Last night as I was watching The Daily Show, there was a commercial for a new Christmas based horror flick. I had to shut my eyes and plug my ears until it was over. This is not a new thing for me of course, but I’m trying to decide if I am the only thirty-something alive who is unable to watch horror or heavily suspenseful movies. It is not even that I don’t like them; I really and truly can’t watch them. I have deviated from this rule a few times, and have always paid a hefty price for it. I still remember watching Night of the Living Dead in all of its black and white cheesiness, making fun of it all through the movie, only to have two solid weeks of nightmares about the zombies coming to get me. I would lay awake at night and be totally sure that some non-mortal being would grab me, no matter how much I assured myself that this couldn’t be the case. I managed to avoid the teenaged viewings of Friday the 13th movies, and the Nightmare on Elm Street flicks, but did get sucked into Halloween. Halloween was terrifying and probably caused me a month or more of nightmares and uneasy bedtimes. My friends assured me that I was just overreacting, and none of them had similar problems dealing with the scary and gory movies. I assume I am just a freak of nature unable to get past seeing something on television and thinking about its implications in my life.

It seems some people are less bothered by the “slasher” type films because they are so graphic and violent that they couldn’t possibly happen in real life, but I cannot. However, suspenseful films that are more closely tied to reality do have a greater impact on my ability to sleep at night. The movie Seven for instance, will forever be burned in my memory, and I curse the day I relented and agreed to watch it with my now DH. That movie disturbed me so much that I can’t even discuss scenes from it without having disturbed sleep, despite the fact that it has been many years since I saw it. Sometimes the images you don’t see on the screen do haunt you far more than the ones you do see. There have been other movies in that vein, and I don’t allow myself to watch them. I know it frustrates my DH that we are so limited in our selection of movies we can watch together because of my unreasonable fears. He has taken to DVRing movies like that and just watching them when I am not around.

My fear is so great that it now extends to regular network television programs. I cannot watch shows like Criminal Intent, or even some episodes of CSI when there is “disturbing” content, even Medium gets to me. These are all shows that DH likes to watch, so he DVRs them and watches them when I am occupied with other things. Of course commercials advertising movies and even television shows also get to me. I really wonder if this is a problem for me. Is it weird that I cannot shut my brain off at night? I know rationally that I am not in danger, but my mind keeps spinning these crazy scenarios anyway. I wouldn’t say that these fears rule my life to any extent. I don’t alter plans or deviate my routines because I really fear being slashed with a machete when I walk out the door, but as I’m trying to sleep I get caught in this loop that tortures me. Perhaps I just need some Ambien, or maybe I just need to keep watching happy movies and choosing things like Cheaper by the Dozen 2 even if it is predictable and lame…at least I know I won’t lie awake at night thinking about Steve Martin’s family of 12 coming to get me (though it might make me double check my birth control method!).

Still what is up with a Christmas slasher movie? What does that say about our world?


Global warming much?

Picture this, woman gets home from work, changes into running clothes (a light long-sleeved cool max shirt and a single layer of running tights), and goes for a run outside. So you are thinking, what is the big deal about that, people do that every day, why in the hell are you wasting my time with it on your blog? The big deal is that it was December 14th, and I ran outside with only one thin layer of clothing on my body. Not only did I only have one layer of clothing on, but maybe 2 miles into my run I felt too warm and wished I had worn shorts instead. It was December 14th, seriously, in the Frozen Tundra it is not supposed to be warm enough to even consider running outside in shorts in December. That is why I own a treadmill. I don’t like to run in the cold, I don’t like to have to don 3 layers of clothing just to freeze my ass off while running. I much prefer outdoor running to treadmill running, but being the weather wimp that I am I always opt for shorts and a sports bra in the climate controlled house over icicles forming on your neck gaiter because your warm breath condenses in it when you breathe and then freezes.

I know there are die hard runners out there; it seems that one of my neighbors is of that variety, but as far as I’m concerned they are crazy. I am not one of them. I used to run outside more often through the entire winter, at least doing my long runs outside to break up the monotony of all of that treadmill running. I find it difficult to motivate myself to run much more than an hour at a shot on the treadmill, so I would take my longer runs outside and just grit my way through it. Now I’ve decided that if I just don’t sign up for a long distance race that will be run before April or May I can just skip all of those longer runs until it is warmer. I can fit in a 7 miler in an hour or so on the TM, and I figure that is good enough to get me through the cold months in decent condition.

