Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Have you ever noticed that after the thermometer reaches a certain temperature in the summer, it no longer matters what the numbers are, IT'S JUST HOT!!  There comes a time when the numbers just don't matter.  Does 99 really feel any hotter than say, 96?  Or is 105 more dangerous to be in than 102? 

Of course the other way is also true.  In the winter the weather forecasters insist on bombarding us with not only the temperatures but also the windchill factors.  Does it make you feel any colder or warmer knowing this information?  Do you feel warmer when it's only 12 degrees and not 8?  Does a windchill factor of 25 degrees really feel colder than a windchill factor of 30?

At some point, hot is just hot and cold is just cold.  We don't need numbers to tell us that!

I think the same is true with age.  A 15 year old isn't old enough to drive alone but a day later because they have a birthday they are suddenly mature and responsible enough to get behind the wheel of a car alone.  Does one more birthday really make a difference?

Maybe we should set limits.  Any temperature over 100 degrees should just be reported as "really, really hot."  Any temperature below 30 degrees should just be reported as "really, really cold."  And any age over 40 should just be reported as mature and wise beyond belief.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


When the Wii gaming system first came out, my husband and my daughters were very excited.  I didn't get on the bandwagon, however, until I began seeing commercials for the Wii Fit. 

Since my husband's birthday is in April, I made him a deal.  I would get him the Wii for his birthday if he would get me the Wii Fit for Mother's Day.  He was all for it.  After his birthday, he and the girls soon became very proficient with the games that came with the Wii and the few additional games that the girls bought for his birthday.  I was content to wait for the Wii Fit I knew was coming on Mother's Day.

Mother's Day finally rolled around and began with the traditional breakfast in bed, church, Sunday School and lunch out with friends.  When we got home and changed, the girls ceremoniously brought me my gift and I equally ceremoniously unwrapped it.  Of course when I got the Wii Fit, everyone else had to try it out first. 

Part of the set up of the Wii Fit includes creating a Mii that represents each player and recording beginning statistics.  After plugging everything into the TV, my husband asked my oldest daughter to step on to the Wii board so we could see how it worked.  She stepped on and it responded with a very polite, "Thank you."  She began creating her Mii to look similar to herself.  She then had to enter her height, take a balance test and the Wii board weighed her and told her she was "normal."  Her Mii grew slightly to adjust to these measures.  Next my youngest stepped on and did the same.  Her Mii was "underweight" and adjusted to a smaller size.  My middle daughter was a little hesitant to step on so my husband went next.  When he stepped on the board it gave a little, "Oh" exclamation.  Now I was beginning to get nervous.  After creating his Mii, according to his height and weight he was "overweight" and his Mii grew accordingly.   My middle daughter finally got on.  She's a little self conscious about her weight so at first she asked us not to look.  When she stepped on the Wii board, it gave that same little, "oh" and the ominous duh, duh, duh before announcing that she was overweight.  Her Mii grew accordingly and as it grew, it's shirt rode up to reveal it's bulging stomach.  At this point, all I could imagine was stepping on the board and hearing it scream, "Get off, get off, get off."  Finally I gingerly stepped up onto the board.  I chose my Mii image, logged in my height, took my balance test and closed my eyes as it weighed me and calculated my BMI then, "Duh, duh, duh!  You are obese."  My Mii grew, it's shirt rode up and it's bulging belly was revealed.  I felt like that was me standing up there for my family to see, fat and all.  I was determined not to let this "game" get the best of me so I went straight from set up to work out.  I chose a personal trainer, the male one (I named him Todd just for kicks) and proceeded to the Yoga workout.  I thought that might be the safest start on these old and tired muscles.  As I was working out, the Wii trainer (Todd) had more encouraging words for me like, "Keep that leg straight.  You can do better than that.  Is that all you've got?"  I didn't let this deter me.  I wasn't going to let this "game" win.  I continued my workout daily for about a week and then one day I just didn't get a chance to get on the Wii.  The next day when I got on, the Wii asked with a sarcastic tone, "Where were you yesterday?  Too busy too work out, hmmm?"  And proceeded to tell me why it's important to work out daily.  If I gained weight it told me and then asked me to take a multiple choice test to determine why I had gained weight:  1)  eating too much, b)  snacking late at night, c)  eating junk food, d)  skipping workouts.  Never once did it give me the choice of PMS for gaining 1/4 lb, or maybe building muscle from all the workouts.  Don't think I didn't tell the Wii when the reason for my weight gain was PMS either. 

Gradually I got use to the abuse and the game questioning my diet and exercise but then one day that little game went too far.  I turned it on, set up the board, and it went through the typical, "I haven't seen you in 2 days."  "Did you get enough sleep last night?"  "It's important that you work out every day." etc.

Then it asked a new question.  It said, "Have you noticed a difference in Catey lately?"    

"Heck yeah,"  I thought.  "She's a teenager and getting to be stubborn and argumentative pretty much all the time."

"She's been working out every day."  replied the Wii.

I didn't want to be bothered.  I just wanted to work out so I skipped over the question just to get going. 

The next screen popped up with, "I guess you haven't been paying enough attention to Catey lately." 

That was the last straw.  This gaming system had criticized my weight, my eating habits, my exercise habits and now it was telling me that I wasn't paying enough attention to my children!?!

