Wednesday, February 24, 2010

When did this happen?

I am like a broken record when it comes to how cute and sweet my oldest son was as a baby. He has always been tender hearted and so eager to please. But as he approaches the ripe old age of 8, he has gotten in touch with his bitter side. I wrote about how small he was last year, and he is still every bit as tiny. I wonder if that isn't playing a role in the attitude he has developed. He won't open up to me and tell me what is going on in his head, but it is clear from his actions that something has changed. This little kid who played baseball (and soccer and tennis and football and anything with a ball basically) with all his heart has recently decided he doesn't want to play sports anymore. He used to get nothing but 90 and 100% on assignments-now he is getting 60-80% on things. He used to be compliant and happy to be in our company. Now he wants to be on the couch in our basement, alone, for hours on end, watching shows that are not age appropriate. He is 8! I thought I had at least until 12 or 13 for this crap. So, now I have had to put parental controls on the DISNEY channel, yes, that's right, DISNEY. He has been watching Hannah Montanah, ICarly, Suite Life, Wizards of Waverly Place, Sonny with Chance-all are Disney or Nikelodean shows. All are about teenagers disrespecting authority-largely unsupervised and with little or no family structure. Jackson doesn't really like cartoons that much-he prefers shows that are not animated, but there just isn't much in between cartoons and this teenager garbage.

We did have a talk with his teacher, then a follow up with him that seemed to get through, but I can tell it's going to be a tough road getting him to open up. He is a very proud kid-he doesn't want to let anyone down, and he will risk letting himself down to avoid it.


You always pass failure on your way to success....~Mickey Rooney

So, this is the kind of day I am having. I have been working on this certification for 3 months now to teach a weight training class called Body Pump. I thought today would be my last round. After the initial training in December (which was really just boot camp); I was feeling pretty good about myself for having passed; only 3 or 4 of us out of 10 passed that phase. Then, after accumulating a ton of hours of practicing and co-instructing; we are to record a video of ourselves teaching this class for submission to the Body Pump Nazi's for final approval. For me, that video was this morning-at 6 am. Yes, I said 6 AM! ugh! Not my finest hour-but the very best instructor I know allowed me to teach his class which is at that time, and I know most of the people in there so it was comfortable (as comfortable as I can be at 6 AM doing something very awkward). He was a good enough friend to tell me at the end that I just didn't do good enough to pass. I didn't do horribly-I probably got a B or a C. In order to pass the assesment, though, you must get an A. I did not get an A. And I could tell it was hard for him-though I really appreciate him for it.

I suppose it was presumptuous to think it would only take one time. I have learned that most of my peers who are crazy enought to put themselves through this scrutiny do as many as 4 or 5 of these hideous videos before submitting a final one. And this makes me wonder what on earth Les Mills (that is the outfit behind these programs)is thinking? Must you torture people this much? Honestly, the people in class today got a great work out-and no one was in harm's way. Is it not possible to just have trainers come out and do the final; much like the preliminary training? I can tell you, that would make me far more comfortable. The whole camera experience was not pleasant.
There have been MANY times in this 3 month period that I have really questioned myself on going forward. This morning, for example, in the shower after the debacle, I really, really wanted to quit. But, like every other time I have felt that way-about a number of things, I always come back to the reality that failure is generally a necessary component of success. I should know this. I have met with failure many times. As a result, I know what success is, and I know how good it feels. I know how it is just something no one can take away-and only I can go out and get it. And I love it. Days like today, where it eludes me, I simply have to hang on to that.

No, it's not the biggest tragedy in the world-or even in my life. There are far more important things. However, these are the lessons in life that make me a little more gratuitous and stronger for the next challenge that comes along-and there will be another one. That much is a certainty.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Latest in irritating mysteries.....

Sometimes I make payments over the phone, or call my cell phone carrier to ask about promotions, etc. I always have to enter my 1000 digit account number and one of the 5 million passwords I have for everything before I ever get to a person or to the transaction I am trying to execute. Every time I get to that step, they ask me for all of it again. Why the hell do I have to enter it all-then tell the customer service rep all of it again? Ugh!

When I open those little Yoplait yogurts, is it totally necessary for them to blow up all over me? Are the contents in need of that much pressure. I hate that! And speaking of poorly packaged items, what's with juice boxes/pouches and yogurt sticks? Those things are messier than their predecessors.

