Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Happy Fat Tuesday

This is my festive wife's second favorite holiday (Halloween being the first, hmm is this a pattern...).
She made sure I left the house with appropriately colored Mardi Gras beads this morning. I feel festive.

In the Christian calendar, Shrove Tuesday is the English name for the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, which in turn marks the beginning of Lent. In many solidly Roman Catholic countries in Europe and the Americas, this is the last day of Carnival. In some historically Francophone places it is Mardi Gras, French for Fat Tuesday; the most famous Shrove Tuesday celebration is the Brazilian Carnival.

It is also known as Pancake Day or Pancake Tuesday in Britain, Ireland, Australia, and Canada.

The origin of the name Shrove lies in the archaic English verb "to shrive" which means to absolve people of their sins. It was common in the Middle Ages for "shriveners" (priests) to hear people's confessions at this time, to prepare them for Lent.

Monday, February 27, 2006

writingwomyn february collaboration

february 2006 assignment
love doesn't always necessitate intimacy, and intimacy certainly doesn't always breed the love of a lifetime. What does intimacy mean to you, and who do you find you are the most intimate with?

The definition of intimacy is very personal, and so differs wildly for each person. For me, intimacy is the level beyond sex. No…make that beyond making love – sex is a different matter. However you don’t need to achieve one to have the other. Meaning – you do not necessarily have to sleep with the person you are intimate with and vice versa.
Keeping in mind that intimacy is shared with only one (well one at a time I suppose… consecutively… you know in a relationship – I don’t mean being intimate with one person in the morning and then another later that evening… you get my meaning here…) And so is a sexual relationship, shared with only one. I suppose these two types of relationships could be with two different people – altho I imagine that would be very taxing. Kinda of like having two homes. Something I never want to do – and this is yet another whole blog entry.

I believe intimacy makes a relationship sacred, and a life partner a soulmate – not sex. Intimacy can be sexual, it can be sensual, it can be caring, it can be a look, a touch, a moment. It, more than any other factor, binds me to the soul of one other person. I also believe you can spend your life with someone without the sexual part of the relationship, as long as you have intimacy. This is, of course, conjecture…and you may say idealistic – but hey – it’s my blog so I can be idealistic if I want to.
So just to recap – ideally you are intimate with the person you are sharing your life with, and also conveniently having a sexual relationship with, while living in one home.

Friday, February 24, 2006



Are you thinking about your lawn yet?
Well, start now.
Do you have barespots that need seeding? If you didn’t get a chance to overseed in the fall - go ahead and toss down some seed now (if your snow has melted). The freezing and thawing allows for a natural seedbed. In the spring, as the ground thaws the soil will actually open up into small fissures allowing in air and nutrients. The seed you toss out now onto frozen grass will drop right down in.
And don't worry about more snow - that's even better! The snow will help pack the seed down under the soil, and snow is naturally nitrogen rich. Seed will germinate in spring when soil warms to proper germination temperature.
What’s easier than that?

Thursday, February 23, 2006

A Sporting life

For some 18 years now we have been there on the sidelines for the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.
We have watched and cheered and tailgated and wept and gotten sore bleacher butts, we have sat outside in sub-freezing wind chills, or parked our lawn chairs under beach umbrellas while temps soared over 100, we have sat in the rain, sat in our cars, slogged through the mud and even let the snow pile on our heads during countess games, matches and competitions.
We have filled more coolers and water bottles than we can count. We have made sandwiches, and snacks. We have eaten all three meals of the day on the sidelines. With the other parents, we have watched game films, gone to banquets, and drank beers in parking lots. We have iced injuries, applied heating pads, administered ibuprophen, and even taken a couple ambulance rides.

It started with the Rockies – our daughter’s rec softball league. We parents got so involved as spectators that I invented a flip-chart score board just for us silly fans. Then Ferris started playing soccer… and baseball. When he moved on to Pop Warner football, she joined the colorgaurd at high school. Then she finished up and went off to college and he began high school wrestling. It’s always been something. We realized we have been to almost every high school in a 50 mile radius.

We had a couple years there where we would go from a football game, home to pack another cooler, let the dog out, then off to the color guard competitions which would go on into the night. Sometimes the entire weekend would be spent at sporting events. I served on the Pop Warner Board of Directors one year as VP of Concessions. This basically meant we (my inducted wife and I) ran the concession stand for the entire season. This meant working all weekend –5 games over Saturday and Sunday, slinging dogs and making fries. We made 10k that season – it practically killed us… and we had a blast.

