Thursday, July 29, 2010

Summer, Sun, and Burn

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Apodaca Park Pool ~ Las Cruces, NM 

Growing up, Summer was swimming at the pool.   The public pool- a mile away. Apodaca Park Pool where my sister eventually became a life guard and all the kids in my family had their names written in Magic Marker on the fridge in the office. We were “regulars.”
To get to the pool we either had to walk or ride bikes. The black streets would melt to tar in the summer and bubble up, so I always had tar on my feet. I naturally went barefoot. It always took about two trips to the pool to break my feet in, but after that nothing was too hot and if it was you planned your steps carefully stepping on lawns or dirt. There was no worry about a 9 year old girl walking by herself either back then. Oh no. In seventh grade I got a Schwinn 10 Speed and never again did I walk. I had wheels.
Summer was freedom. My mom had a rule that in the mornings during the summer, you had to help her, but the afternoons were ours. At first I’d meet Denise Summers there. Yeah. What a great name. Denise was a beautiful, naturally blond girl, a year older than I and we did sleepovers and spent all our time together in the summer. Our claim to fame was that Denise, younger brother, me, my older brother all had the same birthday. But we never celebrated it together because it was in January and I only saw Denise Summesr in the summer. When school started we didn’t hang out…she was older…that was uncool…She broke my heart when she moved away in 6dth grade. It was like loosing summer. But Diane Fraley filled her spot. Every day we’d meet at 1:00 at the pool and swim until 4:45. Diane had a very strict mother who had dinner on the table at 5:00 sharp.
Summer was boys. Lot’s of boys lived in my neighborhood. Lucky me.   I had more boys as friends then girls. Our play evolved to flirting in the junior high years. Way more fun that way.  We had invented so many games that we never got bored. We could do countless dives on the diving board.  We’d swim, dry out, swim, dry out then we’d ask the life-guards if they wanted anything from Pic-Quik and of course they did. They gave us money, sent us there and we got to keep the change! What a deal. This lasted until my 9th grade year. I took a babysitting job but still managed to go most days when Diane could. Not as many boys there. We were growing up.  Things were changing.

The next summer I moved away. To Lubbock, Texas. West Texas and no pool. I was a sophomore in HS. I was leaving the only town I grew up in and the only friends I’d know. I was not happy.  I’ve always been fond of pools and swimming. In Lubbock I had to resort to laying out in my back yard to get my sun fix. I used to put lemon juice and peroxide in my hair and Crisco on my legs and then bake. Oh yeah, I tried the closest public pool. But how fun is it to go swimming alone? I had no pool, but I had plenty of summer sun

Summer is Sun. One day I was tanning on my lawn chair and I fell asleep. For several hours. This was the last time I ever laid out simply to get sun. Why no-one in my house noticed I was out there for hours I don’t know. Typical.  But I started on my stomach and at some point rolled-over. When I woke up, I could hardly move. OUCH. Yeah I was burned. Which turned to blisters, which peeled off. Which left some funky tan lines. I was so mad that no one paid attention to me out there. I could have fried to death.  I actually got scolded by my mom for allowing it to happen. As if I wanted this. The result of that was for years and sometimes even now if I get too red I can see the line from my bathing suit strap that fell down my back; indelible.  I can also see the outline of the top of the suit. I can remember the uncomfortable feeling of putting on a bra over that. I remember crying and feeling sorry for myself because I had no friends and no pool-all that anger burned into me. I blamed my parents for making us move and taking away my summer. My mom had no idea what I meant, but a girl without her pool must lead to this. And it must be their fault.

 Since then, I’ve let myself get burned on purpose, you know to get your summer tan started, but always weary of the amount of time in the sun and not a real burn. Never again. Burn =Pain. I got over being mad at my parents for making me move. The rational side of me kicked in eventually. But,  I always will associate  severe sunburn with sadness and anger. 

 In my twenties, I used to pick my apartments by how good the pool was, not how good the apartment was. And when I got married I was delighted to learn our first house had a neighborhood community pool. My son learned to swim there. He swam before he could walk.  Now I have a pool now in my backyard. I use it a lot. But I wear a lot of sunscreen, keep my face in the shade and don’t ever over do it. I don’t really care how tan I get, I just enjoy the sun and cool water.  And the only boy I play with is my son. I’m a teacher, so summers remain a special time for me. Summer is sun. Summer is the pool. Summer is freedom. Summer is me and my boy in the pool. 
My water baby. 
One Year Old 

My boy. 

