Sunday, November 28, 2010

Laying down rubber at PIR!

This was the scene at the Winter Wonderland Lights Fun Run held at Portland International Raceway on Saturday night. It was a total blast. They put together a fancy drive through lights show all over the race track and for either 2, 4 or 6 miles depending upon how many laps you wanted to do, you could run right through the holiday joy. I opted for 4 while Sean tackled 6.

I've been to PIR many times before. This was the first time I got out on the track though and I'm sure there is little chance that I set any type of a course record. Although, now that I think about it I can say I set a P/R for the course. Especially since this was an inaugural event!

While the biggest challenge of this course was staying warm and dodging families with strollers, toddlers, or wagon sleighs pulled by dogs in sweaters, it was still one of the most fun events I have done. I ran it with my friend Olivia and her dog Hurley who not only sported a green argyle sweater but a pink tutu as well. While it was fast for me, she was at a nice easy pace which allowed her to talk the entire time keeping my mind off the cold and wet that was the evening. The lights were cool to run through too, especially since I am a Christmas Junkie. I love all things Christmas.

In addition to the lights, there were loads of people dressed up in holiday garb. I was passed by elves, reindeer and more Santa hats that I can count. But the feel of the event was so much fun and a fantastic way to kick off the holiday season in style.

I will be back next year! I'm going to go for the 6 miles, and a quicker pace. I'm also going to need to shop for a much better costume. My "I heart Santa" headband just wasn't quite enough to really reflect the sentiment!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving 20(top10) style!

I have a lot of things to be thankful for this year. So here is my tribute to Thanksgiving 2010. Top 10 style!

10. A Subaru with butt heat. I love this car!

9. Mizuno Wave Nirvana's-
In spite of my feelings about the band Nirvana, these are like foot pillows!

8. Starbucks Seasonal Drinks-
The best overpriced indulgence around and they make everything better.

7. Parades-Macy's today and The Corvallis Community tomorrow.
There I said it, I love a parade.

6. 27 Goofy 8 & 9 year olds!
These kids have the most amazing hearts and make me hopeful again.

5. My teaching team.
There are days that I wonder why I left my old school. Then I look around
at the two amazing women I work with ever day and I remember. ROCK STARS!

4. Wednesdays with Olivia
Trainer and Friend. Never knew that was possible! She pushes and listens. Wow!

3. One crazy genetic disaster named Rogue.

2. My friends.
I once had a magnet that said "Friends are God's apology for Family"
I believe my friends are my family, the family that I picked myself.

1. My Family
Words don't do you justice my family. You are my #1. I love you!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Times are tight and life is short. Be grateful everyday for what you have because my guess is you have so much if you would just take a moment to see.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Why Technology Sucks!



Today was all about technology for me. It started out with waking up to my alarm. I went to bed expecting to wake up to my Flash Alert telling me school was closed and I could sleep in. Flash Alert is an automated system that teachers are required to sign up for that sends us a text or e-mail message notifying us of school closures. So imagine my surprise when I got up this morning to a blanket of snow and no text. Huh, must be an oversight, I'll check the district web site.

Hmm, the website is down. Ok, I'll check the TV. A quick scroll through the local stations confirmed my sadness. My dreams of snowmen and hot cocoa melted quicker than the whipped cream on said cocoa as I drug my sad ass to the shower. Out of the shower and a text to a friend confirmed that there was no cancellation. We agreed to ride together in my Subaru because my car is the snowplow and it has butt heat. I headed back to the bathroom to do my hair.

The phone rang. Who the heck would be calling me. It was the school secretary implementing the phone tree. Apparently all technology had failed and she was notifying us of the school closure for the day. Woohoo! Snow Day back on, technology failed!

I kicked off my shoes, turned off my flat iron and poured myself another cup of coffee. (Of course not before doing my duty and calling the next person on the phone tree list) About 15 minutes later my district showed up on the TV screen crawl of school closures. About an hour later my text finally arrived telling me of my snow day. Had I not gotten the old school technology phone call and I would have been at school before that damn text ever came. Good thing I never got rid of that land line!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Snow Schmo!

