On the run

Friday, August 19, 2016

Last year The Big Sis wanted to join Girls on the Run, but their meeting schedule conflicted with Girl Scouts, so we were unable to make that work. For those who don’t know, Girls on the Run is a 10-week curriculum for 3rd-5th graders “that inspires girls to define their lives on their own terms.” It also encourages positive emotional, social, mental, and physical development. The Girls on the Run mission statement reads as follows: “We inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running.”

In addition, the organization’s core values are to:

  • Recognize our power and responsibility to be intentional in our decision making
  • Embrace our differences and find strength in our connectedness
  • Express joy, optimism and gratitude through our words, thoughts and actions
  • Nurture our physical, emotional and spiritual health
  • Lead with an open heart and assume positive intent
  • Stand up for ourselves and others

GIRL POWER, YEAH! I love the idea of this organization and the values it instills, so I was excited when The Big Sis brought home this year’s flyer and saw that the twice-weekly meetings will work well with our schedule this year. The participation fee is a bit steep considering we’ve had a lot of other back-to-school expenses this month, but as long as she was willing to commit to the activity, then we would gladly pay for it.

In signing her up,ย  I saw that there was a place to designate a “running buddy” for her. The running buddy will do the 5K in December with her to offer encouragement. Who would I know that would be a good running buddy for her? Hrm, well, it turns out that I’ve been looking for the right motivation to put exercise back into my schedule regularly (OMGNOTENOUGHHOURSINTHEDAY), so this is a great opportunity to actually do something about it. I’ve got someone COUNTING on me, so I can’t let her down. Now, I really don’t particularly LIKE running anymore (or ever, really, if I’m being totally honest), but I do know that I can handle a 5K, so it should be fine. I was doing some running earlier this spring, and I know it’ll take quite a bit of work to get to where I want to be post-ankle surgery (which was one year ago today, actually). I’ll give it my best shot, though. RAWR!


Bookworm, part 2

Thursday, March 31, 2016

I love to read. I mean, obviously, since my entire career revolves around reading (and I get paid for it!). But because I read day in and day out at work, often I’ve found my motivation for pleasure-reading to plummet, limited to magazines and other mediums that require only a short attention span (hello, Facebook, I’m looking at you). Several years ago, I decided to make reading more of a priority as one of my New Year’s resolutions, even if it meant sacrificing some sleep. That was a broad, undefined goal, but it did help jump-start my desire to read for fun, so overall it was a success.

Last year, however, I was more concrete with my reading goals and decided to take on the 50-book challenge that I’ve had a lot of friends attempt. Just to clarify, reading 50 books in one year is a very ambitious goal for me. I am a pretty slow and careful reader, which means that I can get through a typical book in about two weeks if I really press myself. But 50 books in one year meant that I needed to read each book in about one week, give or take.

I wasn’t really sure if I’d succeed, but indeed I finished book #50 on December 31, coming in just under the wire. (It probably helped that I had some time off after breaking my ankle, and again after having ankle surgery later in the year.) I won’t lie, though — it was a difficult challenge to meet, though I’m proud that I did it.

I briefly considered continuing the challenge again this year, but I didn’t want to put that pressure on myself again (because I really did feel some pressure to read each night so I wouldn’t get behind, and I didn’t want that pressure to turn me against reading). So now I’m back to a more generalized goal of just “reading more,” and if I hit 50 books again this year, then great! If not, no big deal.

So far, though, I’m pretty well on track — as of today, I have finished 16 books (and I’m a few days away from finishing another book, and probably five days away from finishing my current audiobook). So at the current pace for the first quarter of 2016, I’m set complete 64 books by the end of the year. That seems a little high realistically, though I do have a good number of work trips this year where I’ll probably read some during travel and also in the hotel room at night, so it’s not out of the question. I’m looking forward to seeing where I end up by the end of the year.

Ten years

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Ten years ago, The Husband and I enthusiastically said, “I do.”

We promised to build a life together, and be each other’s ultimate partners in life. Bottom line: We promised to have each other’s back.

Not every day is perfect, of course.

But The Husband is the best partner for me. We laugh. We cry. We travel. We run errands. We raise children. And through it all, we always try to remember to have FUN.

Because without the FUN in life, what is there?

Happy 10th wedding anniversary to my partner in FUN. Cheers to 10 years, and here’s to many more!

Return to NYC (part 4)

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Serenity and I woke up on Sunday morning (March 8), and I can’t speak for her, but I felt pretty beat up, sleep-deprived, and I had multiple blisters on my feet from walking all over NYC with my snow boots. But we had a date that day with a pizza tour bus, and nothing was going to stop us from that.

First things first, we went to the bagel shop for a bagel fix, and I also grabbed some bagels to take home to The Husband (and also The Girls, but mostly him). We got ready, then walked to Lombardi’s Pizza in Little Italy, which was our tour meetup point at 11 a.m. Scott of Scott’s Pizza Tours greeted us, got everyone checked in, and we began the tour, which included four pizzerias throughout the boroughs, not just in Manhattan. Lombardi’s was the first one, then via school bus we ventured over to Best Pizza in Williamsburg (Brooklyn), then up to Queens for Dani’s House of Pizza and John’s Pizzeria.

We were given pizza journals to help us take notes about the pizza and help us discern the differences in styles. One of the things I loved about this tour was the fact that it allowed us to venture out to other areas that we certainly wouldn’t have hit otherwise. Of the ones we tried, I liked Lombardi’s the best, though John’s Pizzeria (not the same as John’s of Bleeker St.) was a pretty close second for me, though it was definitely a different style. By the end, we were stuffed, but that served as both our lunch and dinner, so it worked out well.

Scott the tour guide was Awesome with a Capital A. He eats, sleeps, and breathes pizza, so he knows his subject well. (He says he has a self-imposed 15-slice limit per week.) His passion, enthusiasm, and knowledge of pizza are obvious and infectious. If anyone comes away from this tour unsatisfied, I’d be shocked, and I will recommend it for tourists and locals alike.

The tour ended at exactly 3:30 p.m., so we walked back to the apartment, grabbed Serenity’s car and our suitcases, then she drove me to the airport for my 6:30 p.m. flight home. That ended up being delayed about 45 minutes or an hour as we waited for our plane to arrive, but I’ve had worse solo return trips, so no complaints. I was still just feeling fortunate I’d even made it there in the first place!