Why don't Uggs come in half sizes? Seriously! These ugly, yet comfortable and functional shoes have become such a giant hit in our culture, could they not find a way to produce them in half sizes-you know they pay about a $1 a week in labor, and charge $200 a pair. Would shifting the sizing really make it impossible to make ends meet?

Doesn't it seem like you have a good hair day or two just as soon as you schedule an appointment for a haircut?

Itunes is the best and the worst thing ever created. I love the Ipod concept-and I am hopelessly addicted to it. However, the devices are downright disposable-they are good for a couple of years at best. And the Itunes library is a moving target. The new versions exist simply to make my life difficult. Now I understand we cannot risk the lifestyles of rock starts-heaven forbid they made a regular living. We have to ensure they can stay gozillianaires. So, the quest to keep the music industry from losing a penny is paved with the Itunes road of "would you like to download the new version now" and have no clue what you are doing until you get the hang of this one and then we will come up with a new one?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Holiday Road

We just took our boys on their first family ski trip. I have to admit, as someone who LOVES to ski, I was a little more than hopeful that we would pick them up from ski school and they would just come bouncing into our arms, dying to do it all again. Well, this was not the case. They were tired, cold, and hungry. Neither of them wanted to do it again the next day. I suppose this is to be expected. Still, sometimes you just think your own love and enthusiasm for things will be enough for your kids to embrace it as well. The jury is not out yet, they may end up loving skiing at some point in their lives-just not today. And that's okay. The real highlight of the trip was just being together as a family. I remember a ski trip like this when I was a 12 year old girl. In fact, it was also at Winter Park. I probably did not realize it at the time, but those are the kind of memories that stick with you. I hope when my kids are grown, they can reflect back on times like these and cherish them as much as their dad and I do.

There is a reason the movie Vacation was so funny. Anyone who has been on a family vacation knows exactly what it's like to endure tight quarters, hectic schedules, lines, over tired tempers, the constant bicker and banter over whose is whose, etc. And yet, these are the things our childhood is made up of-and we love it. Times have changed so much. Yesterday at breakfast, both my boys were on their handheld DS games, while my husband scrolled his Blackberry. I was thinking of sending him a text (from across the table) just to get his attention. And the boys got these fancy GPS systems strapped on to them at ski school. Regardless of all the changes in the world around us, some things are still the same. Family is still family.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Life's Irritating mysteries continued...

The Word Astigmatism-now what kind of word is that? seriously? why not just stigmatism? or stigmata? It never sounds right in a sentence. "I have an astigmatism" actually, you sound like an idiot when you say it-so you try and drop the a and you still sound like you don't know what you are talking about, "I have astigmatism"

Valentine's Day-I will have been married 17 years in August. I don't want to be a spoiler on romance or anything, but it is just a pain to try and get my husband a gift for Vday. So, we are boycotting the whole thing and taking the boys to the mountains for the first time. I don't care for the this holiday-we don't get time off work so it's not really a holiday. Not to mention, romantic things to me are unsolicited or necessitated by the calendar. It would be far more romantic to me for my hubby to bring home a flower/card/etc for no reason that because the calendar told him too. Of course that will never happen because I did not marry a guy like that.

This goes along with Valentines Day-I heard a commercial this week for a TEDDY BEAR for a grown woman! I listen to sports talk radio so I hear a lots of commercials for things like Rogain, Viagra-and this time of year for Valentine's day gift ideas like flowers and spa days, etc. But this one really takes the cake-honestly, it is a stuffed animal for the "woman in your life' I can't decide which is more pathetic, the person who would buy one-or the person who would want one!

How is it that when I park somewhere-go in for less than 10 minutes, I often come back out and cannot find my car? I do this all the time at my kids' school-I have done it at shopping malls too. I do the same thing at the gym with the locker. I think I am practicing for old age-it won't come as such a shock to me-if I can remember by then!

Sometimes I go to the gym on off hours to practice routines, or just get a work out in without the crowds. It never fails, there could be two or three people in the entire locker room, and I find that we have the lockers right next to each other. So annoying!

