Friday, April 13, 2012

Thirty Days Later

Somehow I lost track of when I started my 30 day challenge to not wear the same outfit twice. Let's just review my self-imposted rules:

1.I could wear the same item of clothing but I couldn't pair it with the same pants/shirt/sweater.
2. Work-out outfits don't count.

Pretty simple, right? Well, I have to say, I'm pretty sure I lasted longer than 30 days and did not repeat an outfit once. Normally, I find an outfit I feel good in and think looks cute and I rewear it all the time. Before this challenge, I'm sure everyone was tired of seeing my grey/white shirt, orange sweater, and jeans. C'mon...grey and orange...who doesn't love that combo?!

About 2 weeks in, the challenge got tougher. I was so tempted to resort to my tried and true outfits. I kept telling myself, "Tomorrow, I'll just wear one of my old outfits" but the next day I would get up and assemble a new outfit yet again. I'm not a quitter and I like a good challenge. In the end, I was amazed that it wasn't as hard as I thought. And throughout this experiment, I learned a few things:

1. You can be far more creative with your wardrobe when you want to be. The next time you reach for that same old, comfortable outfit, I'd like to challenge you to just change out one element. Pair it with an unexpected color (think opposites on the color wheel)or trade that sweater for a cute jacket. Today I wore a pair of jeans, white t-shirt, and a black jacket from a suit I haven't worn since my corporate days. I paired it with some zebra flats and a turquoise necklace. I thought it was a super cute outfit (for those that saw me today and disagree, keep it to yourself...).

2. There are some clothes you haven't worn in awhile for a reason. I went to a home clothing party about 2 years ago with my friend Ann. On the way there we made a solemn pact that we would not buy a tank top for $50. You know how that go to a jewelry party and you want to support your friend but you don't want to spend $60 on a pair of earrings. Three glasses of wine and a bunch of girl chat later you walk out $150 poorer. A few weeks later that $50 tank top arrives along with its friend the $100 belt you never wear. It happens to the best of us. Well, sure enough that night Ann and I left after she purchased a $90 plain white shirt and I purchased a $90 yellow sleeveless top with a ribbon neck. It was a "3-in-one" piece. "You can wear it backwards and tie the scarf in the back into a can wear it with the scarf in the front and tie it at the neck...or you can just throw the ribbon over your shoulder like a scarf." Fast forward to everytime I attempted to wear it. First, mustard yellow is not my color. Actually, I'm not sure whose color it is. Secondly, when you wear it backwards, it actually looks like you got dressed in the dark. All day long people you encounter have that look on their face like "Should I tell her....?" And lastly, but most importantly, I'm pretty sure bows at the neck went out in the 70's. I have been staring at this shirt for a year so one day, during my challenge, I busted it out. Let's just say that by the end of the day the $90 my puke yellow 3-in-one piece was in the local clothing bin at my church.

3. You have more clothes than you think. I love those articles in magazines that show how 10 wardrobe pieces can be made into 30 outfits. Let's be honest, some of those outfits are just stupid and no one should wear them in public. But for the most part, there are some interesting combos. At least once a week I look at the clothes in my closet and think "I have nothing to wear". From now on, I won't say that anymore, because I do have things to wear but I just have to take the time to think creatively.

4. Being creative with your outfits can inspire others. Mimi came down the other day wearing a tank, cardigan, jeans rolled up, some cute flats...and one of my scarfs. It looked adorable. When she caught me eyeing up her outfit she said "I just felt like doing something different today". I love that my experiment rubbed off on her.

Well, I'm officially off the New Outfit Everday Wagon so cut me some slack if you see me in the same outfit twice....unless I wear it two days in a row. I hope this post makes you think twice the next time you reach for that same old, comfortable outfit!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Jack's Ark

Jack has always loved critters for as long as I can remember. His initial love affair was with fuzzy stuffed animals. The fuzzier the better. He loved our fuzzy cat who didn't love his sticky fingers quite as much. After that he moved onto elephants. Whenever he saw one he would point and make an elephant trumpet noise. We bought him stuffed elephants, mini elephants, books with elephants. We loved hearing his little trumpet noise. Then it was giraffes and soon we had a whole safari in our house.

