Beware. I have teenagers now.
Well, okay. I’ve had a teenager for 3-plus years now, but as of today, I have nothing but teenagers in the under-18 subgroup in the household.
Hannah and Zoe are 13 today.
Sometimes it doesn’t seem possible that they’re that old yet. And other times, they get that serious look on their face, and something comes out of their mouths that sounds entirely too grown up to mesh with my preconceived notion of who they are.
It’s been a fun 13 years, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Having twins has been a huge adventure, and has provided endless fascination. Every single day they seem to grow more diverse, further establishing themselves as very distinct, different, individual people, which is something that a lot of people, including me, have a hard time wrapping their heads around.
Hannah and Zoe are indeed two different people, but it’s the nature of being twins that they’ve always been coupled as one unit. All too frequently, they’re “the girls,” or “HannahandZoe” (said in one breath), or “you two,” or…
It’s something I’ve given a lot of thought to, especially lately, as it’s becoming so blatantly obvious that they’re completely diverse beings. But it’s hard not to refer to them in any way other than the communal titles listed above. I want to make sure they’re treated as individuals, and I fear that they won’t be, but then, on days like today, when I think about it very deeply, I realize they are distinct and unique, and everyone around them knows each of them as the individuals they are.
But I’m now the proud parent–and I mean proud–of a pair of teenage girls. They’re witty, smart, creative, fun, and every bit the unique person I hoped I’d raise.
Happy birthday to them. I’m looking forward to watching them grow even further into the people they want to be.
Now I can move on to screwing them up through the rest of their teen years.
See you tomorrow.
Welcome to the now (hopefully) weekly glimpse into my life.
First, the big news: I dropped another 1.6 pounds this past week, according to the scale. That brings me to a total of 3.8 pounds since this journey has begun. And I’m pleased with this drop, though I was happier when I jumped on the scale on Thursday (I know…don’t do it mid-week), and it showed I’d lost 4 pounds for the week up to that point. So while I was buoyed by that apparent breakthrough earlier in the week, I was a little less so when I took my official weight for the week Sunday morning. But, it’s progress. Slow and steady.
In the meantime, you may have noticed already that I finally got the latest redesign of the blog here to work properly. Though, if you’re looking at it on IE, it may not look quite right, but I’m not sure. My work laptop can’t render the page properly in IE, but all of my computers at home make it look right. So I don’t know…But now that this design is set and I’m learning more about the process, I’ll keep tweaking and moving forward.
As I’m writing this, it’s Monday, which means that I didn’t post last night as I usually do, and that’s because it turned into a busy afternoon. I worked in the garden out back up until the thunderstorms rolled in with a vengeance mid-afternoon–and by work, I really mean demolition to get it back to a starting point so that we can get it looking good again. Then dinner, and then off to Target to take the girls shopping for their birthday gifts.
We got Hannah a bike–an honest-to-goodness, brand-new bike, a pink Schwinn cruiser that in the few hours she’s had it, she adores.
It’s actually a 7-speed and has a detachable basket on the front, plus a comfy seat, and high handlebars. After some adjustments, she rode it up and down the block repeatedly until it was time for bed.
Zoe wanted a good point-and-shoot camera, as she’s falling in love with the media arts at school. So we picked up a nice Nikon for her. We got it set up last night, but I don’t think she’s shot any pictures with it yet. I’m still trying to convince her to get a Tumblr page, though…Maybe with the camera, she’ll be more inclined to put things up from the new camera.
For those who do not live in our little world, you may not be fully aware that the girls’ birthdays are tomorrow (Tuesday, May 21). And, as the added bonus, I’m informed that they will now officially be teenagers, having reached the magic age of 13. This also means they can legitimately join Facebook, which I am certain their social-media loving mother will oblige them with as soon as possible on Tuesday evening. So those of you reading this who know them well, be on the lookout for your friend request. But I imagine there are worse things.
