Don’t look ’em in the eye..

We got sidetracked over the weekend .. (which has me now 2 days behind in posts but I’ve got some great stuff to work with .. so no shortage of material, just time.)

We were heading to a friends place in Chicago.  I wanted to make three stops along the way… and none of which entailed a bar.  Which, is apparently where most of Chicago likes to hang on St. Pattys day so we may have to make that trip again and do it appropriately.

I wanted to see the Chicago River turned green, a longstanding tradition .. (I’ve seen it look rather green, but probably not on purpose)

http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/11345105-418/they-dye-the-chicago-river-and-a-few-other-things-green.html

And, I wanted to stop in at two stores, both of which are essentially a few doors down from the river.

One where I usually go anymore if I’m going to buy a new suit (http://www.benetton.com/) …not that I want or need anymore than I already have.  But my job demands I dress well and stay up to date with current trends.  And people are very vocal (like last Friday) when they don’t like what you are wearing.  So I have to make an attempt anyway .. I walked in .. tried on one blouse .. and walked out.

(I walk out by the way, to the Cowboy and my daughter, who have found comfy chairs across from each other in the mall, seeing who can stare the other down first without laughing.  It made me smile.)

The other…

… http://shop.nordstrom.com/c/womens-shoes-shop?origin=topnav was just down the hall.  One where my daughter was very much a participant.  And the funny faces she was making here.. were in the mirror, at herself.  As she asked for pair after pair of shoes to try on.  Heels and all.  (10 years old mind you.)

Quite honestly, she’s the one who needs new shoes the most.  She’s gone from a size 5 last fall to a size 7.  I’m pretty sure she’s been cramming her feet into shoes that don’t fit for months.  Regardless ..

………..

Nordstroms on Michigan Ave.  (Yes, I’m quite certain there other other more magnificent shoe departments but this one is closest to home.)

I don’t always buy.  I swear I don’t.  Not any more.  I used to, perhaps twice a year.  I’d go and buy one new pair.  Something I feel pretty good about given I usually see women buying several at usually upwards of $150/pr if not $300-$500.

Slowly and steadily, I’m trying to get rid of shoes I don’t wear anymore and only buy comfortable shoes for my busy lifestyle and aching feet.  Ones that are stylish enough to wear to work, for everyday or to the ranch.  (They do exist.)

I bought one pair for myself.  Cute, casual.  But wearable for work.  Under $100.  And most importantly, while they may not look it, comfortable.  Like, crazy I’m walking on pillows, comfortable.  And we got a pair of glittery flip flops for my daughter so that she could remove the tall, sweaty cowboy boots she had on that 80 degree day.   Because she had no other warm weather shoes that fit her.

The Cowboy had no intention of spending any money.

No intention.

But on the way back to the car .. we, meaning, I.. or my daughter..  apparently made eye contact with the guy at the kiosk in the middle of the mall.  Well, actually we didn’t make eye contact.  But he noticed we were strolling, friendly folk and likely suspects .. and he reeled us in.  You know, those kiosks where they say here, try this hand lotion and if you stop you’re in trouble.  The Cowboy has apparently been reeled in by this kiosk before, at a different mall.  I have too.  These people are good.

But I was prepared.  And wasn’t spending any more money.

The owner realized that.

Then started talking with the Cowboy.

We were there a good 20 minutes.  Had fun.  And we walked away having spent some money.   Not on beer.  Shoes.  A suit.  Or anything Irish this St. Patrick’s Day.  But it was still refreshing and hopefully worth the price.

It’s okay to get sidetracked.  But eye contact in the big city isn’t what it might always be out on the back roads of South Dakota.  Where all it might cost you, is a friendly wave.

“No more eye contact,” says the Cowboy, laughing, before we’re even done.  We went off and had what I thought was a wonderful rest of the weekend..

…………

What I realized this morning.. ironically .. is that I should have made more eye contact with the Cowboy over the weekend.  Because I may have then realized,  there were other discussions to be had.  And that would have been good to have, when we could have looked each other in the eye.

Instead .. I get a text.

Sometimes conversations with a cowboy.. heck, anyone, aren’t easy.  Or fun.

Stillwater …

If you’ve never been to Stillwater, Minnesota, you’re missing something.  It is a beautiful .. quaint little town along the banks of the St. Croix River (I thought it was Mississippi but, wrong.) just as you cross the border from Wisconsin into Minnesota.  Or, I guess.. the other way around, too.  Leaving Minnesota heading into Wisconsin.  Whichever direction you’re coming from, it’s just a few miles off the highway.  And well worth the trip.  There is a great downtown and a gorgeous landscape surrounding the small town.

http://www.countryliving.com/antiques/shops-and-shows/getaway-st-croix-valley-1106#slide-1

Lot of antique shops.  Well, a lot of quaint little shops in general to be honest.

