when I can’t sleep

Most nights I fall into bed and am asleep within five minutes, but sometimes I lie awake and ponder things.  Last night was one of those nights where it took me awhile to fall asleep, and in that groggy period, I wondered about several things.

First of all, why is it that if you turn your heat up to seventy degrees in the winter it feels cozy, but if your house is seventy degrees in the summer it feels stuffy?

Also, what is the physics behind a ski lift?  Dozens of heavy chairs are dangling by a teeny-weeny cable and then loaded with full-grown adults.  How does this work?  Is there a mathematical equation that ensures my precarious chair will not pluck itself off of the cable and send me hurling to my death?

Ski lift

Ski lift (Photo credit: Takoyaki_King)

Finally, I was thinking about buying new bras and that made me think about the women who work at places like Victoria’s Secret or the Nordstrom lingerie department.  When you arrive at one of these places, a woman springs from behind the counter, armed with a tape measure.  She wraps the tape around you here and there, and then pronounces you a 34 D.  Does that woman receive training before placing judgement on my cup size?  Do they all go to seminars and practice measuring each other or is it just a room full of mannequin torsos?  Perhaps there is no training at all.  Are they hired and given a breast measuring pamphlet and a booklet of boob propaganda, 101 Ways to Perk Up Your Lingerie Sales.

If you have answers to any of these questions, let me know ASAP.  I want to be able to fall asleep quickly tonight.


winter weight

I am not the kind of woman who obsesses over her weight.  In general, I am pretty lucky, with a fairly fast metabolism, and tend to gain weight slowly, if at all.  I rarely weigh myself but did hop on the scale yesterday, and discovered I had gained three pounds (FINE! I gained five pounds, you’re all so critical.)

When I told my husband I gained three (or five) pounds, he brushed me off by saying, “You hide it well.”

YOU HIDE IT WELL!  You hide it well is like saying, “Yes, your are an enormous elephant, but clothes camouflage your heft.”

So I said, “Yeah! Well, you have a receding hairline, and you can’t hide that AT ALL!”

Ok, I didn’t actually say that because I didn’t think of it until right this minute, damn!  What I did was take a Hershey’s bar from the cupboard, sit down next to my husband on the sofa, and proceed to slowly eat the candy.  perhaps not the best strategy in hind sight.

This conversation reminded me of a similar event with my first husband.  Those of you who follow my blog know that Scott died in 2005.  I remember a time when I told him I had gained three pounds.  His response was to laugh and say, “Three pounds?  I can poop three pounds.”

OK, I know that’s gross, but it totally made me laugh, although it did not make me feel better about my weight gain.

So, I am going to try to lose my three (or five) pounds during the month of March.  Exercise is not my issue; I go to the gym all the time.  My issue is a rather serious candy adiction.  In the past when I have decreased my candy intake, I simply increased my brownie intake, but this time I am going to attempt to eat only one serving of candy a day; that equates to five chocolate Dove Promises.

I will keep you posted on my progress, but if I fall short, you have to support me, and I don’t want to hear that all my followers had a party and placed bets on my failure.  That would hurt my feelings and force me to down a bag of chocolate.

my resolve is weakening

Years ago, I had a labrador retriever named King Oberon.  He had a severe case of obsessive-compulsive disorder; he simply could not stop playing fetch.  If he could see a tennis ball but was unable to reach it, he would pace hysterically.  He would pause with the ball in view and jump repeatedly trying to capture the ball for himself.  He barked, whined, yelped, and twitched nervously until someone came along and threw the ball for him to chase down.

Our black lab, King Oberon.  March 1994 - January 2005

Our black lab, King Oberon (March 1994 – January 2005) with my two oldest. They used to be so cute, now they are just messy and demanding.

My fourteen-year-old son is exactly the same way when it comes to snowboarding.  He sees snow and begins to pace, twitch, and whine until you release him to the slopes.

Unfortunately, you know by my last blog post, Cole broke his arm snowboarding a few days ago.  He spent most of yesterday attempting to convince me to allow him to snowboard despite the cast on his left arm.  Following are a list of his pleas, which I will translate for you:

“Mom, can I please go shred the gnar-pow?”