And finally, and this is the most momentous news of the weekend, Patrick endured an event that truly lived up to its name: the Ordeal. This ordeal was the initiation, as it were, into the Order of the Arrow for Boy Scouts. He was nominated by his troop, and was taken up to the camp on Friday after school. Then the weather rolled in. He spent the night camping on his own, outside, under a tarp. Heavy rain and thunderstorms rolled in, and finally, after some cajoling by one of his troop leaders, he and the other boys in the ordeal were brought inside to safety. But for the rest of the evening and next day, they were given minimal food, and expected to be as silent as possible. At the end of it, he got a sash, which I will certainly get a picture of and post here, but most importantly was his pride in the accomplishment and what it means to him, who is still very proud to be the first in two generations on the Dunnette side to amount to much of anything in scouts. His great grandfather would be very proud. And I am too.
I plan on posting tonight–a discussion of my daughters and their birthday, as I embark on the horror that is having three teenagers in the same house. Wish me well.
See you tomorrow.
The Vikings showed off renderings of their new stadium Monday night. It is our $1 billion temple purpose-built to the football gods, a place to stand for 30 years or so as our monument to our perpetually mediocre professional football team.
And it’s just butt ugly.
I’m not even sure that it looks like a stadium. From this angle it looks like some ultra-modern museum or greenhouse or glacier which dwarfs everything in the immediate vicinity. It’s grey and glassy and somehow heavy and light-looking all at the same time.
So let’s look from above:
Ah yes, Much better. From this view, it’s an angular alien pod which has swallowed up 65,000 seats and is preparing to make its assault on the remainder of downtown. Half of the structure is glass–or, as I read the details on the design, a high-tech plastic–while the other half is presumably a gunship grey metal.
I know that a large part of the point of the architecture in these structures now is the desire to make them stand out from what has come before, and help keep them from showing their age too much in the future. But this seems to make no recognition of what its purpose is. But, according to the presentation, we’ll take great civic pride in its uniqueness: 95 foot rotating doors, asymmetrical design, and the desire to bring the outdoors inside without it actually being an outdoor space.
Just wait until those first preseason games when scores of people will get sunburns without realizing they were sitting in the sun for 3-plus hours.
Oh well. It’s what the team wants. And it should keep them here for another 30 years or more until they start whining for whatever the new trend in stadiums is by then.
See you tomorrow.
It was, by any measure, a momentous day on Monday.
The Minnesota Senate passed the same-sex marriage law which finally allows for the state to stop discriminating against a group of people based solely on who they love.
Wherever you stand on the issue, it’s an important day, but not the end nor the beginning of the world because in the end, religious freedom is still supported and churches can choose not to perform same-sex weddings if they wish, while the state will recognize those unions both performed here and in other states.
But I wonder if either I’m missing something or I’m being too cautious, because the celebration feels a little over-the-top to me: after the signing, there’s a block party in Downtown St. Paul. I know this is a huge deal, but I worry that a celebration of the victory is too much like rubbing salt in the wounds of the defeated–people who hold their beliefs very close to their hearts. In this political climate, I worry that an overt public display celebrating the win would rub too many people the wrong way and come back to cause problems in the future when that side gets their turn to govern.
Or I could just be worrying too much about these things.
I’m really disenfranchised right now in the entirety of the political process in this country. No one on any side seems genuine to me, no one seems to be honest, forthright, and intent in operating under any ethical norm. It feels as though for every positive move made by a party or politician, they take another step back by doing something stupid (read: the IRS stupidity, or the AP investigation).
All I want is a polite, respectful discourse on the issues, and respect and acceptance when things don’t go your way, because, after all, nothing in politics is forever: taxes go up and down; laws are written, changed, and reversed; and the overall societal viewpoint on issues is constantly in flux.
And I’m happy that so many people now seem to be engaged in the process and discussion online and elsewhere, regardless of the view. But I’m not happy at the tone some of that discussion takes and the knee-jerk reactions it provokes. Too many people hold beliefs without understanding the underlying reasoning behind them. And believing in something shouldn’t be the target of personal attacks, rather it should be the opportunity to talk about those beliefs and what they mean to the individuals, not a vague feeling of being threatened by something that hasn’t happened yet.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m thrilled that this law was passed, in spite of my fears that it was too soon after the defeat of the amendment last fall. And I’m glad that everyone in this state can experience the same happiness in marriage that I’ve had for 18-plus years. I just hope that there isn’t an angry fringe group plotting some sort of revenge that will divide the state again.
See you tomorrow.
