Layouts, layouts, layouts


1 Comment

Filed under 1

Time to Move On

I thought that I would keep on keeping on about my recent tiffs with friends or perhaps former friends. At some point there is a time to be honest with ourselves. I know X 1000 that I can be unagreeable. I also know that this puts people off. But to them I say baby steps.

A year ago I was struggling in a hard place. Struggling for security leaves a mark. Some of these scares are fading, some will take longer. I don’t ask for less than honest reactions, but, I have this idea. I want to fight for the acceptance for the not so perky American. To my European readers this is clear. We are on the same pages in a number of ways.

This post is to put the topic to bed.

Me in quiz land:

Openness to Experience/Intellect

High scorers tend to be original, creative, curious, complex; Low scorers tend to be conventional, down to earth, narrow interests, uncreative.
You enjoy having novel experiences and seeing things in new ways. (Your percentile: 88)


High scorers tend to be reliable, well-organized, self-disciplined, careful; Low scorers tend to be disorganized, undependable, negligent.
You are very well-organized, and can be relied upon. (Your percentile: 86)


High scorers tend to be sociable, friendly, fun loving, talkative; Low scorers tend to be introverted, reserved, inhibited, quiet.
You are relatively social and enjoy the company of others. (Your percentile: 70)


High scorers tend to be good natured, sympathetic, forgiving, courteous; Low scorers tend to be critical, rude, harsh, callous.
You find it easy to criticize others. (Your percentile: 1)


High scorers tend to be nervous, high-strung, insecure, worrying; Low scorers tend to be calm, relaxed, secure, hardy.
You tend to become anxious or nervous.

Leave a comment

Filed under 1

Sports, Expectations, and Never Surrrender


1. If you see a porta potty with no line, use it. Even if you don’t need to.
2. If you have to ask yourself, Does this driver see me? The answer is no.
3. If you have to ask yourself, Are these shorts too short? The answer is yes.
4. 1 glazed doughnut = 2 miles
5. You rarely regret the runs you do; you almost always regret the runs you skip.
6. Not everyone who looks fast really is, and not everyone who looks slow really is.
7. Nobody has ever watched Chariots of Fire from beginning to end. Not even the people who made it.
8. You can never have too many safety pins on your gym bag.
9. Running any given route in the rain makes you feel 50 percent more hard-core than covering the same route on a sunny day.
10. If you care even a little about being called a jogger versus a runner, you’re a runner.   
Competitive people are competitive. Driven people are driven. Some people call the Type A personalities. Some people call them bitchy. The psychology of this situation is hard to describe to non-believers.   


Type A behavior often includes:        

  • Competitiveness
  • Strong Achievement-Orientation
  • Certain Physical Characteristics That Result From Stress and Type A Behavior Over Years
  • I am going to tell a story. I hope the story is helpful and I think that it sheds light on some ‘Urban Tribes’ or cultures. I am an amature athlete. I race, I compete, and I train. There is a group of people who fit into this category. Within this group there are rules and hierarchies.       

    I work out nearly everyday. Working out does not equal training. Work out people are commonly called ‘gym rats.’ A gym rat is someone who is always at the club, has spots and equipment they prefer, wears specialized clothing (bike shoes, lycra, and underarmour), and knows the workout routine and the class schedule. We balance our workouts: cardio, weight training, and flexibility. We are a 3rd tier group.       

    Athletes in training: these are people with a race goal. They could be triathletes, runners, skiers, biathletes, the list goes on. When you are in training you have a regime. 

    Rest or run/walk
    1.5 m run
    Rest or run/walk
    1.5 m run
    1.5 m run
    30- 60 min walk
    Rest or run/walk
    1.75 m run
    Rest or run/walk
    1.5 m run
    1.75 m run
    35-60 min walk
    Rest or run/walk
    2 mi run
    Rest or run/walk
    1.5 m run
    2 MI run
    40-60 min walk
    Rest or run/walk
    2.25 m run
    Rest or run/walk
    1.5 m run
    2.25 m run
    45-60 min walk
    Rest or run/walk
    2.5 m run
    Rest or run/walk
    2 m run
    2.5 m run
    50-60 min walk
    Rest or run/walk
    2.75 m run
    Rest or run/walk
    2 m run
    2.75 m run
    55-60 min walk
    Rest or run/walk
    3 m run
    Rest or run/walk
    2 m run
    3 m run
    60 min walk
    Rest or run/walk
    3 m run
    Rest or run/walk
    2 m run
    5-K Race


    This is a simple 5K training program. It is important that you train with people on your level. This is an Iron Man schedule:   



    I have trained ‘up’ before. It is foolish. I was out of my league. I couldn’t keep pace and was eventually dropped from the group. I have done half-marathons, smaller races 10-5K, and one full marathon. I do not have the drive or competitiveness for the hardcore events.  Two weeks ago I tagged along with a running group. It consisted of Iron Men on their light day, full and half marathoners, and other runners. The leader was an Iron Man and he was intense. They are all intense. It became clear at about mile 2 of 8 that I was a liability. It is running courtesy to leave no man behind, so the faster people lapped me on blocks to keep their pace and keep me in the running. I could tell it was a sacrifice. I dropped out at mile 5 and ran another mile home.      

