Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Summer I Loved Like None Other

We're flying to Copenhagen at ten tonight and I still have so much to do, but you know me, Distracto, so I have to finish this bit of unfinished business and record the tiniest slice of some of the wonderful days we spent in the season that ended two days ago.

We spent the Fourth of July at Fox Lake with three other families - "It's going to be crazy!" was how I extended the invitation, which made Randy laugh. We did have a great time, though, swimming, kayaking, the more adventurous ones, like my speed-loving husband, wave-running. One morning I saw beautiful blue and brown birds on the second floor window sill and got such satisfaction identifying them as barn swallows from the bird book Kristen gave me. The night of the Fourth, we lit baby fireworks from the local Ace Hardware, made smores, and watched fireworks from every direction around the lake.

The last morning I took a solo kayak trip to a quiet cove to the east. Tree branches overhung shallow inlets. A fish flopped next to the boat and I jumped, then laughed, at the massive sound interrupting the silence. Turtles, white herons and most lovely of all, floating white lotus flowers in bloom.

Nora on the rope swing over Lake Wandawega

Mia, like something out of a dream

Camp Wandawega in August. The last morning I took out the rowboat and circumnavigated the perimeter of the lake through fields of floating lily pads. The water was so clear beneath me, the sensation was one of flying rather than floating.

Pie Process

Pie Product. Clockwise from upper left: Peach for Susan Bearman, Triple Berry, Raspberry Chiffon (a sugar-fat bomb) waiting its whipped cream top for Christina and Mike's backyard party, Peach waiting for its sliced almonds, Blueberry.

And now, we have red maple leaves and finally reddening tomatoes. The backyard neighbors lost two mature ash trees yesterday; our only consolation in this pic is the autumn clematis.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Trouble Song (With Apologies To The Roches)

We're going away to Denmark soon.
We're going away to Denmark, Denmark.
Denmark soon.
Denmark soon.

I'll try not to get in the way of the Games
Like I want to do.
Try not to get in the way of the Games

We're flying across the ocean soon
Flying across the ocean, ocean
Ocean soon.
Ocean soon.

I wonder how children like jetlag
And parents with the same.
Please don't whine when I have jetlag
And I promise the same.

We're leaving behind our 'puters soon
Leaving behind our Tivo, Mad Men.
Runway soon,
Dancing Stars.

I hope they have vegetarian entrees in Copenhagen
And noodles for the kids.
If they don't have buttered noodles in Copenhagen
We'll probably die.

We're going away to Denmark.
Denmark, Jetlag, 'Lympics, Noodles, Tivo, Mad Men...

Dancing With The Stars!

Monday, September 21, 2009

We Laugh Every Day

Nora says her hangnail is getting "bleedier." She has Harpo hair, his same innocent mien and a taste for the anarchic. When I ask her if the bath water is too hot or cold, she says "it feels wet!" There may be plenty of times I want to cry, but we laugh every day.

After the girls watched the LOL video about a cat sneaking up on his owner, they started playing the game with me. With wide eyes and eerie smiles, they stand frozen and stare at me, then mysteriously move closer when my back is turned. They look so sweetly Children of the Corn, I can't stop laughing in a panicky kind of borderline hysteria. "Stop it, girls, you're freaking me out!" I yell, wanting them to keep it up.

In my latest post on Chicago Moms Blog, I pine for the four of us to have a particular kind of fun together. I kind of got my wish yesterday in an unexpected way when Nora got tired of the water and decided to wrap up in a towel and sit on a deck chair. She watched us play for a while then announced, "I am the judge and you are the swimmers and I will say who will get ALL my blue ribbons and ALL my trophies." She waves her arms to help her explain. Her gaze is directed up and away from us toward the prizes she imagines in the air.

So we have a water ballet competition with lots of fancy flourishes, splashing and dramatic countenances. Randy's summersaults are especially impressive, but Nora bestows the gold to Mia every time. By the third time that I have placed third, I have to whisper to Randy, "family perfection," although it's more about satisfying mutual happiness than any flawless gloss.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

I Lost Twenty Pounds This Summer

Rough last few weeks with Randy working eighteen hours, seven days. He looked ashen on the way out the door this morning.

I'm muddling through, relying on workout endorphins and the multi-vitamin I started taking again after the doctor emailed that my blood test came back slightly anemic. Honestly, I chewed up one pill and perked up within hours - is that even possible? Who knows what freaky kind of mind-body connections are working these last two months with many of my prior convictions about my body thrown out the window - "I eat healthy but I keep gaining weight!" Not as healthy as you think. "My body needs to rest a day in between workouts." Not really. "I need protein every two hours or so!" Nope. "Several small meals are healthier than three." Not necessarily. "Eight glasses of water a day!" Don't stretch out your stomach. "Hunger pains keep me awake at night!" Thinking "hunger is the good feeling of your stomach shrinking" now lulls me to sleep. "I freak out when my blood sugar is low!" Not anymore.

I've lost twenty pounds since July 9 by working out every day and eating less. A lot less.

Typical day's menu: Raw oatmeal with zero fat Greek yogurt and raspberries. A bowl of soup OR a salad (NOT both), no cheese, unsweetened iced tea with lemon. One piece of pizza OR another salad with rice and beets, say, OR maybe an Amy's frozen burrito or entree, more iced tea. I've been avoiding snacks except for lots of veggies and the beautiful fruits of summer and a few (very few, I'm talking five or so) almonds or walnuts. No coffee, no alcohol, which has been surprising easy. Even when dear Christina offered me a splash of something white and bubbly, my usual favorite, on her deck one evening, it looked very pretty but when I got close, smelled like something foreign and looked heavy and not potable.

Here's the funny thing, though - it has happened so gradually that I can't really see much a difference. My clothes fit better, yeah! but I never minded the big tits and ass look. Rather liked it, in fact. It was the inescapable belly that bugged me and that, as most formerly pregnant women know, will never really go away.

I've wanted to share this with you all, dear readers, but there's been some unanticipated side effects to all the exercising. Like deep sleep and a desire for it that overrides my usual compulsion to sit and write at night. And in a kind of systemic interconnected way, there's been less anxiety than usual when I don't post. Not that I haven't wanted to share - Oy vey, what adventures we had this summer! Wandawega, daycamp, one of the final Kiddieland days and now, the excitement over a possible trip to Copenhagen. Which brings us back to poor Randy and his overworking. I can handle the usual days, but I do miss my dear partner. I miss the friends I can unburden to. I miss someone to share this new me with. I didn't even get a chance to tell him about my touch of anemia until this morning on his way out the door.

So today has been rough. After weeks of blissful summer, today I had a pity party. Brought on by no bigger stress than the ballet teacher gently saying Nora is being uncooperative. And a delayed shower. And a temporarily lost shoe. And a sympathy letter from strangers that showed up in my mailbox addressed to my brother who died thirty-three years ago last month. Just a terribly strange and sad coincidence, but today I am a camel dodging straws and I just want someone to say, "you look good - did you lose weight?" Yes. Yes, I did.