TRANSLATION:  Mom, can I please go snowboarding; it snowed recently and the powder is gnarly (in this case, gnarly is a good thing)

“Mom, I promise I won’t go BC, and I won’t hit anything jenky.”

TRANSLATION:  I promise I won’t go into the back country, and I won’t go down anything too treacherous.

“I’ll totally zag the wells and skirt the bomb holes.”

TRANSLATION:  I will avoid tree wells and deep holes.  (a tree well is the area directly beneath a pine tree where the branches protect the ground from snow thus creating a giant well or hole.  A bomb hole is an area of ungroomed terrain where the snow has settled or caved-in thus creating a pit.)

“Please, Mom, I won’t even lob the rollers.”

TRANSLATION:  I won’t launch myself off jumps.

My son is exactly like my labrador, and I must admit his constant whining is weakening my resolve.  By next weekend, I may cave completely, and if I let my son snowboard with a cast on his arm, I will either be the most neglectful mom in the world, or the most awesome mom in history.

However, if I let him go, I plan to remind him that if he breaks his other arm, no one in this family will help him use the bathroom.

Cole's cast.  It took me three tries to get this photo.  My obscene son kept raising his middle finger just as snapped the picture

Cole’s cast. It took me three tries to get this photo. My obscene son kept raising his middle finger just as I snapped the picture

I did fifty percent of what you told me to do

My kids are on mid-winter break from school and have the week off.  We are staying up at the mountain for a week of skiing.  Yesterday, my son left the condo and headed to the terrain park to meet some friends and snowboard.  Before he left, I said, “Say no to drugs.”  When my children leave the house, I always remind them to say no to drugs.  My children are not heroin addicts, so obviously my consistent use of this phrase is working.

So, my son walks out the door and I say, “Say no to drugs and don’t get hurt.”

Two hours later, I get a phone call from the ski patrol.  Now, a phone call from the ski patrol is never a good thing.  They never call and say, “Wow! We just wanted to phone and express how sincerely impressed we are with your son.”  They only call when bones are sticking out or brains have been concussed.

After x-rays, we discover that my son has broken his left arm, AGAIN! Geeze, drink some milk kid; take a calcium supplement.

In the emergency room, as we wait for the nurse to cast his arm, I say, “What did I tell you before you left this morning?”

“You said, say no to drugs and don’t get hurt.”


“So,” he said in his defense, “I did fifty percent of what you told me to do.”

I gave him the stink-eye

“I see your point,” he said.  “Fifty percent is still an F.”

Happy Katentine’s Day

Today is Valentine’s Day; my family members are instructed to refer to the next twenty-four hours at Katentine’s Day.

My husband came home from work yesterday with beautiful roses.

roses from my husband

roses from my husband

“Katentine’s Day is not until tomorrow,” I reminded him

“I know,” Tim said, “but I wanted you to be able to see them when you woke up.”

Awwwwww.  I have an awesome husband.

In general, I am not a very romantic girl.  I appreciate a grand gesture, but for me, romance is not always top-of-mind.

The most romantic gift I ever managed to orchestrate was for my high school boyfriend, which is sorta sad ’cause I have had two really great husbands.  Still, when I was nineteen, I was going to college in California and my high school boyfriend was going to school in Washington State.  I mailed him a bottle of sparkling cider (I was wayyyyyy to timid to attempt to purchase actual champagne) and a champagne flute.  I told him not to open the box until four o’clock on Valentine’s Day and then to call me at that time because I wanted to be on the phone while he opened the gift.  Unbeknownst to him, I had purchased a plane ticket home and was waiting outside his dorm room at exactly four o’clock with a second champagne flute.  Pretty great, right?

Now I feel compelled to do something great for Tim.  You should send me your ideas, or just send me roses, after all, it is Katentine’s Day, not Timentine’s Day.

I’m entitled to a cheeseburger

In my twenties, I did a lot of hiking and camping.  Once my kids were born, I decided hiking and camping with children was a dirty chaotic experience, and I packed up my sleeping bag until my babies were old enough to pitch their own tents.  In 1993, my first husband, Scott, and I took a road trip to Glacier National Park in Montana.  We spent a week in the mountains, and I have great memories from that trip.

