Tuesday, September 29, 2009

conference and ..... running. Of course.

BTW, I did get a running top and it's fabulous. =) It's a hideous colour - why are all running tops such gross colours? Where are the fabulous designs? I actually saw one with a FABULOUS design on it, but they didn't have it in my size. *sniff*. =(

Also....what was I going to waffle about next? Honestly, my head, where is it?

Oh yes!!!

It's General Conference this weekend - d'y'all have special plans? Do you do anything fun for conference?

I usually get a smorgasbord of treats and we nibble on them all conference. =) We're usually too full for dinner on those days. =) I also pull out the colouring books and we colour whilst we listen. Or take notes. Or both. =)

What do you do?

Running and Plato

What is WRONG with me?

Previously, I'd walk for 30 minutes AWAY from the house, then walk/run on the way back. The advantage to this is that it's a mostly UPHILL walk away from the house, and thus the walk/run on the way home was quite do-able. =)

I'd listen to my own stuff on the walk away from the house - I started out with the most fabulous recording of Plato's Republic I've ever heard...ok, it's the ONLY recording of Plato's Republic I've ever heard...but it is really really really good. ANYWAY, I started with that but got bored around Book 6. It seemed to me that Socrates was creating the most evil hideous distopia and I found it completely disturbing and wanted to yell "You're considered an amazing philosopher???? But you're INSANE!" But maybe that's what made him a fabulous philosopher, who knows.

Also, Socrates seems to enjoy following someone's path of reasoning all the way down the rabbit hole until it's quite obvious that it can't work and is completely wrong. Maybe he was doing that when he was creating his evil distopia and I just didn't reach the end of his discourse before I got bored. OTOH, I'd listened to about 4 or five hours of it and I couldn't take it any more.

Anyway, this post isn't really about Plato's Republic. I just started out with him on the 30 min walk away from the house. Then I got bored and switched to listening to music.

On the downward way back home I'd listen to Robert Ullrey's Couch to 5K podcast.

This arrangement was working brilliantly.

So what's wrong with me? Why did I have to change it?

This morning I thought, "I know, why don't I do my run AWAY from the house and then walk on the way back?"

WHY would I think this? It's UPHILL away from my house! And I had Andrew with me which meant I was pushing the stroller!!!!! And even WORSE, in the back of my head I thought, "And maybe I'll just repeat the podcast on the way home."


???????!!!!!!!?????? Where is my brain?

Half way through the intense first run, I thought "Maybe instead of repeating the week 4 day 1 podcast I'll just go onto the week 5 day 1 podcast."

????!!!?????

Why?

Why do I have to push it so hard? My Mum once told me that I've always been like that - I see the thing I want and I make sure I get it. Case in point: my husband. =) I'm just mule stubborn like that.

The 30 minute warm up walk followed by the 30 minute walk/run was a beautiful thing and I LOVED it. My body really really liked that long warm-up. So why did I feel the need to fix something that wasn't broken? Why do I have to do more than is needed?

So anyway, I did the week 4 day 1 podcast away from home. I made it all the way to Main before I'd finished it. Then I did the week 5 day 1 podcast back home.

Week 4 day 1:
5 minute walk
3 minute run
90 second walk
5 minute run
2 1/2 minute walk
3 minute run
90 second walk
5 minute run
5 minute walk

Week 5 day 1:
5 minute walk
5 minute run
3 minute walk
5 minute run
3 minute walk
5 minute run
5 minute walk

Instead of the Euphoric WOO HOOOOO!!! That was GREAT! I did it! Go me! Yeah!

Although I did feel proud of myself that I'd run for 30 minutes, overall I felt just a relief that I'd made it and it was over. And my calves hurt. I'm going to have to wear athletic shoes even in the house today to make sure I don't get shin splints. Also, after running so much I realized that I really really really really need a good pair of running shoes. AND ALSO I need to wear different underwear. The ones I wear now really hold that moisture against my skin and it's blech. Cotton is not kind to runners.


Anyway. Soooo that's my waffle for today. I'm nuts. Sorry about that.


Today: Andrew's been invited to his very first birthday party and is THRILLED. He's been SO excited all weekend. =) After that I'm off on a 2 hour drive to McMinville to see a friend of mine who has just moved in. She and her husband will be apart for 9 months - and she has six children, most of which are under 5. Yikes. Also, Bert comes home today. =) I'm SO excited!!! We really misssed him. =)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Treadmills SUCK

....and so does the thunder and lightning that makes me use 'em.

