The Ins and Outs of an Ordinary Life

Sunday, September 30, 2007


My gym has a hiking club which has expanded in scope-- it is now an "Outdoor Fitness Club." In addition to hiking, we have gone kayaking and today was the first Paintball Event! What an experience! Here are my observations and experiences from my first day of paintball.
  1. It is not cheap, but $50 did pay for a whole day of entertainment.
  2. Getting hit with a paintball hurts. In fact, I have one bruise on my calf (from friendly fire).
  3. If you're not going to go for it, it's not as much fun. Make sure you purchase plenty of paintballs AND rent a camouflage jumpsuit.
  4. It's a man's game. There are some women, but not many.
  5. Fat people do not play paintball.
  6. Testosterone definitely fuels more aggressive play-- these guys were hurling paintball hand grenades into enemy fortifications.
  7. You play several squirmishes, each one on a different battlefield. I enjoyed this part of it the most, having to develop different strategies to "stay alive" on different terrain.
  8. Although there were some attempts to develop a unified plan, it's mostly small "cells" heading in different directions and trying to avoid getting ambushed (e.g. almost but not quite organized chaos).
  9. I am a fairly defensive paintballer. I ran for cover, tried to find enemy locations and waited for them to expose themselves. With all the testosterone-driven men trying to be paintball heroes, this was a good strategy. I conserved ammo and had a few good "kills."
  10. Safety is taken VERY SERIOUSLY (as it should be). Helmets/goggles are required and if you as much as touch them while on the playing field, the refs yell at you immediately.
  11. I don't know if this really qualified as "outdoor fitness," but it definitely go my heart pounding!
  12. I would definitely do this again. Not next weekend, but definitely again.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Belated 50th Birthday Present

When you turn 50, you get a very special gift from your physician-- an order for a colonoscopy. I have been putting off receiving this very special gift for over a year. I finally took care of it. Let me just say that the procedure itself is nothing 'cause they put you to sleep. The prep for it, on the other hand, is horrendous. You know how people say you quickly forget the pain of childbirth and then "sign up" for another one? Well, the same is not true of colonoscopy. I won't forget the misery of colonoscopy prep, and I won't be signing up for another one any time soon. Luckily, the gastroenterologist told me I have a lovely colon, and gave me a 5 year pass.

While we're on the topic of anaesthesia, ever wonder what the doctors talk about when they put you under? I had an interesting experience when I had a C-section. I had a spinal, so I was awake, but the anaesthesiologist was talking to the other docs like I wasn't even there. He talked about what a bitch his wife was because she wouldn't let him go hunting and spent too much of his money. My doctor finally told him to quit it. Maybe it wouldn't have been any different if I had general anaesthesia because this doctor had a personality disorder, but it left me wondering whatr these docs talk about it (Maybe I'm just paranoid).

Monday, September 24, 2007


The last few weeks have been rough. A few days after my MIL's funeral, we had a toilet back-up in the house and cause a nasty little flood. That turned out to be a broken pipe between the house and the septic fields (read between the lines: big $). Once that was fixed, I went out of town for a meeting for a few days. It was actually a relief to get away from home for a bit. There were fewer events or people around me that had the potential to trigger an overwhelming feeling of sadness. And working showers and toilets 24/7.

So now I am trying to get myself focused on being ordinary, getting back into our routines. Yesterday I went down to the track and ran 4 miles. In the late afternoon I made a big pot of minestrone soup. I watched baseball and football games. I got some laundry done. Yeah, pretty ordinary. The last few weeks have been an excuse for eating whatever came my way, mostly cookies and bagels. Time to get my nutrition back in synch with what my body needs (and it ain't cookies and bagels). So this week I plan to continue getting back on track, making the time to workout,
focusing on ordinary......except for the colonoscopy I have scheduled for Friday!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


My mother-in-law died last week. The funeral was Tuesday. She was a wonderful woman. Everyone who came to the funeral knows what kind of person she was, but I couldn't stand the idea of a stranger writing and reading her eulogy. So I did it. DH spoke first and thanked some special people who made the last few months of her life much easier and more comfortable. Then I spoke about Life with M, the Mother-In-Law.

I’m sure you are all familiar with the Dr. Phil Show, maybe you’ve seen an episode featuring several women talking about their horrible in-laws, especially their mothers-in-law. At the beginning of each of these stories, there is always a video that takes you inside the lives of the involved parties, so you can have true insight into their issues and maybe judge for yourself who is at fault. Over the past few days, I have been thinking about my life with M, the mother-in-law, and those memories came together into a video that I produced in my head. I want to share with you the script for this video, which is entitled, How Lucky Can a Girl Get.

The first scene is at a Passover Seder 22 years ago, when DH first brings me home to meet his mom. We all know how awkward that can be, but somehow she finds just the right balance of reaching out to me without making me feel uncomfortable. She is constantly popping up out of her chair like a jack-in-the-box, jumping between the kitchen and the dining room. At the time, I think it is a little odd.