 Catching my bubbles. 

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Trip

Well we made it to the Cayman Islands and back. The experience was incredible. We all enjoyed it despite less than perfect weather. I think though actually we lucked out. With out the beating sun we were able to be outside more. The only negative part of the whole trip was how outrageous food was. It didn't bother me as much as Bubby who kept cringing at the menus. :) 

We were able to snorkel off the hotel beach. We did it every day and even got fussed at for going to far. It's hard to get carried away! 

This was Parker's first time snorkeling, not in the pool! 

I was so impressed by the clarity of the ocean. 

Most of these conch shells still had residents. We found so many of them.
If you look really hard you can see the fish. 

These fish were so brilliant in color. My camera didn't pick it up. 

I was learning how to use the underwater camera. It's a Fugi XP...which ironically broke on the way home. 
Before we went on this trip, we each picked from a list, the thing we wanted to do. I picked a stingray visit and snorkeling adventure on a sailboat.  The stingrays there are wild, but are used to being fed by the tourists that they let you hold them and touch them. We ended up doing this twice and both time the guides were very informative and made you feel comfortable. 

 However, Bubby didn't get off the boat. He wasn't into the stingrays. 

There are about 125 stingrays in Stingray Town. 

When I finally got low enough for her to breath, she settled into my arms. I loved it.....Of course she was probably looking for food. They feed them squid to get them to come over. The females are large and the males are smaller. We only saw one male. This has been going on for 60 years or so and it started with the shrimp boats. 

Parker picked getting to play with the dolphins. We learned facts and got to get in the water and take three different rides with them. We petted and splashed with them. It was amazing at how well-trained they were. 

We began by playing a game. This ended with them splashing us of course! 

We all got to do this ride. They swam very fast. Lots of fun. 

Oh yes they kissed us and we kissed them back. :) 

I think he liked it. 

On this ride, they pushed your feet and you went flying. 
Parker did the superman pose!!! Again lots of fun!!

This one the dolphin was upside down, so that you are belly to belly. 

Finally we petted her/him....and they did some flying tricks. 
This is something I've always wanted to do and probably never will again, so I am glad we did it. 

Bubby picked the submarine ride for his trip. 

We had to crawl into the circular hole. It was air-conditioned thankfully. We went down 100 feet. 
Then we looked out these didn't take great pictures. Too blue, but it was interesting in person. 

The last excursion we did was a boat ride to Stingray City, Snorkling and a starfish walk.
I forgot my camera on the boat when we looked for starfish, but we did see them!! 

Our guide for this trip. He is a native Cayman Islander and we extremely informative and friendly. 

Bubby waiting patiently on the boat. He loves to snorkel, just touching stingrays isn't his gig. 

It gets pretty crowded at Stingray City. 

This spot had the best snorkeling. 

Interesting sideways swimming fish. 

My pictures just don't do justice!! 

All in all it was a great trip. I don't know if I will ever go back, but I'm so glad we did it. 

Friday, July 16, 2010

It's Time

It's time for a real vacation. For the past three summers we've gone to Memphis, Orlando, Las Vegas.......all for basketball.....not for vacation-even though we got to do touristy stuff where we were there. Those weren't our destinations of choice. Since that is over we are headed to......the Cayman Islands. Today I'm packing and washing clothes. Our flight leaves at  5:30 AM tomorrow. Hate those early flights!!!!! We have booked several activities while we are there...most importantly we will be getting away from the usual routine and hopefully relaxing. 
The only damper on this trip is leaving my dogs. They will be kenneled. They will be fine, but I will feel bad every time I think of them. We've left Molly many times, but she was able to stay home with someone checking on her. This time will be hard for her. She just had a Mast cell and a cyst removed and has about 50 staples in her. They will take them out while we are gone..but I prefer to be here. Oh well...sorry sweet girl. 
Jack will be fine. He is so young it will be an adventure for him. I will miss my walks with him, but right now my legs are sooo sore. I think this trip will be a good break. Hope he gets to play a lot and doesn't bug Molly too much. 