By the time my husband got home that night, I had placed an ad on ebay:  "For sale or trade.  Wii Fit.  Willing to sell cheap or trade for a treadmill, bicycle or weights."

So much for high technology weight loss at my house.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Romance in Two Backpacks and a Cooler

After twenty years of marriage, my husband and I wanted to do something special to celebrate our anniversary this year.  Now that the girls are old enough (18, 16, and 9) to survive without us for a few days, we decided it was time for a romantic getaway for two.  Being the planner in the relationship, my husband took on the task of painstakingly researching our options and presented me with two viable choices. 

The first was a beautiful bed and breakfast in a nearby city that was advertised like this:  "Our elegant and luxurious accomodations provide a lovely atmosphere for celebrating your honeymoon, special anniversary, or just spending some much-needed time away for just the two of you. That's us!!
Spend two nights with that special someone in your choice of room. In addition, receive:
•Personalized Welcome Card
  Gee thanks...

•Two tickets to Tryon Palace (valid for two days)  That's nice...but been there, done that...
•A beautiful horse drawn carriage with pick up from The Aerie and, after a tour of Historic    downtown New Bern, it will deliver to your paid dinner at The Chelsea Restaurant  Now we're talking!!
•Ensuite champagne  There we go.
•Fresh flower arrangement to take home
•The Aerie's keepsake etched-glass ornament   That's nice.
Partake in our evening wine and hors d'oeuvres and daily breakfast with your choice of three hot entrees in our candlelit dining room."  Yum

For a small additional fee we could add to this package:  "...ultimate in relaxation with a couples full body massage administered by our nationally certified massage therapists in the privacy of your suite. Massages are sixty minutes in duration and are given simultaneously. Refresh yourselves with champagne or a non-alcoholic sparkling cider during your treatments. If you prefer, our staff will place your beverage in your room for your enjoyment upon your return from dinner."  Ohhh...yeahhh...

The second choice he presented to me was a cabin on a remote beach on the nearby coast and was advertised like this: "There are twenty units with a sleeping capacity of six (6) bunk-bed style. Each unit has a hot water heater, individual propane heating system, lighting fixtures, a combination sleeping-eating area with ceiling fans, table, chairs, a kitchen with cabinets, oven/stove combination and a private bath. Each unit is approximately 500 sq. ft. Visitors need to provide their own linens, bedding and cookware.

Duplex cabins share porches and decks."  Hmmm...

Well, for us it was a no-brainer!!!  I called the next day and made reservations for a that cabin on the beach.  Bunk beds and all! 

The next step was finding a way to get there.  The island could only be accessed by ferry and only four-wheel drive vehicles could get around on the sandy island.  We had neither.  I checked out more websites and found a ferry that would get us over there and let us park our mini van for the week.  Great!  The website for this ferry also advised bringing only two backpacks and one cooler. 

How do you pack a three day, three night romantic get away into two backpacks and a cooler?!?

It helped that we are a military family.  We have learned with enough planning and thought you can pack a whole houseful into a pick up truck and a van if you have to.

We discussed this new...challenge...and decided that we would each choose and night, we set a price limit and we were to plan a romantic evening.  For me, this was a challenge in packing skills.  For my husband it was a contest to outdo me. 
We read everything we could about the cabins, looked at the pictures posted on the website and had a pretty good idea going in what rearranging and accessories would be needed to change this rustic fishing cabin...

 ...into a somewhat romantic oasis for two and we packed those items first. 

We did some pre-planning and pre-cooking and then sealed our meals using my handy-dandy "Seal-a-Meal" and that saved room in the cooler.  All that was left was the romance.

I must say, I thought I did a pretty good job with my dinner of shrimp and veggies, Sutter Home 4-pack of wine in plastic bottles, votive candles, ipod music, and cheesecake for desert.  I gave Jeff a chain for the engraved pocketwatch I had given him on our first anniversary. 

Still, my husband way outdid me again this year.

After "planting" a note in a bottle (we were the only ones on the entire beach while we were there), he sent me out in search of two perfect shells.  When I returned with my note and the shells (which he used for candle holders), he had covered the table with rose petals, he had the laptop set up to play Angel by Aerosmith as the background to a powerpoint presentation our oldest helped him put together with pictures of us.  We ate lobster tails, cheese, pepperoni, oysters and crackers and a mini cake for dessert.   He too had thought to get the Sutter Home wine 4-pack.  This was especially impressive because he doesn't drink wine.  He researched what kind of wine to drink with lobster.  He also researched and found that the traditional 20th wedding anniversary gift is emeralds and he gave me an emerald ring and matching earrings. 

I later found out that while I was trying to hunt down a 6-pack of those plastic wine glasses you can get for New Year's Eve, he was convincing the owner of our local party supply store to open a bag of twelve and sell him two plastic wine glasses.  While I was content to eat granola bars for breakfast to save room in our cooler, he was talking to the butcher at the grocery store about what kind of meat packs well in coolers and don't necessarily have to be kept cool.  He even wrapped two bottles of iced coffee so I could have that indulgence each morning for breakfast.  These little things more than the gifts made this trip romantic for me.

We enjoyed the rest of the week fishing, walking on the beach, looking for shells and relaxing.  Who says you need to spend a lot of money or have a lot of fluff to be romantic? 
We managed to pack three romantic days and three romantic nights into two backpacks and a cooler.