Saturday - my running day HOORAY!!! =) I was looking forward to it all yesterday. Only bummer is I have to wait until Tues to run again. *sigh*


ANYWAY, the storm woke me up at 4am.
Thought 1: I just love storms.
Thought 2: Poor Andrew - no soccer again today
Thought 3: WAIT! It'd better stop because I'M RUNNING today!


4.45am and I couldn't wait any longer. Had to get up and get ready. Threw on my clothes n shoes and headed to Ben's room to let him know I was going out.

"It's lightning" he murmured
"No it's not" I lied.

I opened the door. Thunder and lightning. GAH! Pouring rain I could probably handle, but it's pretty dumb to run in lightning.

So I faffed about on the computer for an hour. Things seemed to have calmed down so I went back upstairs to Ben.
"Ok, I'm really heading out now..."
Went downstairs, opened the door....lightning.

GAAAAAAHHHH!

Another hour on the computer. It was still storming so I sulkily dragged myself upstairs to Ben's room to let him know I needed to use the treadmill. I really need to move that thing back into my bedroom.

Ben was pretty good natured about being kicked out of bed - mainly because I told him the computer was on. =)

After five minutes on the treadmill all sorts of thoughts were going through my head.
"This is WAY easier than running outside"
"This is really irritating. And boring."
"I wonder why running outside is as addictive as cocaine, but running on a treadmill is blah and provides zero post-run euphoria?"

When I run outside I pretty much run away from the house for 40 minutes then run back using couch to 5k. Today on the treadmill I went straight into my week 3 couch to 5k Robert Ullrey podcast.

After the first 90 second run I was like "meh".
After the first 3 minute run: "Oh come ON!"
After the entire running portion I wasn't challenged at all and was completely frustrated, so I switched to my running playlist and, skipping weeks 4 and 5 on the Ullrey podcast, ran for 20 minutes.

Ah. Yes. This was a bit different. It nearly killed me. Whoot! =)

Thing is, would I have been able to run 20 minutes outside? The answer, dear readers, is a resounding NEIN! I would have passed out in the road.

This is why treadmills suck: it makes you overrate your ability, and provides a singular lack of euphoria.

FURTHERMORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My treadmill is on the blink and the display didn't work at all. I mean to say!!! The one compensation for treadmill ridiculousness is that the display tells you your pace and how far you've run etc. And mine didn't even do that today.

Honestly, on ten minutes on that thing I was wondering if it's really so dangerous to run in lightning.

FURTHERMORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Because I didn't follow the training programme and ran for so long, my shins now hurt. *sigh*

*Shakes fist at sky*
Just stop your shenanigans, will you?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Running....again

I'll shut up about this sometime soon, I promise.

Today it was not raining. Honestly. No rain. It was amazing! It rained in the night but had stopped by the time I got up.

Go figure.

So I ran for the first time....or maybe it's been so long that it just FELT like the first time...in early morning Tennessee in the summer. When it's not raining.

And it was MUCH harder. Gah! It wasn't much fun at all.

Furthermore, Bert's on a business trip so I needed to take Andrew with me. I could not BELIEVE how much harder it was to run pushing that stinkin' stroller!


Anyway. Swimming today. And I suppose I'd better tidy up the house. Because it looks like a bomb's hit it, that's why.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Best. Running. Song. EVER!

Ok, well maybe not the BEST - I mean, I've just become addicted to Uprising by Muse and Sandstorm by Darude makes me want to throw on some shoes and run as fast as I can. However, I've just come across this song here - and can you deny that it would be AWESOME to run to when you think you're about to keel over and die? =)





Oh, sweet lungs don't fail me now
Your burning has turned into fear
That trails me in my every step
I'm moving quick but you're always on my heels

Just one more breath, I beg you please
Just one more step, my knees are weak
My heart is sturdy but it needs you to survive
My heart is sturdy but it needs you.

Breathe, don't you want to breathe?
I know that you are strong enough to handle what I need
My capillaries scream, there's nothing left to feed on
My body needs a reason to cross that line
Will you carry me there one more time?

Steady lungs, don't fail me now
I feel you bursting but you won't let me die
Fill me up with every step
I'm feeling sick, but I'm leaving it behind

Just one long breath I beg you please
Just one more step you are not weak
My legs are sturdy but they need you to survive
My heart is sturdy but I need you

Breathe, don't you want to breathe?
And know that you are strong enough to handle what I need
My capillaries scream, there's nothing left to feed on
My body needs a reason to cross that line
Will you carry me there once more?

