Thursday, November 17, 2016

Snippets and Stories

Yesterday I was rushing to the elevator, holding a giant 4" binder, my equally giant Chai Latte, 40 oz. hydro flask of water, purse, and ID badge. I had come straight from Orangetheory, done my makeup while sitting in the parking lot, and had my hair pulled back in a low, messy, half-wet bun. As I charged my way to the elevator bank, a snappily dressed older woman was approaching from the other direction. "My goodness, you are gorgeous, " she said out of nowhere, "you could absolutely be a model."

It was so unexpected. I was struggling to keep a hold of the binder without spilling my tea and despite taking a 2 minute shower post-workout, I was still running 5 minutes further behind than I hoped, and her words made my whole being feel like a light bulb had been turned on inside. What power the words of others have. Particularly positive words of others not married or otherwise related to us. Right then and there I decided I will use mine more often. Too frequently I think something nice about someone else and don't voice it. I'm taking inspiration from a woman I didn't know in a hot pink blazer who made me feel like a million bucks on a random Wednesday.

(always feels like a million bucks)

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I've always wondered how my reaction time would be in an emergency. I've also always wondered what would happen if I slipped on the treadmill during one of the Orangetheory "all out" runs where I can't feel my feet. Last week, I got to find out both. During a run, I happened to glance at a woman a few treadmills over from me and noted her hands were holding on to the bar and her feet were flying straight out behind her like superman. I turned back to my mirror, not really absorbing what I'd seen, and then whipped my head back to the side, only to see her slip, land on the treadmill, and fly behind it onto the floor.

It was such an impossible thing I still hadn't hit my stop button. I finally did, though by the time my belt slowed enough to jump off, the woman had already stood up and seemed to be fine. She actually tried to get back on the treadmill, but the trainer came over and talked to her and I think she had to go get checked out by a doctor. I felt so badly for her, and also totally ashamed at the fact that I watched the whole thing unfold without pausing my running until it was too late to do anything of help. My reaction time as a lawyer has been dulled by waiting for slow-to-respond defense counsel and slipping is pretty much all I think about when I run now.

first responder

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Also last week, Tara took all 3 kids to their swim class/lesson on Thursday, and because the pool is not on my way home and Cora was doing an earlier lesson for reasons I forget, we decided it would be easier for her to just bring Cora back home after while the big kids stayed with James until he was done. Which means, for the first time basically ever, I came home to an empty house that stayed empty for 45 whole minutes. Did I do productive things? I did not. Did I even sit on the couch with a small glass of wine and classy cheese and crackers I had planned to nibble while watching the food network? No. I popped popcorn, dumped in a bunch of cheez-its and candy corns and ate the entire bowl while standing over the sink. Kids are noise and chaos, but having to send a good example around them really saves me from my worst self.

[Me stuffing cheez-its in my mouth not pictured, but here's Cora at Literacy Night tonight at the big kids' school. What could be more appropriate for library time than a Princess Belle dress? She loves books!]

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Claire tried out for the Talent Show on Tuesday! It was a bit of a cluster. We signed her up a few weeks ago and then picked and practiced a song over the weekend. Then Monday was really busy and the kids got home from swimming late and we didn't have time to practice again. On Tuesday morning I was working out, and both James and I forgot to say anything to Claire, until about 2:45 p.m. when I realized "Oh crap. Claire is trying out for the show and we didn't send her with music, wish her luck, or do anything an involved supportive parent would do!" And so I fixed it the same way I fix everything these days - calling our nanny Tara. I explained the situation and she said no problem. I'll park and go in with Landon after school and we can pull the song up on my phone to hold to the microphone.

And so she did. She entered the auditorium to find a frantic Claire who didn't have music and was crying because she didn't know all her hand motions yet, but Tara calmed her down, and when it was her turn, Claire belted out her song with confidence. I'm so proud of her. And since then we've practiced "Fight Song" LOTS of times. Even Cora knows every word. The big show is December 19th, so we'll be ready for a full family ensemble by then.

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Sunday: French dip sliders, pasta salad, veggies and dip
Monday: Baked Chicken Parmesan, garlic bread
Tuesday: Taco Tuesday, mexican rice, refried black beans (new favorite taco topping, along with diced tomato, sliced black olives, and cheese, of course, is shredded cabbage from the little bag at Trader Joe's; crunchy and a little sweet, James bought it on accident instead of lettuce and it's delicious)
Wednesday: Out for margaritas and Mexican food to celebrate amazing report cards from the two big kids.
Thursday: Takeout Chinese; my day started with Career Day at the kids' school, proceeded with meetings and calls at work, and then went straight back to school to work Literacy Night. The kids got hot dogs at the event, James picked up Chinese for us after. I spent 12 hours in a suit and heels and then gave up. Not doing great on the meal plan I set out on Sunday.
Friday: Panko Crusted Cod (from the frozen section of Costco), sauteed green beans, pasta side, crescent rolls
Saturday: Pasta with tomato cream sauce

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And finally, a renewed recommendation for eBates if you don't already use it because I just got my most recent quarterly rebate check on Monday and it makes me crazy that I didn't sign up long before I did. You don't enter any financial information and it's not a credit card -- you just go to the ebates website, type in the store you want to online shop at, and click to open a new webpage for that store. Shop as normal, pay as you wish, and your eBates account keeps track of how much you spent to add up your reward rebates. Most stores (Target, Ulta, Ann Taylor, Old Navy, Carters, Nordstrom, Shutterfly, Vistaprint - basically anywhere I shop) are 2%, but they fluctuate all the time- Sephora, Shutterly, and Nordstrom have both been 6% at times and randomly last week Gap was 13%! You get a check in the mail every quarter with your total. Sometimes it's just $10 or $15 (but hey, free lunch!) and sometimes it's much bigger. I enjoy the free money, particularly since I do the vast majority of my shopping online anyway. If you click through this link we both get a referral credit, but honestly, I recommend it because I like checks in the mail and I've received more than $500 so far. I'm genuinely aggrieved I knew about it for years before finally signing up.


  1. Second on Ebates! And you can actually download a button for your browser toolbar that will make a little button pop up every time you visit a site which is an Ebates partner. It will refresh the page and Ebates will be activated! It's helped me discover random sites that partner with Ebates.

    1. I just saw that on the website! But because I'm a slow adapter of new things, I hadn't downloaded it yet. I will now - that sounds like EXACTLY what I need because I still sometimes forget to open up my shopping page through the Ebates main site and I get so annoyed when I do that.

  2. Third on ebates!! My biggest regrets at the end of the day are when I order something and realize that I forgot to go through ebates. I've been known to cancel an order just so I can go back and order it the "right" way.

    Ethics question - if I order supplies/equipment for work and use my work credit card, is it wrong to go through ebates so that I get the cash back? For years I've said it's fine because by going through ebates, I'm also finding all the coupon codes that I can use to save the office money. Evens it out, right? Right?

    Other random thoughts - Cora is my spirit animal. Love the plan to tell people the random compliments that float through your head. A few years ago, I told my husband that I loved a girl's hair after we passed by her and he said, "Then why didn't you tell her? If you impressed a stranger, wouldn't you want to know?" And so now, I'm that crazy lady in the supermarket saying, "Excuse me, I need to get to the pickles, and by the way, your hair is phenomenal."

  3. I didn't know about ebates! Thanks for the tip. Have you heard about Honey? I blogged about it today - it's a browser extension that finds all the valid coupon and promo codes for your online shopping cart. It's amazing. Here's the post if you're interested: