Monday, February 28, 2011

Celebrity at the Gym

Mr. T and I have joined a gym.
With all the time we have freed up from ousting the kids from the nest,
We figured that it was time to do something good for ourselves.
We go every night after he comes home from work.
Now I want it to be fully understood that I HATE to exercise.
I know HATE is a strong word and one that I rarely let my children say but
I HATE exercise.
Just ask the poor little woman who stood in the circle at Curves....
another of my attempts to be healthy.
For those of you not familiar with Curves, it is a big circle of exercise equipment
that you keep rotating on and every 30 seconds or something like that you move to the
next piece of equipment or else you walk in place.
It's a big game of exercise ring around the rosey and I was not happy about playing.
The concept is that the whole thing takes you 20 or so minutes and you work out all the important parts of your body while raising your heart rate.
In the center was a perky young thing in a track suit, encouraging us all on like a Ring around the Rosey Cheerleader.
She was very sweet and very friendly and I was very
She knew my name from the first day and would practically sing a personal Hello to me each day.
I would usually just glare.
Frankly it was my mother's bright idea to join and I was not really convinced of it's benefits.
In the 6 or so months that I attended if my heart rate ever made it over 100 I would have been surprised.
A lot of the women worked out in their regular street clothes.
Plus I was fully able to carry on in depth conversations with my Mom that every one in the circle seemed to be eavesdropping on......including Miss Perky in the middle.
If I think about it too much I get a case of the guilts.
It wasn't her fault.
My heart was just not in it.
This time it is different.
I joined the YMCA last year and tried to smile at everyone there.
I was doing this because I wanted to.
(and it didn't hurt that there was a TV attached to each treadmill)
I loved going with my daughter and spending that time with her each day.
(She is an exercise beast hopefully not inheriting my exercise tendencies.)
Well after she left I upgraded to LA TVs but my with my iphone in my ears and the Black Eyed Peas singing Boom Boom Pow I have been doing pretty well.
Tonight my exercise was enhanced by a celebrity in the gym.
You will never guess who was on the treadmill across from me!.....
I know that it is a little blurry and grainy but you try taking a picture while walking on a treadmill.
Plus it reminds me of the fuzzy Loch Ness Monster or Big Foot pictures...
Can you tell who the celebrity was?
Well then here is a better view.....

It is the ChickfilA cow....
which is fitting I guess since his establishment is responsible for at least some of the extra pounds that I carry.
Exercise IS fun!
But I still HATE it.

Hair by Oscar

And the Oscar for best bed hair goes to........
Watching the academy awards tonight prompted me to try and glam up myself.
I noticed that the hair styles this year were the ones that looked like,
"Hey I am so beautiful I just rolled out of bed and came on over"
The irony I am sure is that it probably took a team of hair stylists 2 or 3 hours
to produce such a look.
Mine you ask?
Well I don't want to brag but it only took a second or two.
I think the reading glasses give me that "intelligient rumpled look"
I never ceased to be amused by Hollywood....
I guess that's why they call it entertainment.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Miracle of the Malibu concluded and a promise.