From there we moved on to frogs. Oh boy...lots of frogs. Live frogs. He could be outside for one minute and find a frog. We considered him a frog whisperer. One day, he played for hours in the yard with a frog he had found. He moved throughout the yard in cement mixers, bulldozers, and moving vans. Not wanting to see his new friend hop away, he apparently imprisioned him in the moving van for 2 hours in the hot sun. Jack was devestated when he realized his friend went to the great frog farm in the sky. This was our first of many frog funerals.

The next day I came home from work to find Jack on top of the dirt pile in the backyard playing with a rubber frog. "He's moved on...great!" I thought. But as I got closer I began to think "huh...we don't have any rubber frogs..." It was then I realized he had dug up his dead frog friend and was playing with him. Dead or not, he still liked him.

After frogs came turtles and to this day Wally the Turtle is still swimming in his tank in his room. Apparently they can live to be 25....we have already made it very clear that he is going to college with Jack.

Then came the salamanders. Hours of hunting for salamanders. Constanly researching them. Buying books on them. I had to draw the line when I was picking up his pants on the floor and out feel a limp salamander. "Jack!!" He just wanted to keep it. The next day we went to Petco and $50 later we had a salamander house, special moss to keep them moist, and a swimming pool. It was like a boy version of a Barbie house. I loved it.

I did not love the call I got two weeks later at work. I picked up the phone to a blood curdling scream from Jack. I couln't even understand what was happening. My parents were up visiting and all I could imagine was that something happened to one of them. Turns out the cats had overturned the salamander house and they had gone missing. Oh my God. Salamanders lose in the house? We found them a few weeks later, dried up in the corners of his room. Aaaaahhh!

Oh the cats. After our cat of 14 years died, I waited 6 months until I was ready to love a fuzz ball again. When I was ready, we decided to get a brother and sister kitten combo that were irresistable and they became Christmas presents. Jack said it was the best Christmas ever. I told the kids to name them whatever they wanted but when they came up with Little Grey and Buddy, I couldn't do it. We ended up with Sadie and Buddy. I had to let him keep Buddy in the end because I realized that is all he ever wants...some little animal buddy to just love him all day long. Turns out Buddy is truly his buddy. They sleep together almost every night. He follows Jack everywhere like a dog. He even gets a little depressed when Jack isn't home for awhile.

When he was fishing with a friend last weekend, Jack came across a bunch of polliwogs. Sure enough, the next day, he and Tim were zooming off in the Jeep to score some 'wogs. Within an hour they were swimming in our backyard with names.... I can't tell you how many times in my life I have repeated the phrase "We really shouldn't name wild animals..."

Jack is growing up quick and is going into the 9th grade in less than 6 months. On Monday, he was eager to get going to the bus...or so I thought. As I watched him walking away, he quickly made a dash for the backyard, digging in his pocket for something. He had filled his pocket with turtle food...for the polliwogs. When he came back around the corner he saw me looking and his face broke into a big grin. "It's my job to feed them!" he yelled and then he ambled off to the bus.

I hope whatever he does for a career it involves animals. I also have a very real fear that he is going to turn into Dr. Doolittle and end up living with a horse in his living room and a duck in his tub.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Hissy Turkeys

A few weeks ago we were getting ready to head out for our usual Saturday morning errands. I was on my way upstairs to the shower when Jack screamed like his hair was on fire. "MOM!!" I picked up my heart that had leapt out of my chest and ran my tinkle pants back down the stairs. "What?! What is it??!!"

Jack was peering out the slider window into the neighbor's backyard. "It's a turkey that looks like a peacock!"

Sure enough, there was a turkey, all puffed up with it's tail feathers standing on end. It was quickly turning back and forth on its skinny little legs, alternating between staring into the woods and staring into our yard. What the heck? After watching his dance for a few minutes, we decided he must be trying to scare off some predators in the woods.

I finally made my way back upstairs and turned the shower on. While I was waiting for it to heat up, I looked out the window only to find a whole gaggle of turkeys in the far corner of the yard eating. The puffed up dude apparently had drawn the short straw and had to play the role of security guard while everyone else got to eat. I imagined him thinking to himself "C'mon...c'mon....hurry up! These woods are filled with all kinds of critters that could kill me. I'm starving here! When do I get some??"

