Back-row bicycling

I belong to a gym. Gold's, to be exact. I never thought I'd be a Gold's girl, but I happened to marry a very physically fit man who had such a membership and got me on for a steal. So I work out ... sometimes.

Last autumn I enjoyed working up a sweat and trying to shed some pounds. But the goals change somewhat once you're expecting. I have to make sure my heart rate isn't too high, and I'm working too hard if I can't finish a complete sentence without getting winded. So the stationary bike has been my friend of late. At this particular gym, there are two rows of bikes on the second level.

The hands-down, No. 1 advantage of riding in the back row is that no one can see what I'm watching on my personal cable screen (because who would want to exercise without TV, right?). From the back row, one gets to look at everyone who walks by and look at what all the folks in the front row are watching on TV. Then, of course, one can inevitably pass judgment on said people for their poor viewing tastes. "Really? 'Flavor of Love' is what motivates you to pedal like the wind?"

Of course, then I wonder if some of the front-row folks are self-conscious at all about the judgments irrational people like me are casting on them. For instance, would that guy be watching "American Idol" if it wasn't for me seeing back here? I saw him linger on a few family-friendly options for a few moments before settling on some cage fighting match. "It's OK, buddy. You can watch 'Super Nanny' save the day. Your secret's safe with me."

Who's to say I'm not watching a thought-provoking presidential debate? No one. Ha!

Horton Hears a Fetus

Yesterday on "Oprah," the cast of the new animated feature "Horton Hears a Who" came on to discuss the new film. The episode was pleasant, but what I kept thinking about was the first time I heard the Dr. Seuss classic.

If you're not familiar, it's about an amiable elephant who happens to hear the tiny cry of a microscopic "Who" in a spec of dust. Whoville, we learn, is in trouble and Horton takes on the role of protector. Of course his fellow jungle mates question the Whos' existence. "“Why, that speck is as small as the head of a pin. A person on that?…why, there never has been!”

But Horton believes and stays true to his post, and eventually he's exonerated when all the Whos join their voices to be heard at last by a skeptical kangaroo. There's this beautiful mantra repeated throughout:
"I’ll just have to save him. Because, after all, a person’s a person, no matter how small ...
"I can’t put it down. And I won’t! After all, a person’s a person, o matter how small

The tiny little hearts that beat inside their mothers' wombs are clear and strong as a tympani drum if you're listening well. I know because I have one such heart beating in my own belly. Yes, I am going to be (really already am) a mother for the first time. I have begun my second trimester and couldn't hold the news in any longer for fear of bursting ... and because it's difficult to want to blog about anything else! I am overwhelmed with hope and joy for the future of my family, and can't wait to meet the little soul whose personality is already so vibrant and unique.

I went in for an ultrasound four weeks after conception -- four weeks -- and heard my child's heart beating. No "mass of cells" I've heard of can do that. I never realized you could hear a heartbeat that early, but you learn something new every day. And like Horton, if we don't take the time to really listen, we'll dismiss some of the most vital signs of life. I know that beating heart is in a person, afterall -- a person's a person no matter how small.

The sweetest sound

The sound of a thousand pens hitting paper and a thousand more fingers typing on cold keyboards. Ah, television -- I've missed you so...

Thought of the day

Does grape juice make you feel guilty?

Enjoying a refreshing glass of grape juice makes me feel like I raided the Communion table at church and am gluttonously feasting on the elements.

Tag -- I'm it

Posh Mama tagged me to write six random things about myself, so here we go...
1. If I could get paid to study Biblical apologetics, I would do it.

2. I majored in journalism and minored in political science.

3. From the moment we started dating, I had no doubt Superman and I would marry.

4. People who can't carry on a proper conversation tend to drive me crazy.

5. Almost any footage of someone tripping or falling over cracks me up.

6. I love that I have lots of Scottish and Irish blood running through my veins.

Happy Super Fat Bionic Tuesday!

Well when you say it like that, it sounds like some sort of superfluous event translated crudely from another language, when it's actually about three separate things.

"Super" because some folks whose votes really count get to cast their primary ballots today. I am not among them.

"Fat" because it's the day before Ash Wednesday...but I guess if you're overweight, pretty much every Tuesday is fat.

"Bionic" because today my mother is getting her second knee replaced. She, if anyone, deserves a nonfictional "Bionic Woman" title. The metal and screws in her lower limbs could set off a metal detector 3 miles away. We love you, Mom! Good luck :)

Is anyone else feeling uninspired or just plain tired in this pre-general election election? Months ago I hungrily followed it like the NFL season. Now I find myself knowing far more about tactics and polls than I do about candidates' actual positions. That's like knowing what sort of padding or sock color a football player likes best, but not knowing how he plays the game. Type "voter guide" into a search engine and see the mess that comes up.

And I have no clue who I'd vote for at this point.

On this fine, Super Fat Bionic Tuesday, I also find myself looking forward to Thursday night, when again I can join my friends on "LOST" Island. I can't believe there are only eight to watch, but I'm trying to see the silver lining and think of it as at least a great way to curb my football season withdrawals.

"You got no fear of the underdog...

...that's why you will not survive" (spoon)