This is how Jack waits for me when I'm sitting here at my desk. 
With toy in hand he waits or he will drop it in my lap. 
Notice the sock and the flip flop in the pictures. If Jack ever thinks he doesn't have enough toys...he just goes upstairs to Parker's "lair" and there is sure to be socks on the floor and various chewable shoes around!!!  He has this game where he gets the sock and then shows me and wants me to chase him because he knows I will.....LOL I'll miss his little game. 

I've done well with exercise this week. I've walked 10.5 miles and yesterday I got my back back. I had a bike "computer" installed on it. It tells me my speed, milage, etc. I rode for a total of 5.5 miles. Why are there so many hills? It looks flat until you are on a bike. LOL My legs were like jello. I like it!!! I've kept in my points and plan to continue today. Tomorrow is a different story. I have no idea what I'll eat and all. I plan on being conscious of stopping when I'm full and ordering what I want (seafood).  We are taking some snacks in our suit cases. Parker is soooo picky when it comes to eating. I'll be prepared! It's time to get a packing!!! 

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Do Tattoos Make You a Better Mom?

(Sorry, this turned into a rant) eek

Parker had an appointment with the orthopedic pediatric surgeon for his arm yesterday. Of course he is 6' and 16 and thinks he too "big" for these places that are filled with little kids running around. So he was grouchy and into his phone.
 I started watching this family that came in. It was the mom, grandma, three kids. Mom was busy filling out paper work while grandma looked at a magazine. The two girls, about middle school age and one in elementary settled down in front of the TV to watch the movie that was playing. The older girl was very much into the younger one, taking care of her, giving her attention.  That left the little guy, probably about 3 to run around like a wild man even with a broken arm! In the few seconds I observed him he ran across a row of chairs (luckily the place had kind of emptied out), ran circles around the waiting room, kicked several chairs, jumped on a chair to see out the window and of course leaving his imprints...dove under a table, rolled over the floor, ran by his sister and pinched her...ran by his mom and kicked her and when she yelled at him  (with out looking up mind you) he dove under the row of chairs, and mauled a plant. The only person talking or parenting him was the older girl who yelled at him now and then.

Inside I was thinking he's just like Jack when he riled up and wants attention and wants to play. 
 Look at this child...make eye at him....Pay attention to him....someone...anyone??
 As I watch the mom, noting their clothing, ages and trying to make guess about them (yeah I was bored), I noticed a huge Tattoo on her leg with her kids names on it. I kind of snickered. That old feeling of frustration with OPP (other peoples parenting) came back. I shouldn't be judging. Maybe I am, maybe I'm not.
  But I just wanted to say to this mom...look at your boy...look at him..give him 5 seconds. He is craving your attention....any ones attention.  He needs attention damit.  See him running around? That's not appropriate. He is old enough to be sitting calmly. 
Teach him. Give  him the skills to do this or at the very least interact with him between pages. 

The only attention he got was negative. Do you know what kind of student this will be?
The kind that misbehaves because that is the only kind of attention he gets. The kind that may not be successful because he's needy.
I work with the two extreme type of students. The honor students whose parents are involved and care about their kids and the ones who parents are disconnected and hardly fit to be parents themselves or just don't have the skills.
The ones whose parents are connected have it much easier. It has nothing to do with money or socioeconomics. Well, a little it does.  But, I had plenty of kids with problems this year whose parents had money and plenty of honor kids who were poor but had parents who care. But it's really not about money, it's about parenting or lack of it.

I guess that's it. I'm putting my expectations on other people. Maybe because I value humans and I know what it's like to be ignored and lonely. I know that kids just want to be acknowledged. Validated. Loved. Paid attention to. They want to be parented! 

Putting a tattoo on your leg doesn't make you a better mom. Sorry.
I think a better tattoo would be on her writst that said..Pay attention to your beautiful kids! :)

Monday, July 12, 2010


I love summer. Besides the fact that I don't work in the summer, it's a time when I get to do the things I like the most~ sleep, read, swim, walk, be alone!  Most importantly I can go to the grocery store during the week and not fight the crowds like I usually have to do on the weekends! 

 Last summer for me was basketball and a sick mother. Every weekend I was either at Parker's tournaments or out of town at my mom's side. It wasn't the most ideal situation. 

