Saturday, July 26, 2008

One City; Two Worlds

The day started at the neighborhood country club. We don't belong (Don't get me started on my opinion of country clubs....) but they allow all the kids in the neighborhood to swim on the swim team. This is very nice of them. We love the swim team. (Even though the meets start at 7:30 every Saturday morning. Yawn.)

I was a Timer for the swim meet in my favorite lane (Lane 6 - lane of the underdogs) and was able to chat in between races with the lawyers, doctors and their offspring.

It is a happy, shiny place. Everyone is white, rich (relatively), well dressed, clean and happy. (One is not allowed to frown whilst at the country club - I swear it is in their by-laws.)

The parking lot is full of Jaguars, BMWs, Mercedes, Volvos, Lexus....and just for kicks: one slightly scratched up Honda Minivan full of whatever trash my children dragged into it that morning.

When I'm at the country club, I feel like I'm:
a) staring in a Hallmark commercial
b) a Stepford wife
c) on Prozac or some other drug that makes everything sunny and bright and cheerful

That's not multiple choice. I feel all of those at once. It's actually not a bad feeling. For an hour or two, you believe that everyone has enough to eat and a place to live; and that the world is peaceful; and that global climate change has reversed itself. Life is grand. I like that.

We left the idyllic country club to go to a birthday party of one of D's friends from school for the afternoon. Not a neighborhood friend, but a friend who lives over by the school.

The party was at a roller skating rink across town, in one of the scariest parts of the city. The roller rink was run-down and pretty skeevy. (Are there any that aren't?) No one in our neighborhood would *ever* host a party there. trust me on that.

1) I was the only adult there without a tattoo
2) Among the mothers I spoke with, I was the only one who is married.
3) I was the oldest person in the limbo contest (Hey - you can't go to a roller skating rink and sit out the limbo contest!) Scratch that, I was the oldest person at the rink, period.
4) I think it was perhaps the dirtiest place I've been all year.
5) At one point, I was seriously afraid part of the fake fabricated ceiling tile would fall on my head.
6) Didn't see any nice cars in the parking lot - but lots of cool bumper stickers and creative uses for duct tape.
7) I couldn't tell you the racial mix - it was so mixed, you didn't even notice one race over another.

Guess where my daughter and I had the most fun?

If you said with the happy shiny rich white people and the fancy pool....BZZZT.

If you said at the scary roller rink with the cheesy limbo contest....Ding, Ding, Ding. Winner, winner, chicken dinner.

Sometimes I worry about our decision to send our daughter to a school of such poverty. But when I see her seamlessly weave in and out of different worlds - treating everyone the same whether they are the child of a doctor or of a tattoo artist, I'm not as worried.

But next time, damn it, I 'm going to WIN that limbo contest.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

How NOT to train for a marathon

1. Pick a hot, humid day.
2. Run 16 miles.
3. Do not bring enough water.
4. When you get home, notice that your husband and kids are at the pool.
5. Decide to hop on your bike to go meet them up there.
6. Forget that you just ran 16 miles and are completely spent.
7. Forget to drink water or eat anything.
8. Ride to the pool.
9. Find your family...and....
10. Faint.
11. Come to, try to get up, and....
12. Faint again.

My dear, wonderful husband is trying everything in his power not to say "I told you so." See, he is a sensible, smart kind of human being. If he were to go out running for 3 hours, he would bring LOTS of water with him. He'd return from the run and immediately rehydrate, rest and eat. He tells me to do such things all the time. He says recovery is one of the most important aspects of training. (sensible & smart, I tell you.) And he used to ride his bike for 6 hours/day, so he knows of what he speaks.

Me, I'm intelligent, sure. But not the "sensible" kind of intelligence. I had to get married to experience that.

So, he's been forcing me to rest all day with lots of liquids. I'm fine now.

Lesson learned.

But, man. I made it through a full marathon (26.2 miles) last October in temps higher than these. How could a puny little 16 miler do me in like this?????

OK, maybe lesson hasn't completely yet been learned. But Husband D. is keeping a closer eye on me. That should count for something.

Friday, July 18, 2008

My New Yorker arrived today

and really, I don't get the big deal.

Yes, it's a bit of an insulting cover. But aren't they all?

Am I missing something?

The New Yorker is full of satirical cartoons every month. Both inside the magazine and on the cover. Most of them go right over my head. Now that we live in the Midwest, I am much too un-hip to get the inside jokes of the east coast set. Truly.

A friend argued that people will see the cover and think that Obama is a Muslim. I argued back, "There is not a single New Yorker subscriber who could possibly think that."

To me, they are doing what they always do: poking fun at the ignorant people who do NOT get the New Yorker. It's another big inside joke for those of us who do subscribe.

If you think about it, it's not really an effective way to boost their circulation, but it seems to be what they do.

I liken it to the Apple ads. The ones who made fun of people who own PCs. ("I'm a Mac" - hot stylish young guy...."I'm a PC" - stuffy suit-wearing nerdy guy.) Very funny commercials. But a good way to make people buy your product? By mocking them? I think not.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Can't stop watching Matt dance...

I've come (relatively) late to the internet sensation of that guy dancing all over the world. I got no less than a dozen emails from family and friends with the YouTube link, but I ignored them. I saw it mentioned on blog after blog, but I never clicked through. The Times even did a piece on it, but I skipped right over it.

Who has time to watch silly videos on YouTube, anyway?

I do, apparently.

Last night, after the kids went to bed and I was mindlessly trolling the internet, I saw the dancing thing mentioned on my favorite NPR game show host, Peter Sagal's, blog. Not only mentioned - he said he was *in* it.

That, I had to see.

I'd love to say I watched it once and then went back to reading OpEds about world peace and the middle east. But no. I watched it over. and over. and over. And then some more.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Summer in Wisconsin

It's the time of year now when we spend every single possible moment outdoors. Especially after this last winter with its 100 inches of snow and sub-zero temps.

Wisconsin is definitely the place to live in the summer. You only *really* need air conditioning a few days/year. There is something fun to do outside just about every day - a farmers market here; an outdoor concert there. Life is just one sunny, beautiful day after another.

This year, we are having some nasty mosquitoes, but other than that, it's idyllic. So much less time in front of the computers, TV, anything indoors.

Speaking of which, it is time to douse myself with DEET and go for a walk with my lovely family.