One night, I shifted restlessly in our tent.  I was hungry, I couldn’t get to sleep, and I really really really wanted a cheeseburger.  Sometimes when you are twenty, and it’s a random Thursday night in August, and you’ve been hiking all day, you need a midnight cheeseburger, and nothing else will fill the void.  The problem was I am historically terrible at starting campfires, so I wanted Scott to get up and make me the burger.

Now, I know this sounds like a diva-move on my part, but I would like to note here that we had a very successful thirteen-year marriage, and I did lots of nice things for him, including delivering his son who weighed over ten pounds.  Personally, enduring two pregnancies and giving birth to a semi-truck entitles me to a cheeseburger retroactively.  (So, stop judging me!)

Scott finally agreed to make me the burger.  He left the tent, started the fire, dug out a pan, cooked the meat, found a bun, (“Don’t forget ketchup and mustard,” I yelled from my sleeping bag) and he brought me the finished product.  It was as delicious as any burger I have ever eaten.  Full and satisfied, I hunkered down for bed, but I kept smelling the delicious burger, and I kept thinking about all the bear warnings posted, and I made the connection that if I could smell the delicious meat in the air, surely Smokey the Bear could smell it too.

To make a long story short, I made Scott drive me all the way back to the main area in the park where we could both take a shower and rinse away any left-over cooking smells.  While we were gone, we aired out the tent, and decided that if bears had not torn it to shreds in the hour it took us for our round-trip shower expedition, it would probably be safe to fall asleep.

Me hiking in Montana, 1993.  BTW, I bought the boots I am wearing in this photo at REI.  I swear; I not lying about this.

Me hiking in Montana, 1993. BTW, I bought the boots I am wearing in this photo at REI. I swear; I not lying about this.

This is a long way around to the main intention of my story, but I was thinking about this Montana trip yesterday while I was on the treadmill watching CNN.  Obama nominated Sally Jewell as his new Interior Secretary.  I took note of this because I am a Washingtonian and Sally is a Washingtonian, the CEO of REI.  To be clear, I don’t know Sally; we have never gone hiking together; I’ve never asked her to cut me a deal on a water-proof tent.  Still, I am happy to know a local woman will now be in charge of the national parks across the country and surely will monitor the bear activity in Montana.  And, you know, if she wants to hook me up with some discount gear, that would be totally appreciated.

 Obama's pick for Interior Secretary: Recreational Equipment, Inc. CEO Sally Jewell in 2006. IMAGE

Sally Jewell, REI CEO and nominee for Interior Secretary

sibling rivalry

On Monday, I saw an interview with the Baltimore Raven’s head coach, John Harbough. For those of you who only watch the Super Bowl for an excuse to eat hot wings and queso dip, John’s brother, Jim Harbough, is the head coach for the San Fransisco 49ers. So, the Super Bowl pitted the two siblings against each other.

John was asked if the triumph over his brother would make for much razzing at family dinners.  John insisted that he would never do that, claiming it was best to just move on.  He complimented his brother’s coaching talent and went on and on about his respect for San Fransisco’s program.

I beat my brother at Monopoly in 1982, and I am happy to remind him of this victory every Thanksgiving.  If I beat my brother in the fricken’ SUPER BOWL, I would have t-shirts made.  The shirts would have a photo of me on the front holding the Vince Lombardi trophy and a photo of my brother on the back, crying like a baby.  The caption would read my sister kicked my ass.

My brother is two years older than me, and I spent my school years being compared to him.  My brother was smart, athletic, and popular.  In turn, I was awkward and uncoordinated.  “Are you Neil’s little sister?”  was a question I received with alarming frequency.

When my brother turned 18, I had a t-shirt made for him.  The shirt said Katie’s brother.  Despite the years we spent antagonizing each other, I will love my brother forever for his one simple gesture; he wore the shirt to school.

Neil's birthday, 1984

Neil’s birthday, 1984. Notice the watermelon on the sofa next to him. For his 18th birthday he received a t-shirt and a watermelon. If my son got a watermelon as a birthday gift, he would pack up his xbox and move in with our neighbors.