This summer is so different. Parker quit his travel basketball team to concentrate on the school team and of course my mom is now gone, so we have all this time. What to do? Take a vacation of course. With my husband turning 50, we decided to splurge and go somewhere tropical....He picked the Cayman Islands. We leave Saturday. It will be so good to get away for a bit. I'm not thrilled about being in public in my bathing suit. That's a no- no for me. I figure I'll either keep a pina coloda in my hand or wear sunglasses so people can't see the mortification in my eyes. Either way I'm determined to enjoy it. I'm also determined to get some walking in.  I will have lots of pictures with my new Fuji camera that is water proof and lots of fun moments I'm sure. I will have to take out Parker's stitches while we are there...but that's another story. I love summer. 
My summers used to include a visit from cousins in Washington. We always took out-of-towners to White Sands in NM. This is my cousin Danny and myself many years ago! 

Until Then

I keep thinking, and I know this is the worst thing a person can do, I keep thinking when I'm thinner I'll shop here or there. When I'm thin I'll have more confidence to go out and more energy to go places. When I'm thin I'll be a better wife and a better person all round. HUH?
I know from the past though, that's a bunch of bull~ even though I sometimes forget and think it's true. It really is all about  the journey to get there and not the end result.

So until then, because then maybe never be now, I am working on living in the moment and making each and every moment special and important. Each and every moment significant. Lot's of amazing things are happening in my world every day and I must honor these events good or bad.
I feel so wise. Like Yoda I feel. Oh and I never take myself seriously!!!!

Last week I lost one pound. Hmmmm.

 I stayed with in my points. I exercised every day.
 I walked 14.5 miles and biked about 25 miles. I think this is going to be slow going. 
How do I quit thinking of food and just do it?
 I'm always thinking of my next meal~ even when I'm not hungry. 
 I guess I've got a lot of time on my hands so I am always thinking of FOOD.
I should get a hobby :) 
But in less than a month I'll be so busy with school I won't think about anything but that. 
Until then.........

Port Aransas. Icky seaweed. 

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Gotta Keep Moving

This week I wasn't as pumped as last week. 
I guess because it was harder to get creative with food. 
One day in fact my appetite was insatiable. I was over by 16 points.
 Of course these are part of what I'm allowed. 
Still. I peeked at the scale and was up 1.5 @@@@@.
 Why? I guess bike riding uses different muscles?
 It's a motivation killer. But not enough to make me give up. No way. 
So far this week I've ridden the bike about 15 miles and walked about 13 or so..not really sure.
 One day I was either biking or waking for 2 hours. 
I thought I was gonna die from heat stroke. ha. 9:30 to 11:30 AM is not the best time for exercising outside. 
Today I plan to walk 3 miles and hopefully bike A LOT.
 We shall see. I want to go go go but my knees whine and ache.
 Can't loose weight fast enough for them:) 
Jack after a trip to the dog park. 

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Disaster...Well Sort Of

Ok. When your 16 year old asks  you to do something with him, first you take it as a compliment and then you accept.
 We got our new bikes. 
I've been researching bike trails in the area especially the one that is close to our home.
 I planned on trying it...sometime.
Parker informs me last night that he really wanted to try out those trails. 
Would I go with him? Today?This morning? Of course I said ok.
My new bike isn't a mountain bike nor an off- road bike. 
It's a cruiser. Street cruiser. For streets. I tell him the last thing I want to do is get a flat tire.
So be patient with me. 
See where this is going?
We head out and discover a beautiful pond and some amazing trails. 

All is going well.
  It took a lot longer than I expected because he kept going off trails and I stopped to gawk a lot.
 We left at 9 A.M. and it was already hot.
 But riding a bike gives you a nice breeze. 

Lots of the trails HE took looked like this. I knew better. 
He coaxes me into one. "It's smooth Mom." 
Uh huh. Smooth is relative. 
But I did it and it was fun even though I don't have a mountain bike like him.
 I did a few more short ones. Tempting fate I guess. 
So on we go to our destination.
Well sort of. We couldn't find the right path to go the last mile. 
We made it three miles though. 
We can't find the trail head leading to the last area and I just follow him not really caring as long as I'm moving and getting a breeze. He ends up heading back. 
A mile into the ride which I was enjoying immensely knowing I would soon be in my air-conditioned care, I encounter two burly bikers side by side taking up the trail. They don't budge so I did what Parker did and took an undeveloped trail around the tree that was making the path so narrow. 
Parker meantime is going on these off -shoots and catching up with me, circling me, yada yada yada. 
So I'm slow. So what.