Time for the weekly updates which should have aired here Sunday or Monday nights but didn’t because other things took precedence.
In diet news, I lost .8 pounds this past week, which makes for a 2.2 pound total. Not nearly what I wanted, since I could probably lose that much just by shedding body hair, but it’s still a slight downward trend that looks good on a chart. I’ve been concentrating on eating well–fruit, veggies and cheese at lunch, reserving meat for dinner. So far, so good, but I’m hungry all of the time and my stomach is sounding like a pod of whales.
You probably noticed that there was nothing of note to notice here this past week. The promised changes didn’t change anything because I tried rolling a change out and it broke several things for reasons I’m still investigating, so the next phase of redesign is on hold for the time being. Of course, it doesn’t help that these redesigns to the blog formatted pages can’t be tested offline–I have to upload them and activate them and see if the site works to test them. When I tried that midday of some day last week, I got nothing but errors, so rolled back to the tried and true stuff you see before you now.
In short, ambition caused a crash. I tried going too far too fast. Stages, Paul…Stages. I’ll try again later this week or early next week.
I did need to update the Twitter applet over there in the right hand sidebar because Twitter has been changing rules on how to use their precious data plug-ins. So I had to move to a different sidebar widget and configure that.
In the meantime, I’ve been talking to Zoe about setting up her own Tumblr page that ties into our site so that she could post some pictures for the world to see in a place other than Instagram. She’s interested, but as with all of my kids, doesn’t want to know the details or install the app required to make this happen. So stay tuned. Hannah, on the other hand, just sort of looked at me as if to say “why would I want that?” I don’t think her page will happen anytime soon.
That’s the size of things from this side of the blog. Thanks for reading.
See you tomorrow.
The entirety of the Lathrop clan gathered on Sunday for a brunch at the Campus Club at the U. We’d done that a couple of years ago, then last year at the top of the IDS center, but since that didn’t seem to be going this year, we went back to the Campus Club. But my mother arranged the get together. Which is a very mom thing to do.
Why? Because the important thing is just to have the gang together. Talking. Enjoying good food. Laughing. Enjoying each other’s company. And that’s all that mom wants.
Oh sure, there were the ancillary celebrations for the other mothers at the table as well, and that was an added bonus, but when you break it all down, my mom, just like her parents, revel in opportunities to bring her entire family together.
And I love her for that. One more thing I probably appreciate her enough for.
So, thanks to all of the mothers in my life: To Mom, you set the tone. You pointed me in the right direction, and were always there to catch me, help me, and let me experience the tough things in life. I hope I’ve lived up to some of your hopes and dreams for me. And even if I haven’t, thanks for just letting me go and figure things out for myself and go where life takes me.
To Jenni, I’m always thankful for having you in my life. You’re a great mom. A great wife. Funny. Smart. And you balance me. And you’re the person I always look forward to coming home to at the end of the day.
And thanks to both of you for a fun time on Sunday. I love you both!
See you tomorrow.
When it rains, it pours, I tell you. So much to offer this week in terms of posts. I’ve got to do some catching up from last week, give you updates, and offer a tribute to moms. This will all be coming during the week.
First, I need to post the videos from the girls’ concerts of the last week-plus. For the three of you who weren’t there in person, I present these for you. including a great rendition of Blackbird by The Beatles, and Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon and Garfunkel.
Over a week ago, they had their choir concert, which included a performance with the FAIR Sings community choir. Those nine songs follow right here, corrected from their original patented Jiggly Cam (TM) technology, including a great rendition of Blackbird by The Beatles, and Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon and Garfunkel:
So then, this last Thursday, they had their band concert. Those four songs follow, including an excellent medley of songs from Les Miserables:
There you go. Enough music to keep you occupied online for a while. Just as a heads’ up, Patrick’s band concert is a week from Thursday, so more music is coming!
See you tomorrow.
Between riding along with Patrick driving to and from scouts last night, I watched some TV and did some exercising. Or more specifically, stretching.
And as I thought about it afterward, I’m not sure I’d want anyone to see that, with me in the dark, on the floor rolling around and doing range-of-motion stretching to get things limbered up and moving in ways they don’t usually. I’m certain I probably look like a beached whale right after a fashion shoot.