As I was running my 4 miles last night, I couldn’t help but ponder why it is that we have no snow on the ground in mid-December, why it was almost 50 degrees when it shouldn’t be much above 32 F. I started really thinking about the Al Gore documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, that I’ve been hearing about. I haven’t watched it, nor was it high on my list of things to buy for Christmas gifts, but I know I want to watch it eventually. I caught part of Al Gore on Oprah a few weeks back, and even the brief views of the documentary had a tremendous impact. It is easy to say that one day of above average temps doesn’t indicate anything in regards to global warming, but the fact is that we’ve had pitiful snow fall for several years now, hotter summers, and warmer winters. It makes me want to buy a hybrid car, but honestly I don’t feel all that motivated to do much more. It feels like such a big problem, and I guess that makes me feel helpless to solve things all on my own. Is it really terrible for me to say that I don’t mind the warmer weather? It is just too bad that there are so many nasty consequences that come along for the ride.


Just when you think you know

I know I am tempting fate by posting this, but I feel I owe my readers an update on The Girl’s difficult bedtime rituals. For the past maybe 5 nights The Girl has been remarkably easy to get to sleep. She has been so easy to get to sleep that both last night and the night before we were able to simply plop her in her crib, give her a kiss, turn on the Fisher Price aquarium, and walk away. She simply went to sleep on her own. It is amazing to me. Just when you think you are doomed for a life filled with an hour of sitting in a dark nursery and quietly creeping out of the room, something changes. It is just too bad that I have no idea what changed. Our nighttime routines haven’t altered too much, nor have we all of a sudden become horribly consistent. Maybe she just sensed that I was a little fed up with her high maintenance needs (DH does so much better with this…even at her worst he just shrugs and says oh well as he sits in her room for hours). Maybe she is just starting to realize just how nice it is to sleep (I highly doubt that), or maybe the planets are aligned just right and it will all go back to shit tonight. At least I can take comfort in the fact that I got to sit and read a book for a solid hour last night, who really knows what The Girl has in store for me tonight.


I don’t know how it is possible, but I have finished my Christmas shopping and it is only December 14th. DH and I scribbled out a rough list of the people we needed to buy for a few weeks back, and I then converted it into Excel format listing out recipient, giver, ideas, budget, store location, and whether or not it had been purchased. Today I was updating the list and found that the only gifts left to buy are the ones for myself (which naturally fall to my DH to purchase), oh and a gift from the children to DH. I’m not saying that I am completely done with all gift related tasks, as there are still 3 packages that need to be shipped off relatively soon (two are waiting for online purchases to arrive before they can be sent on to their final destinations). My Christmas cards haven’t been sent out either, since we are still waiting for the photo cards to arrive from the photographer. Still, I can’t help but feel proud and relieved to have the bulk of the stress behind me. Perhaps my decision to just plod ahead rather than agonizing over every purchase was a wise one. That and my impulse trip into Sephora where I found gifts for most of the “hard to buy for” women on my list, everyone likes lip gloss right?

Now I guess I have to focus on some menu planning since we are hosting Christmas dinner again this year. Any good ideas for things to pair with roast beef? We are tired of ham and turkey…



I don't think I have posted a picture of my kids here before, but in order to get the gist of what I am talking about you need to watch this video. Yes, that is The Girl dancing happily and enjoying some Christmas music, only to have The Boy come and steal the doll she was holding which made her cry. This type of activity happens often in our house, one child happily playing with something only to have the other steal a toy or otherwise interrupt the play so that they in turn become the center of attention. Sometimes it is entertaining for me, other times it is exhausting, but mostly I've been looking at things from my parents' perspective. I vividly remember playing similar games with my brother when we were young, and it is only now that I can see why my parents reacted the way that they did. Ah, this must be where the "I hope you have children just like you when you grow up" phrase comes from!

Typical scene from my childhood: My brother and I minding our own business, I decide to approach him only to have him tell me to get away from him. I continue prodding him until he says something to the effect of "if you touch/talk to/breathe on me one more time I will pound you to the ground." Of course I could never resist and always pushed that button that was just dangling in front of my eyes, and then got beat up. I did my best girly fight moves, biting, kicking, pinching, and scratching and probably held my own for a while but ended up on the losing end most times. I would then go crying to my parents for help, only to be met with "what did you do to make him hit you?" Not only was I hurt, but I had no sympathetic ears to cry to. Life seemed very unfair to me then.