I have reason to believe that I have victories to taste
I can feel them on my teeth, upon my lips and in my chest
I can roll them on my tongue, they are more supple than defeat
I feel the tension in my lungs and every move is fueled by my resolve to

Breathe, don't you want to breathe?
I know that you are strong enough to handle what I need
My capillaries scream, there's nothing left to feed on
My body needs a reason to cross that line
Will you carry me there one more time?



And here's Uprising - which is a FABULOUS song and I LOVE it. But the video is really blah. Creepiest use of cute and cuddly things since the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. I'd advise turning the music up and minimizing the window to get the full awesome song effect.






Yes, I KNOW it's late and I'm meant to be in bed already. Long day today - long day tomorrow. But I'm all alone downstairs and although the house is a wreck the dishes are DONE so I'm having fun relaxing. I'm all alone and no-one's bugging me and ohhhhhh it's *WONDERFUL*. =)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Running

There is something ridiculously addictive about running. Because of my work schedule I can only run on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. I've been running for three weeks now. Or...I don't know, maybe it's four. I can't remember.

ANYWAY.

It's stinkin' awesome.

I walk for 30 minutes, then do the 30-minute Robert Ullrey Couch-to-5k programme. I'm on week three of that right now and it's going better than I thought it would. This week the programme is 5 minute warm up, 90 second run, 90 second walk, 3 minutes run, 3 minute walk, 90 second run, 90 second walk, 3 minute run, 3 minute walk, 5 minute cool down.

I was really worried about the 3-minute run, but I paced myself quite well and managed to get through it. I was gasping pretty badly at the end, but as it ended I thought to myself "Oh! I made it! I can do it! And I'm not dead!" then Ullrey said "Maintain a brisk walk" and I thought "Are you KIDDING ME?" I was walking WAY slower than brisk. =D However, after about a minute of walking I was ready to run again. WHOOT! Furthermore, by the time I'd finished the second 3-minute walk I wanted to run some more...so even though it wasn't in the programme, I ran for two extra minutes...and it was fun. =)

The addiction has taken me outside to run even in the pouring rain. It's rained for the past two weeks straight. It's actually really wonderful, running in the rain, because it keeps you cool.

However, I do need some different clothes. The top I'm wearing right now was a nursing top I used when Andrew was a baby.

"I need a new top" I said to Bert, "This one is too big."
Bert smiled.
"Is the top too big?" he asked, "Or are you too small?"

WHOOOOOT!!! It IS because I'm too small! =) I'm losing weight! And I feel great! =)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Safe Transport of Homeschool Materials

I am in need of something, and I'm hoping y'all can help out.

I work now, but I also homeschool Andrew. Thus, I take all our homeschooling supplies with us every day we go - and I can't just leave them there because we homeschool mon, weds, fri so we need to bring them back home with us for Tues and Thurs.

ANYWAY, right now I have a rolling briefcase that looks something like this one here.

It's bulky and is often crammed full of stuff and is thus heavy.

Furthermore, it's difficult to maneuver. The home where I babysit has a flight of wooden stairs I have to climb to reach the front door that are not built to code. The rail alongside is not sturdy, and there is a HUGE gap where one can fall. Furthermore, the stairs are slippy - especially in the rain, and it's been raining non-stop for the past week here.

I was thinking of using a rolling crate something like this. However, this crate won't keep the rain off the books, and looks quite unstable.

Sooooo, what d'y'all think? Do you have any ideas of how I can safely transport all these books?

I should mention I'm also lugging along my handbag and a large lunchbox. It all gets rather unwieldy.

Any ideas? I think for sure I need to switch out my lunchbox for one that has a strap I can sling over my shoulder - that will give me one more free hand to grip the rail on those slippy scary stairs. =)

schtuff

Sooo, what's happening in the Brooks family?

Uhm. Not much. Bert's out of town all next week, and will be gone on his birthday. He's always gone on his birthday. Sigh. Poor guy.

Emily seems fine. Ben's ok. Andrew's ok.

Work was good. I was really tired last week, but I'm sure I'll get used to it. Andrew seemed to enjoy it, and he REALLY enjoyed Friday when he could play with Leah and Wyatt. =D

A friend from Michigan is moving...like, right now, as I type...to Tennessee. She is, in fact, someone Bert met on his mission. =D I believe he baptized her mother. Imagine our surprise when she turned up in our ward in Michigan. =D It was great. Then we moved to TN...and she's moving here also. =) They will be living about an our or so away.

