Monthly Archives: June 2011

Wordless Wednesday: A Lucky Car Accident

In 1996, I was driving my Ford Tempo “Sherry” when a black car slammed into the driver’s side door.

You can tell how bashed in the driver door was.

I remember waking up with the gear shift between my knees.

This is what hit me.

R.I.P. Sherry

I was lucky to have only a broken collar bone and bruised ribs.

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Families By The Numbers: How Does Yours Measure Up?

Do you know how many families are just like yours? We’ve all got aunts who can easily be referred to as the Cat Lady, or uncles and/or cousins who try too embarrassingly hard to be cool.

But how many U.S. households look like yours? Didn’t know if you peeped the graphic in The New York Times recently that gave us a glimpse inside our homes. The link of it is here.

After futzing around, I found that 8.1 million homes are similar to my own, meaning a husband, wife and two kids. Most of us have incomes between $75,000 and $150,000 and compared to other groups, a higher proportion of Asians live in these households.

Of course the graphic doesn’t factor in that my husband’s a blond-haired, blue-eyed boy from Norway and I’m a brown girl from Kansas. I’d love to see the interracial numbers though.

According to the U.S. Census, the number of interracial marriages has risen 20 percent since 2000 to about 4.5 million. And that number continues to grow.

The stereotypical nuclear family is constantly changing, what will it look like in the future?

With New York’s historic approval of gay marriage, I’m sure it won’t be long before other states follow suit. The New York Times’ family-o-meter now shows there’s 18,654 households with two men and two kids. Ten years down the road, what will that number be?

I love that our society is constantly evolving. It wasn’t so long ago that marriages like my own were illegal and people proclaimed that the Bible was against interracial relations. (The U.S. Supreme Court declared such unions legal in 1967.)

So I ask again, how many households look just like yours? None. We’re all unique and come with our own formulations. What we do have in common is beyond the numbers. It’s the good stuff, things like hope, love and happiness. And thank God for that.

A Bump In The Road In My Half-Marathon Training

It kinda feels like someone is repeatedly slashing a razor blade across my shins. They’re shin splints. I’ve got ‘em. And it sucks.

My arsenal against shin splints.

I’m training for the Chicago Rock N’ Roll Half Marathon on Aug. 14 and it’s turned into a painful journey. I noticed the problem a month or so ago, so I got new shoes. They still hurt. I got compression sleeves (which are as sexy as old lady knee-highs.) When I ran the memorable 5K last month, I rocked my sleeves and my shins felt awesome.

Then I did something really stupid. I went to a “Medicine Ball Madness” class at the gym without my sleeves and with all the up and down and up and down and up and down on the stupid step, my shins took a beating.

So now I’m taking the shotgun approach to fixing these shin splints. I recently got inserts for my shoes. I stretch my shins and calves (even have a special calf-stretching thingymadoodle.) I use Biofreeze (think: high-end Bengay.) I also do three strengthening exercises. One is where I place a pole or weighted bar atop my foot and do toe taps. Another is where I put my feet on one end of a towel and scrunch up the towel with my toes. The third exercise where I’m standing backward on the stairs with my heels hanging free. I lift up on my tippytoes and then I dip my heels down. And repeat.

All of this and I’ve taken two weeks off of running. I was loathe to do this, but after a talking-to from my trainer, I’m actually listening.

Not running for two weeks makes me nervous because I worry about losing my conditioning, let’s face it 13 miles in the middle of August is nothing to sneeze at, especially since I’m not the superfit type.

But I know I have to get better. So I’ve been hitting up the elliptical and bike, including checking out spinning classes. (My instructor scared me in the beginning because she had uber thick, muscular thighs and talked about doing Ironman competitions for 10 years.) I hope to pound the pavement again next week, but without the pain.

Confession No. 48987: I Never Mailed My Father’s Day Cards

My Dad’s Father’s Day cards are still on my dining room table, about 500 miles from where he lives. Sad, ain’t it? But it’s typical me. For some reason I am unable to mail anything on time.