And thus concluded our latest trip to NYC, and what a whirlwind weekend it was! Despite the challenging, stressful time getting there, we had an amazing weekend that might end up proving to be our best one yet. How much longer until the next trip…? ๐Ÿ™‚

Return to NYC (part 3)

Monday, March 30, 2015
After a full day of food, walking, and entertainment on Friday, we began yet another day of the same on Saturday (March 7). We woke up, got dressed, and headed down the street to grab some bagels to bring back to the apartment for breakfast. Devoured those, then we took turns getting ready to take on NYC once more. Since we’re quite food-focused while in the city, our first stop was — what else? — brunch. We chose Riposo 46, which had been on our list for the trip in June but we ended up choosing another brunch spot that time instead. It’s a small place with only bar seating and about four small tables, but we were fortunate and got there just as another table was about to leave, so we only had to wait about five or 10 minutes to be seated (and no one was in front of us waiting for a table). I had the citrus brioche French toast, and it was so good! I typically don’t prefer something that heavily sweet for breakfast, but that was exactly what I was hoping it would be.
We left brunch and went a couple blocks out of our way to take some pictures in front of the Belasco Theatre, where our show that night would be, since it would be dark and more crowded when we returned later for our 10 p.m. show. Having accomplished that, we gradually made our way uptown toward the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where we would spend the afternoon. (Confession: We stopped at Magnolia Bakery on the way to grab some treats for later.)
The museum is huge, of course, so it’s impossible to cover every bit of ground there in a single afternoon, but we put a pretty good dent in it during the several hours we spent there. At one point, basically on our feet all day and having walked many miles all over town in my not-made-for-city-walking snow boots since the sidewalk ramps were still pretty slushy, we took a break in the museum cafe to rest our legs and enjoy our Magnolia goodies (we split a brownie and a lemon bar). (In all, I estimated that walked about 15 miles during the weekend, and I think that’s a pretty conservative estimate.)
We were planning to meet a couple of my parenting board friends (whom we had met up with during our last NYC visit) at Thai Select down around 39th and 9th Ave, so we took a cab down there for that since traffic wasn’t horrible, which was a good call since it gave us more time at the museum. Generally we try to avoid cabs — our view is that the best way to see the city is to walk the city. (In fact, we generally try to avoid the subway as well, and never did use it at all this trip.) Dinner with the four of us was just fabulous. The conversation was engaging and nonstop, and there were never any awkward moments among our group. We spent three hours at the restaurant before Serenity and I needed to walk to the theater, but if we hadn’t had our show to go to, I swear we could have talked all night. Definitely a highlight of this trip, and I look forward to getting together the next time we’re there.
And, speaking of trip highlights…
Our Hedwig show was scheduled for a 10 p.m. curtain, and we arrived a little after 9:30. Having already seen the show once from the balcony and wishing we had sprung for orchestra seats, we ponied up the extra money this trip, and it was beyond worth it. We were in the center section toward the left, in row R or S, I think, which was actually closer to the stage in this theater compared to many other shows since there’s no orchestra pit for Hedwig (the music is played by a few band members on stage).
What can I say about the show itself? It’s been a couple of weeks now, and I’ll still searching for the best way to accurately capture the experience. I can’t quite declare it my all-time favorite theater experience quite yet — I feel like it’s too recent to make that bold statement at this point — but I think it might be headed that direction. John Cameron Mitchell simply IS Hedwig, and no one else can tell her tragic story quite in the way that he can. He carries himself so naturally in the role, and he keeps you both laughing and on the edge of your seat, gripped by the harsh circumstances this character faces. Neil Patrick Harris’s Hedwig was more polished and energetic, but Mitchell’s is more raw and exposed and vulnerable. As Serenity (who also saw Michael C. Hall in the role in November) said, “It’s like a completely different show.” And it really was.
I suggested that we go to the stage door to greet the actors as they were leaving, which we didn’t do for the NPH show since I figured it would be a madhouse due to his celebrity status. After the show, I leaned over to Serenity and said, “I really, really have to pee, but if we don’t book it out there immediately, we’re not going to stake out a good spot.” With a chuckle, I said, “Do what you wish, but I’m holding it and gunning for the door.”
And that’s just what we both did, eventually securing an excellent (if crowded) spot in the second row of people behind the barricade they had set up between the stage door and the car. It was cold outside, and I had to pee, and we had to wait about half an hour before anyone came out (since they had to take off their makeup, change clothes, etc.), but it was so worth it. The first person to come out was Matt Duncan (who I later learned is from my hometown), then soon after, Tony Award winner Lena Hall was the next to arrive. (Side note: Lena’s character was so much more robust this time than the first time. The first time I was wondering why she earned the Tony. The second time, I could see why.) Lena (we’re on a first-name basis, you know) was so incredibly nice to all of the fans there to get her autograph and take her picture. (I could either manage to get autographs, or take pictures, and I opted for pictures. I wasn’t close enough to wrangle pictures WITH the actors, but that’s okay.)
Finally John Cameron Mitchell came out, bearing a box of autographed Sugar Daddy candies to give away to the crowd. (One of the songs in the show is called “Sugar Daddy,” so very appropriate.) I was still trying to take pictures, so I said to Serenity, “You had BETTER get your hand over there and get one for me!” and she was successful in nabbing one for each of us. YES!
By the time we were done at the theater, it was 1 a.m., and my feet were toast, so we took a cab back to the apartment and crashed. Oh, and did I mention that the time changed that night and we lost an hour? Yes indeed. But yet another fun adventure awaited us on Sunday (we know how to maximize our NYC weekends!), so we proceeded forward as is our norm.

Return to NYC (part 2)

Friday, March 27, 2015
I woke up around 4:30 the next morning (Friday, March 6), and my phone said that my flight was still listed as being on time, so I got ready, packed up, and headed toward the airport. I got through security, walked to my gate, and they were in the middle of boarding for my zone at the time, so I was able to hop in line and board the plane immediately. Even with being on the plane, I still didn’t expect that our flight would leave on time, either because of the weather in Louisville or in NYC, but sure enough we did, and we even landed at LaGuardia a little early.
I went to ground transportation to wait for the shuttle that was going to take me to Manhattan. (Much less scary and expensive than a cab ride! I did that on my first trip to the city, but hopefully never again unless it’s unavoidable for some reason.) Ultimately I was going to Serenity’s uncle’s apartment in Gramercy Park, but the closest the shuttle gets is Grand Central Terminal, plus Serenity wasn’t in town quite yet (she was driving from Boston and pushed her arrival from Thursday night to Friday morning due to snow in the NYC area), so I went to the food court area downstairs at Grand Central, grabbed a lemon blueberry scone and cinnamon sugar mini-muffin from Magnolia Bakery, and found a table to read and people-watch while I waited.
She kept me posted on her arrival time, and when she was about an hour away from arriving, I began walking from Grand Central down toward Gramercy, about 22 blocks. For the most part, the sidewalks were clear, but the sidewalk ramps were kind of nasty with hunks of sorta-melting snow and dirt, and since I had my suitcase with me, it was slow going with walking toward the apartment, but I wasn’t in any particular hurry, so that was just fine. Serenity found a nearby parking garage and arrived at the apartment probably 3 minutes before I made it there. We went inside and briefly ran into her aunt, who was packing up stuff to spend the weekend with friends (leaving us an empty apartment to ourselves while there — score!)

