Gym mirrors and Narcissus

As I’ve alluded to in my last few posts, I’ve been hitting the gym lately.  As much as I hate playing sports and running, I’ve learned I do like to lift weights.  There’s something satisfying about moving something heavy.  It’s much more satisfying than running miles and never seeing the scenery change, for example.  The weights don’t go anywhere either.  Up and down.  But, somehow that’s way better than running over the same 10 feet of conveyer belt over and over.

Mirrors. I always figured the ubiquitous mirrors were there so the guys could check out the girls.  Landry says the mirrors are there to check form.  Realistically, it’s both.  But after working out for months, I’ve noticed another purpose.  The guys check themselves out.  I’m not just talking form.  One dude walked up to the mirror, lifted his sleeve and flexed.  Okay, maybe he was checking for symmetry.  After that, I started watching for it.  I’ve now seen men checking their leg muscles, six-packs and -get this- teeth.  My personal favorite was the guy who was admiring his keg.

Writing prompts

I’m trying to write everyday.  I have some large projects in the works, but I tend to get stuck on them.  Part of my reason for writing a blog is to get better at writing and finishing these things.  It’s really frustrating to have the beginning and the end of a story and really struggle with the middle, which is generally what happens.  In that endeavor of writing everyday, I thought I’d use prompts occasionally.

This prompt comes from http://writingexercises.co.uk/

“Write about a challenge you face.”

I have to admit, I’m a little tired and I thought it said to write about a problem with my face.  Well, that’s a little personal… and insulting.  Is the webcam on and is someone screwing with me?

No to both.  I’m just up later than I should be.

Language is a challenge.  I’ve never been what one would consider a linguist.  I’ve learned through traveling that language sticks better when it’s actually needed and used.  The blessing and curse I have is that I have a fair ear for mimicry.  I sound like I know a heck of a lot more than I do.   I’m sure that my gift would be a real asset if I could actually converse with people.

Fitness is a challenge.  I hated physical education growing up.  I sucked at sports and running.  So, PE was basically 40 minutes a day of public humiliation.  How to illustrate just the level of suck-age I’m talking about?  I played tennis in high school for two years.  My friend talked me into coming because there weren’t enough people to fill the roster.  I played the whole season.  The second year I went out, we had some new team mates.  They’d never touched rackets before in their lives.  And by the end of the second week, they were playing better than me.  Awesome.  For the record, I did finish the second season.  And, for lack of better players, I got a letter, too.  I never bothered with a jacket though.  It seemed foolish to invest in such a thing, when I’d only have one activity on there.

 

Otherwise occupied

I started this blog thinking I’d write a couple times a week.  More when the kids were in school.

We spent some of the summer break traveling in Asia.  And then I had all three kids underfoot for the duration of summer.  And I got into a fitness kick, because you can’t call it “baby weight” when your baby is in preschool.  Just as the kids got back to school and my fitness program was winding down, Landry called.  He’d found a very young kitten and what should he do?  Apparently, I’m a sucker, cause I said I’d take it in.  Little did I know that the youngster had two siblings hiding in the tall grass.  They were dehydrated and had a few fleas.  Otherwise they were in decent shape, but no more than 12 days old.  I’d forgotten how awful it is to get up every few hours to feed babies.  Before this, I was pretty sure I didn’t want more babies.  I’m quite certain now.

They’ll be old enough to give away next week.  Hallelujah.  So, I’m blitzing facebook and every local newsletter I can get my paws on to post an ad.  The little critters melt my heart when they curl up in my hands and purr.  If I could bottle that feeling, it would be the best anti-depressant ever.  I’d keep one if we didn’t already have two pets.  My cat spent the first few weeks the kittens were in the house hissing at me.  I smelled like “other kitty”.  He’s recently forgiven my indiscretions and he’s trying to make up for lost time.

Anywho, I suppose this is a really long way of saying: I’ve been busy and I plan to post more frequently.  I have been writing a bit on my novel; I’m up to 23,000 words.  It’s interesting how the story, which has lived in my head for nigh on 20 years has shifted once it’s out of my head and on paper.  I also plan to post a couple of short stories here someday soon.  If you’re good readers, you might even get to meet Earl.

Calculator Truffles

It takes a while to get used to cooking overseas.  The temperatures on the oven are in Celcius, the ingredients are different, and the measurements on the packaging are metric.  I don’t mind the metric system, but almost all of my cookbooks are in cups and ounces.  My personal favorite was the box of cream labeled 200 grams.  Yep.  A liquid ingredient was measured in grams.  I have to say, I’m leaning into my Alton Brown cookbooks more since living here.  He’s usually got metric and standard side by side.  Bravo.

Now, for general cooking, I don’t use cookbooks much.  And, in cooking you can fudge a bit and still come up with an edible.  Baking is a whole different animal.  If you take liberties with baking, it’ll bite you.  If the cookbook comes out, so do the measuring cups,  the food scale, and the calculator.  I actually used the calculator!!   The recipe called for a half cup of cream, and I had a box of cream in grams.  And it all hinged on how much dairy I was going to use.  I don’t use heavy cream very often, so I wanted to use all 200 grams of it.  For those who would like to know, that’s about 200 mL or 0.82 cups.  Fortunately, I had a teacher in school who insisted we learn how to do measurement conversions.  Thank you, Mrs. S, wherever you are.

And then came the weighing, chopping, stirring, and rolling.  The truffles came out well.  So well, in fact, that someone asked for the recipe.  I can pass along the recipe, but they have to supply their own calculator.

Wanderlust

When things got serious with Landry, I knew we’d move around a bit.  It was the nature of his job and necessary for advancement.  But, I never imagined how far we would go.  We’ve lived in Europe for five years out of the last seven.  Our kids have lived overseas longer than they’ve lived in the United States.  And we travel… a lot.

We home schooled for most of that time so we had the flexibility to pick up and go when the urge hit us.  Well, that makes us sound spontaneous, which isn’t really accurate.  Landry does plan our travel.  All of that to say, I’ve been places and seen things I never imagined I would.  It’s an amazing opportunity to explore so much of this little green ball with a beautiful family.

Landry is my husband of eleven years.  We met online before it was cool.  For the first few years, I cringed when people asked how we met.  Everyone meets online now and no one thinks anything of it.  I think I fell in love the moment I read his profile.  He was smart and funny and geeky.  Maybe not love, exactly.  It was more a keen, driving interest.  It was our second date when I knew something was different.  That date was weeks after the first, because it was a long-distance relationship.  After Landry dropped me off at home that night, it felt so strange to me that he wasn’t there.  That was an odd, because I’m extremely independent.  My world had changed shape in a matter of hours.

Joy is our oldest daughter.  At ten years old, she’s lost some of her joie de vivre and entered tweeny angst.  But, upon occasion she bounces back to her happy-go-lucky self, which warms my heart.  A friend once said that Joy treads lightly upon this earth.  I love her courage in making new friends and her desire to learn.

Constance is our seven year old.  We can only pray she uses her powers for good.  Her record for a toddler tantrum was two solid hours and she has a shriek that could curdle the blood of a banshee.  And yet, she moves with gossamer grace.  She is a child of contrasts.

Nerdling the Third is our son.  He’s four and all boy.  Nerdling loves cars, trucks, trains, and basically anything that rumbles as it goes.  He’s a cheerful, easy-going fellow with a high-beam smile.

I love our little family.  It’s everything I could have ever asked for.  Getting to see the world with them is gravy on the biscuits.