Quit talking about it people. Oregon snow does not like to be prepared for. It doesn't like to be hyped. It sneaks in with little warning. The sky turns that trademark purple and it snows. Weather people scratch their heads in wonder. Where did it come from, why didn't we see it?

Because it is Oregon snow. It's magical and much like all things Oregon, it can't be told what to do.

So quit friggin talking about it. I believe in you Oregon snow. I shall wait for you to bring me my snow day when you are ready. I have faith in you. Snow days will come if you just believe. Patience my friends, patience and faith....snow days will come.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Lately in Casa de Ross it feels like we have a constant battle of the sexes going on. Rogue vs. Bailey, Sean vs. Me. Us vs. the animals. Everything feels like a big competition and no one ends up winning. Even fun events are less fun when they feel more like competitions. I'm super competitive so I know I'm part of the problem but jeez. We have a terribly underweight dog, a permanently injured in some form wife and a cat powered by pure evil. Sad but the three of us together can't even form a complete team. Somehow even with a broken hand Sean seems to constantly emerge as the powerhouse of the family.

Life just ain't fair sometimes. I've got to get an edge somehow. Time to schedule that bionic surgery I've been wanting.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Armed for Exercise?

I love to run. Not news to anyone who knows me or has ever read this blog. My legs are feeling better again so I'm actually getting out there a few days a week. Normally I wouldn't consider this a problem. Except for one little thing. Pacific Standard Time.

The only other totally predictable fact about me is that I am a work-a-holic. I arrive at least an hour before the kids and stay at least that long after them. That's on a good day. This isn't normally a problem because I go to the gym on my way home and work out there so it doesn't matter what it is like outside. Except, back to point one of this blog installment. I love to run. Outside, not inside. I hate the treadmill.

Oh, the problem is now coming into focus. Ever since we had to "fall" back, it is now dark when I leave the hallows of my school. So if I want to run outside I have to run in the dark. I hate running in the dark because I am a girl and the dark is scary. Last night I ran with my friend Laura after work and I almost didn't want to go because it was pitch black by 6:00pm. A quick text to Sean let him know where I was headed. Phew, if I didn't return home later that evening they would know where to look for the body. Furthermore I had forgotten my I.D. so this could guarantee that the "Jane Doe" on the 10:00pm news would most likely be me.

Now mind you, all this text was in jest, but therein lies a small piece of truth. The rules are not the same for men and women who run after work. They should be, but they are not. And it pisses me off. But, the fact remains that I can not run in the dark, by myself with the same level of security that Sean can. Is that ok? No, it isn't, but that is the society that we still live in today and it annoys me to no end. Could I run with mace, a pit bull or a Colt revolver? Yes, of course I could. But I shouldn't have to and that is what continues to annoy me to my core.

So will my rant cause a change in my behavior and a new found sense of bravery and freedom? No way. But sometimes, I just need to rant a little about the continued inequity even in this day. I do still hold out hope that my little niece Madeleine won't have to worry what time it is, or how dark it is when she is my age. Society, I've got a fantastic girl coming your way, please don't let me down.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Problem Solved?

Rogue Ross has lost almost seven pounds since August. Since he is not exactly a chunky monkey in the first place it is an understatement to say I have been "concerned". We have been buying all kinds of venison dog food trying to find that magical taste that will get him eating again.

Yesterday we found it! Ziwi Peak Venison Jerky style dog food. Even the bag looks tasty. I pulled Sean over and laughed at the major oversight on the quality control of our favorite dog store. $113 for a bag. Ha ha! That's hilarious. I wonder how much it really costs. Um, nope not a joke. It really is $113 a bag. Luckily for us, there is a smaller option. A 2.2 pound bag for a measly $24. With my discount that brings it back down to about $22 bucks which of course I am much more willing to try.