Literally, he next day I talked to my mother. It went something like this:

Me: Hello?
Mother: Oh my God, you won't believe what I am staring at right now!
Me: What?
Mother: You won't believe it. it's....a TURKEY!
Me: Are you making turkey for dinner?
Mother: Kelly, I'm talking about a REAL TURKEY! Right out in the yard. It's crazy!
Me: What do you mean, it's crazy?
Mother: It's right out in the yard....walking he OWNS the place! What is a TURKEY doing in my yard??
Me: Mom, there are wild turkeys everywhere. We just had a bunch....
Mother: Not on THE CAPE, Kelly! Wild turkeys are not found on the Cape. This isn't some wild park.
Me: They are everywhere.
Mother: OhmyGod! OH. My. God!
Insert phone rustling, door opening, my mother gasping.
Mother: OhmyGod, Kelly, the neighbor just let his dog out. It's going to get KILLED by that turkey!!
Me: A turkey is not going to kill the dog, Mom.
Mother: They get hissy you know. They can be crazy.
Me: Really? When was the last time you encountered a crazy, hizzy turkey in the wild?
Insert sound of door opening and my mother screaming to the neighbor
Mother: Dave!! Dave!! There is a turkey out there!!
You would think there was a wild cougar prowling her backyard, licking his chops and threatening to eat her.
Mother: Oh. My. Jesus!!! Kelly!
Me: What? What is going on?!
Mother: It FLIES!! Did you know they flew?! Jesus, it's on Dave's roof! Hold on...
Insert sound of phone dropping. Door opening again.
Mother: Dave!! It's on your roof!! THERE IS A TURKEY ON YOUR ROOF!! You have to be careful! Get the dog!! They can get HISSY!
Oh. My. God. Is right. I'm sure she is also wearing her housecoat as she is yelling like a crazy loon to the neighbor.
Mother: Kelly, I have to go. I have to deal with this situation!

This immediately brought back a memory from a few years ago of her calling to tell me that there was a squirrel outside watching her. According to my mother, the squirrel had been "harrassing" her for a week. She told him to go away...she doesn't like critters. "And ever since he has been waiting for me every time I go outside. He's going to try and jump on me....I know it." I had images of a hoodlum squirrel lounging on the garage roof smoking a butt...just waiting for my mother. Hey, Crazy Lady, neither the turkeys nor the squirrels are out to get you.

At dinner that night I tell the kids the story about my conversation with their grandmother. I said, "Can you believe she was calling the turkeys hissy?!" and Mimi responded with a story about a friend of hers that was walking home from school when a neighbor came running out to tell her there were wild turkeys around and she should be careful. "They can get crazy." he warned.

I rolled my eyes. Enough about the crazy turkeys.

Fast forward to my run a few days later. Cori and I are getting ready to run around the school and then all of a sudden she does a half crouch. "Did you hear that?!" What? What was it? I listened but only heard the birds. "I think I heard a turkey." Are you people playing with me?? What is it with all the turkey talk?? I immediately begin to wonder what kind of a sign a turkey would be. I'm all about the signs. If I need to make a big decision or even a little one, for that matter, I look for signs to point me down the path to the "right" decision. I wasn't wrestling with any big decisions so I couldn't imagine what the turkey could mean.

We never did see any turkeys....until our last leg around the loop. We come around the corner and sure enough there are two turkeys strutting their stuff. Cori, who is closest to them, moves closer into my lane. Apparently, she has heard they can be hissy. Then they start sprinting and I seems as though they have decided to run with us. But no, that's not the case at all because they seem to be mad or scared and start to flap their wings like they are going to come after us. I would have loved to see a picture of our faces for that split second when we thought they were going to come after us. We sped up and they slowed down. I imagined them talking to each other:

Turkey 1: Ha! We gave them a good scare didn't we?
Turkey 2: Did you see the face on that one on the outside? I think her eyeballs came out of her head!
Turkey 1: Let's scare them again....
Turkey 2: Gobble, Gobble

Oh we heard it and it did make us turn around.

Stupid turkeys.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Rain Dance

On Monday, I started the dreaded and torturous training for a 5K in second one. By 8 am, I was glad that I had gotten up early, finished my work out for the day, and I even had a spring in my step. Getting to this point though, went a little something like this:

Sunday afternoon: Compulsively watching every news channel in hopes of hearing a weather prediction of a “Raining Cats & Dogs” kind of morning.
Sunday night 6:30 pm: I receive a text from my friend that says "Is it going to be raining in the morning?" I reply "I hope not...I will melt"

Sunday night 8 pm: Confirmation of rain in the morning from several different news channels. I heart the weathermen. I email my friend/running partner to say “I am not running in the rain.”

Shortly thereafter my friend emails the trainer and asks “Just to be clear, we don’t run in the rain right?”