The Tiger Woods story-okay, this is a tired story-but seriously, the addiction card? No, you are addicted to infidelity. No one said it was an addiction as long as it was with your spouse. It's just a cop out for an addiction to being with someone other than your spouse. Ridiculous nonsense.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Fit to Lead

I have had many jobs in my life, at many ranges of pay. My favorite? Teaching group exercise; and it pays about $15-25 an hour depending on the gym. It is ironic to realize that at this point in my career. At first, I was nervous to teach. Everyone is staring at you-and there is that awkward silence where they are sizing you up, etc. I have been doing group exercise for so many years that I know exactly what it's like to be on that side. Reversing roles was a bit daunting. I don't know how many times in life I have thought-oh, I could so do that... But not that many times in life have I been able to test that theory. So, last summer, I got my certification in Group X through a national organization. It was an 8-10 hour day of being tested/evaluated/judged on your skills as well as 100 question exam testing your knowledge of a bunch of crap I don't even remember now. Then I had to go pimp myself to fitness coordinators at a million gyms. Finally, one in Highlands Ranch, gave me a shot. I was so excited! All I had to do was audition in a live setting for one hour and lead the 5:30 am (ouch!) spin class. Easy enough? NOT! I had never done more than one song. In retrospect, I am glad it was at such a ridiculous hour-I might have been awake enough to realize how I nervous I was otherwise. It went well, and I started teaching on Tuesday nights. I am forever grateful to Darci Freeman for giving me that chance. I have learned that you just don't get anywhere without someone giving you a chance. I have been sub'ing wherever else I can, and I just landed my second job as a spin instructor at a posh little club on Thursdays. I have also taken on a weight training class called Body Pump. And that's a whole other blog too-some of these fitness programs take themselves a little too serious.

So, I am wondering why it is that I love this stuff so much? Sometimes I look up during a class I am teaching and think-holy sh*t! I am actually leading these people-and they are doing it-and we are having fun. I am not even thinking about it-just going and going, and it hits me that I was just meant to be doing this. And I guess it's just the sense of accomplishment. Each one of these certifications you have to earn require studying, practicing, testing, and an outcome. It fills a void for me. As adults we don't always have that. My husband plays sports for his. School used to do that for me-there were semesters, grades, etc. My job does not provide that, in fact, I never feel like I am accomplishing a thing. I thought I was going to be involved in all these fun and excited things. What I learned is that a few people here pull the strings-and everyone else just goes through the motions. I HATE selling ads-I thought that would just be a part of my job-it's really most of my job. And in an economy where everyone is scaling back-ads are a dying breed. So, I do a whole lot of nothing and hate it. And then I feel guilty-and lucky that I even have a job, and it's just the same process everyday. So, I guess it's not surprise that leading a cycle/spin class gives me such great pleasure.

Bad Mom Moments

So, I have not taken my kids to the dentist in-well, way too long. The other night, my oldest tells me his tooth hurts. And today, we found out that he has two cavities that are so bad, they must be extracted! The worst part is, had I taken him last year like I was supposed to, a filling would have done the trick. And now I have to subject him to a lot more pain and suffering. I was sitting in a stool next to the hygienist while she did his cleaning-I felt smaller and smaller as she continued. She reminded me MANY times of my lack of deligence in getting him there more often-which is good because I wasn't feeling quite bad enough. I was expecting to have a photo at the end of the appointment so they could hang it up in the hall of shameful parents. My orthodontist did that when I was a kid-only it was actually a hall of fame-I always had my picture on it for such having such good hygiene. I brushed AND flossed even with braces every single day. Still, despite my superior hygiene, I did get a lot of cavities as a kid-I learned that it is just genes. My husband has never flossed a day in his life, and had maybe 2 cavities his entire life. So, it appears my son got in the wrong line on those genes. There might be hope for Thing #2 (my younger son); but I doubt it. He goes in a couple of weeks for an equally as long overdue a visit. I'm sure that will be wonderful. I know getting an "A" in mommy hood is not possible on all fronts, but some days you really just bomb don't you? This was definitely one of them. ugh!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Blog Vacation

It seems I take a blog vacation during the fall/winter months. Who knows why. I just noticed recently that the sun has been coming up just a tiny bit sooner, and setting just a tiny bit later-which is a great trend. I love when winter starts to fade, and springs comes. It just means summer is not so far! And summer is my favorite time of year. I often wonder why I don't live in a place like Florida or California. It would be so nice to have summer all year long. I would be much more productive. And speaking of winter, I bought my husband shiny new snow blower for Christmas this year. And guess what? It snowed like crazy the 23rd and 24th of December, and then not another ounce since! It's just like washing your car-it rains almost instantly afterward. Still, though, it's not a bad thing. I like the snow-but really only for skiing and the scenery. Driving in it, shoveling it, dressing for it-not so fun.