After we’d settled for a bit, we put on our snow boots and walked about a mile to the West Village to have falafels at Taim for lunch. Taim was a super-small restaurant with only about five or six counter seats along the front window, but thankfully we were on the late side for lunch and caught it not as crowded as it could have been, though it was quite cramped trying to eat at the small counter. (This is clearly a place that does a lot of takeout. If the weather hadn’t been so cold, it would’ve been great to take the food to a nearby park or something.) Oh, but it was so worth it, because the falafels were quite amazing! A definite score on our first meal in town.

After lunch, we headed up to the Fashion Institute to check out their free museum there, partly to get us out of the cold. (And boy, was it cold that day!) I wouldn’t call the museum ground-breaking or anything I’d recommend as a must-do in the city, but it was a decent stop for free. We left there and went to Dough, a doughnut shop on 19th Street that was highly recommended by Serenity’s aunt and uncle. The doughnuts there were huge yeast donuts, and I do have to say, they were quite delicious. I chose a hibiscus one, and she chose a chocolate one with cocoa nibs, and we split them in half so we could have some of each. So, so good!

We considered wandering around a bit since we didn’t have definite plans for that afternoon, but since we were semi-close to the apartment and had a busy evening planned as well as a full day on Saturday and Sunday, we decided to go back there for a couple hours to chill out and freshen up before heading out for our comedy show that night. We had tickets to the 7:30 p.m. “comedy for grown-ups” show at Gotham Comedy Club on 23rd St. We had pondered doing another Broadway show, but ultimately we decided we liked the $15/ticket price of the comedy club, plus it’s still a great New York City kind of thing to do.

The comedy show was in the basement venue at the club, which was pretty small. We didn’t quite have a full crowd for our show, clocking in with about 25 people in the audience by my count. I wasn’t quite sure how that’d play out with the comedians, but it turned out to be pretty good. We were the second table back, so we weren’t the main focus for audience interaction with the comedians, though we were the token married people and token parents for the comedians and interacted with a couple of them during the show. Normally that kind of thing puts me on edge, but with a small room like that (and a couple of drinks in me!), it really wasn’t a big deal. Overall the show was a lot of fun, and definitely great for the price, so I think we were both glad we did it. The first comedian wasn’t really my style, but the others were more relate-able and had a better flow.
After the show, we stopped next door at Doughnut Plant to grab a couple of doughnuts from there to try later (yes, our second doughnut stop of the day), then we walked down to about 11st St., I think, to go to a Latin/Caribbean diner we’d been hoping to try, however when we got there, the place was super-crowded and loud, so we decided to backtrack to the restaurant we’d passed that had great-smelling burgers. (I still don’t even know the name of the place!) We met up with Serenity’s uncle for dinner there since it was our only chance to see him that weekend, and the classic burger I had there was excellent, as was the pumpkin martini I enjoyed. (Wheee! Three drinks! The walk home was quite silly! But hey, at least we weren’t getting on top of each other’s shoulders like we saw some drunk girls doing. We were just in the “everything is freaking hilarious” stage of drunk. Not the “I’m a gymnast” stage.) We got to the apartment, ate our doughnuts (mine was a cashew orange blossom filled doughnut — very good!), then hit the sack, wiped out but quite happy with our reunion in the best city in the world.

Return to The Big Apple (part 1)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015
I went to New York City back in June to see “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” starring Neil Patrick Harris on Broadway, and it was such a wonderfully perfect weekend that I wasn’t sure whether Serenity and I could have topped it.

Now, I recognize that a little more time needs to elapse before I can make the official declaration, but it’s quite possible that we outdid ourselves with our recent weekend in the Big Apple. The primary purpose of the second trip was to see “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.” Yes, again. But this time, John Cameron Mitchell was re-donning the wig to play the role that he originated off-Broadway in the late 1990s and in the 2001 movie. Neil Patrick Harris was a great performer, but as soon as it was announced that Mitchell would be playing a limited run, that set the gears in motion to plan a sooner-than-anticipated return trip. We snagged theater tickets (orchestra this time!), I booked airfare, and we awaited our girls’ weekend escape planned for the first weekend in March.

Now, we planned the weekend for March because Mitchell’s engagement was in the dead of winter, and we wanted to minimize the risk of winter weather disrupting or canceling on our weekend. My area had a once-every-20-years snowstorm on Presidents Day, so I figured we’d be pretty home free. Ha! HA! Hahahahaha! Mother Nature decided to show us who’s boss. I was due to fly out at 6:20 a.m. on Friday, March 6, and we got hit with 17.1 inches of snow on March 4-5 — a 2-day record for snowfall here that was easily broken. The Presidents Day storm had “only” amounted to about 10 inches (followed by another 4 inches a few days later), and that had us homebound for nearly a week, so I had no idea how I was going to manage to make it out of my house, to Louisville an hour away, and to NYC, as our city just can’t handle that volume of snow very easily.

School and daycare were canceled on Thursday because of the snowstorm, so I was working at home that day, trying to focus on my required duties but also trying to play out my scenarios for getting to NYC. To say it was a pretty stressful day is a bit of an understatement. How was I going to get out of my neighborhood? How was I going to get to Louisville when the highway webcams were showing interstates that were not fully plowed? Was my early-morning Friday morning flight even going to make it out on time — or at all? What would happen if I couldn’t make it out of town — could we possibly rebook, or would we just be out of luck?

Serenity offered encouraging words, listened to my rants/stresses about the situation, and began trying to find out if we’d be able to rebook the tickets we already had, just in case. The Husband went outside, even while the snow was still coming down, and spent more than two hours shoveling the sidewalks/driveway, digging out my car, and even shoveling part of the street in front of our house to help me get out my car to the tire tracks that had been established by some cars that day. The snow finally stopped late morning, and I kept a close eye on the highway webcams to gauge the state of the roads between here and the airport. By mid-afternoon, those were looking quite a bit better, however the challenge was going to be record-low subzero temps descending on the area overnight that night, making the roads (especially the smaller ones) much more dangerous. After carefully considering my not-great options, I finally decided around 4:30 p.m. Thursday to take advantage of the sun being out, as well as the daylight remaining, and drive to Louisville that evening, getting a hotel near the airport. I was able to secure a room about four miles from the airport for a great price (and bonus: it had an indoor pool!), so I quickly finished my trip packing (which thankfully I had done the bulk of it the night before), gathered winter travel supplies like food, water, sand, shovel, etc., and hit the road to Louisville by about 5:45 p.m.