    I guess what I am trying to explain is that maintaining effort even after disappointment is crucial. Keep going. Quitting is not and option and no excuses. I couldn’t do it = I have to work harder. I am the type to set a goal and finish it. I have standards that I maintain, even at the cost of suffering and embarrassment. I like regiments and I follow them.      

    This all sounds great, but, there is a price. Certain personality characteristics have been consistently found in athletes, such as introversion (Hagberg, Mullin, Bahrke, & Limburg, 1979), lower levels of cooperation (Harder, 1992) and narcissistic personality characteristics (Carroll, 1989). The point being that there is a do or die culture.      

     This is a chicken and egg dilemma. Do we find things that suit our personality or does our personality change. In my family we do not have long happy conversations. We are happy enough, but we are brief and direct. Just the facts ma’am. As all of my siblings and I have grown up with little support we see being supported by others as both dangerous and foolish. Not one of us, cousins on both sides included do not work. We have all been taught that self-reliance is the key to survival. Truth be told, all of us have been taught that it is weak to not be able to handle all of life’s demands.      

     I have suffered incredibly when I have not met this standard. Even my sister, pregnant at 18, made it on her own. It is the way we are. It is judgemental. We do have minimum standards and if those are not met, one is subject to censure. We have no woman support conversations. We don’t even believe in it.       

     Judge away. Anyone else may be happier. I don’t think happiness has ever, ever been an objective in my family culture. Back stories are important, they give a frame of reference. As my father often quoted Tennyson:       


    “Forward, the Light Brigade!”
    Was there a man dismay’d?
    Not tho’ the soldier knew
     Someone had blunder’d:
    Theirs not to make reply,
    Theirs not to reason why,
    Theirs but to do and die:
    Into the valley of Death
    Rode the six hundred.       


    Filed under 1

    Asking a Little Too Much

    This theme seems to be a bit on the controversial side, but, as it is reoccurring I am going once more into the breach, dear friends.

    It boils down to: people with enough time to get things done, more resources, and poor excuses have to stop asking me to do things for them. I am going to throw in complaining too. Today I spent hours cleaning at a friend’s house. She has ‘issues’ with social skills, in my opinion, but I have received a few gifts and feel obligated.

    It is unfair to compare life challenges with others, but my nature and ‘can do mantra’ makes my dander rise. If I didn’t hear about it, I don’t think that I would care, but I do. Before this turns into a grudge match I need to set a premise for my argument. I spent my formative house wife years in Portugal. Portuguese women would never be caught with a messy home. It is unthinkable. I also grew up in a messy home and it always bothered me as a child. I hate clutter. I am known to give away usable items because I can’t stand the sight of them. I also hate knickknacks.

    That all stated: I spent several hours today helping woman X clean her room. It was messy and cluttered, but that is reasonable. However, it was visibly dust littered. I actually had to clean out the vacuum as it sprayed dust because it was so full.

    I am facing this problem here at home. My hubby dear can not get his sh** together. I asked him to fold and store two baskets of laundry at 12 p.m.; it is still on the sofa.

    All of these people (and some other neighbors not included) have a working spouse and many of them ‘work out of the home’ or stay home with kids. I am teacher. It is not glamorous, but I do have to have my ducks in a row. I have to do it with little prep time and I have to be efficient.

    I understand that little kids can be hard. I spent the day with a 2-year-old in tow, as Mom didn’t have childcare lined up. However, things can get done. I am going to explain my routine from the toddler/baby years.