Over the years we have met and come to know the parents of so many of the athletes in our town. Walking into our local sports bar is like walking into Cheers. Last night we hugged two old coaches at the bar and had drinks with another football parent while having hot-wings, waving and nodding to countless basketball, football and wrestling kids as they filed in and out. We parents are comrades now – we see them in the grocery store and in line at the bank. My wife and I have been touched that all these folks have accepted us without question or judgment over the years.

It’s been quite a run… but it’s over now.
Our weekends will be free, no more fund raisers, no more uniforms to wash, no more games to watch.
It is slowly dawning on us that we sat on our last bleacher this past weekend.
It’s the end of an era.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Wrestling season is over

Wrestling season is tough. Oh sure – Ferris will tell you how hard it was on him, all that training and discipline... but its been no picnic for us either. And by 'no picnic' I am referring specifically to food.

At the beginning of the season Ferris decided to wrestle 125. Which is all well and good… except he weighed 140 at the time.
So in true Ferris style – once he puts his mind to something, its done.
15 pounds – gone.
Now all he needed to do was keep it off ...or keep taking it off for his twice weekly weigh ins.
This is a huge struggle for a growing young man. Not only is his normal appetite enormous, but he is still growing. Growing even ½ an inch can put you right out of your weight class.
And so he spent every waking moment staying at 125 pounds. Actually – he spent many a sleeping moment doing the same. It seems wrestlers sleep off weight. I am not completely sure how this works but I can tell you this method is not successful for middle aged women – believe me…I tried.
Around the house we changed the kinds of food that were available and completely changed our regular cooking habits.
For two months, my ‘very-fond-of-cooking-for-her-kids’ Italian wife has been waiting patiently. She stopped cooking her famous and amazingly aromatic dishes so that he would not be tempted. No risotto, no pasta with pesto, no crunchy garlic bread, no pumpkin muffins, no warm cookies. Instead she spent her time cutting up small bits of fruit or making little tiny dishes of chicken or shrimp, sometimes wrapping turkey slices in lettuce and spearing them with toothpicks to make them look like fancy appetizers. She bought him vitamin water because she worried about his nutrition. She bought him bags and bags of almonds in the shell so that he would get some calcium (the shelled ones slowed him down enough where he wouldn’t eat too many).
For my part – I handled laundry and disinfections. Evidently certain skin afflictions are a standard part of any high school wrestling program...who knew... and our team was laden with them this year. Wrestler practices every day – and so every day I would wash the towels and many layers of shirts, sweats and socks that he would wear to sweat down. Then I would spray down his bag, his shoes and his headgear with Lysol.
Every day.
Same thing.
No food, lots of lysol, and lots of laundry.

He had a good season. And the season is over now.
Oh, and the day after his last match – he weighed in at 137… and my ‘very-fond-of-cooking-for-her-kids’ Italian wife has opened the kitchen for business again.

Next up is golf season. Which we all find so much more relaxing.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Why am I here

Didja ever walk into a room and forget why you were there? This is evidently a common occurrence in the 40+ crowd. It’s probably more prevalent as you get up past 50, but I think at that point you get used to it and it doesn't bother you as much. Its this adjustment period that’s tricky.
My wife and I have different ways of dealing with this minor synapse glitch. She retraces her steps, goes back to where the thought occurred. This is very effective for her.
Me... I stubbornly stand in the middle of the room and wait. The kids don't even think a thing about it anymore – there I am standing in the middle of the room, my hands on my hips, waiting. Sometimes it takes longer than others… then, as if somebody flipped a switch, it comes to me and I am off in a blur of whatever it was I was in the middle of.
There have been times when the origin of my mission does not come back to me – this is not a problem for someone with the retention of a goldfish, I can easily set off on a new task, which often times finds me standing in the middle of another room, my hands on my hips, waiting….

When I logged in to post today – same thing happened. And so I sat here, with my fingers poised over the keyboard and waited. Alas, I tired of waiting, which is not a problem for someone with the retention of a goldfish….

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


no...I am no weepy.
I hath a code een by dnose.
But I came into work today to rest.
If I were home I would be trying to get the last of the snow and ice off the driveway - or shoveling out the firewood shed or some such other stupid and certainly strenuous task.
Work is much more relaxing.

Monday, February 13, 2006


I heard on the news last night that New England was 'paralyzed' by this blizzard.
Sheesh...the drama.
At about noon yesterday, Ferris' friend Nick calls him from his cell. Apparently, he had driven by the house and noticed we had not yet cleared the driveway.
"Dude, go outside and watch me pull into your driveway in the Red Dragon."
the red dragon
We love Nick. He cracks us up.
the red dragon

Friday, February 10, 2006

Let the Games begin

Will you be watching the Opening Ceremonies tonight?
We are… and we are very excited about it.

