If Sage is our last child, we will be hovering around 60 when she graduates from college.

My children did not ask for older parents, but that's what they got. I feel like I owe it them to stay active and healthy and fit. To be around as long as possible.

To be able to run the bases some day with my grandchildren..

Friday, August 17, 2007

Monday, August 13, 2007

A rolling poop gathers pine needles, and other tales from the run

Three hours is a long time to run. I know this because that is how long it took me to run 16 miles Saturday (yes, you math whizzes, 16 miles in 3 hours = S-L-O-W but I'd like to see YOU smart asses get out there and do it!). I regularly run with two women who are my age during our Saturday runs with Team in Training, which, as you know, I'm raising money with for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. We were also joined by another woman who we'd not met before who is the tender age of 25. No matter. She enjoyed our geriatic pace and was quite entertained.

I run with my iPod, but I have it low enough so I can carry on a conversation and most importantly, so I can hear the demonic bicyclists who race up behind us and shout at us for not being far enough over on the side.

In case I haven't mentioned, three hours is a long time. But I have to say it goes by a lot quicker when you have some interesting conversations. And since most of you were either still sleeping or at home relaxing by the pool, I thought I would bring you some of the gems that were discussed,most of which have to do with the workings of the digestive system.

1) When said demonic biker zipper by and yelled something nasty at us, one of our party shouted back "We hope you don't get leukemia!"

2)Body Glide, Body Glide, Body Glide. Slather yourself with it or else you'll end up like K, who not only had to endure inner thigh chafe (yeeeeOWCH!) but also found, upon taking off her shoe and sock at the finish, that the back of her heel bled right through her sock and onto her shoe.

3) Gu gives you gas. I don't do Gu, I do shot blocks, so I don't have this problem. Apparently when two of the women were out for a run during the week one of them, er, "released" her discomfort. The other one jumped - she thought it was a dog barking.

4) If one has to poop during a run and it's an emergency, said runner usually makes like Carl Lewis and sprints to the nearest bathroom. It's known as a desperation dash. If one has to poop but it's not an emergency, just kinda bothersome, it's advisable not to clench one's butt too tightly to keep the poop in. This, in one woman's experience, can lead to the incredibly undesireable condition called Butt Chafing.

5) And my personal favorite story: T runs with a woman who regulary poops during runs, usually behind a bush (I didn't ask about TP). One recent day, she went up a small incline to the bushes to do her bidness. One poop landed in pine needles and started rolling. It gained momentum, rolled right down the hill and landed - plop! - right on the sidewalk at the feet of her running partner like a perfectly wrapped gift.

That No. 5 kept me giggling for a few miles. It's not the hill I handled or my bruised toe or the calf cramps I finished with that I'll take with me from Saturday's run. It's the sharing of conversations you might only have (or not!) with your best friends, the feeling of being in this together, that will keep me going for many, many more miles.

Sunday, August 12, 2007


So David and I go to the wedding of one of his best friends from high school. It was our second wedding this summer. I'm not clear that we'd been to a wedding since WE got married back in 2001.

As the first wedding, in late June, approached, I realized I had nothing to wear. All of my dresses were too big (yes, I know, a nice problem to have, until you start panicking because you REALLY have nothing to wear)And even if the stuff did fit, most of it was horribly out-of-date, a veritable freak show of sparkles and straps and even taffeta!

A trip to the mall was completely unsuccessful as the only things I liked were well over $200 which was out of my price range. In desperation, I headed to TJ Maxx, where I found an Anne Klein dress for $50. The price was right. I purchased. I hated it. To make matters worse, I look pregnant in the pictures from the wedding. Delightful!

I was determined to find something better for yesterday's wedding because there was no way in hell I was putting on that stupid dress again. My sister and I went to Seattle to see my Dad a few days before he passed. The hospital did not allow visitors in the morning, so what better way to release stress than by shopping?

Five hours later, my sister and I had both purchased a dress (she had a wedding to go to last week). I thought my dress was a unique color. The style was flattering. And it was under $100.

I felt great wearing it (tho I didn't love my shoes). So imagine my surprise when David and I walked into the church and the first thing I see is ANOTHER WOMAN WEARING MY DRESS!! Hilarious!!

What are the odds? Not only that, but she came and sat at our table. Luckily, she was incredibly nice and thought it was as funny as I did that we were wearing the same frickin' dress.

The only bad part was when she told me how much she paid for the dress: $8.50. That's right. Eight dollars and 50 cents. I wanted to kill myself!!

But of course we had to pose with the bride as her unofficial bridesmaids (excuse my gazillion chins, I am the least photogenic person on the planet). Oh - and I don't know why it's cutting off the picture.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Friday, August 10, 2007

HIDE and seek..

The "hide" part is, I've discovered, torture for a 3 1/2 year old. We played hide and seek tonight, and Sawyer got to hide. When I got done counting to 10, and had shouted "Ready or not, here I come" Sawyer responded by shrieking "I'M IN THE GARAGE! I'M HIDING IN THE GARAGE!" I explained to him that he's not supposed to TELL me where he's hiding. He said okay, and proceeded to inform me he'd be hiding in the kitchen next. Then I got to hide, and squatted behind the couch he was sitting on while counting: "1, 2, 3, 4, TEN!" He raced by me, but Sage ratted me out, yelling "EEE MOMMY!" It might not have been perfectly by the rules (perhaps we should rename it Hide and Shriek?), but it was a perfect way to spend 20 minutes of a Friday night!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Back to our regularly scheduled blogging...