Golf courses.  Water recreation opportunities.  B&B’s.  And of course.. some great restaurants.

I’m pretty sure the Cowboy and I checked out each and every one of them in the three hours we were there.  The day we actually met, in person.  Late last June.

Because I was hungry for breakfast.  I had just come from a long run.  And it was past noon.

As we were told, ‘no breakfast anymore’ walking from place to place, we finally settled on a nice bistro on the edge of town (no more restaurants to hit).  We sat in the window at a table for two.  And I quickly realized it didn’t matter what was on the menu.  I was happy to just delve into the person sitting across the table from me.   (Take that however you want.  But at that point it was all about the convo.)

…………..

Another old friend I just ran into and who knew something about someone in South Dakota  said to me .. ‘how exactly, did you meet again?’

………….

Six years ago .. the Cowboy got a call from a friend to show some horses.  He was living in Oklahoma  at the time.  It was to rope at the World Appaloosa show in Fort Worth, Texas for a horse trainer from Wisconsin.  He went.  They won.  They have been great friends and worked together ever since.

Which brings us to a year ago…

That same trainer…

Became my trainer for an event I was asked to do along with some others for the Midwest Horse Fair last April, I believe it was.  We worked together for a few months.  Unlike the Cowboy, I …didn’t win.    But the Trainer and I became fast friends as well.

(He shall from this point forward be called the Trainer.  Because he and his family have now become a big part of both our lives.  Chances are he will make some reappearances in future blogs.)

Fast forward to a Memorial Day weekend trip the Trainer took to South Dakota with a client of his.  They went to the Cowboy’s to have him teach the client how to rope.  They roped.  They drank beer.  And one night the Cowboy got our his guitar and started to play.

“You have to meet a friend of mine,” says the Trainer to the Cowboy.

He bugged him about it again the next day.  The following day on his drive back to Wisconsin, the Trainer calls me and says, “You’re not dating anyone right now, are you?  Even if you are..  I’ve got someone you need to meet.  Go on Facebook or something .. Friend the Cowboy.”

I’m pretty sure both of us laughed and said .. ‘Yeah, sure. Get right on that’… because neither of us was wanting or looking for anything at the time.

Which may be why this has been so good.

We did nothing but talk for what seemed quite a long time.  Great conversations.  Long conversations.  About everything.  Including why neither of us was in the market for a relationship at the point.  Usually it was from about midnight-3am on many a night last June.  And then we thought, perhaps it might be nice to meet.  Because while neither of us was looking to get into another relationship, there was something there.

On a weekend when both our plans got canceled for other reasons.. mine, a trip to Nashville to scope out some potential life changes and him, to North Dakota for a roping school which got rained out..  we decided on a whim, to meet.

But where..

One of my best friends had out of the blue, said, we’re home with no plans, come to Minneapolis and see us.

The Cowboy said, I have a friend who’s been at me to come rope.  He’s just outside Minneapolis.

And on that weekend, we met.  For lunch.  Which turned into an afternoon.. one of the best afternoons of my life, thus far I’m pretty sure.

Other than the distance.. we have been together since.

Stillwater deserves a return trip .. I’m thinking.  And breakfast, lunch or dinner.. will be great.  As long as the company is the same.

‘Try this,’ my 10-year-old says..

I was going to post earlier today .. the answer to ‘Most Asked Question #2‘ when it comes to me and the Cowboy.  The, ‘He lives there and you’re here?  How did you meet?’ post.  But that’ll come later, I guess.  My internet is giving me hell.  I didn’t get a chance to tweak it.  That’ll happen yet tonight, I would imagine.

In the meantime, I’ve had the most wonderful afternoon with my daughter.  And given I want her to have as much of me and ‘us’ documented to remember .. I’m going to take this moment to write about our evening.  Because there is much to be savored.  Literally.

………..

There is a store in Madison where, every Wednesday, when I pick my daughter up from school for either the two days I have her each week or the 5 .. we stop to pick up fresh produce.  Because neither she nor I can get enough of it …

Other stores carry produce.  I shop there too.  But usually, none can compare to what we find at this particular Madison based store.  It is just that good.  Or, at least we know it’s that good.  Because, well, because there are samples.  For EVERYTHING.

“Mom,” she says, chasing me around the store with another sample of something.  Always.  “Try this!  You HAVE TO TRY THIS!  Can we get one of these?” she says.

Great marketing.  It works.  We usually walk out with far more than what we would have gotten otherwise.

Regardless..