    1.  Get up and get food going.
    2. Get the kitchen in order while child is eating.
    3. Pick a morning show for the child.
    4. Use this 1/2 hour to make beds, store pj’s, pick up what is left from the night.
    5. Activity OUT of the house (this is a critical step). It tires the children. Even if it is just taking them to the Y and letting them run for an hour, it is worth it.
    6. Run your errands. I know, schlepping kids sucks, but I have done it using public transportation.
    7. Lunch. Let the kiddos wander while you make it. I used to switch out toys every two weeks or so.
    8. Nap!!! Even if it is ‘quiet time’ in a room. Set a timer.
    9. Nap is all you: No resting. Nap = clean up. Pick up everything lying around. I had baskets for each child. Nap is your golden clean up time.
    10. Afternoon: I won’t lie; afternoons are long. I almost always had a plan. Defaults are outside time, even in the snow.
    11. Kids will want down time after some hard playing. TV and books are your friend. Make sure that this a ‘Mommy is busy’ time.
    12. Wind down to dinner.
    13. Husband arrives.
    14. Baths, consistent schedule, cry it out.
    15. This is the part no one wants to say: bedtime is really clean the house time. I always slept better with a tidy home.
    16. Maybe tv now or spouse time.
    17. Sleep

    Do it all again. I lived like this for 10 years. Numbers 3-10 are out of my babysitters handbook. If you have a sitter or work you must keep the schedule going. I also add a full morning of scrubbing every Saturday. I also use #13 for an hour at the gym.

    No one said it was easy.


    Filed under 1

    Stuff I Want


    I watched this film tonight and I didn’t really like it very much. It was o.k. It was a ‘feel good’ movie. I am not a fan of feel good movies. I loved ‘Up in the Air’ and ‘The Hurt Locker.’ I would go so far as to say: I love a film with a neutral ending, an ambiguous ending, or a down right sad ending.


    I can not tell a lie. I don’t understand The South. It puts me off in the worst way. I know that this is unfair, but, if they would stop passing the laws they pass and the crazy groups and politicians that come out of there, I would feel better.

    There are a few of other things that I am interested in; my materialistic side is rearing its head. I want to roll in the store below. I want to play in pretty things. I want a little mad money.

    Small and lame describes this post, but, it is my craving.



    1 Comment

    Filed under 1

    A Word from the Trenches

    The play is the thing. It isn’t. Playing the part is the thing.

    It has been a long week. I know that these posts are supposed to be happy. I know that these art blogs are places for remembering the good. But, quoting the wise: You take the good, you take the bad and then you have the facts of life.

    Marriage, it seems, is a losing proposition for a number of girlfriends I know. I have been fighting the good fight for a while. It is frustrating. We all hear over and over that marriage is hard work. Unfortunately, everything is hard work and at some point I get tired of hard work.

    I work hard doing housework. I work hard fitting all of the pieces of every one’s everything as THE MOM. I work hard at work. I want to talk about working hard at work. So many of us go about our daily routines, fulfilling our duties and it is not a pleasure.

    It does not mean it is a burden to work. However, there are burdens at work. I have been thinking a lot about how to explain this in a non-confrontational way. In the great world of social networking we are privy to the information our friends and acquaintances share.

    Somewhere in all of this I have realized that my SAHM friends complain about lack of time, overwhelming tasks, and the chores of the house. It struck me yesterday why I bristle from time to time about this: I and many others in my situation do not share all of our work days.

    Imagine if I shared the papers I grade and the administration I deal with; I  could go on and on and on. I realize that all of this is uninteresting to everyone. Work stays at work. Perhaps if I explained that we are not living exciting lives of mystery and the world is not clambering for my story it would make more sense.

    It is not meant to diminish anyone or anything. It is just a point. I feel that SAHM’s sometimes think that ‘we’ don’t respect them and just for clarification at least 7 different women come to mind.  I think that a better statement would be: I know the working world doesn’t really pay the working mother much mind and maybe we have come to understand that expecting this is unrealistic. In fact, we can jeopardize our means of income by talking about it.

    So, I say, not out of frustration or envy, working is work and we do all of the rest of the work too. Perhaps your insights into your days fall on tin ears and this hurts. I would ask that ‘you,’ the many ‘you’s’ in my life sprinkle grains of salt on the reactions you get. Try to remember you are probably not very interested in a lot of my day too.



    Filed under social views

    Social Grace

    Social graces are skills used to interact politely in social situations. They include manners, etiquette (the specific accepted rules within a culture for the application of universal manners), deportment and fashion. These skills were once taught to young women at a finishing school or charm school. The focus of social graces has changed over the last century, recently with an emphasis on business etiquette and international protocol.

    “The time has come,” the Walrus said,
    “To talk of many things:
    Of shoes—and ships—and sealing wax—
    Of cabbages—and kings—
    And why the sea is boiling hot—
    And whether pigs have wings.”

    The time has come to talk of many things    Sometimes too much of something can be a bad thing. I love to write, but, realize that not EVERYTHING is meant for public consumption.

    So here, I offer you musings and ramblings, fluff and fun, day to day, and the off chance of waxing poetic.

    May this be a place where all feel welcome.

    1 Comment

    Filed under 1