Friday, January 31, 2014

Vindication 13 Years Later

I recently read that the military is dropping its pull-up requirements for women because the majority of recruits were unable to perform the minimum requirement of three.  Listen, I'm all about strong women and equal opportunities, blah, blah, but I got to be honest, I was pretty excited to read this piece of news.  Actually, I felt deeply vindicated.  Why?  Well, to be honest, I have had a very successful athletic career, but something has always weighed heavily on me as an athlete.  Each year I was in middle school we had to participate in the President's Challenge, which was a fitness test administered during gym class.  In order to win the award, one had to score at or above the 85th percentile on flexibility, running and strength.  Each year I would find myself in the running for the award and then the test of strength would kill me.  Was I a weak child?  Um, no, I was the size of a grown woman by 12.  No, my problem was that the strength portion of the test consisted of how many pull-ups you could do in a minute.  Freaking pull-ups.

I can still remember the demoralizing walk into the back wrestling room, where the lone bar hung on the wall.  Each year my gym teacher would give me the thumbs up and then say, "Okay, Kate, your time starts now."  And then the humiliation would begin.  With a little help I would be placed on the bar and then for 60 seconds I would just hang there.  For the first few seconds I would grunt and wiggle around, hoping momentum would somehow swing me up. Then, I would go into cursing my genetic pool of weak armed ancestors, who might have had the fortitude to walk across the United States for a better home, but in my book were really just a bunch of people with weak and useless appendages.  From there I would go into denial.  Sure my deltoid muscles were about to tear, and my arms were losing blood by the second, but I just knew this year was going to be different.  It had to be different.  And then, my gym teacher would say quietly, "Time.  Sorry Kate.  At least you'll get a 'Participating Award.'"  A "participating award?"  That was the worst because you know who else got the "Participating Award?"  Yep, the fat kids, the handicap kids...and me.

So, listen up gym teacher, who's name I can't remember right now, but I'm sure you were slightly creepy, and THE PRESIDENT, pull ups are stupid.  Even women, who most likely could kill me with their bare arms, even THEY can't do pull-ups!  So, here's what we are going to do. I'm going to need three certificates awarding me the Presidential Challenge. I'm going to need a written apology and I would like the bar in the wrestling room ripped off the wall and burned.  Maybe then, we can call it even.

Thursday, January 30, 2014


Today, while I was riding my bike through the back bay of Newport, I came across a very large group of people, who were standing near the waters edge, with binocular and cameras, just staring at some birds floating in the water.  As I passed the group, I heard someone say, right before their giant camera fired off 14 consecutive shots of the swimming birds, "This is incredible."  Really?  Incredible?  I think we all need to stop a moment and clarify what definition we are using for "incredible" because I'm not sure we are all on the same page.  Incredible is: surviving a plane crash.  Incredible are: heart transplants, the amount of poo at 16 month old baby can generate, or the fact that Justin Bieber hasn't been shot.  Now, those things are incredible.  A plain looking bird floating in a feces filled bay, I got to say, is not exactly incredible.

So, I got to ask, and not the obvious question of, "Why are birds remotely interesting?" but, "How does one become an avid bird watcher?  Or what does it take to become a bird watcher?"  Seriously, I want to know.  Must you hate exciting things?  For example, if I enjoy speeding down a hill on my bike, would I be a bad candidate for bird watching?  Would it be better if I found enjoyment in sitting at the post office and watching customers buy stamps?  Am I getting in the bird running?

Secondly, is there a weekly newsletter, website or Facebook page of where one can post the thousands of pictures taken of the bird sitting in its nest?  Maybe I'm reaching here, but if I'm going to walk twenty yards into a forest, hold my breath, so as to not disturb my adoring subject, and manage (fingers crossed) to take 135 pictures of him, where and how can I share this gift with the world?  If nowhere, then bird friends, I'm not sure this gig is for me.