I’m estatic we have a chance to get home tonight and do little other than finish up homework.  Hang out together.  Cook.  And give the dogs some exercise after being cooped up much of the past two days while the rest of the Midwest comes to life now that spring has sprung.

I put the pork chops in the oven, get the snap peas ready to go for when I return.. and go for a run with one of the dogs.

I was gone 15 minutes.

I come back, she’s cutting up a pear.  I think little-to-nothing of it.

I go back to getting dinner ready.

“Please keep working on your homework,” I say.

I find a granola bar wrapper.

And, as I go to put the other groceries away, I find the cheese, open.

“Did you eat more than the pear?” I ask.  “You’re going to ruin your appetite and we have a nice dinner tonight.”

“What,” she says.  “I only had cheese, a granola bar.. and, I had a pear.”

She pauses a few seconds.

“And I’m still hungry.”

We sit down moments later to a wonderful meal of pork chops, steamed sugar snap peas, fresh salad topped with strawberries and cantaloupe to round it out.

She’s right.  She is still hungry.

And these are moments that remind me, despite how often I’ve been told by her father over the years I am far from being the best mother (to put it mildly) .. make me feel like if I’ve done anything right, she will grow in so many ways, into a healthy young woman.

My 10 year old is growing, in more ways than one.  Precious moments like these, I’m so grateful to realize pass us by too quickly .. to not be savored.

Now about that ice cream for dessert …

“Is He Really ..?” The Questions Friends Ask.

Yes.

He really is a cowboy.

Not just a straw hat, cowboy boot, teeny bopper shirt-ish made to look western wearin’  wanna be like many of us know and sometimes are.  But a real cowboy.

Like, hangs out with other cowboys.  Can rope a steer.  Fast.  Shoes horses for a living.  Grew up on a ranch.  Makes a big belt buckle look really good.  Can train your horse, all around cowboy.

………..

Someone, actually a close friend who read the blog for the first time, asked the other night who the Cowboy is.  Like, is he real?  Is it your ex?  Is he fictitious?  (I obviously have not seen this friend in awhile.)  But even people I work with who haven’t met the Cowboy yet I’m pretty sure believe he’s a figment of my imagination.

Don't even try this look if you're not a real cowboy .. I'm pretty sure.

Actually .. any man that has swept me off my feet like this guy and actually kept me interested and happy .. for longer than one date (if they got even that far), they probably think is fictitious.  I’ve been pretty jaded .. and, guarded for what seems now, a very long time.  Waiting for the right person to come along.  Especially because I want to do everything I can to not only protect my own heart after several healthy doses of loss and unhealthy relationships.. but that of my daughters.

But he does exist…

And I don’t know that in the blog, I’ve properly introduced him… If you can actually do that with a person who you will most likely never get to look in the eye, at least here in blog world.  Which I’m still learning.  Real world, he will absolutely connect with you in person. Eye to eye.  And a smile.

………….

There are questions I get asked often.  And that the Cowboy does as well, when we’re out and about and I introduce him to anyone new.

Usually, when any of us, ever first meets someone for the first time we say the standard, Hey, nice to meet you.  And then inadvertently it’s followed up by .. So, what do you do?

“I’m a farrier,” he Cowboy answers.

(Well sometimes that’s what he says.  He does a lot of things where horses are concerned.  Trains.  Ropes.  But usually, he answers, farrier.)

Old shoes ..

Cowboys and people that know anything about horses then go about talking about cowboy things.  I think.

More often then not though, my non-horse owning/only ever been to South Dakota or out west to see Mount Rushmore or go skiing at some swanky Rocky Mountain resort, who freely say things like ‘lasso’ (see previous post about why this totally outs you as a greenhorn) and like to wear cowboy boots just because they look good friends will say, “A what?”

As he goes on to explain .. they say, “So, you’re a real cowboy?”

Yep.  He is.

It is a way of life those who live it, love.  Anyone that would call themselves a real cowboy I have ever had the pleasure to know, talk with or read about, will tell you, it’s a hard way of life.  Or can be.   But that they wouldn’t have it any other way.

Then there are those who love what it stands for, but aren’t sure they could ever give up the creature comforts of the non-cowboy way of life.  So they appreciate it from a distance.

Many do.  Appreciate it that is, from a distance.  In fact, they appreciate it so much, marketing to the non-cowboys who want to be like, look like or pretend they’re a real cowboy is big business anymore.  I think.  I can’t find any statistics.  I tried for awhile here and turned up little to nothing concrete.  By the way, have you googled western way of life?  Cowboy economy?  Not what I was expecting.  All it brings up are boot companies.  And some other really entertaining, if not frightening things.