Uhm. Yeah. There's more stuff, but I can't think of what it is.

The RS president in our ward asked me if she could read my blog. I said "sure!" so I'd better be on my best behaviour from now on. =D =D =D

There's something I'm forgetting. I can't remember what it is. I'm sure I'll remember just after it's too late.

Funnier classic books

In my last post I ranted about the hideous story my son was required to read. Cristina had an excessively insightful comment to make about it. Thus, I ask, do any of you know any "funnier" classic books? Or not necessarily even funny....just not hideously disturbing.

I happen to like "Bleak House" by Charles Dickens - not exactly funny, but I love it anyway.
Austen is classic, and occasionally humourous.
Wodehouse is hysterical - Right Ho, Jeeves!

Any others?? Classics that will educate our children but not disturb them, give them nightmares, or scar them emotionally.

Shakespeare can be quite funny sometimes....but some plays of his make me furious. OTOH, they don't emotionally scar me... except for Romeo and Juliet. That story is totally emo and it really tore at my heart strings when I was a teenager.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The betrayal of the Scarlet Ibis

"I had to read the Scarlet Ibis" said Ben a few days ago. "Have you read it?"

"No." I answer

"You should read it." He said. "It's really good."



Today:
"Did you read the Scarlet Ibis?" asks Ben
"No, not yet." I reply
"It's sad" He says
"Then I'm definitely not going to read it" I say, "Give me an overview."
"There's this boy and his Mum gets pregnant, and she has the baby and he's really sick." says Ben
"Does he die?" I ask. If Ben said "Yes", the conversation would be all over.

"No" said Ben (He thought I meant "Did he die when he was born?")
And proceeded to relate to me the most appalling emotionally-wrenching story I have heard since "Out of the Dust". It was worse than out of the dust. Way way way way way way way way way way worse.

And the child dies. I won't say how. I was appalled. What Ben told me was bad enough, but as I was totally freaking out, Ben said, "That's nothing compared to what was in the book."

??????!!!!!?????!!!!!?!??!?!?!?!?!?!?!!?!?!!!!!

WHY IS MY SON REQUIRED TO READ THIS BOOK IN SCHOOL?????

To say I am disturbed by the little he told me would be an understatement. And my 14-year old is REQUIRED to read this kind of stuff in school? What??? How is that ok?

Ben's kind of sensitive, and the fact that he chose to tell me the story means he was extremely affected by it. In a not-good way.


Just another reminder - and I get them ALL the time these days - why, if I can at all help it, Andrew will never see the inside of a public school.

I want to go to bed and crawl under the covers and cry and cry and cry and not come out until all the sadness has gone away.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Verrrry interesting

Candace had a marvelous post about iconography. I found it so absolutely fascinating - and really quite scary - so I thought I'd post it here for your enjoyment and edification. =)

Enjoy! =)

Exercise

I also posted this on my weight loss blog madiantin2.blogspot.com

I thought I'd do a post on how I exercise, since I've actually started again and seem to be somewhat of a routine. Although it appears to be causing my weight loss to slow DRAMATICALLY and IRRITATINGLY, I shall persevere and see what happens. But it still makes me mad.

Anyway, I've been using a running programme from
coolrunning.com
It's the couch-to-5k programme you can see there on the main page.

The version I use is the one put together by Robert Ullrey. It's awesome because he tells you exactly when to start and stop so you don't have to think about it. You can find the podcasts here:
http://www.ullreys.com/robert/Podcasts/page4/files/category-7.html

There are also some other programmes here:
http://c25k.com/index.htm,
but I prefer Mr. Ullrey.

Also, there are many people who love Mr. Ullrey and thank him for helping them put the tennis shoe to the road. You can find a conversation here:
http://c25k.com/forum/forums/18238/ShowPost.aspx,
where someone posts his email. Not sure how Mr. Ullrey would feel about that.....=D Maybe he gets sick of people writing to him saying "Thank you thank you thank you!"

Or maybe he gets sick of writing stuff like Dizziblonde wrote,
"Think I owe this man more than a drink for the amount I've mentally insulted him, cursed his entire existence and told him to shut up and tell me I can stop running lately!"

Hahahaha! That's so how it is! Whenever I hear him say "You should be able to carry on a conversation and not be too out of breath" I want to scream "What PLANET are you on??????" while I'm gasping and wheezing, and I want to smack him upside the head or something..... =D

Robert's website is here:
http://web.mac.com/robert_ullrey/iWeb/Robert/Running%20Blog/Running%20Blog.html
but I don't think he's updated it lately.