And lastly, to become a bird watcher, must you focus all energies just on birds?  For example, is it taboo to the hobby to become a fish watcher or a lover of different tree branches?  What if you explain that while falling in love with the birds, the branches just seemed to, unexpectedly, sneak up on you?  And you can't explain it, but there's just something you and the branches understand about one another that the birds just don't seem to get, or to be frank, try to get?

I know, I know, a lot of questions.  Maybe one day I'll get the courage to stop and interrupt the incredible magic going on in the back bay.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Elusive Color Yellow

Last night the husband and I went exotic and ordered Chinese food.  Hmmm...MSG.  After the meal, we both cracked open our future cookies only to find we both had received the same fortune.  Pray tell, what are the chances you crazy Chinese fortune tellers?

Anyway, the fortune read: "Focus in on the color yellow tomorrow for good luck!"  Focus on the color "yellow."  Huh? So, today is tomorrow and I have to admit, no good luck yet.  For example, last night, due to the copious amounts of salt that was undoubtedly placed in our food for flavor, I drank a lot of water.  What does that mean?  Well, my urine was not so yellow.  Heck, it was basically water.  So, great little China man, no good luck there.  Then I encountered some yellow snot coming out of my baby's nose...followed by a million dollars?  Nope, just more snot.  0 for 2.

Were my dying yellow lemon trees outside, that need probably all the water I drank last night, sprouting cures to cancer, free babysitters, secrets to how to remove my back love handles?  Nope.  Do I own any yellow clothes?  No!  Is the sun even out today? No it's cloudy!  Damn you color yellow and all the good luck you promise!

Dear wise and prophetic future tellers, who work in the fortune cookie factories in San Francisco, you have got to be more specific!  We, I mean, humankind, depend on these small strips of paper for guidance and direction.  You've got to give us more...and you've got to think a little harder than offering the same fortune.  My husband has a job.  A real job.  Do you know how much legal yellow paper he's surrounded by?  He's an absolute mess today.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Battle Cry of No

Holy sweet Moses it's been a while since I even opened this blog. I would like to state that my absence was not due to the overwhelming hate mail I received due to my last entry in regards to Michael Buble.  Sure, you haters are going to hate, but it was the Christmas season and I heard music from an angel.  'Twas the season you haters of soulful jazz and butter voices.  So, yes, I took a break...and I liked it.  But, you know what a large break means for me?  A lot of freaking sarcasm and judgmental feelings that must be expressed.  So, bring on the new year...the new day...because I'm feeling...gooood.  (I'll stop with the Michael Buble.)

So, where do we begin?  Well, let's begin in my new little world.  Lately, my child has decided to start doing some strange things.  One, she has no idea what "no" really means, and yet, that seems to be the answer for everything.  And it's not just one time saying "no," but actually hundreds of times, while vigorously shaking her head.  The husband and I, naturally, have resorted to mocking her by shaking our heads up and down like Metallica, while saying, "yes" over and over again, and my personal favorite of asking her questions like, "Does global warming really exist?"  "Did the world start with a big bang?"  "Do people really watch the show The Big Bang Theory?"  "Should I get bangs?"  "Will Obamacare ever work?"  And...out of the mouth of babes...

The other strange occurrence, and probably the MOST annoying thing in this new world of mine, is my child has decided to start waking up in the middle of the night by standing and then violently screaming.  This usually happens about twice a night and then ends with us relenting, like some beaten prisoners, at around 5:30 in the morning.  The other morning when this happened, I laid on down on the couch with my now consoled daughter, and started to reflect on the absurdity of this new practice.  First, how does one go from a soft slumber to a siren of panic? Can you imagine doing that now as an adult?  One minute you are spooning your partner and the next you are standing on your mattress screaming like you've been stabbed.  The first time it happened, I honestly expected her to be in the act of falling from her crib or being abducted.  (Got to stop watching 48 Hour Mysteries.)  And when I found her standing there, trying to hand me some forsaken stuffed animal, I got to admit, I was a little disappointed.

So, this is my new world.  Mr. Buble sing me out.