…………

I tried to explain to a friend awhile ago, a business idea a few of us have.  One we believe would totally fly with those who have a love for the western way of life.  He said, “Well, for arguments sake, who does that appeal to?”  I replied, “A lot of people.”  He said, “Prove it. Monetize it.  You want someone to back it, show me it’ll make money.”

They're advertising to someone ...

I wanted to start by saying, I can add up the number of girlfriends I have who are single and have asked if the Cowboy has any single friends .. and if I might ‘help them find a cowboy.’  And then take him to my own closet full of boots, the first pair of which I bought myself when I was 17 .. a pair of Justins,  http://www.justinboots.com/en/  and say, let’s just take even one percent of the US female population and assume they have the same if not more cowboy/girl (my pc self coming out there) boots than I do.  Because I’m pretty sure millions of others have me beat on the boot count .. and say, “There’s your proof.  That’s just one woman’s closet.  How’s that for your indicator.”  Then walk off triumphantly.

But I know he was doing it for my own benefit.  Plus, his wife has far more boots than I do so he’s aware. He just wants me to be fully prepared to defend my idea.

I digress ..

The whole point of this was to say, he’s real.  The Cowboy is not a figment of my imagination.  Or .. my own ex.  Who loves the west, but not being a cowboy.  He wants to be a mountaineer.  I think that’s still the case.  That’s a whole other story.

(Mountaineering, by the way, has been far better documented it appears,  http://tinyurl.com/6porksg  in regard to economic impact than the Cowboy industry.  What gives.)

………….

“So, how did you two meet?”

The above is almost always the second question.  Or, close to like, the fifteenth because its always after the barrage of questions about being a cowboy.  Once though they realize he’s a cowboy there .. and I’m living in a tiny 2 bedroom apartment in the middle of a small city nowhere near the great plains of South Dakota, that is what pops out of many a mouth.

It’s a great story.  I shall tell it.  Perhaps tomorrow.

Just a crack …

It really has not been a bad past few months, in terms of winters.

Well..

If you like snow or rely on it for income, it pretty much sucked.

I didn’t ski once.  It’s been a long time since I haven’t gone at all.  Or, ice skate.  I love doing both, especially with my daughter.  We had planned to take the Cowboy in fact.  We live near a cool ice skating park with a shelter that serves hot cocoa and had looked forward to going.

This winter though, worked for me.  For many reasons.  The Cowboy and I have been on the road a ton between here and there.  I hate driving in snow.  Plus it’s allowed me to get away with the near balding tires I’ve had all winter.  I no longer have a yard to just throw open the back door to something fenced in to let the dogs out, I have to walk them.  And pick up after them.  In a lot of snow, neither of those are fun.  And I hate being cold.  I usually live in long underwear each winter.  I’m not sure that I put them on but twice over the past 5 months.  While I love skiing and hate that the hills around here or for that fact, many places took a huge hit this year.. I’ll take winters like the one we’ve had.  At least, every now and then.

………….

But I haven’t had the windows open (except to let the smoke out after cooking on a few occasions) since probably mid-November.

I cracked a few on Saturday morning in the apartment.

My daughter, who usually begs me to put the windows up because the wind is blowing her hair in her eyes, wanted all the windows down on the way home from church Sunday morning.

Ahhhhhhhhh….

FRESH, honest to goodness, crisp but not frigid, can crack the windows open all day and not let a ton of heat/money escape as my dad will say, makes you want to garden, feel the breeze on your face and it’s awesome, air.

Car windows, down.

The weekend like the one we’ve had .. has to be one of my favorites each year.  The first real buying into the fact spring may actually be here – kind of weekend.  Where people are back out in full force.  In shorts.  Running.  Biking.  Roller blading.  Walking their dogs.  Sweating again (those running).  Fishing.  (Not in an ice shanty.)  Sitting at the Terrace, walking State Street, finally putting the Christmas tree to the curb and taking down the lights, re-introduce yourself to your neighbor, windows open kind of weekend.

I’ve hardly sat at the computer.  I’ve hardly thought to tweet.  Log onto Facebook.  Blog.  Or do anything inside since Friday night when I left work at 9pm.

It’s helped my internet at home has been down.

But the weather had us out enjoying everything we could, with no jacket required.  The warming temps actually kept the Cowboy and I from talking as much as we usually do, too.  He and his kids didn’t set foot much inside all weekend.  It was a kite flying, bike riding, playing football in the yard until bath time kind of weekend in South Dakota.

My daughter and I enjoyed a date night at the Symphony.  We moseyed around the downtown deciding where we wanted to eat versus darting from the car to exactly where we knew we were heading.  We leisurely the dogs.  I cleaned our little porch to get it ready for the first sign its okay to plant any flowers.  We pulled our hula hoops (and these are some serious hula hoops) out of storage.  And hit the barn.