Complete silence from the trainer…not a peep all night. And yes, I checked my phone every 15 minutes until I went to bed.
Monday, 5:15 am – Alarm goes off with, what appears to be, an unusually loud buzz. I drag myself out of bed. As I begin to shuffle down to the living room, I remember the rain. I run to the window. The pavement is wet but I don’t see any falling rain. I don’t yet have my contacts in so it could be raining. I still have hope. On the way to the couch I grab my phone, turn on the tv, and curl up in the fetal position on the couch with my blankie.

5:20 am – I check my email. No messages from the trainer. I check all the news stations…apparently the rain has passed. I no longer heart the weathermen. Why did I sign up for this?! It’s still dark out. I hate the cold. I want to stay curled in my blankie.

5:30 am – When I can no longer avoid it, I shuffle back upstairs to get dressed and put my eyeballs in. A quick scan out of my bathroom window confirms the worst. It’s not raining and I am going to have to go out there. Damn it to hell.
5:43 am – my running partners arrive. Not, I might add, at the agreed upon time of 5:45 but rather 2 minutes early. Let’s not start this party any earlier than we have to, girls. I step outside into the cold. Quick intake of breath (that I can see in the dark) and then I throw in an "Oh shit" to all my little animal friends that can hear me.

We gab a minute or two and then by 5:45 am the car is silent again. If we had bubbles over our heads I think they would have all been saying “ohmygodohmygod I don’t want to do this”

5:55 am we arrive at our meeting spot and step back out into the cold and darkness. Okay, I’ll admit it…there is a little something to be said about “all being in this together”. The sun is coming up...we have weathered this morning together...I’m feeling some sisterly love here. Then our trainer appears and assaults us with her words.. “Let’s go girls!” Boy she is awful perky for this time of the morning.

6:01 am we are off! I turn on my new running playlist and I’m good to go. This time last year when we started our one minute jog, one minute walk business, I all but threw up my lungs. One minute felt like one hour. Thanks for a mild winter and, okay, I’ll admit it, a newfound fondness for running, I have actually been running and/or walking on a somewhat regular basis so this isn’t so bad.

6:05 am I remember how boring running can be. Marathon runners amaze me. They run for HOURS…without stopping. What the what?! I couldn’t keep myself entertained with my thoughts for that long. I have to force myself to stop making to do lists in my head because it is stressing me out that I don’t have anything to write them on. I’m worried I will forget to buy flowers for my front step for Easter, find the carrot recipe, remember I have to buy underwater cameras for the kids for vacation in two weeks, and oh yeah, I need to pluck my brows. Crap, I’m going to forget all this until the last minute!

6:15 am – I am feeling a little cocky. I tell my friend Cori that all this stopping and starting isn’t working out for me. I would just rather run for awhile. I feel like I am not getting the best workout. Of course I should remind myself that just getting up and doing anything is getting a workout. I know there is a big hill coming up and I decide to just go for it and challenge myself. And I’m afraid our trainer will tell us to start running once we hit the bottom of the hill. I’d rather get a running start and see if the wind can help me out a bit.

As I approach the top of the hill, my legs and lungs are considering jumping ship. Come on. Come on. Stay with me. In the end, I made it! I am happy that I pushed myself and it really wasn’t as bad as I had imagined.

6:25 am we are doing our final loop in the parking lot to cool down and then we have a quick group discussion. It seems that all of us are in much better shape so we are going to kick up the training a few notches next week. I'm impressed with us.

6:30 am we are in the car on the way home. Actually, we are in the car on the way to a roadside pick. My sister in law not only got in some exercise but she found a sewing table for her daughter along the way. What a great morning!

That is until we saw our trainer come out of her house and go for a run...again. Apparently our little run didn't provide enough of a workout for her. It felt like she was cheating on us or something.

8 am – I am all showered, feeling energetic, and am ready to go to work even earlier than normal. I’m not sure how that happened but I’ll take it.

Fast forward to 10 am – I’m in a meeting and feel like Baby Drowsy. I actually nodded off in the meeting. Head bob and everything. I need a nap stat. Or chocolate. Either one would do just fine.

In the end, I made it through the day with the assistance of some diet coke and a Samoa Girl Scout Cookie. Thank you to whoever left those on the counter at work. Bless you.

And tomorrow it starts all over again. Its hard to explain but as much as I dread it, I also look forward to it. Unless its raining, of course.