Learn out loud.com also covers Robert's running podcasts here.



ALSO!!!! For those of you who suffer from shinsplints, I have some wonderful news. =) I, too, used to suffer from shinsplints, Crippling ones. Awful ones. When I ran the 5k turkey trot last Thanksgiving day, I could hardly walk for a couple of months afterwards. Oh my good gracious gravy, it hurt. When I woke up in the morning I would have to shuffle around for the first five minutes, not lifting my feet off the floor, because it HURT!! This caused me to stop running, and I've only just started again.

This time around (though admittedly, I'm only about three weeks in....) things are much better. What's different this summer???

No flip-flops.

No kidding. I bought another pair of athletic shoes. I wear one while I'm running, and one when I'm not...and my legs and feet feel SOOOOO much better. I am really really hopeful that this will nix any shinsplint pain I have.


Another thing I've purchased recently which has made my life sooo much better: a sports bra. It's wonderful to be running and not have to hike up my irritating bra straps.


Next to buy: Socks. My socks are years and years old. At least ten years. They're worn thin and some have holes. The elastic is gone so as I'm running they slip down my ankles and end up under my feet. GAH!!! I believe today I will buy more socks.

Also, at some point in time I may start saving for a new ipod. Mine is the first generation original Ipod. Yes. The ORIGINAL one. The first one that came out. Yes, that one. It's fabulous! It still works! There's nothing wrong with it!

But it would be nice to have a smaller one. Mine's so heavy. I have a holder thing that you put on your arm, but the original ipod is so heavy it drags the holder down, so I've ended up tucking the ipod inside my bra. I know. Sorry. That's probably tmi for you. But it keeps the ipod safe and I don't have to expend irritation and energy hiking up the ipod holder on my arm all the time.

Also, I need some kind of sweat-wiping thing. My arm/hand/shirt just doesn't cut the mustard.


So anyway, enough waffle! Here's my exercise programme
I exercise Tues, Thurs and Sat because I work Mon, Weds, Fri.

I am currently (as of today) on Robert Ullrey's week 2 podcast. I was on week 1, off and on, for SEVERAL months. I kept starting and then stopping because of shin splints. With my new athletic shoes on my feet I've been able to get to week 2.

I have to say, week 2 isn't so bad. I've heard that when you reach week 4 or something like that, the pace picks up considerably and it gets exponentially more difficult. But right now, week 2 is ok. I like it because although it's a 90 second rather than a 60 second run, there's only 6 intervals rather than 8.

Except when you're in the middle of the penultimate 90 second run on the week 2 podcast and your ipod spontaneously decides - in the middle of your run - to switch to the beginning of the week 6 podcast instead. GAH!!!


Well, I could probably waffle on forever, but right now I need to take Andrew swimming.

Overheard at our house

Me: Look, it's a waning crescent moon.
Andrew: I just love waning crescent moons!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Upcoming

Wonderful man in the ward died yesterday. Busy week with the visitation, funeral etc. The family is hanging in there - my heart goes out to them. They're so happy he's no longer suffering, but I imagine it's going to be a painful few months...or years...for them.

I start work tomorrow. That should be interesting.

So behind on many things. Maybe I'll catch up now that I'm busier? I know, that sounds counterintuitive, but it just might happen. =)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Ooookaaayyyy.....burnout already?

In an interesting turn of events, I appear to be suffering from homeschool burnout.

!!!!!!

We've only just started preschool, for goodness' sakes! Just what in the heck is wrong with me?

In my estimation, there are a couple of things wrong with me:

1. I'm getting up at 5am now to take Ben to Seminary, and I'm tired.
2. I'm spending WAY too much time on the computer. My brain is leaking out of my ears. This. Is. UNHEALTHY. I see a remedy to this coming up next week as I start work, as long as I don't come home from work and immediately plonk my bum down on the chair in front of the computer.
3. LACK OF SELF-CONTROL is my problem, and it's seriously damaging not only my self-esteem, but my children also. I am need of serious divine help and a good kick in the bum in this regard.
4. If I'm not on the computer, I'm reading books. The way I sit when I read them has given me a nasty backache so I'm having trouble sleeping. *sigh*

Because of said lack of self control, and computer and book addiction, my house is a wreck. How can you do science experiments if one's kitchen is a disaster area?? How can you feel comfortable teaching/learning if the floor around you is piled high? I can't think straight.