Anyways.... I start hearing a funny noise. 
It won't go away. Sheesh.
I finally get off my bike. 
Oh shoot, I discover that my back tire is flat. 
Dang. I shouldn't have gone around that last tree. 
Long story short, well not really but, I had to walk the bike the last two miles.
Parker was worried about me. What could should we do??
I told him just keep going and I'll walk the bike back. No biggie. 
I said,"Ride all you want and wait at the car for me or come and find me. I don't care," LOL
 He rode ahead and came back and said, 
"About two more miles Mom."
So I walked it...he ended up putting his bike on the rack and walking to meet me which I didn't want him to do since someone could have taken his bike, but he got my bike from me and walked it back.
 I was hot and thirsty.
 I didn't have my walking shoes. 
My face was beet red. 
But I put music on my iPhone and walked and enjoyed the scenery despite the darn sun beating down on me like a fiery ball of fire that it is. 
But I made it and enjoyed it in the end.

Lessons learned: 
1. No trails on the Townie!!!!!!
2. Wear walking shoes when you ride just in case.
3. Take more water.
4. Expect the unexpected. 

No disaster is a disaster as long as you keep smiling and your kid is looking out for you! 

Bye Bye

This is the official weekly checkin for my diet, errrr lifestyle change, aka Weight Watchers. It's going very well. I realize I need to journal food and have boundaries set, and exercise is kind of fun right now. Oh and necessary. I'm officially down 3.5 lbs. I'll take it.  Enough about that....that's soooo boring to talk about. :) 

What is exciting to me is that I got a new friend!!!!! She doesn't have a name. I think it's a she, not even sure about that..but I like her. 
It's a Townie Balloon 3i.
EASY to ride and let me tell you...cutttteeeeee...dorky, but cute. 
When I bought her the manager asked if I would be interested in a ladies bike group. 
They ride four times a year and wear silly hats. 
At first I was like...oh brother...but I found myself saying..YES sounds like fun. 
Who am I and where is my old self? 

We rode around the neighborhood yesterday. I was using different muscles and it was hard, but oh so much fun. This morning I've committed myself to a 8.5 bike mile ride with Parker through some greenbelt trails. I told him I might have to stop now and then. 
Ask me in January when I couldn't even walk because of my back and I would have laughed at you all the way to bed!!!! 
Now I'm stepping out of my comfort zone and pretending I'm young!!!! Bye bye old me. Right now I'm rediscovering the old gal whose been stuck in here too long!! 

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Fourth of July

What a week!!!  I have to say walking and eating right is hard work, but it's been worth it. My official weigh in is tomorrow, but I peeked this morning and was down 2.5. Ok I guess. Tonight I read through some WW message boards. I was using my exercise points each day, but if I don't use them I might have better results. So I basically used my 35 extra points. Bottom line ~ I still used 6 activity points.  I'll do better next week. I walked a total of 22 miles this week. I'm happy. We are doing nothing special this fourth. Got invited to some neighbors house for a block party, but opted to stay home. I walked Jack and Parker and I swam. Nothing exciting happening in my neck of the woods. Oh we watched Toy Story 3 and at one point I cried like a baby...hahahah. I'm a wimp.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Last Two Days

Check in time :) So far so good. I've stayed within my points and walked three miles each night. 
The real test will come when I'm tempted to blow it.
 It hasn't happened yet, but it will and I just hope I can stay strong. 

This is a weakness of mine...stay away from the pastries!!! 


Today's post is from Mama Kat's prompts #3)    Write a list of 10 things that are sure to put a smile on your face when you are not happy.

1. Husband Bubby. Gosh I just have to remember his love and loyalty and I feel warm and cozy. 
2. Parker, my one and only. I am so incredibly lucky to have him and have such a healthy and happy kid. 
3. Molly my dog. Her calmness and constant love sustain me in sad times.
4. Jack my dog. I just like hugging the big puppy.
5. Chocolate. Enough said.
6. My comfortable bed. Here I can shut out the world, put the covers over my head and recharge.
7. A good book. There's nothing like getting lost in a different world. 
8. My home. My sanctuary. 
9. My students. On my saddest days I am able to forget everything and just soak up their energy. It's amazing.
10. Gratitude for all I have!