The neighborhood streets were pretty dicey, but I was fortunate that several cars had traversed the streets before I was out, and they laid down a pretty solid set of tire tracks that I could follow. Without that, there’s no way my sedan could have cleared the deep snow that had fallen. I took it slow and steady and finally made it out to the main road that connects to our neighborhood, which was plowed but still not completely clear. The on-ramps to our local beltway and the interstate were white-knuckle-inducing, but once I got to the interstate, things were in fairly good shape. For most of the way I had at least one lane, and sometimes two lanes, clear, though there were many slick spots that caused traffic to hover around 45 to 55 mph the entire way. Thankfully I was well aware of my surroundings at all times, which was especially helpful when I was traveling in the completely clear right lane and all of a sudden came upon a section of that lane that had NOT been cleared. I had full awareness of the cars around me at all times, so I was able to make a quick move to shift lanes, and all was well. I can’t say the same for the car that had evidently not seen this unexpected obstacle and was getting help after skidding off the road into a snowbank off to the side.

It was starting to get dark as I approached Louisville, but by the time I reached their city limits, the roads were once again much more clear, basically just wet, and the driving was significantly less stressful. I kept thinking that I was so glad I’d made the decision to drive up that night, as I couldn’t imagine tackling some of the driving issues in the dark with frozen roads. I got to the hotel a little before 7:30 p.m. and got checked in and settled before going to swim for about half an hour. I have to say, that was an unexpected but nice perk — really I was just looking for a hotel close to the airport, but to find one for $45 that also had an indoor pool? BONUS! Sign me up. After my swim, I went back to the room, took the longest and hottest shower I’ve had in a long time, then settled in to read before going to sleep in preparation for the big weekend ahead — assuming I was able to get out of town.

Gimme a break

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Back in January I decided to sign up for the Horse Capital Half Marathon, which would have been my third half. I really had no intention of doing another half, but I was having trouble forcing myself to make the time for exercise, as even on a normal day, my clock goes off at 5:20 a.m. (and I’m not a morning person, so exercising before work is brutal for me), and I’m not done putting children to bed and getting necessary household tasks done until 9 or 9:30 p.m., and it’s hard to want to exercise once that’s all done. But I needed to do something, so I committed to it, tricked The Husband into signing up with me, and training began. I quickly realized, while running in the cold winter temps, that my expectations were too high, and I allowed myself more of a walking or walk/run approach instead, which eased some of the pressure I’d put on myself. The Horse Capital also has a full marathon with it, so the time limit for the course was very generous for those doing the half. Even if I walked the entire thing, I’d still be able to complete it in less than 6 hours and 15 minutes. No problemo.

I endured running through the cold temps and the snow, and I was excited that the weather was becoming more spring-like; just last week I had a run in shorts and a short-sleeved shirt. Hooray! My mileage was gradually increasing and things were going relatively well. I am not fast — and I’ve got to accept that I never will be — but I was at least getting out there and getting it done, which was the whole point. A mile is a mile, right?

So yesterday I was going out for a seven-mile training run. I got up, got ready, and drove my starting point. Per my plan, I walked the first mile to help warm up, as I know that if I start running any sooner than that, my calves will get too tight. I waited at a light to cross a street, and I was going to start running once I got to the other side. On the other side, there was another runner that I was going to be approaching and I had to figure out how to get around her without breaking my stride or hers. I was about four or five steps into the running I’d just started when I stepped on a small but thick twig, causing my left foot to twist. I tried catching my balance, and my foot twisted again, I think, when it landed on the sidewalk, and down I went. That approaching runner was just a few feet from me when it happened, and another runner approached us within a few seconds, so they came over to make sure I was okay. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to just shake off the fall and continue running, but I’m not sure I knew quite how bad it was.

One of the runners suggested that I could go to the nearby doughnut shop and get some ice from them, so I hobbled over there and did just that, also calling The Husband on the way to come pick me up since I knew I couldn’t walk the mile back to my car. Being a Saturday morning, the doughnut place was crazy busy, but I went up and explained the situation, and they were so incredibly nice to me. They gave me a big bag of ice, a cup of water, and someone had some ibuprofen in the back that they went to get for me. Since I was fighting back tears, I went to one of the store’s outside tables to wait the 20 minutes or so for The Husband to get there, which felt like forever, but I know it really wasn’t. The longer I sat there, the more the pain and swelling were becoming apparent, and I soon knew we’d be making a trip to urgent care that day.

The Husband finally arrived, I sent him in to buy some doughnuts (since they were so nice to me, plus it was a good salve for my situation), and I finally broke down in the car, mostly from the pain, but also just because of the situation in general. He drove me back to my car, which I thankfully was able to drive home myself (since I’d hurt my left foot). With lots of support, I hopped straight to the bedroom and iced my ankle in bed the rest of the morning and early afternoon. I had two main areas of swelling, one on my ankle, and one a little higher up on the outside of my foot. The Big Sis had her dance pictures that I didn’t want her to miss, so I decided The Husband would take her for those, and then we’d head to urgent care after they got home from that. The fact that I wasn’t really resisting a trip to urgent care was a sign that something really was wrong, as I’m often stubborn about going for medical care (since it always seems like there’s not much that can be done). I contacted a good family friend and asked if she’d be available to come over and stay with the girls for the afternoon, and thank goodness she was.

She arrived at the house around 2 p.m., and The Husband and I headed to urgent care. During the afternoon, I’d heard a few anecdotes from friends who said they’d had instances when they too thought they’d broken their ankle but it turned out to be just a bad sprain. So I was trying to prepare myself for a possible ankle break with the knowledge that it’d likely “just” be diagnosed as a sprain. We waited a little over an hour in the waiting room, then I finally was called back. Somehow the urgent care center didn’t have a wheelchair, so I was still hopping on one foot this whole time (which made me nervous I’d injure my other foot), though later they did find a rolling office chair that they used to take me to/from the x-ray room.

The nurse came in to do the intake questions and initial assessment, then took me back for x-rays, which hurt just as much as I anticipated because of how I had to position my foot on the table to get the angles they needed. We went back to the exam room and the doctor came in to do her assessment, which was uncomfortable but she didn’t push my range of motion as much as I expected so it wasn’t too bad. She went to check on the results of the x-ray, coming back to tell us that the ankle was indeed broken. I will admit, I was surprised and a little upset to hear that even though I had been trying to prepare myself for that possibility. She also said she’d like to get an x-ray view of the rest of my foot since they didn’t get that the first time (!!!), so back to the x-ray room I went. That result came back with a break in my foot as well. So from stepping on a single twig I ended up with TWO breaks.

They got my foot wrapped, cleaned up my hand that I’d scraped when catching myself, gave me scripts for some pain meds, gave me some crutches, and set up an appointment at the orthopedic doctor for Monday morning at 8 a.m. to probably do a casting. I spent the rest of yesterday afternoon/evening in the La-Z-Boy recliner, icing my ankle and trying to move as little as possible. I was hoping I’d get to sleep easily, but I was in quite a bit of pain and had trouble finding a comfortable position for sleeping, so I had trouble at first, but the second half of the night was a lot better.