Post ride. A few more moments savoring the weekend.

As I think of how beautiful it was here, I wonder if the 14 inches of snow has melted yet at my dad’s to the north ..

I’m hoping everyone had such a weekend.

Spring, welcome back, old friend …

Cowboy in the City – Lessons Learned Number Two..

Neither of us can remember exactly what it was we were talking about a few months back … when the Cowboy said something that made me gasp.

“Um, honey … I don’t mean to sound like I’m telling you what to do,” I said.

“But, do you know what that term means?”

A bit taken aback, the Cowboy says, “I guess, but I don’t ever really think about it.  Everyone I know says it.  Why, don’t people here use it?  It just means ….”

Having used the term a few times myself growing up because everyone around me said it as well .. before I really thought about what it meant;

“Not really.  Especially around here.  Can we agree you will be more careful with that?”

………

“Good judgement comes from bad experience.  And most of the time, that comes from bad judgement.” –

The Cowboy found this quote and thought it appropriate in the context of this post.

………

I live in the politically correct capital of the world.

One of them, anyway.  So it is easy to mess up.  It seems near impossible to keep up with the latest words one should use .. or more likely, that you shouldn’t.

It is so politically correct here, I actually felt on my Facebook status update the other night when I posted I thought I might head home and build a snowman after a spring snowstorm .. a snow perfect for packing .. that I should change it to ‘snowperson’ or someone might be offended and correct me.

We laughed about that one..

I’m even a bit apprehensive someone will feel I’m not being pc .. writing about being bc.  Sheesh.

“What do they call Indians here,” he asks last night as we’re talking about all this.  We were hanging out chatting, late again, over the video phone.  “In South Dakota, I’m pretty sure they prefer Indian.  I’m part Indian.  We don’t say, I’m (part) Native American.  That’s how we talk.  Even that is not accepted there?”

My alma mater no longer the Indians.

It may be.  In some parts, anyway.  Others may coil at the sound and tell you you’re wrong to say it.

I’m so sensitized, for many reasons, to not wanting to offend anyone …

That another term the Cowboy uses once in awhile and that I recently heard his grandmother affectionately say to one his boys, hit me as probably a very un-pc term.

I asked him about it..

Jigger?” he replied.  “That’s not a derogatory term.  It’s just a little bug.”

Yep.  Looked it up.  Can be an insect.  (There are several other definitions as well.  None that should be offensive.  Unless you’re referring to someone as say, a shot glass.  Or a fishing lure.)  But it still sounds like it shouldn’t be okay to me when I hear it.  I have never heard anyone use that term until South Dakota.  Around here, we have a lot of other names for kids when they’re doing cute things.
Like, little bugger.  Lil stinker.  Lil .. well, I’ve never heard lil jigger.  But, I’m learning it’s ok.
Learning that while its important to treat others with respect, it’s probably ok to ease up a bit too over fears of offending someone.

Even with good intentions.. Have we taken pc too far?

A lot has been written about the topic.  Just a couple posts I found..

http://www.experience.com/alumnus/article?channel_id=diversity&source_page=editor_picks&article_id=article_115574490604

http://davidhallstrom.articlealley.com/the-act-of-being-politically-correct-has-gone-from-the-sublime-to-the-ridiculous-19236.html

I truly believe most people have a good heart .. and they try to be kind and considerate of others feelings, beliefs and who they are.  They just may not always be up on the latest terms for what they should ever call something.  Or know anything about someone’s religion or culture.  And over concern of being politically incorrect, they refrain from learning or asking or saying anything, out of fear they will offend.

I like this particular post below.  And think the Cowboy would too.  If nothing else, it’s good food for thought.

http://www.wikihow.com/Be-Correct-by-Not-Being-Politically-Correct

There are only a few terms even the Cowboy agrees, should probably be removed from his vocabulary.  But others I’m happy to hear someone not afraid to say.  And he can go right ahead and hang onto.  That reflect who he is.  Where he is from.  And the kind of person he is.   Down to earth.  Straightforward.  Good.  Curious.  Open to whatever is out there.  And willing to change.  Should it be necessary.

He says to me as I’m asking him about this .. “I really like where you live.  I love to visit. But, I’m far more comfortable in central Texas.  Where everyone wears cowboy boots and says whatever the hell they want.  You don’t have to worry about who you’re pissing off.”

He laughs.

Nonchalantly he says in-between our banter, “C’mon you son-of-a-buck,” as he’s waiting for something he’s searching for to come up on his phone.

“I probably swear more than I should,” he looks over at me via the video phone.

He laughs some more.  Then adds..