The next scene is shortly after DH and I were married, and M and I have a little “heart-to-heart.” So, is this the scene where she lays down the law, and tells me how she expects me to behave. Yes it is. She tells me that she considers me her daughter and to please call her “mom.” And that pretty much sets the tone for our relationship over the next 21 years.

The middle of my video is a montage of special occasions, mom’s visits to NY, our visits to Florida, and family gatherings. This part of the video features 2 little boys growing up with their nana. There are stories being told, and a surprise drawer filled with small gifts, and the sound of laughter. There are birthdays with lots and lots of ice cream. There is always a phone call before we go down to Florida to determine what small tonnage of food needs to be purchased. There are many dinners and she is still the jack-in-the-box (but by now it doesn’t seem odd). At one of these dinners, mom serves the now notorious vegetable medley. We try, but it is inedible.

In the next scene, I drive her to Newburgh to visit with her friend J. We have lunch before we leave. When we arrive, J puts this giant hero sandwich on a plate in front of her. Not wanting to offend J, she eats the entire thing, followed by (you guessed it) a huge bowl of ice cream. I sit there and snicker.

I don’t want you to think that Life with M the Mother-in-Law was totally a bed of roses. The next scene features an episode that occurred a little over a year ago. She and son #1 go shopping, and when they are done, she asks son #1, “is there a place nearby where we can buy some refreshments?” When they come home, mom is carrying a huge bucket of ice cream. I am a little angry with her, because I do not want to be tempted to eat any ice cream. So there you have the truth. I am angry because she had the nerve to bring home a bucket of ice cream. I don’t know if she senses my anger, but she resolves the issue by eating most of it.

The last scene in the video is actually a photograph that I found on my computer a few days ago. It is a picture of son #1 and son #2 with both of their grandmothers. It was taken 2 years ago when son #1, son #2 and I went down to visit them and the 5 of us had dinner together. Over the years, M’s magic reached out to so many people, including my family. My family became her family. So tell me, how lucky can a girl get.

Monday, September 10, 2007


Blogger is playing games with me! The photos I uploaded didn't "stick." Let me try again.

Saturday, September 08, 2007


My new Canon Elph is small enough to put in your pocket and take along for the day. And I have been doing just that, taking pictures during my everyday adventures. I also downloaded Picasa, which is Google's answer to Flickr. It is also a complete photo management system with basic photo editing capabilities. This combination has given me the motivation to clean out (delete delete delete) and organize my photo collection. So with no particular theme or plan, here are a few photos that I have rediscovered.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

On the Edge, or Ledge

On Sunday, I went hiking with my brother in Harriman State Park. We try to do this a few times a year, and neither of us had gone hiking all summer. It was a perfect day. We picked a hike that was described as "strenuous," featuring 5 climbs including Pingyp Mt. Pingyp is one of the steepest climbs in the park and a good part of it involves scrambling/climbing over a granite ledge that seemed almost vertical. OK, it wasn't El Capitan, but it was a little scary (I think my big brother was actually a little bit freaked out, more than he would admit). We didn't know this beforehand and once we started the ascent, there was no turning around. So up we went. Now pulling yourself over huge granite rocks when you are only 5 ft tall is hard work. My little legs just can't reach as far as the average person! But I never felt like I couldn't do it, I just knew I had to work harder and I wasn't too proud to crawl. So we made it, over Pingyp Mt. and 4 other climbs over 7 miles. Yay for me and big brother! but neither one of us brought a camera to document our feat. We both have digital cameras but neither one of us wanted to carry it. We both decided that in this day and age, this is truly ridiculous and that we both need to purchase smaller cameras. I didn't waste anytime, the next day I bought a Canon 850 Elph. There will be no more hikes without adequate photodocumentation (not that I would have had the nerve to reach for a camera while climbing this ledge). Here are some more pictures I found of some other hearty hikers on their way up Pingyp Mt. It gives you a little bit of the idea.
(are those dogs or mountain goats?)

Monday, September 03, 2007

Freecycling Has Set Me Free

A few months ago, I joined the local Freecycling group. I would check out the listings from time to time, but it was barely on my radar. Then son #1 left for college and I started the archealogical dig in his closet, unearthing his outgrown, forgotten and and generally unloved belongings. Well, thanks to freecycle, many of them are finding new homes and I couldn't be happier. This week I recycled 2 lava lamps, 2 pairs of snow boots and 4 zippered 3 ring binders. I have found this experience to be quite liberating! I am slowly beginning to find my way out from under the pile of not necessarily clutter, but accumulated belongings that fill the closets. Its easier to stick something into the closet than to 1) admit that you probably should not have bought it in the first place 2) get rid of it. Of course you could keep shoving all the somethings in a closet and then have a tag sale. We have done that and the cash in the pocket was not insignificant. But at this point in my life I can't stand looking at a vast pile of somethings that we might sell one day. It was much more satisfying to give these items to someone who can use them now and get a lovely and sincere thank you in return. Yes indeed, freecycling has set me free.