Now, as I watch The Girl purposely take The Boy's beloved Cars figures away from him, only to run away and giggle and wait for him to chase her I finally get it. The fight was my entertainment as pathetic as it was, and The Girl is getting hers that way too. Hopefully physical violence doesn't ensue in my house in the near future, but I guess I just see it as inevitable at some point. The Boy takes toys away to make The Girl cry too, he knows it is a sure fire way to engage her negatively or not...it also garners attention from the parents.

I would like to find better ways of dealing with this stuff then just blaming the instigator and letting things unfold, but I'm wondering if that is even feasible. I have a feeling that The Girl will just get scrappier and scrappier as the years roll on, and The Boy will refine his methods of retaliation. Amazing how different it is when you are in the driver's seat, and still don't think you can control the train wreck. I just want to take this moment to say, Mom (and Dad) I'm sorry for adding to your grey hair counts.


The snake ate the baby Jesus

We put our Christmas decorations up on Sunday. The Boy has been having a blast playing with all of the “new toys.” He has little conversations between the snowmen, has them take rides in his cars and trucks, and just generally enjoys himself. Last night I sorted through the last unpacked box of decorations and found our pathetic little nativity set (no offense Mom, I know you gave it to us, but the figures do look a little scary…baby Jesus looks like baby Damien and frankly that disturbs me a bit). I wouldn’t have even put it out, but I knew The Boy would enjoy playing with the figures especially since it included a baby (the baby Jesus of course). The Boy started asking questions about the set, and DH was happy to oblige. I expected different answers from DH, since he isn’t the friendliest person about religion, but he did well and fed The Boy the “right” answers about each figurine. The Boy started acting out scenes with the figures, starting with “the fairy” flying in to help the people. DH corrected him, that it was in fact an angel and not a fairy, but The Boy said “no, it is a fairy” in the way he does when he knows we are obviously WRONG and he is RIGHT. As in, you are crazy Dad, I know this is a fairy, why on earth would you think it was an angel, just look at the wings Dad?! Our lack of religious exposure for our kids is really showing through isn’t it?

A little later in the evening, The Boy was occupying himself and we hear him say “The snake just ate the baby Jesus.” Sure enough he was playing with his dollar store wooden snake and had made it eat baby Jesus. He saw that we laughed at this, so the snake slithered over to us and The Boy said “The baby Jesus is in the snake’s tummy now.” We of course thought this was hilarious and burst into laughter. Forget about the fact that we are failing to expose our child to Christianity for a moment because this is just plain funny! I can’t recall exactly how we responded to The Boy, but I think we just let him move on. I’m sure tomorrow the snake will end up eating “the fairy,” or perhaps “the director” (he seems to be calling the kings director, or maybe he is saying conductor). I meant to take a picture of the snake curled up inside of the nativity box, but I missed the opportunity. I’m sure The Boy will come up with something equally cute before this holiday season is over.

Do not go gentle into that good night

When either DH or I are putting The Girl to bed at night I am often reminded of a poem I first read in 10th grade. It is entitled “Do not go gentle into that good night,” by Dylan Thomas. The poem itself is about death, but the last lines seem to apply to my dear girl as she fights her evening slumber: “Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” This is most definitely what she is doing. She knows she is tired, but yet has to fight it off with every ounce of her being before relenting and drifting off to sleep. If only she knew how much fun we will have waking her up at 9 am on a Saturday morning when she is a teenager, just because we can! Okay, maybe we won’t be so cruel, but these long evenings of sitting beside her crib and waiting until she is done playing with her wonderful Fisher Price aquarium are getting to be a drag. Sometimes it takes her less than 20 minutes to fall asleep, but on a bad night it can take 1.5 hours. I realize we are weak parents, and our little girl has us wrapped around her little finger, but I am simply not strong enough to let her cry it out. She wails so miserably and loudly, and sounds so pathetic that inevitably one of us will break down and “rescue” her.

For now we sit and listen and wait for our little girl to rage against the dying of the light, just long enough for her to feel good about going gently into that good night.