I am not ever going to do it again....
No Sir!
Every time I say that I am going to write a two part story or explain something later,
I use every excuse in the book not to do it.
I don't know if the part of my brain that writes is a temperamental diva who only writes when the whim hits or a petulant juvenile delinquent refusing to do what they said they would do...
Either way I hate to break a promise.
So here is the conclusion to my Malibu Miracle Story.....
I hope it is worth the wait.
The Malibu was purchased initially for Todd. After stuffing his six foot three frame into subcompact car after subcompact car (all we could afford) we saved up enough money to upgrade just a little bit to the Chevy Malibu where the top of his head did not actually come so close to scraping the roof of the vehicle. It had a V6 engine much more powerful than what he had been driving the 40 miles a day to and from his office, much of it on fast moving freeways.
After just a couple of years of driving it, we inherited my Dad's big bright red Cadillac which he had purchased used and lovingly driven. Megan had turned 15 and was learning to drive and my Dad thought that it would be a good heavy safe car for her. It was definitely heavy but it was huge. It became clear that for the protection of the other drivers on the road that the smaller Malibu would be better to teach her in since staying between the white lines of the road was not an inborn quality.
So Mr. T did the chivalrous thing and let her borrow it for awhile....
It never became his again.
While he was suffering the jokes and snickers of his fellow coworkers for his "sweet caddy ride" , the Malibu was busy teaching, crashing and carrying the Winn kids. It suffered numerous hits from behind and two fairly serious accidents which threatened to "total" it. Because of the rear end accidents, the trunk never closed properly and so whenever it rained it leaked into the trunk giving a distinct odor that earned it's nickname of the Smellabu. Well actually to be fair the distinct smell also could have come from the constant flow of trash, dirty marching clothes, stinky shoes and left over food and drink that became it's fate.
But through all of that it ran.....
And most importantly kept my kids safe.
Even when it was viciously attacked by someone seeking revenge by pouring maple syrup in it's gas tank, it still kept running after much needed repairs.
Once when the check engine light came on when the youngest Lauren had finally inherited it's glory, we explained to her that since the car was getting so old it might just not be worth the money it would take to repair it. She would just have to share my vehicle.
Horrified by the thought, she prayed and prayed,
"Please let the check engine light go off."
And it did.
The very next day.
When Jack left on his mission he said goodbye to the Malibu because he figured for sure that it would not be there when he returned two years later. Jack always said the Malibu liked him best....but then so did Megan and Lauren. Each child has said that the Malibu was special to's expired license plates hanging proudly on their bedroom and dorm room walls.
The Malibu forged on and awaited Jack's return from Guatemala still every bit as useful and stinky.
In fact it lasted all the way until the Christmas holidays when the whole family finally reunited at home for the first time in two and a half years. I think that it was then and only then that it could say it's final goodbye. Fitting since it really had become the kid's car.
And now with them all home and taking a final Sonic run together it gasped it's last breath. Jack said that it barely rolled back onto our street not able to get above 20 miles an hour. When he came to a stop smoke billowed from the tailpipe in a giant white cloud.  It wouldn't even start. It just clicked clicked clicked, the engine never turning over again. It sat in front of the house on the street while we decided how best to get rid of it. The insurance had been taken off so there would be no towing it. We called junk yards but their offers seemed shady at best. Being the holidays we just plain put it out of our minds. Occasionally Todd would go out and try to start the engine.
Even the overhead light and power locks failed to work.
It was completely and utterly dead.
Then last week as I was heading out to a photo shoot I see a police car parked in front of the Malibu and the officer looking at it carefully. I kept loading my car praying that there would be no trouble. The police finally pulled up into the driveway and motioned me over.
He was very nice and even apologetic as he reminded me that the vehicle could not stay parked in the street and that an eventual ticket would be 500 dollars. I told him that I would immediately move it in to the driveway. We chatted some more and I realized that there was NO way I could move it into the would not was dead.
I then asked the officer if I could have until the next day to get it moved. I figured that Todd and I could push it up together into the driveway that night. He said, "sure".
Relieved that we were not getting a ticket I called Todd and told him that we had to move it that same night.
He said that he didn't think that the two of us could both move and steer it up the slightly uphill driveway. I bet him that we could since I consider myself freakishly strong for a woman..... at least for the short haul. I have been on the other side of plenty of heavy objects holding my own in moving. He still doubted so I made a bet on it. A sonic drink was riding on my ability to get that car up on the driveway without outside help.
Just Todd and I.
I even went outside praying that it would start and I could move it.
I put it into neutral and made a test run by pushing it about three feet by myself.
I was smug and could already taste my diet coke with cranberry and extra extra ice.
Todd came home and we went out in the dark to push. He kept reminding me that he thought that it wouldn't work. He put the Malibu in neutral and held on to the steering wheel pushing from the front door while I pushed from the back.
It would not budge. Not even an inch.
How could this be?
Desperate to go to bed that night without worry of a police officer knocking at my door I came up with the brilliant idea to try and jump start it with the van.
Todd shook his head with more displeasure but knew that it was better to just humor me on this one. I really don't like interaction with the police. (story for another day) ((dang it there I go again))
We hooked up the two vehicles....
Not a single sound....not even the click click click.
We both sat in our respectable vehicles discouraged.
Todd unhooked the cables and closed the hoods of both vehicles. As I sat in the van despondent and aware that I might actually lose the bet,.....
a miracle happened.
The headlights of the Malibu turned on.
By themselves.
Astonished Todd sat down in the drivers seat and turned the key.
The engine started up without a single sputter.
We could not believe our eyes and ears.
I told Todd to hurry and pull the Malibu into the driveway.
He did and as it came to a stop a huge thick white cloud of smoke billowed from it's tail pipe.
It was the Malibu's goodbye.
The final gift of service to the Winn family.
I will never forget it.
Goodbye my four wheeled friend.
You were faithful and true to the end.
From all of us Winn's
We will miss you.

Monday, February 14, 2011

I'd Write It in the Sky

This is Mr. T and I married less than a year.
Today is a special day for us because 28 years ago today he asked me to marry him.
There are no pictures of that.
There was no big production number.
It was simple, sweet and private.
Mr. T actually doesn't really like to talk about it.
He has seen the pictures or TV shows where there is an elaborate and unique way that someone was asked to marry......
Flowers, candlelight,
sky writers,
sporting event big screens,
people in costumes,
on live TV,
flash mobs,
choreographed dances....
He often says that he feels bad that it was so simple and he just didn't know that it was suppose to be fancy like that.....
That he thinks I was gypped.
What do I say back to that?
How do you tell someone that.....
who they are and how they treat you
is already like..
fireworks on the fourth of July,
millions of red roses,
a lifetime supply of chocolate,
the finest gourmet meal,
the sweetest poetry,
the finest choreographed dance,
the most melodic love song, and
the winning the largest jackpot of all.
You could not honor me more with anything of monetary value than the way you have treated me from the moment we met.
And if I could afford to hire a plane to write this post in the sky I would.
(Do you think that they charge by the letter?)
Thank you for asking me to marry you Mr. T.
Saying yes to you was the best decision I have ever made.