As a child my mother instilled in me a love for the Olympic Games. We watched as a family and cheered for everyone. She taught us to appreciate what the games stood for and how young athletes from around the world would come together in peace, often times in contrast to the political strife of the countries that sent them.

Now, my wife and I really enjoy the Olympics, especially the Winter Games, and have been watching them together since Sarajevo in '84. I don't really remember watching the opening ceremonies much until one year when our daughter was maybe 10 or 11. She came home from school that day and said she had to watch the ENTIRE Opening Ceremonies and then write a report. So we all sat down and watched them together. So many countries...so many athletes - the thing went on for ever... Our daughter found it excruciated. Which we thought was very funny.
I personally, was very moved by it.

So ever since, we have made it a point of watching the opening ceremonies and making a big deal of it. Despite repeated invitations, I believe my excited wife and I will be watching them alone tonight. (Daughter...the invite is still open...8:00 pm - broadcast in HiDef!)

And so, to fulfill my Friday tip-o-day obligations –
Get out a globe tonight while you watch the ceremonies. If you have children you can make games of finding the countries as the athletes parade into the stadium, (note: you may need to buy a new up-to-date globe …) perhaps discuss what life is like in those far away foreign lands.
If you don’t have children – then really...the whole spinning globe and athletes from un-heard-of countries is just screaming for a drinking game.

Either way – enjoy the games. Let the message of peace and friendly competition enrich our days for the next two weeks.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Now that football is over

Last night my competitive wife and I watched the Uconn girls basketball game. (Hmm, girls..or women – I believe the University calls it Women’s Basketball, but we call them college ‘kids’..so I will stick with girls… )

Anyway – this normally winning team was having an off night it seemed. They kept tossing the ball in the general direction of the basket but it rarely went in. One of their more seasoned players, Ann Strother, was just not on her mark. She is well known for her ‘threes’ and hit only a couple last night.
I felt bad for the kid… but found solace in the fact that I was not her mother, because that would have broken my heart… I am such a softie.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


Are you dieting?
Remember, this is it - the best, and easiest time of the year to diet.
But you can't waste any time; because before you know it spring will be here and then there will be all those FABulous cookouts with cheeseburgers and beer and hot dogs and beer and chips and dip and beer...you get my point.

This will actually be phase two of my NEW and IMPROVED diet plan. Last summer I did the traditional diet and exercise method. And while it was somewhat effective - it’s a whole lot of work. Plus my body got quite comfortable on the restricted calories, so I needed to do a changeup. For starters, I went back to eating normally - which ...please remember for the +40 crowd "normal" means: no bread, no pasta... no flour products actually, no sugar, no ... well basically only eat 'real' food - nothing processed or prepared. If you eat this way, maintaining is a breeze. But I still have those last few pounds I want to lose.

Over the winter I came up with an innovative diet plan I like to call - the atrophy diet. Its quite simple really - muscle weighs more than fat. So get rid of all that unwanted muscle by simply sitting still. Works like a charm. The scale says I am lighter.

Ok Ok… I suppose realistically, if I believe this whole muscle weighs more than fat theory, I actually put on a couple of pounds over the winter. Back to the basics then - starvation and exercise. ugh.
More on this later…

Monday, February 06, 2006

Winter in New England

I washed the cars yesterday.
This, in and of itself, is not remarkable.
Except that its FEBRUARY!

How odd this winter has been.

Friday, February 03, 2006



Do you have a dog? Does your dog have a dog-bed?
Well here is my dog-bed tip of the day.
Don't bother with the LLBean Premium hundred dollar cushy, fleecy, in your choice of colors, type dog-bed.

Oh sure - they have the zip off cover for easy cleaning and are filled with aromatic cedar shavings.
Well... after a couple months you go ahead and zip that cover off and bury your nose in those aromatic cedar shavings and tell me what it smells like.
My point is this - you can wash the cover every week, but the odor soon gets into the bed itself.

Dogs are cute... but let's face they smell bad.

We buy the 20.00 Wal-mart version (or course you can go to Target or K-Mart if you have seen the Evil Giant documentary) and simply replace it every month or so. I also recommend vacuumming often - just give it a once over while doing the floors (which... if you have a lab you are doing almost everyday anyway) and give it an airing once every week if you can.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

The Holidays are almost over

I am gearing up.
Did you know that the absolute best time to diet is the short time after Superbowl up to Memorial Day?
So I am getting ready to shed these winter pounds.
I am having chocolate for lunch today.
This is how I get ready.