Although I have not been talking to myself on this blog in recent months, I did do a sports blog on my fantasy football league, and I have been keeping quite busy with my little alter career as an instructor for spin classes-and the newest challenge is this Body Pump certification I am in the process of chasing down. The spin certification was a ton easier. After all, who can't ride a bike? This Body Pump thing is a bit different. It's a weight lifting class-and one I have been a participant of for years. So, naturally, I thought it would be no sweat to pick it up as something I could teach-NOT. It is a 4 month process. It's driving me crazy too. The worst part is, even after I complete this ridiculousness, there is no guarantee I will even be able to teach it. But still, the whole chasing down a goal and accomplishing it has kept me fairly fulfilled.

I don't really have that at my primary job-mostly because selling ads in this economy is not very rewarding. And also, even if it were, I lack passion for it. I took this job thinking that would just be a part of what I do, and now it seems like it's all I do. So, that means I do a whole lot of nothing. I seem to be in a rut here, and I don't know how to break it. So, my supplemental fitness career is helping. In a perfect world, I could just quit this gig and do the teaching thing full time. Unfortunately-it does not pay the bills-or even half the bills! It pays $15-25 an hour depending on the gym you teach for. Even the most invested instructors don't teach more than 6 classes a week so the math just does not work there. I would love to just contract on the side but I don't have a clue how to do that. Perhaps that should be my next goal huh?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Good Wife

If I had read this when I was a teenager-or maybe even in my early 20's, I would have been offended. I remember thinking being a housewife was not something to aspire to. I was going to take the world by storm-you know, run companies, kick butt, take names, etc.....

And naturally, here I am 20 years later, thinking-I would do just about everything on that list if it meant I could quit my job and raise my own kids. In the beginning, it seems that men took care of women and women took care of men-we just each had our roles. As society evolved from the hunter/gatherer phase, men became the breadwinners and women the homemakers. It always had a bit of a condescending feel to it-like the breadwinner was the superior one. As if the one who earned a living was the only one with the capacity to think for himself. Maybe that's just our culture where money rules our world. Or maybe it was just my perception-I had a father from the middle east (Iran) and a mother from the deep south (Arkansas). In any case, I always thought financial independence would keep be a great thing. It was total independence from men. No man could mistreat me.

Then I got married, and some 18 years later, I am finally realizing that he is not going to mistreat me. My husband (though he does get on my nerves) is a very good man. He is kind and fair. He is not perfect but he is my partner, and just like it has always been intended, we are supposed to take care of each other. I never needed to ensure independence. I think I was just worried I would be in my mom's shoes but I am not. And largely thanks to her I am not. I am educated, and I picked someone from my own culture who does not degrade women or treat me like I am inferior. I guess growing up with an example like that than made me think that's just how it was. But it's not.

Then I got in the workforce. At first, when I had tons of time and no money, it seemed reasonable to work my butt off-I had nothing else to do, and I thought I could really ascend that way. Eventually though, the work force became I place I didn't like anymore. It was a combination of events: I had babies and my industry completely fell apart (mortgage-that which must not be named). The two together made me realize I wasn't really living out a dream-it was a nightmare actually. However, the dual income lifestyle has sucked us in, and we now have a house and two cars and kids in a private Christian school. Being able to stay at home has not been a viable option. I do long for the day it is.

The problem with working outside the home, is that all of those things on the list of the Good Wife article are still somewhat expected of moms/wives. Our roles there have not changed that much. My husband wants his meals cooked, his house orderly, his kids taken care of, etc. The only difference is that I work-well, and of course, it's not the set of "Father Knows Best" either. Some of that crap was just ridiculous. Honestly-put a bow in your hair and freshen your make up? But the overall role is still overwhelming as the woman of the house. I never feel like I am on top of things, I miss out on tons of time with my kids. I HATE my job. I am thankful my mom and mother in law have watched my kids all these years so they have been able to stay at home while their parents are at work. It has enabled us to give them a very privileged life. Still, if I could do it again (and who doesn't have a HUGE list of these); I wish I would have had to forsight to know what I did not know then!