Why on the floor? And why in the dark? Because last night specifically, I was trying to get caught up on Mad Men, while watching some of the hockey game and the tail end of the Twins game. And if I do the stretches on the floor, I can keep my mind on something else while giving my hips and hamstrings and back a workout.
Actually, I’m sore today. I ended up going a full 20 minutes–5 more than usual, probably because I got caught up in the Mad Men thing at the time. Though who knows…That could have been caused by getting down on the floor and then back up.
See you tomorrow.
Wow. So this week really got away from me. Nothing posted since last Sunday’s update. I’d like to say that I was exercising all of that time. But I can’t. Life, lack of anything useful to write about AND exercise are all to blame.
But let me just update you on things in the Land O’ Lathrops.
Here’s the good news: 1.4 pounds lost in the week, which means only about 148.6 pounds left to go…roughly. I know. It’s a start, and I just have to make a start and keep going. The not so good news is that I didn’t exercise five days this week as promised, I only got in 3 days of 15 minutes each. And I won’t be doing it tonight, but hopefully I’ll pick some up tomorrow, but that depends on the evening’s activities.
Moving on to some site news, I’ve been playing with a design update for the page here that is ending up somewhere between a tweak and a major revision. It’s still not quite what I have in my head, which, the more I work at this, the more I realize it’s really an amorphous concept rather than a solid vision. It’s weird: I’ve got this firm thought about the idea of what I want my site to look like, and every time I start to try to get there, it’s kind of like looking at someone else’s interpretation of what I’m thinking. And the best I can do to describe it is “clean, modern, bright, easy to read, flexible…” I might as well be describing a museum space. I’ve even tried sketching it out, but my hands completely lack the ability to adequately translate the artistic vision of my brain. Apparently, my brain needs a translator.
Anyway, the upshot to that, as mentioned a while back, is that sometime this week or early next week, you’ll probably see some things moving and changing around here.
So there are the updates for now. I’ll try to write more–or actually some–this week.
See you tomorrow.
This one’s gonna hurt because I really don’t like opening up like this, but it’s something that I have to do.
I am fat. Not overweight, or out of shape, though I certainly am those things too. But, truth be told, I’m fat. And I have to really admit that and stop embracing it or just living with it.
And I’m unhealthy. I’m trying to tell myself that I’m making some good choices, and I do sometimes, but I make some really lousy choices other times. I’m 43, and I’m starting to worry about what this means for the rest of my life, because I have every intention and desire to drive Jenni crazy for several more decades, and pester my kids well into senility.
And I’m uncomfortable. Far too often I’m uncomfortable. Standing too long plays hell with my hips. Sleeping too long hurts my back. And while we do need to buy a new mattress sometime (c’mon bonus!?!), dropping some of the poundage on the old frame would probably help both issues.
And somewhat embarrassed by my appearance. I actually didn’t post a picture of me with Patrick from prom night because it really hit me how huge I am.
I’ve started and stopped more diets and exercise plans than I can possibly remember. And I’ve been doing that since junior high.
This time, since I’m putting this out there for the world to see, I mean it.
Here’s my starting point, or at least what I’m willing to share, so you’ve got the frame of reference to hold me to later: I’m back up to a 50 or 52 inch waist. A few years ago, I was a 44. I weigh more than 350 pounds. Much more than I want to. I need to drop almost an entire person’s weight to get down to something healthier. I am easily tired out by exertion. I need to exercise. Regularly. And more than just doing stuff around the house and calling it activity.
More importantly, I need to be proud of myself for myself again.
I started changing my eating habits a couple of weeks ago–healthier breakfasts, mostly fruit and veggies in my lunch, and only one serving at dinner. But I need to remember I’m human and love food too much to give some things up. I just need to be smarter about it.
I finally buckled down and started regular exercises tonight: 15 minutes of walking and stretching this evening. I’ll hurt like hell tomorrow, but it’s a start. Five times a week I need to do that. I’m trying to figure out what juggling of time and money would be required to consider a membership at the Y.
So far, that’s the plan: get healthier, lose a lot of weight, share with you so I’ll at least feel like I’m accountable to someone besides my inner demons. Thanks in advance for your support, kids.
See you tomorrow.