P.S. This is the first year we have decided to ABSOLUTELY spend NO money on gifts for each other. That really we already have everything that we need.
But I couldn't resist a little

Happy Valentines Day everyone. Sending a little love your way too!

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Miracle of The Malibu

 I started this post last week.
I thought that it would be clever in verse form.
A light hearted attempt to say goodbye to a piece of Winn history
trying to not be too attached or sentimental to an inanimate object.
The problem was I kept struggling with it.....
(The post NOT the car)
So okay I am no Emily Dickinson...... but schmaltzy rhyme has always come pretty easy.
I got this far.....

O Malibu, O Malibu...
Is it really time to say adieu?
You been a trusty faithful friend.
Hard to believe the time must end.
Purchased back in 96
You seen your share of driving tricks.
Three teenagers learned  behind your wheel.
To pilot you with an even keel.
They tested you to every limit,
Wrecked 3 times while they were in it.
The other times you were alone
In parking lots by drivers unknown.
Other mishaps you endured
And that is when I realized that I could not get into the groove.
Yikes! Blogger Block!!
Most of my posts flow out like some random leak in a pipe.
I never know exactly what direction it will take or whether it will be a slow leak or a gusher.
This was a complete blockage.
and it is because of what happened last night
This can not be told by a silly rhyming verse.
This can not be just jotted down like a goofy story.
This needs to be written carefully and with the respect it deserves, retold and passed down from one generation to the next...
Perhaps whispered in a fireside circle while you shine a flashlight under your face.
It will also take more than one post to fully appreciate so for the first time this will be a two chapter post my friends.
Chapter One: The history of the beloved "Smellabu"
Chapter Two: The Miracle
I hope that it will come to have as much meaning for you as it did for me dear reader.
Till we meet again.....soon!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Early Bloomer

The early bloomer...
This flower just had to be first.
I come from a long line of people who have to be first.
Not like Olympic medalist or anything like that.
(unless you count my mom who had to be Valedictorian of her high school or else she would have exploded....a definite post for another day.)
But first in line.
And by saying that certain members of my family need to be in the front of the line like other people need oxygen,
I don't mean Mr. T.
Mr. T would have gone down with the Titanic because he would have held the door for everyone running out screaming, saying...."after you"
But I know a couple of people in my extended family that would have been first on the very first life boat.
It's a skill which requires one of two things.
A. You get somewhere really really insanely early
B. You learn the fine art of wheedling your way through a crowd going unnoticed...well mostly.
My father is a champion at both.
Take Option A:
If for instance you need to give him a ride to the airport, which by the way has to be at the very least 2 hours before the scheduled flight, and you ask him what time you need to pick him up, he will say very casually and as if it's no big deal....."Oh I guess 7:00 will give us enough time to get there.
At 6:30 he will start looking out the window.
6:45 he will start pacing around the door area
and by 6:55 he will be in the driveway as you pull up satisfied with your 5 minute cushion with the look that says,
I have learned to just set my watch to JDL standard time and subtract 15 minutes from any aforementioned time.
Option B:
He is by far one of the best wheedlers and darters in a crowd that I have ever had the pleasure of trying to follow. I spent my life hearing my mom say, "Now where is your father?" whilst in large crowds. We would scan the area and worry until minutes later we would see him at the front of the crowd wildly waving his arms in a motion for us to walk past all of the other people to join him in the front. The angry looks as we skulked by were a priceless memory of growing up. It didn't ever bother Dad. He always said that they should of paid more attention and found a place up front like he did.
I really believe that it is in the DNA.
One of my kids who shall remain nameless was a carbon copy. I first noticed her skills while waiting for the school bus with the other neighborhood children. The mothers and kids would all stand at the end of our driveway where the bus made it's pickup for our street. Raar (oops) would be having fun talking and laughing and sweet as you please until the big yellow bus rolled up.
Then it was on.
She would race to the front of the bus as the big doors swung open, knocking anyone out of the way that got in the way,
I would talk to her about it and she would acknowledge it's danger but darn it if the next morning she would forget all our etiquette  discussions and make her way to the front of the line.
As for me?
Well let's just say that Mr. T gets a little frustrated trying to keep up with me sometimes.
I may look slow...
But if their is a line....
Stay out of my way and no one will get hurt.