My ankle and foot are still pretty swollen today but it looks a little better than yesterday. The discoloration so far is a widespread but uniform light purplish/greenish — so far I don’t have any darker bruising at the break sites.

So that’s the update for now. I’ll see the ortho tomorrow morning, and the big question is whether surgery will be required or not. (Hopefully not!) So far I’m in pretty good spirits despite the situation. There’s quite a bit that still feels daunting as it relates to making it through everyday tasks, but I figure I can either choose to feel sorry for myself, or I can try to figure out a way to make it work, and hopefully with a smile on my face. That’s not to say I won’t have complaints or frustrations as I recover, but I’ll try my hardest to make the best of it.

Swollen ankle and outer foot:

Broken ankle:

Broken foot:

Operation: PURGE

Monday, January 12, 2015
I am not a hoarder, but I come from semi-hoarder lineage. Cleaning out my late grandparents’ house was a daunting task for my parents, and they seemingly continued the family tradition in their own home. I grew up in a house where you had to move a ton of junk out of the way just to sit on the couch. Where you had to relocate piles of papers to sit a drink down on the end table. The stairmaster was not an exercise unit but an excellent clothes holder-upper. It wasn’t TV-show-level hoarding, but I was embarrassed to have friends over, and I felt suffocated by all of the STUFF in this 1,000-square-foot house.

I vowed that when I had a place of my own, I would not be like that. I would break the hoarding pattern once and for all, and by and large, I have done a good job with this goal since moving out of my parents’ house. I was a neat and tidy college roommate. If someone unexpectedly showed up at our house, yeah, we might have some things that needed to be dusted or vacuumed, but I would not be embarrassed by piles of random junk on the couch or on tables. Yeah, the garage is a mess, but that seems relatively forgivable, as it’s sort of our temporary staging area as we finish up using baby/toddler items and find them a new home.

However, a close inspection of our everyday storage areas — drawers, closets, cabinets — reveals many unnecessary items, most of them being kept “just in case we need them at some point.” That’s exactly how the hoarding mentality begins, and I have vowed this year to put a STOP to it. My unofficial New Year’s resolution — and my word of the year — is PURGE. Each day I take on anywhere from one task to many tasks, and I evaluate each item carefully before deciding whether to keep it or not. When instinct kicks in and I think, “But I might want this one day…”, I force myself to look at it more realistically: I either need to find a good use for this item, or it will be put into the donate pile.
I’ve already noticed a big difference in the areas I’ve cleaned out, and I hope by the end of the year we’re not only living with less-cluttered storage spaces but that we’re better about not accumulating this unnecessary stuff in the first place.

How to cohabitate with me successfully

Friday, November 28, 2014

1. Find a place for all of your things.

2. Return your things to the designated place where they belong.

Simple, right? Not so much in our house, apparently.


Book it

Thursday, November 13, 2014
Reading is one of those things that’s very important to me. It’s such a big part of who I am that I turned it into a career as a copy editor. However, reading in a high-pressure, deadline-oriented environment on a day-to-day basis means that I’m often not super-eager to get right back to it in my free time at home. Oh, but the problem is that I LOVE books. I lean toward nonfiction generally…things like personal memoirs (both celebrity and non-celebrity), true-life stories of overcoming adversity, and humor-based books, though I do throw in some fiction selections regularly to round things out a little.

There have been many times in my adult life where I’ve had to completely abandon reading books for pleasure because I was just too overloaded with reading at work. I’d go months at a time without immersing myself in a book for fun, then eventually I’d resolve to make the time for it and would fold it into my daily routine once again.

Last winter, I came up with a decent solution: I figured I’d give audio books a try. I don’t have a long commute each day — 20 minutes each way — but that seemed like enough time to at least see if it might work for me. To be honest, I was dubious. I didn’t think I’d like audio books, despite The Husband and several friends giving them generally positive reviews. Historically, my alone time in the car is my designated thinking time, and I figured my mind would wander too much to focus on someone reading me a book.

And, at first, it WAS a challenge for me. My mind would wander and I’d need to rewind the book, fearing I’d missed something crucial that would have me confused about the plot later if I didn’t catch it. But slowly, I retrained my brain to focus on the audio book, and soon I found myself dreading arriving at my destination because that meant turning off the book and leaving the action just hanging there.

I’ve been listening to audio books for probably a year now, and I genuinely love that it’s helped me recapture some of my “reading” time. (Side note: There needs to be a new verb that means “listening to an audio book.” That’s often cumbersome to say, and you can’t really say you READ it, because you listened. I propose a combination of reading and listening: risten. “I ristened to the audio book in the car today.” Better suggestions are welcome, of course.)

An unexpected offshoot of this audio book adventure has been that it jump-started my interest in actual book-reading time, and I’ve been devoting about 20 to 30 minutes before bed each night to reading a book I can hold in my hand. (Full disclosure: Most of the time it’s physical books, always from the library. Sometimes it’ll be a Kindle book, also from the library. But most of the time it’s a real book. My preference for real books vs. Kindle books is definitely fodder for a future post.)

Just guessing, I’d say I’ve read maybe 50 books this year (I don’t keep track, nor do I really have much desire to keep track), which isn’t bad considering that number was much, much lower in recent years. I’m sure at some point, my work reading will cause me to need a break from pleasure reading, but I’m confident I’ll always come back to it in one form or another.

(Don’t) make it stop!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

I’ve made no secret of my love of musicals. In fact, I even made a post 3 1/2 years ago where I talk about how eager I was to be at the point of introducing The Big Sis to musicals in a kid-friendly way. This interest/hobby is a big part of who I am — and who I have been for a long time now — but it’s certainly not appealing for everyone. So it makes me truly appreciate the fact that The Big Sis still enjoys musicals, perhaps more than ever before, in fact.

Annie remains a favorite, and she watched The Sound of Music for the first time over the summer and enjoyed that as well. She also is particularly interested in the Wicked songs that come up on one of our Pandora stations. Most recently she and The Little Sis watched Teen Beach Movie (yes, we were a little late to that party) and they both fell in LOVE with it. And, I have to admit, part of me didn’t really want to like it…the part of me that says, “Hey, this was a movie made for people much younger than you are now.” But…but…it’s a musical!

And a confession: I LOVE musicals that acknowledge that they’re musicals. Which means I adore the song “Make It Stop” from Teen Beach Movie. (In addition to Spamalot’s “The Song That Goes Like This.”)

The acquisition of memories

Friday, May 23, 2014
I was watching “Downton Abbey” a few months ago and I took note of this quote from Mr. Carson:

“The business of life is the acquisition of memories; in the end that’s all there is.”

I sat and pondered that for a few minutes, and the more I thought about it, the more I really liked it. Isn’t that what we try to do in life — experience things, see new places, spend time with friends and family, all in the name of having fun and making memories?