Every birthday and Hallmark holiday I simply cannot get the cards into the mailbox. I’m great at buying them, but that’s where my greatness ends.

This year it’s going to be different, I told myself weeks ago. I purchased the cards well before Father’s Day, thinking having them in my possession early would increase their chances of making it into my Dad’s big strong hands. Alas, no.

It’s a shame really because my Dad’s pretty cool. Well, he can actually be kind of a dork, but isn’t that part of being a dad? He’s like a big teddy bear, with a James Earl Jones-type voice and bratty sense of humor. I get my sense of humor from him, but that’s not all he gave me.

I have only one sibling, a sister who is eight years older than me. I remember as a young girl I used to grill my Dad on whether he wished he had a son, and not believing him when he said he was fine with having only daughters. I decided to be Dad’s son and do “boy things” with him.

After a few arrowhead-hunting trips, fishing excursions and hikes in various brush, I realized I actually liked these “boy things,” so I started doing more, including shooting things. Guns, a bow and arrow and my favorite, a crossbow. Yep, me and Van Helsing have something in common.

During these little trips Dad and I would talk about anything and nothing. He taught me how to find out which way was North, South, East, West. He tried to teach me how to tell time by the sun, but that failed miserably. (Now’s probably a good time to tell you that my dad grew up on a farm in Kansas.)

Now that I’m grown, I miss that time we spent together, but we still talk each week about anything and nothing.

Wordless Wednesday: Choosing the iPad Over iPlay

Logan and a couple of kids from the neighborhood had been running around the front yard and playing reindeer games, until the oldest child decided to bring out her ipad.

Reveling In My Land Of Nod

Greetings and salutations from my own little Land of Nod. I arrived here on Jan. 4 and it’s the best place I’ve been in about five years. I believe you would refer to this dreamy locale as “maternity leave.”

Image by Erica Lynn Photography

I’m one of the lucky few Americans who has a job waiting for her after taking a maternity leave that’s longer than the 12 weeks granted under the Family Medical Leave Act. I recognize and am soaking up this blessing (and it’s so sad that my situation isn’t more common, but I digress…)

When Logan was born, I took off seven months and it was needed. He was colicky, I had breastfeeding woes the first three months and despite all of my reading to try to prepare myself, I felt completely inadequate and lost. In short, it was a mindfcuk.

This time, it’s been loads easier because Ethan is an easy-going kid and I’ve got second-time-around-mommy-know-how. Plus Logan is still going to daycare, so many days it’s just me and my smiley infant. And it’s perfect.

I spend my days chatting it up with the little guy (he’s a great listener,) lying on the floor watching him play and listening to him coo. When he first grabbed a toy, or rolled over or sat on the floor without tipping over, I whooped it up so much you would have thought Publisher’s Clearinghouse knocked on the door.

Where’s that ballsy journalist who sharpened her elbows tussling in the Chicago media scrums? Or the one who would push, push and push reporters to get the right context in a story? She’s still here, she’s just sleeping. I wake her up if something goes awry at my daycare or if a parent pisses me off, but for now, she’s sleeping.

And a more chill, happier me is in the driver’s seat. I’ve had time to catch up with my friends, toting my little guy to lunches, hanging out at friends’ homes or gabbing on the phone to my BFF every day. That hasn’t happened since college.

I have been hesitant to blog about how great it’s been, I mean, it seems like no one wants to hear about how happy people are… And aren’t working moms supposed to hate staying at home? You know, since poopy diapers aren’t as scintillating as Powerpoint.

My days aren’t sunshine and lollipops 24/7, but they’re pretty damn good. Though I love it at home, I’m returning to the ranks of the working. A couple of working moms I’ve talked to said they felt the same way with their second maternity leave. And maybe we love it so much because we know it’s temporary, so we’re milking the stay-at-home experience for all that it’s worth.

I’m not sure, I can analyze it later. Right now, I’m still enjoying the ride.

Wordless Wednesday: A Wintry View From the 41st Floor

One of our technicians let me up on the roof of our office building, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.