Wednesday, May 21, 2008

you see what you're looking for

Who'd have thought?

I was on vacation, reading in the palapa with my husband and friends, and along came Glenn to see whether we wanted to take a snorkeling tour (of course we did). Glenn had a delightful accent, and he asked us to guess where he was from. Guess #1, Australia - wrong. Guess #2, New Zealand - wrong. He says that it's always the third guess. England? Doesn't sound English, but why not try? Yup - England. He's from Lincolnshire, next to Yorkshire, and from what he says, it's important to make the distinction. The two towns seem to have an archrival-type relationship. Linconshire isn't "posh," and Yorkshire is thought of by them as full of snooty people who aren't any fun.

The reason I tell you all this is because the reason we guessed England third and as a fluke is that Glenn's vowels don't sound what we Americans were thinking of as British. Turns out, up where he's from (far north of London), the accents are very different. This was all discussed in that course on the History of the English Language that I listened to awhile back, and dates back through Old and Middle English. You see, Northern England was influenced by the Scandanavian languages in a way that Londoners were not. It changed their dialects in a way that was so different as to be incomprehensible, both in pronunciation and in idiom. I find it hugely interesting that this difference is still so pronounced today (and it is).

Glenn went on to tell amazing stories about his prior career, when he "turned around bars" in England. If the bars weren't doing well or had frightening clientelle, he would come in as manager and turn them around. I hadn't realized that this sort of career existed. He then told us a couple of amazing stories about dealing with what we might call gypsies, or wanderers, and amazing bar fights related to same. He also had great stories about buying a bracelet for his girlfriend in England while on vacation in Mexico, and meeting his now wife in the jewelry store. Glenn's a pretty interesting guy, and we sure learned a lot from him during the course of his selling us a pretty fun snorkeling trip! This has nothing to do with the course, but oh my!

I know that when you're paying attention to something or looking for something, you see it everywhere, but I really didn't expect something so seemingly obscure to be demonstrated in such an obvious way to me. Now I'm listening to the course, "How to Listen to and Understand Great Music." It's a long one, but I'm enthralled so far. I can't help but wonder now how this will come back.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

What's clingier than a 14-month old in a "mommy" phase?

One who's missed his mommy and daddy for four nights while they had a fabulous getaway. Heavens! The getaway was wonderful - sunny and tropical and reconnecting and everything it should be. Missed Aidan something awful, but I didn't cry at all (once I'd dropped him off at my folks - there were, to be fair, pre-departure tears). Noticed every single baby while we were gone, but my mom pointed out to me that I've always done that. I still think it was worse, though.

Aidan did just great - reading the reports from "school," where my folks dropped him for awhile each day so he'd feel like he was still in his normal routine, he had wonderful days and all kinds of fun. My folks reported same. He's even been jovial since we got home (two days ago).

Because of this, I was unprepared for the level of clinginess when I got home. Can't blame the kid - I explained to him how the whole thing would work before I left, and every time I drop him off anywhere, I remind him "Mommy will always love you, and Mommy will always come back." However, his being 14 months old, I don't think he really gets it yet. Every time since I've been home that I get up to walk to the restroom or even just to shift in my seat he seems nervous that I'm going to leave him and melts down, reaching for me. Talk about heartbreaking. We're definitely on the upswing, though. Hopefully in another day or two we'll be back to normal.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

of vinyl and cash

I don't know if you are "into" music, but I am. Oftentimes, hearing a song will take me back to a specific time and place, or at least to a "summer of" type of time. I have lots of vinyl, and quite a few discs, too; not as many as some, but probably too many for whatever income level I've had at the time of purchase. I love most types of music--I never really got into country, but I love anything from classical to classic rock to funk and R&B to oldies to alternative. Growing up, the house was full of mostly classical music, mixed in with a few oldies (Beatles, Beach Boys, etc.). For me, nearly anything is better with good music for support. I love to listen, love to play (piano), love to sing (sing with Aidan all the time) - really just love music.

I also used to wait tables. This may seem unrelated, but it's not. Back in the days when you could only buy concert tickets by standing in a line with money in your hand, ready cash from waiting tables helped support a concert habit of mine. I've always had a sort of evolving "must see" list in my head, and over time, I've crossed nearly all of them off the list. In fact, I'm lucky enough to say that I saw U2's Joshua Tree tour; it's the only concert I ever stayed outside all night in line to see. I realize that sounds ridiculous in today's online frenzy of "refresh" to get good seats, but it was a badge of honor at the time. Sold out in two minutes.

Why reminisce? I got to cross another one off the list last week. The Police! This is probably not exciting to you if you're not about my age and don't love music, but to me it was IT. I grew up listening to them, bought the vinyl, memorized all the words, and mourned their breakup only to be consoled by Sting's solo career. Mmm. Anyway, what a show! They played most of the songs you'd want to hear in a fresh way, and we all sang our hearts out.

Happily, the list continues to dwindle.

Friday, May 2, 2008

why WNTW rocks

OK, so unless you're out there and a girl or a significant other of a girl, you don't know what WNTW is, and that's okay. If you're a girl, however, you know as I do, that what they say works. Really.

I won't lie - since Aidan there's something that's literally weighing on me: pounds. To be completely honest, it started pre-Aidan (I believe it has to do with going from eating as a single girl to eating with a boy every day, but cannot be sure), but pounds I gained pre-Aidan were not shaped as these are, seemingly just glued only to my midsection. It's really only 10-15 pounds total, which may not be a lot to some, but it's a lot to me. A LOT.

I decided a few weeks ago (sadly, boosted by another reality TV show, when Ali won The Biggest Loser) that I was finally going to lose this, and I've been eating much better. Three pounds down - it's a start!

In the meanwhile, as Stacey & Clinton would advise, I need to be able to feel good about the in between, which will spur me on to get to the finale. Because I've watched a lot of WNTW, I have the rules in mind when I shop - a nice pair of trousers with wide-ish legs. Tops that accentuate the narrowest part of me so and glide away from my midsection, but not baggy allover.

I've been shopping a couple of times in the last few weeks - just a couple of separates pieces, some for work, some for play, so that I can feel decent about myself again as summer approaches. My "normal" summer clothes are all snug and fitted for a girl who's the size I normally am. These are not, but following the rules really works. At work yesterday, Doug (we love Doug) looked at my in my trousers and empire-waisted summer sweater, "You look thin!" In fact, since I've been wearing my rules-based purchases, I've gotten several comments on losing weight.

On the show, frumpy people always feel transformed - they can't believe that they can look as good as they end up looking. I don't feel completely transformed, but I sure feel better. Between that and the jewelry I've gotten from my sis' business (she's 10 years younger, so helps keep me in fashion to an extent at least), I've got some easy, go-to outfits that help me feel put together and confident. Haven't felt put-together and confident in a long time. Actually, I'm not good at fashion, so I rarely feel put-together; my sis is a little bit of a miracle worker getting me to accessorize as she has, but I used to feel quite confident.

That is why WNTW rocks!