I think that’s why it’s a little frustrating that I’m unable to keep up the blog as much as I want to lately. I’m doing my best to make memories with my family — and I think I’m doing a good job — but the fact remains that the human memory fails us over time. What once was at the forefront of the mind gradually takes a backseat…then slowly becomes less fresh and vivid until it’s but an echoed whisper from a life lived long ago. So over the past several years, I’ve come to rely on my blog as backup storage, if you will, to my fallible human memory hard drive. Without that backup, stories that were once notable or cherished sometimes vanish without notice.

Thus, the printed word is the remedy to that ailment. But, how to solve the problem of such limited time? I’m not quite sure about that one. Everyone is busy — it’s not something unique to me, of course, and everyone has to find a way to juggle their priorities. I used to make blog posts quite regularly in the past, though in fairness, I would work on those posts during my downtime at work, and I simply don’t have that downtime anymore at my current job. (Most days I don’t even have the time to take a lunch break. Such is life on a daily newspaper deadline.) But the bottom line is that I need to figure out a way to make it happen, since recording our families stories, milestones, and achievements is something I find important. I’m doing a good job of acquiring the memories — going to the zoo, going out for ice cream, playing board games, planting flowers, and more — but what good are the memories if I don’t retain them?

Magnifying light

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

In a couple of different passages in “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn,” Francie reflects on experiencing something for the last time, a feeling that we all know too well.


The last time of anything has the poignancy of death itself. This that I see now, she thought, to see no more this way. Oh, the last time how clearly you see everything; as though a magnifying light had been turned on it. And you grieve because you hadn’t held it tighter when you had it every day.

What had Granma Mary Rommely said? “To look at everything always as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time: Thus is your time on earth filled with glory.”


She went out and took a last long look at the shabby little library. She knew she would never see it again. Eyes changed after they looked at new things. If in the years to be she were to come back, her new eyes might make everything seem different from the way she saw it now. The way it was now was the way she wanted to remember it.

Grieve for me

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

In “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn,” Francie’s grandmother has some sage advice as she nears the end of her life.


“I wait for death with the courage I gained from living. I will not speak falsely and say to you: ‘Do not grieve for me when I go.’ I have loved my children and tried to be a good mother and it is right that my children grieve for me. But let your grief be gentle and brief. And let resignation creep into it. Know that I shall be happy. I shall see face to face the great saints I have loved all my life.”

Let me be

Monday, May 12, 2014

In “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn,” our protagonist, Francie, makes a time capsule of sorts on the eve of World War I. She includes such things as a lock of her hair, a piece of paper with her fingerprints and lipstick mark, and a poem she liked. I really enjoyed reading her “seize the day” philosophy here.


Frances Nolan, age 15 years and 4 months. April 6, 1917.

She thought: “If I open this envelope fifty years from now, I will be again as I am now and there will be no being old for me. There’s a long, long time yet before fifty years…millions of hours of time. But one hour has gone already since I sat here…one hour less to live…one hour gone away from all the hours of my life.

“Dear God,” she prayed, “let me be something every minute of every hour of my life. Let me be gay; let me be sad. Let me be cold; let me be warm. Let me be hungry…have too much to eat. Let me be ragged or well dressed. Let me be sincere — be deceitful. Let me be truthful; let me be a liar. Let me be honorable and let me sin. Only let me be something every blessed minute. And when I sleep, let me dream all the time so that not one little piece of living is ever lost.

Shrunken hearts

Friday, May 9, 2014

The passage below (from “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn”) is just as relevant today as it was when it was written, as the so-called “mommy wars”ย  are just as vicious as ever. Instead of offering love and support to each other as we go through the trials of motherhood, women often do just the opposite, proclaiming their way as the only right way to do things, and anyone who would veer from that doesn’t know what they’re doing. It’s a shame that we can’t accept other people’s choices as being their own and acknowledge that just because they’re different from what we choose doesn’t mean that it makes it wrong. It’s just not right for us.


Most women had the one thing in common: They had great pain when they gave birth to their children. This should make a bond that held them all together; it should make them love and protect each other against the man-world. But it was not so. It seemed like their great birth pains shrank their hearts and their souls. They stuck together for only one thing: to trample on some other woman…whether it was by throwing stones or by mean gossip. It was the only kind of loyalty they seemed to have.


Magic hour

Thursday, May 8, 2014

I love this passage from “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” because I think it captures the wonder and excitement of the milestone of reading. Reading has been such an important part of my life, and I know sometimes I take the ability to read for granted — it’s just something I do. But it’s a learned skill, and not something that everyone in the world has the education to do. But it’s true that the whole world opens up for eager readers.


Oh, magic hour when a child first knows it can read printed words!

For quite a while, Francie had been spelling out letters, sounding them and then putting the sounds together to mean a word. But one day, she looked at a page and the word “mouse” had instantaneous meaning. She looked at the word, and the picture of a gray mouse scampered through her mind. She looked further and when she saw “horse,” she heard him pawing the ground and saw the sun glint on his glossy coat. The word “running” hit her suddenly and she breathed hard as though running herself. The barrier between the individual sound of each letter and the whole meaning of the word was removed and the printed word meant a thing at one quick glance. She read a few pages rapidly and almost became ill with excitement. She wanted to shout it out. She could read! She could read!

From that time on, the world was hers for the reading. She would never be lonely again, never miss the lack of intimate friends. Books became her friends and there was one for every mood. There was poetry for quiet companionship. There was adventure when she tired of quiet hours. There would be love stories when she came into adolescence and when she wanted to feel a closeness to someone she could read a biography. On that day when she first knew she could read, she made a vow to read one book a day as long as she lived.


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

I’ve not made it a secret that I have a problem with the whole “lying about Santa” thing, but I still play along as I should. However, I found this passage from “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” interesting:

(A mother, Mary Rommely, is giving advice to her daughter, Katie Nolan.)


“And you must tell the child the legends I told you — as my mother told them to me and her mother to her. You must tell the fairy tales of the old country. You must tell of those not of the earth who live forever in the hearts of people — fairies, elves, dwarves, and such. You must tell of the great ghosts that haunted your father’s people and of the evil eye which a hex put on your aunt. You must teach the child of the signs that come to the women of our family when there is trouble and death to be. And the child must believe in the Lord God and Jesus, His Only Son.” She crossed herself.

“Oh, and you must not forget the Kris Kringle. The child must believe in him until she reaches the age of six.”

“Mother, I know there are no ghosts or fairies. I would be teaching the child foolish lies.”

Mary spoke sharply. “You do not know whether there are not ghosts on earth or angels in heaven.”

“I know there is no Santa Claus.”

“Yet you must teach the child that these things are so.”

“Why? When I, myself, do not believe?”