“But you swear just as much as I do.  If not more.  Maybe that’s something we should talk about … “

What the Cowboy Says He’s Learned in the City. No. 1 ..

I wonder if I didn’t have to stop to pick up after the dogs … how long it would actually take me on my run each morning.

……

Many of my friends really seem to enjoy talking with the Cowboy.  The cowboys.  My ‘city’ friends too.  They are always asking him about some of the things he does, they know little to nothing about.  Things that back home for him (or even 20 miles outside Madison), are everyday things that everyone knows about and ask rarely for explanation.  Even the posts I happen to write about anything cowboy way-of-life here on the blog, seem to consistently get the most hits.

The Cowboy asked me the other day, what are you going to write about today.  I answer, “It hasn’t hit me yet.”

So he says, “You should write a blog about what I’ve learned from you.”

I laugh …

“I’m not so sure I know what you’ve learned from me,” I say at first.

Plus that isn’t as interesting, I say to myself.

He starts down the list of things he’s learned.

“How about, picking up dog poop.”

He laughs…

………..

The first few times the Cowboy visited this past fall, after I decided to stop being a vagabond (I house sat for awhile after selling my own home just over a year ago, not sure where or if I wanted to plant firm roots anywhere again, yet) and settle into my own place ..

He offered to walk my dogs while I was either a) getting ready to go wherever it was we were heading off to or b) at work.

I came home one afternoon after work and happened to see a big pile of evidence he had most likely been in the back yard of the apartment building with the dogs while I was gone.  But hadn’t quite completed all the steps of ‘taking the dogs out’.

“Is that from one of ours?” I ask.

“Probably,” he says.  “I took them out awhile ago.”

I head out to pick up after them.  And then we have ‘the talk.’

“I hate to tell you this, but you’ve got to pick up after them,” I say.  “I know that’s not a fun job, so if you want to leave that for me, I’ll get to it.  But just know, it’s got to be picked up.”

I’ve been doing it for about as long as I can remember.  Always had dogs.  Always lived where it needed to be picked up.

I used to use Oops Scoops.  But they seem harder anymore to use the cardboard piece inside .. to pick up the pile.  I find myself chasing the pieces around on the grass more than I am picking them up.

So I’ve reverted back to biodegradable small plastic baggies.  Which, used to totally gross me out, but they’re quick, convenient and they just work.

http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/home/green-pet-poop.htm

……..

“You have to pick up after your dogs,” he starts laughing.  “That’s a new one for me.  I live in the country .. never had to do that one.”

For a man used to turning ’em out, letting them run, having them do their business in a pasture or nearby grove of trees and them coming back when they are through… he’s gotten the hang of it all.  Now when I even think of asking if everything is taken care of.. he beats me to the punch.

“Yep.  All taken care of,” he usually says, smiling.

The dogs, couldn’t be happier.  I’m not so sure about the Cowboy.

I promised though, to not even consider asking for help..

With the cats.

Naps…

I have never slept much.

Ever since I was a kid, my dad has fussed at me for staying up too late. Getting up too early. And in general, for not getting enough sleep. He still does even now.

I tell him, when he learns to drive better he can talk to me about improving my sleep. (He has no intention of becoming a better driver. Reminds me he’s never been in an accident despite any flaws. And, doesn’t sleep much either so I’m in good company.)

The Cowboy, I think agrees. So does my daughter, among others.

Regardless. This weekend, on Sunday, after just a whole lot of business .. going here .. going there and stopping everywhere in-between since the Cowboy’s arrival back in town .. not to mention, eating and beveraging our way though it all ..

The Cowboy says yesterday after church and a very fulfilling brunch ..

“I could really use a nap before we have to go to .. (such and such a place). Just a few minutes.”

“Ok,” I say. Adding, “We have time before we need to head back out.. and that’ll give me a chance to write.” I had a pretty hefty topic I had been drafting for my entry yesterday.

It still needs work however because…

I thought.. you know, I could use a nap, too.

Just a few minutes though. Because I know what sleeping too long .. napping or otherwise .. does to me.

But I lay down and zonk. I’m out. Out cold. For a lot longer than a few minutes. Which put us totally behind for everything else we had going on. And reminded me of why I don’t nap. Ever. Or, sleep longer than the 6 hours I try and get most nights. I’m relatively certain an official diagnosis of me trying to get what most would consider an average nights sleep, would be some sort of pseudo-coma-like state.

I absolutely can not function. Which, the Cowboy has now learned. I’m pretty sure he said to me last night, “I’m not sure I like it when you get too much sleep. It’s almost like you can’t function.”

Yep. So stop fussing at me y’all.

I get headaches if I sleep, in general more than 7 hours at a time.