Sage has been going to speech therapy for a month. And I'm happy to say it's actually working!Her new favorite word is "up." She's not afraid to use it.

Just the other night she was in her crib and was having a tough time going to sleep - mainly because she sensed her brother was watching Charlie & Lola somewhere without her. So she stood at the rail of her crib, clutching her bear, blanket and little doggie-head-blanket thing (which she refers to as mah, coat and nnnnnn, respectively) and shrieked for awhile. Then I heard her say "up! up! up!"

We have felt obligated to pick her up when she asks, to reward her for actually speaking in our native tongue instead of Sagese. This night, I went up there, and I had to tell her that everyone - Mommy, Daddy, Sawyer, the doggies, and yes, even Curious George - were all sleeping. Satisfied, she flopped to her belly and fell asleep.

Sawyer, meanwhile, has discovered that his body can do tricks: "Look, Daddy!" he said with glee, as he moved his penis up and down without his hands.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

For you, Dad

My sister, brother and I all spoke at my father's funeral. Here is what I read, more or less. I added a couple things that day that I can't remember exactly.


I am five or six, and Dad is home from work. I crawl up, trying to fit myself into the inches of his lap that are not already occupied by his stomach.
I lean in, careful not to disturb the newspaper he is reading through his thick glasses as if the words contain the meaning of life.
I inhale. The scent of Kent cigarettes and Old Spice fills me, comforting me.
This was Dad. He always seemed larger than life. And at 6-4 with blazing red hair – strands of which still colored his hair to the end - and a distinctive raucous cackle, he practically was.
He's the float we used to hang onto in the ocean, the pale, freckled knee we used as a diving board. He was the backyard coach, throwing tennis balls higher than the rooftops to us. And when we’d catch it and then throw it back, errant tosses were met with “Who was that throw to, Licorice?” Or Truffles, depending on which dog was currently with us.
Dad was also a food critic. When Mom handed him a plate of her new recipe for tuna casserole, he immediately renamed it – and quite accurately, my siblings would agree – Tuna Plop. Naming a meal was preferable, however, to his occasionally flinging a salad or plate of pasta at a misbehaving Ellen, who was lucky enough to sit next to him.
He certainly could be intimidating. A great day for me was when I got faster than him and could race up the stairs to my room and slam the door before he could swat me for whatever bad thing I’d done.
Some of the biggest fights Dad and I had involved the afternoon newspaper. My favorite thing was to hustle to the top of the driveway and retrieve it before he did, thereby giving me dibs on the sports pages. Dad wasn’t always in agreement with that strategy, and he had the gift of being able to outshout pretty much everyone he knew to get those sacred pages back.
But from Dad I got my passion for sports. Before the days of remote controls, I was his. I’d sit on the floor in front of the TV on football Sundays and turn to different games at his command. We watched the Miracle on Ice together. Doug Flutie’s Hail Mary.
He especially loved the game of baseball. He knew everything about it. He grew up in New York and Philadelphia so he’d seen his share of history.
I too fell in love with baseball, and it became my career. He was also a great storyteller. And he loved to ask my friends all about their lives and had a way of putting them at ease. I'd like to think I inherited some of that gift, and I have Dad to thank for that.
When I moved to California in 1999 to cover the Angels, it meant I was going to get some free trips to Seattle when they played the Mariners.
It was at a game that I nervously introduced him to David. Dad knew that David is half-Korean. And anyone who knows Dad knows how much he likes to talk about his time over in Korea during the war.
It didn’t take long for him to completely embarrass me by telling David that he had a Korean houseboy during the war. His name? Tae Bo.
Luckily, David laughed. Which is why I had to marry him. Because if you don’t think my Dad is funny, you won’t last in our family.
This came into play again later when Mom and Dad visited us. We met friends at a Chinese restaurant. Dad opened his fortune cookie and read “Help. I’m a prisoner in a Chinese fortune cookie factory.”
I groaned. The joke was so old, the pilgrims told it coming over on the Mayflower (another Dad-ism). I’d heard it a gazillion times. But David and my friend Jean laughed until tears came.
Just the other day, David dragged me in to watch a Magnum P.I. episode in which Magnum gives Rick and TC a fortune cookie. They read the fortune aloud, and guess what is says? David is STILL laughing about it!
Dad kept his sense of humor, even when events over the past few years were incredibly difficult. When he finally got his electric wheelchair, Dad enjoyed cruising the halls and, of course, socializing. He became quite popular.
When, for the third time in his two-year stay, a roommate died, several residents requested they get moved in with him. Apparently Dad’s conversational skills and off-color humor outweighed the possibility of any curse.
One of my favorite memories is of my son, Sawyer, then 18 months, climbing right into his lap and trying to “help” Dad drive his wheelchair. The visit was something Dad talked about often.
In Dad’s final days, he clearly was in a lot of discomfort. But it wasn’t enough to still his sense of humor. Or his stubbornness. He recovered twice in the past year from life-threatening illness.
This time, when he knew his weakened body couldn’t recover, he still was present in the moment.
When Mom asked him what she could bring him, he smiled in what we call his “hideous grin.”
That was Sunday. Tuesday, he passed peacefully, listening to his favorite Frank Sinatra songs. Andrew said later that maybe Dad thought he was in heaven.
So Dad, wherever you are, I hope there’s good music, great baseball, a comfy recliner and a cold beer. You deserve it.
Thank you for being our father. You were truly one-of-a-kind.
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