“Because,” explained Mary Rommely sharply, “the child must have a valuable thing which is called imagination. The child must have a secret world in which live things that never were. It is necessary that she believe. She must start out by believing in things not of this world. Then when the world becomes too ugly for living in, the child can reach back and live in her imagination. I, myself, even in this day and at my age, have great need of recalling the miraculous lives of the Saints and the great miracles that have come to pass on earth. Only by having these things in my mind can I live beyond what I have to live for.”

“The child will grow up and find out things for herself. She will know that I lied. She will be disappointed.”

“That is what is called learning the truth. It is a good thing to learn the truth one’s self. To first believe with all your heart, then not to believe, is good too. It fattens the emotions and makes them to stretch. When as a woman life and people disappoint her, she will have had practice in disappointment and it will not come so hard. In teaching your child, do not forget that suffering is good too. It makes a person rich in character.”

An escape

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Ugh, I haven’t posted for a while, and it’s not for lack of things to say/record, but I just can’t seem to make the time to sit down and do it. Life is go-go-go, and when I finally have half an hour to sit down at the end of the night, I just want to do nothing but veg. And truthfully, I’ve been struggling of late, with work insanely busy, limited time with friends/family, medical problems for The Husband, everything kid-related a battle — I just don’t have enough left to do much else at the end of the night. My spirit withers day by day as fatigue compounds, and I need to find a way to wrest control of it again.

One thing I’ve been doing this year, though, is making time for reading. I love to read — heck, I made reading into a career. However, because I do it all day, every day at work, my desire to do it in my free time is lacking. And, again, usually once I crawl into bed, all I want to do is just go to sleep. But I decided it’s worth my while to give myself that half an hour every night to escape to other people’s stories, and maybe it would help me deal with the current stresses in my life.

I tend toward nonfiction as a general rule, but sometimes I’ll find myself in the mood for fiction. I get all of my books from the library, either on the Kindle (usually) or on audiobook. (Note: It took a while for me to get used to doing audiobooks since I usually use car time as my thinking time, but now I find myself jittery if I’m nearing the end of an audiobook without another one ready to go.)

Recently I wanted something different and ran across “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” among the library’s Kindle offerings. I’m not sure why, as I knew nothing about the book, but I’ve wanted to read that book for a long time now. Something about the title always drew me in. So, I figured, why not?

It turns out that I really enjoyed the book. It’s not the sort of book you seek if you’re looking for fast-moving plot, but if you’re more in the mood for character development, then it’s up your alley. I finished the book last night, and I was sad to leave Francie Nolan behind, sort of wondering the details of what happens to her after the book is finished.

I’ve never felt the need to highlight passages in previous Kindle books I’ve read, but I ran across several that I liked in “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.” Just for my own purposes, I’m going to copy some of them here this week so I have them all in one place. Maybe it’ll be a little project that will get me back on track with writing more often.

Tuesday tidbits

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

I sat down to look at my photos on the computer so I could find a good one for Wordless Wednesday. And then I realized it wasn’t Wednesday. So wait, it’s only Tuesday?! Ugh!


*The Little Sis is probably more princess-obsessed than The Big Sis. Send chicken soup and casseroles, please.

*I thought The Big Sis was sort of easing out of her princess obsession — until the movie Frozen came along. She has been hit with the bug badly. For as long as I can remember, her favorite color has been pink. But yesterday she told me that her favorite colors are now white and blue. “Because of Frozen?” I asked. A little embarrassed, she admitted that was why.

*I think there should be more evening entertainment options for people who don’t want to go out to bars/clubs. The Husband and I enjoyed a late-dinner date night this past weekend, as it’s easiest if we can get The Little Sis to bed before we go out, so the earliest we can leave the house is 8 or 8:15 p.m. By the time we finished with dinner, it was 9:30 p.m., and we weren’t close to any movie theaters to catch a late showing. The original plan had been to find a venue to watch a band play, which sounded good beforehand, but The Husband and I just generally aren’t “go-to-a-club-to-see-a-band-we-don’t-know-play” kind of people, so we decided to go get ice cream. An ice cream shop is much more our speed. But…then what? It was still just 10:30, and we didn’t want to waste the use of a sitter, but we ran out of things to do that didn’t involve drinking or eating. Not sure what the solution is there, though our solution that night was to go to Walmart and wander around a bit. I did find some new sunglasses, so it wasn’t a completely lame and pointless trip, at least!

*Warning: Potty talk in this tidbit. The Little Sis has been practicing using the potty forย  a while, but she wasn’t making much forward progress, so we decided to take the plunge and switch to undies to see if that did anything. This is not how we did it with The Big Sis (who basically trained herself, and we switched to undies and she never had any accidents), but it’s what felt right this time. The problem? She was a poop-hider, meaning it was almost impossible to catch her before she pooped in her undies. (Which, I must say, kudos to The Husband for taking care of the many undies cleanups.) I’d watch her like a hawk for the entire time we were home in the evenings, then in the 15 seconds I’d turn my back to get her toothbrush ready, she’d poop in her undies. So frustrating! I don’t want to jinx it, but I think we might have finally turned the corner this past weekend and she’s actually pooping in the potty instead of in her undies, and her wet accidents are almost nonexistent. The only diapers I’m buying are the ones for her to wear at night (she’s definitely not ready to switch to undies at night), so fingers crossed that continues.

Sit. Stay.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Our free sitting options are pretty limited, especially for both girls, yet it’s so expensive to ask the daycare teacher we sometimes use as a sitter because the cost of that easily equals or exceeds the cost of whatever activity we do, making it a daunting proposition to go out. But with a whopping TWO date nights in all of 2013 (and one of them was to a wedding, so it wasn’t even one-on-one time), this needs to be remedied.

Enter The Neighbor Teen Sitter who lives a few houses down from us. She is 12 years old, very mature for her age, and babysits her younger sisters (ages 5 and 2). We’ve known her for four or five years now, and she’s always been so good with both The Big Sis and The Little Sis, and her parents are good people. She told us last summer that she was interested in babysitting, said she took some babysitting-related classes (including first-aid), and she even put up signs around the neighborhood advertising her sitting services.

But 12 just seems so young, so I hesitated for a bit, even though I know many people of my generation who started babysitting when they were even younger than that (and I was allowed to be at the house alone with my younger sister when I was 12). Still, it looked like an appealing option, so we decided to try her out, sort of easing her in. Her first time sitting for us was a couple weekends ago, and we made it easy for her: We put The Little Sis to bed ourselves, so she only had to deal with The Big Sis. They would play a game together after we left, then she’d put The Big Sis to bed (late) and then just have to wait for us to get home from the comedy club we went to.