Rogue who has normally been doing a perfect teenage angst impersonation when I try to feed him started doing the happy dance before Sean could even get the bag open. What's in this stuff? Crack? Anyway, he polished off his bowl before it even hit the floor. I'm not sure it was even chewed. The worst part is he begged for more all night long and even kept it down perfectly.

Now comes the dilemma. We have spent a fortune on this dog over the 6 years of his life that he has been in our home. Medical expenses galore will have us working until we are 90 at least. But $113 dog food? Seriously? For some reason that just kills me. I tried explaining it to Rogue this morning as he was anxiously awaiting me to put his bowl of perfection on the floor. Sean heard me and laughed at the thought that I was trying to reason with the dog as to how long I'd be able to keep up this food. Sean himself pointed out "It's cheaper than the vet and if it gets him to eat".

Rogue had a much more creative solution to the whole problem. Let's see how his idea pans out. If not, I think it's going to be up to the man in the Red Suit. Time to call in the big guns.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

You're No Shaun Cassidy!

This is Shaun Cassidy. My first love. I bought this album when I was in 3rd grade at the ripe old age of 8 and knew I had met my soul mate. Those eyes, that smile, that hair. Oh yes Shaun, someday you would be mine. I listened to his album over and over and over on my little pop top record player in my room. I planned our life together. I played the game on my hand which predicted how many children we would have. The answer, two. Of course the girl would be named Shauna. I practice writing my name in perfect print, Mrs. Shaun Cassidy. I loved my initials "T.L.C". It didn't matter that he was older than I, by like 13 years, true love has no age. I wrote him of my dedication and I went to the mail box every day awaiting his reply of instructions on where we would start our lives together. The letter never, ever came. Stupid postal workers, stealing my life plans.

Every Friday night I would sit at the TV swooning while watching "The Hardy Boys". There was my Shaun in all the 70s Technicolor glory on our big console TV. Parker Stevenson, whatever, my heart belonged to Shaun. One time he actually got to sing on the show. I remember nearly passing out in 3rd grade ecstasy just at the sight. I also remember my father's words " What the hell is wrong with her?" My mother assured him it was a harmless crush but he was mortified by the entire event. He said if I couldn't control myself I couldn't watch it anymore. Parents, they just don't understand but someday when my Shaun came for me they would see and they'd be sorry.

Fast forward about 33 years. Shaun never came, but Sean did, so I did just fine. Now I'm teaching PE to a bunch of 3rd graders myself. Something strange has happened over the summer to my girls. It's this:

Justin Beiber. The main PE teacher plays his songs and the girls scream. They swoon, they know all the words. They run to me and they tell me "I'm going to marry Justin Beiber, we are going to have two kids and live in Hollywood." They jump up and down and squeal in bliss.

And all I can do is think to myself "What the hell is wrong with them?"

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Fun House Mirrors

I have body issues. This isn't a secret to anyone who knows me. It has been going on for years. I remember exactly when it started. It was one of those health screening at school. I stepped on the scale. The lady slid the height thing up to tell me how tall I was, but I have no idea what that number was. Nope, the only number that I heard was my weight. 74 pounds. I believe I was in 4th grade at the time. Now 74 pounds is a perfectly acceptable weight for a kid my height at that age. I was not overweight in the least. But somehow attaching that number to my body did some sort of crazy brain scramble which haunts me to this day.

I spent the next several years attempting to stay at 74 pounds. I grew taller, but stayed similar in weight over the next few school years. I remember in Middle School I had friends who desperately tried to fatten me up by filling me with M & Ms and any other candy they could pump into me. I never saw myself as skinny. In high school the battle continued. I put on a little weight, then freaked out about it and would survive on Jiffy box cakes for a week at a time. My parents were supportive, sent me to counseling, and were happy for anything I put into my mouth. I never did the anorexia or bulimia thing, I just didn't eat much. When I finally graduated from high school I had mostly grown out of it and was a healthy 101 pounds. Skinny, yes but not dangerously thin by any means.

