Monday, January 12, 2009


I do love vacation. A person can really get used to the idea of lounging on beaches and eating all day. We are in the last half of our week in Oceanside visiting family, and enjoying sunny southern California. I have been very impressed with how much the town of Oceanside has cleaned itself up since I lived in the area fifteen years ago. It used to be quite the gang banger scary town with graffiti and garbage galore. But, as happens to coastal property, rich developers stepped in and bought all the land, mowed down the cute old houses, and put in expensive condos. It's too bad there isn't some regulation protecting the historic houses (although I guess the 1950's era is not really considered historic) as they had character the new condominiums certainly lack. But, the clean beaches, and ability to walk down the street and actually make eye contact with people who aren't going to beat you up and take your money is an OK trade off for cute old houses I suppose.

Yesterday, my kids had surfing lessons with my younger brother Luke, and thought it was the coolest thing ever. They tried a bit the day before, but even though the air temperature was almost 80 degrees, the water was frigid. So, yesterday we rented them little wetsuits, which only added to the coolness factor of the experience in their eyes. They were so cute out there, and so much more comfortable that they could stay out for a really long time. Luke was a great sport, and I'm glad he made time to get in the ocean and play.

Today, we hit LegoLand. Just before I moved away from Carlsbad years ago, they put a measure on the ballot regarding rezoning to bring in LegoLand. I was so animately opposed, I mailed in my ballot against it. I recall thinking that it would ruin Carlsbad, lead to crowded overpopulation and misery. Maybe Anaheim was a nice place to live before Disneyland came too? But, the measure passed, they built it, and it didn't really ruin everything. The crowds would have come anyway. This is California after all. Now, I have kids who really want to go, and I actually think it looks pretty fun too. When Henry found out that there were people who worked there whose sole job was designing things with Legos all day- it was like he was having an epiphany. His face lit up and he said “You mean they do that for their job!?!” I think this may really open up his choice of career fields.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Belly Dancing

Three mornings in a row, I have forced myself from the comfort of my warm and cozy bed, where I could happily lounge the hours away reading. Rather than goofing off with my lap top, and say, watching old videos of Snow Miser and other television holiday specials circa late 1970's, I am using it's capabilities as a research tool. I'm learning about belly dancing online, and hopefully improving my fitness and my mood at the same time.

I tried a shimmy, a camel walk, and Egyptian arms. My hips and knees crackled, as if laughing at me, but I kept moving anyway. A few years back, when I was about 31, and was trying an adult ballet class, I asked the teacher about the popping noises from my joints. Her reply started with “As we get older...” and she lost me after that. I prefer to think of it as a lack of use, rather than an old age issue. I can work on increasing the usage of my body, but there's not a lot I can do about the fact that I'm not 21 anymore. I actually take a lot better care of my body now than I did then, that's for sure.

As with most things that involve coordination, belly dancing is not as easy as it looks, and I am not renowned for my grace. In particular, there is this element of isolating particular body parts inherent in the art of belly dance. So, you are only moving for example just your head or hips, and the rest of your body stays still. Well, it's supposed to be still anyway. I haven't quite gotten that down yet. My body tends to move as a package, flailing through wherever I go. This isolation bit is a discipline that may take me a while to master. For now, I am afraid I look roughly somewhere between someone having a seizure, and Elaine dancing at a party in one particular episode of Seinfeld.

But, I have faith. I will get better I'm sure. I may never look like the women putting out the videos, but that's OK. That isn't really what I'm shooting for. I'm having fun and learning something new, and that feels good.

Speaking of the women in the videos, I must mention that I was refreshingly pleased to see a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Fitness in general, and dancing in particular, can often be the turf of the stick figure, but there are some real women out there who can do a mean shimmy.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Happy New Year 2009

Happy New Year 2009! Well, we're already a few days into the new year, and I am just starting to think about resolutions. What do I want out of 2009? Well, I don't want to set myself up with some ridiculous goals that I will fail and feel bad about. But, there are some things I'd like to get out of this life, and since time waits for no one, I might as well start trying to get the ball rolling.

I tend to be a big idea person. It's all those annoying details that bog me down and diffuse my interest. Since I want to spend more time on my writing, I thought I'd start a blog. But, even in signing up, I am finding myself stuck on step 1- deciding on a screen name. Do I go with something cute and catchy? What if I find myself annoyed with the name in two months? Maybe I should just use my own name? But, then what if I write horribly incriminating things, and everyone will know it was me? Everyone else has cool screen names.

In the end, I realize that I am not really all that cute, catchy or cool. I am just me, so I should probably just label myself as such. Besides, another thing I'd like to work on this year, in addition to spending more time writing, is being more positive. So, I will try to force myself to refrain from being mean and complaining publicly about everyone and everything around me. This in itself is rather a challenge, as I am really quite good at complaining. Those who are closest to me are well aware that I am not always sunshine and roses. A few years ago, when I learned that my first name, Pamela, means “all honey” I laughed hysterically. I could not decide if it was hopefulness or sarcasm that would lead to naming me such a thing. More recently, I learned that my middle name, Marie, means “bitter ocean.” That makes a lot more sense. I don't really follow astrology, but I do see some coincidences with my Gemini twin split personality traits.

Anyway, I'm going to really try to focus on what's good in my world, or at least what can be done about what isn't so good. I have to complain a little you know. I'm trying to be realistic here. Hopefully the idea of primarily writing about the good news will also keep me out of hot water with my friends, family and co-workers who happen along my rants. No guarantees on that though.

OK, on to step 2. Now they want me to come up with a title, and it's probably one of those things that will be difficult to change later. Great. It's awfully early in the day to be making decisions that I have to live with. It's making me feel rather indecisive. OK, I guess it's really not that big of a deal. It's just a name for a blog. Blog, blog, blog. That's it.

I guess I'm up and running with my first attempt at 2009 resolutions- more writing and more positive thinking. Now, I'm off to you tube to search for belly dance lesson videos for the exercise portion of my healthy new year, which will of course be followed by a big, chocolate mocha.