I also remembered, after trying to get 8 hours sleep on two separate occasions this past week, another reason I don’t like sleeping for too long. I have these horrendously tragic, horrific, vivid dreams where people I love in them, often suffer serious injuries. Which sticks with me for days. That alone has me waking up a ton through the night, negating any benefits I may have of actually physically lying down for longer than the 6 hours I usually try to get.

I think I see too much in my day-job.

So I’m over the sleep thing. And I would like for my dad and the Cowboy and everyone else to be who cares about me, to be over it, too.

Now.. back to yesterdays post. At some point. Maybe after the rest of you are in bed. Looks like another late night.

Weight …

I don’t usually step on the scale.

As long as I feel good.  My clothes fit and I’m eating right and exercising, I’m pretty content.  I don’t talk, or try not to anyway, about feeling overweight (for me).  Especially around my daughter.

But I stepped on the scale the other morning.  Because, well, lets just say my clothes don’t fit me as well as they used to.  As well as say, even a month ago.  I was pretty sure even before stepping on, that I had about 5 pounds I might want to lose.

You didn't think I'd actually step on it, did you ...

The scale confirmed my suspicions.

……..

People will say ‘you look great’ or ‘you don’t need to lose weight.’  I’m not looking for gratuitous compliments here.  Sincerely.  Overall, I’m happy with myself, my life and my appearance.

But if I could just fit my thighs into that favorite pair of jeans to fit again….

At $200/pair it seems anymore for something cute I’d rather lose weight than buy another pair to fit expanding body parts.

The Cowboy says, ‘Go buy a bigger pair of jeans.  You look good.’

………

We all know when we’re about to fall off that cliff.. a cliff that will be tough if not impossible to climb back up.  We feel it.  I’m pretty sure, actually, that I’ve felt it about every spring now since turning 35.

What’s so special about 35 you might ask?

Ah, you youngster.

It’s like hitting a wall where metabolism is concerned.  Not just my own experience.  But that of many, many a girlfriend.  No one ever told me ..or maybe they did but I didn’t hear.  So I was relatively ill prepared.  Let this be a heads up, my dear daughter.  And anyone else that might be looking at this still young and blissfully eating whatever you want and drinking triple vanilla lattes along with cheese curds or pizza and beer a few late nights each week.  Ahem.  Not that I know anything about that.  (All the health/fitness experts say that’s one of the first things that needs to be moderated in any diet.  Alcohol.  For the record.)  This is not knowledge my mother passed along to me.  And she is no longer around to share what may lie ahead.  It all would have been helpful.

So ..

With 40 around the corner…I’m concerned another wall may be waiting.

I have some work to do.

(Cowboy says, laughing hysterically today as I’m thinking about what pics to post with this.. ‘Want me to take a picture of your gut?’  Um, no.)

……..

My biggest challenge has always been, short of high school, making time for workouts that will do more than maintain where I’m at.  Especially since meeting the Cowboy.  When he is here visiting, the time is precious.  And, the last thing I feel like I should be doing is spending an hour at the gym.

I run my dogs most days of the week anywhere between a mile or three.  I do lunges down the middle of the street.  I’m not afraid to look like a goofball, which I’m sure I do on occasion.  Like, when one of my dogs tripped me while we were running yesterday.  The multiple steps I faltered, tried to regain my footing and ultimately tumbled onto the pavement, had to have been a spectacular sight.  The guy walking down the sidewalk with his dog (the reason one of my dogs decided it was a great idea to lunge in front of me) just stood back and asked, ‘Are you ok?’  I mumbled something along the lines ‘I am fine.  Please, keep walking.’  Then got up, brushed myself off, gave my dog a dirty look – she knew she did me wrong.  And we went on our merry way.  I do pushups on whatever works, the curb or park benches and sit ups at home.  So it’s not like I’m totally slacking.

But the older a woman gets (probably men too but believe men are generally blessed with higher metabolism), I’ve always heard, the tougher it is to take weight off.

……..

I ask the Cowboy this morning .. “What are your fitness goals?  Do you have any?”

He laughs.  He’s in relatively great shape.. he’s hot, actually, I think ..  but he also has a relatively physical job.

He goes back to playing guitar.

My daughter says, “I want to be just like you.  All slim.  And have a waist just like you.”  She’s serious.

Now I’m laughing.

“Seriously,” I say.  “Do you have any fitness goals?  Aren’t we going to run a race together this summer?”

She thinks for a moment.

“I want to learn how to really become a good hip hop dancer.  And, get the dogs to be sled dogs.”

We’re all laughing.  The Cowboy chimes in.

“I would like to be on a running schedule says the Cowboy, 3 times a week at least 1 to 2 miles.”

……….

It’s a good goal.

But if I’m taking off the five and toning up the arms…. (also important.  My daughter last fall pointed out they were a bit, um, not toned) I need to do more.

I’ve got a fall marathon in mind.  Without bigger goals the 5 pounds will become 10, I’m  sure.

While I’m off to a relatively good start.. I hit the gym the other morning for weights and have run the past two days, we missed our run this morning.  Thanks to laundry, getting ready for school and returning phone calls before I had to head off to work.

Perhaps we’ll fit one in before fish fry and a Lake Louie Porter this evening.   Mmmmm.  (Just one though anymore.  Yes.  I have officially become a lightweight.)


Or.. a Winter Skal.

If not, I definitely won’t be stepping back on the scale.  Anytime soon.

When a child walks in on….

One of my best girlfriends..

We have known each other for .. pretty much 15 years.

At times we’ve kept in touch daily, other times.. not much at all.  But we always pick right back up where we left off.  And like so many good friends who are busy with family, life and career, I always wish there were more time..

So when I see a text come in from her .. it catches my eye.

One text the other day however, REALLY stopped me in my tracks.

Verbatim:

“Convo between me and child yesterday..Me: just knock and come in.  Child: I did that once and saw something so horrifying.  Something I never imagined I would see and now I can’t un-see it.  I never want to risk seeing that again.”

I’m laughing.  Because I can just hear her child saying this in the very wry – I’m embarrassed by my mother – but I’m cool with it – manner he often speaks.   Probably not a laughing matter.  But I’m laughing.  I text her back.

“Oh no,”  I say.  “Not that.”

Then I start racking my brain to remember if I ever saw my parents in an uncompromising position as a child.  Pretty sure never really saw.  But did ‘hear’ on at least one occasion.  Hard not to, they had a waterbed.  And it did scar me as a child.  For a long time.

I cringe as I send another text, thinking no way is this true, but I’m going to try and make her feel better ..

“I bet in a couple years he forgets when his own hormones kick in,” I say, along with a few other thoughts.

And I wrap it up with, “Oh my God.”

Then I think, oh that’s a good story.  Because there’s NO WAY they’re the only ones this has happened to.  But who talks about that???  So I ask her what she thinks.  If she’d be willing to write something up for the blog.

“Sure use it,” she says.  “I laugh everytime I think of it.  It’s hilarious.”

She’s a writer herself.  A great writer, in fact.  Below is her account.

……

I overslept last week on a school day. My eyes sprung open at the exact minute I needed to get (child) out the door, into the car and to school on time.

Me: “Child! Are you ready to go???!!!”

Child: “Yes mom, I’ve been sitting here waiting for you.”

I’m still wearing pajamas as we get into the car and start the drive.

Once we’re on the road he says, “How could you oversleep? I have safety patrol today and if I’m late no one will be there to patrol the hallway near the janitor’s closet.”

Me: “Sorry bud. You know you can knock on the door and come in if it ever happens again.”

Child: “No. I’m not doing that.”

Me: “Why not?  (Step-brother) does it all the time.”

Child: “Because I did it once and saw something so horrifying. Something I never imagined I would see and now I can’t unsee it. I never want to risk seeing that again.”

There’s a long pause as I digest what he just explained. I’m a newlywed so things can get a bit amorous.

Me: “So we were having sex?”

Child: “Yes. And I don’t want to talk about it.”

Since I have no idea when the incident occurred, I spent the next several moments wondering what, exactly, did he walk in on? Everything I came up with led to the same conclusion: a child should never, never EVER have to see his parents having shall we say, a private moment.

He hasn’t wanted to talk about it since so I haven’t pressed him. I remember that I was that young once, and horrified when I accidentally walked in on my mom and her new husband. Yuck.

I respect and understand his reaction. But maybe because I witnessed something similar when I was a kid and was still somehow able to move on and function in society, I laugh every time I think of it.

*The irony.  His dad came out of the closet seven years ago, and has lived with men ever since.  I can’t help but wonder, is catching me in the act is any more horrific than catching his dad?

Not that there’s anything wrong with that…

……
If you have kids.  A house.  And sex.  Chances are, there is a chance at some point this may happen.  Apparently, browsing the web on this topic, there’s even a term for it.  “Primal scene”?  But that whole message seemed a bit much so I left it off the links below.
Anyway, some food for thought, should you ever be caught…. in the meantime, I’m just happy to know my gf and her new hubby are enjoying everything life and marriage have to offer .. especially the sex.  This time around.  Because walking in on anything wasn’t an issue in her marriage to the child’s father.  For reasons, if you caught it above, are self explanatory.