When I got married two years later I weighed 105 and swam in my altered down size 4 dress. I stayed fairly small until I was mid 20s and then the climb began. I got rid of my scale, deciding that weighing myself was unhealthy and moved on from there. I had some minor health issues and took some medication which cause some weight gain, but for the most part, unhealthy lifestyle choices made me creep up and up on that scale.

The breaking point for me came about 5 years ago. I had spent a year in hell. My first year teaching, an unwanted hysterectomy and months of slowly watching cancer rob my Dad of all he was to us, eventually stealing him all together. I ate, and ate and ate and ate. One day I took myself to the Dr. because I was having a lot of trouble with my breathing. I learned two things that day. One, I had asthma and two, I weighted 160 pounds. I drove home in tears and joined weight watches the next day. Over the next several months I lost about 20 pounds and was stuck for a long time at 140. When I looked in the mirror I still saw a huge cow, but it was getting better.

Last year I discovered running. Real running. The kind that cleanses your soul and renews you. I've blogged about it before, you know that journey. I lost another 5 pounds and was headed back down to where I wanted to be. Then the skid happened and the knee put it at a stand still. So now I'm back to the land of the middle school girl who looks in a mirror and sees a huge girl. Like then, friends assure me that I look fine, but my clothes tell me different. Nothing fits like it did, nothing looks like it did. I try to talk but people don't get it. They look at me like I am crazy and comment on my body image issues.

Until last night. I met with my trainer for our weekly session and she gets it. Thank God! She gets it. I have a plan. I have some goals and for the first time in a long time I feel hopeful again. I know that I will never be that 105 pound bride again. I can't even imagine what I would look like at that size. She was a girl, I am a woman. I wouldn't trade this life or experiences to go back. But I know that somewhere between then and now there is a healthy and happy woman who can set and reach goals, who can walk with her head held high and who can rock a fine pair of jeans.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Dogs love Fall

Today we went for a nice Fall hike out at my Mom's place. I honestly can't remember the last time I hiked out there. We got up early (thanks to the return to standard time), went out to breakfast, grocery shopped and still had beautiful weather before 10:00am. So Stafford suggested we take the dogs out.

We agreed to meet at the farm in just a few minutes. Of course, this being Oregon, the few minutes was all it took to take a beautiful blue sky and cover it with foreboding black clouds. We managed to beat the rain for the majority of the time, but for the last stretch we pretty much tested the water resistant capacity of all our clothing.

However, the dogs, all three of them were enjoying every minute of it. Sure, they'd soak up as much water as their coats could take and then you'd hear the jingling of the collar as they shook the excess off. For about 100 yards it sounded somewhat like a church bell choir as the tinkling of tags was almost synchronized.

Even though we got a little wet, it was still a great reminder of the beauty of where we live and how much I love my Mom's place. As we got back to the truck, the sky was clearing again and the sun was heating up the pavement on our drive back. Sometimes taking a break for a brief hike in the rain is all it takes to put a new perspective on all of our minds. I think Rogue's face sums up the feelings of the day.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Hugs not Drugs

Normally after a really crappy day I like to reach for a delicious cocktail. Something with a sugar rim always makes me smile or at least gets those goggles on that make life look much better.

Turns out that sometimes, just sometimes the open arms of a husband is much, much better. Especially when the problems are so ridiculous that they reduce you to tears. Silly tears over stupid stuff. Not important stuff, but the stuff that sends you right over the edge nonetheless and leaves you slightly hysterical in the bathroom. Fighting the dog for possession of the toilet paper because you forgot to buy Kleenex again. Another stupid shortcoming and more tears. Until the key is in the front door.

And the life line appears, in the form of an outstretched blue cast. Which feels pretty much like a regular arm after all.

Thanks Scraps. You are the best.