I have ZERO desire to pick up the house. Probably because I'm tired and the computer has turned my brain to mush.

I have ZERO desire to do science experiments with Andrew. "UGH. Just too much work!" my brain and body gripe at me.

I have ZERO desire to go on nature walks. Repeat brain and body griping.

I have ZERO desire to cook. Repeat brain and body griping.

I'm feeling really guilty about this. I'm also feeling rather vulnerable, having laid out for all and sundry my very shameful faults. *sigh*.

I think I just need to pick up the house.

Do it
Do it right
Do it right now

As Spencer W. Kimball would admonish me.

But I'd rather let my brain leak out my ears. "Tomorrow", the quiet internal whisper seduces, "Do it tomorrow..."

But tomorrow comes and the dishes still aren't done.




I want to write a satsifying, uplifting conclusion to this post. Like "Here's a problem...aaaand here's the solution. Voila! Now everyone can go about their life happy and secure because the planets are now aligned." etc.

Unfortunately, I don't yet have a satisfying conclusion. I'm still wallowing in the mire here. At some point I'll have to haul myself out....but right now I think I'll just take a nap. I'm tired.

Hmm, interesting

Here's an interesting post on vaccines on John's blog.

What d'y'all think?

I vaccinated my children; I felt it was the right thing to do for them. OTOH, I probably felt it was the right thing to do because I had no opinion either way and thus the status quo forced me in the direction of taking them. Well, not "forced" so much as "assumed".

I've always loved this song....

....the new version puts a little smile on my face also...


Saturday, September 05, 2009

Ben's birthday present

Emily sent Ben the most marvelous birthday gift. She can't afford much, so she sent him advice. And here it is. Enjoy. =)

How To Become A Ladies Man in Five Easy Steps

1. Don't be a Jerk
I know this sounds self explanatory and yeah, let's face it, retarded, but you'd be surprised how many guys are just plain MEAN. THIS IS NOT MIDDLE SCHOOL!!! You definitely do not punch the girls you like, and you most definitely are NEVER mean to girls. Always have something nice to say about and to every single one. You never know who will suddenly become extremely popular or HOTT over the summer.


2. Study Women
FAIL. NOT LIKE THAT. But study their likes, dislikes, hobbies, try to remember their problems or what you were talking about the last time you had a conversation with them.
If you've never had a conversation with them, accidentally bump into them in the hall and say "sorry" in a very sincere way. later, when you see them, ask them how their shoulder is because you bumped into them.
Girls are suckers for guys who remember what the heck they were talking about. While you're sitting there like "C**p, I think this is what we ere talking about yesterday", the girl is sitting there like "Aw, he pays attention and listens to me!"
If you have trouble starting up a conversation, it's because you don't know enough about them. If they play volleyball, ask them on game day how the season is going, etc.


3. Actually listen
I know, some girls can talk your ear off and this can kinda be a pain, but you will reap the benefits in the long run. LISTEN to them and then REMEMBER what they said. If they don't talk to you for a couple days, follow up and ask them how life is or how they're doing.


4. Compliment
This can be tricky. You have to balance making the chick feel good about herself without being a total creeper or come across like you're just checking her out. For example, compliment the extremities - stay as close to the head and toes as possible. She may have a really cute skirt on that makes her butt look awesome, but she may also have an interesting set of earrings on. ALWAYS compliment the earrings. Stay as far away from the torso as possible. When you become an expert at not being a creeper (some people never achieve this, so don't get cocky) THEN you can compliment a shirt, a pretty skirt, or a dress.


5. Be a friend
Pay attention padawan - this is how your sister got the Peach kid. Before you can go ANYWHERE with a girl, whether it's a date or asking her to marry you, YOU MUST BE FRIENDS FIRST. There has to be something to base your like of her off. You can't be in a relationship without being friends with her first. Especially if she's having a bad day - be there for her. Ask her what's up and whether she wants to talk about it. If she says no, don't pry. If she says yes, then listen to her and LET HER KNOW YOU'RE THERE FOR HER. That's what friends do, they're there for each other in bad times. The first step to being a ladies man is getting girls to trust you, that means being their friend.


Hopefully this will help you throughout your life with the various infatuations, crushes, and girlfriends you have. DON'T PICK A SKANK, you'll wind up unhappy, I promise. Pick someone who respects you and who you respect in return. (I know...it's boring but it's true!) I love you, Ben, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Follow these steps, and you'll have women hanging on you like clothes on a coat hanger.