Before we had left, I asked her how much she was charging. She hesitated a bit, and I tried to put her at ease and said, “I know, I hate this part too!” She is SO nice and said, “Well, I know you guys, and I love your girls, so $2/hour is good.” Can you imagine? Two dollars an hour? I wish we could get away with that, but I don’t want to take advantage of her, either, so we ended up paying her $5/hour, which I thought ended up being a good deal for everyone involved. She got paid more than double what she was expecting, and we were able to pay half of what we’d normally pay for the daycare teacher sitter.

We’ll gradually end up increasing her responsibilities and easing her into putting The Little Sis to bed (and, of course, increasing her compensation as she does more) so we can go out earlier than 8 p.m., but for now, it should work as an option. Not necessarily our go-to option at this point, but it potentially could be in a few years.

Even better? I said to The Husband, “If The Neighbor Teen Sitter is allowed to stay home by herself with her younger sisters now, that means we have only five more years until we don’t always need a sitter to go out! Score! Oh wait — that means The Big Sis would be in charge. Maybe we need to re-think this!”

Ten things

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

So there’s the meme going around Facebook where you share X number of things people might not know about you. For a variety of reasons, I’m not too keen to do it there, but I’ll share here so I can have a post for today. ๐Ÿ˜‰

1. I should have received the school-wide typing award my junior year in high school. We did a series of timed tests to determine who got the award, and I had the highest cumulative score, but another girl scored a couple points below me and received the award instead of me, simply because she was a senior and I was not, the teacher told me.

2. I took German in junior high and high school but didn’t take any foreign languages in college. In fact, most people who get a journalism degree go for a BA, but I didn’t want to take anymore foreign language classes, so I opted for a BS, which is often viewed as tougher. I was the only journalism degree my graduating year who opted for the BS. I don’t speak German now, but my 8th grade teacher said she wanted to teach us a phrase that’s immensely useful, and indeed I have always remembered it. Es hangt davon ab. “It depends.” ๐Ÿ™‚ I can also say that I go into the city. That’s about it. ๐Ÿ™‚

3. As a copy editor, sometimes I say things in my head how they’re spelled, now how they’re actually pronounced, so I have to be careful when speaking sometimes. However, this goes back to my school days as well. I was shamed by my 5th grade teacher for mispronouncing the word “participle.” I said it “par-TIS-iple.”

4. I like my shower and bath water as hot as possible.

5. Aside from Love Actually, my favorite Christmas movie is “A Very Brady Christmas.” For reals. It is so bad, but I love it.

6. My kids are 4 1/2 years apart, the oldest born in January and the youngest in August. My sister’s kids are 4 1/2 years apart — also with the oldest born in January and the youngest in August.

7. I quit swim lessons when we were told that we were going to have to jump off the high dive the next day. My low dive jump had not gone well, as I struggled a bit to tread water, and I had no interest in doing it off the high dive. I swim fine now. About seven years ago, I finally conquered my fear of the high dive and jumped off it. While I can’t say I want to do that repeatedly, I’m glad I sort of tied that loose end.

8. My initial inspiration for becoming a journalist was reading “Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl” as she wants to be a journalist. Coincidentally, we also share a birthday.

9. I don’t always have a specific side of the bed — it’s whichever side of the bed is closest to the bathroom.

10. I have had two broken bones but never have had a cast. One was my nose when I was younger and cracked it on the edge of the concrete porch. The second time was as an adult playing intramural softball for work and I came down on my leg weird and slightly cracked my tibia.

Sleep and showers and such

Sunday, September 25, 2011

*On Friday night, The Little Sis slept for almost 10 consecutive hours (about 8:15 p.m. to 6 a.m.). Last night was about 9 (9:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m.). I’m then usually up with her for about 45 minutes to an hour, then put her back down for another 2 or 3 hours of sleep. Perhaps it’s not a fluke and she’s really at the point of sleeping well. I’d like to think some of it is things we’re doing to help encourage her to sleep at night, but I’m not naive enough to think that it’s JUST us, and I realize there’s some element of that just being her nature (with a healthy dose of “we got really lucky” in there). Whatever the reason, we are very appreciative.

*I’ve figured out how to make sure I get a shower each day: take it at night. Ever since getting the clearance to exercise again, I’ve done so each night, and then I take a shower right after, covering my bases in case I don’t get a chance to shower during the next day.

*As I mentioned, I’ve finally made the return to real exercise, and it feels good to do so. It’s always been a good stress outlet for me and a way to dedicate some time specifically for myself, and I’m glad to have that back now. I’m trying to make sure I do a variety of activities (generally some running and a rotation of DVDs) to ensure I don’t get burned out on any one thing.

*I took The Big Sis to see “Charlotte’s Web” at our local children’s theater yesterday. We continue to make sure she has good, quality alone time with each of us. Next up: She and The Husband will go see the touring Broadway musical “Beauty and the Beast” next weekend. While not my favorite story (Stockholm syndrome, anyone?), I’m a little jealous that she’ll have a Broadway musical she’s seen that I haven’t, but I’m also excited for her to see it. This is one of her favorite Disney movies (and as princesses go, I guess a book-loving one isn’t that bad), so I’m hoping she’s going to enjoy it.

*My pumping output has indeed been much better since acquiring this latest pump. I still hate pumping with a passion, but I know it’s just a short-term annoyance and there’s good reason to do it.

*The Little Sis has been a lot more smiley in the past few days, and I even managed to capture a smile on camera for the first time. (Stay tuned to Wordless Wednesday this coming week for the pic.)

Fresh courage

Monday, November 29, 2010

“I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn. But, and that is the great question, will I ever be able to write anything great, will I ever become a journalist or a writer?”
–Anne Frank, “The Diary of a Young Girl”

More than 20 years ago, I had no idea that a 7th grade reading assignment was going to help determine the course of my life. That was the year we read Anne Frank’s “The Diary of a Young Girl,” and to say it moved me doesn’t come close to capturing it. Anne faced dire circumstances and yet still managed to find the bright side of things, and I could certainly relate to her general disposition. Her wisdom and perspective were that of someone easily five times her age, and she often painted a picture of a world that had plenty of evil and chaos in it — yet much goodness lurking under the surface.

I had been keeping a journal since about 5th or 6th grade, so I was already beginning to understand the power of the written word for myself. Anne loved writing and wanted to be a journalist — and reading that book was the moment I realized I wanted to be one, as well. From that point on, I focused even more on my journal and other personal writings and eventually majored in journalism in college. Although I turned to the editing side of the industry and moved away from writing, I still recognize and appreciate good writing, and I get great satisfaction from turning subpar writing into a better final product.

This blog is a continuation of that written journal that is no longer kept, mostly due to time constraints. This gives me a safe place to broadcast my frustrations, organize my thoughts, and gain perspective to realize that maybe things aren’t as bad as they initially seem. I am facing nothing nearly as horrendous as Anne Frank did, yet the recording of our personal thoughts serves the same purpose for each of us.

I really hadn’t thought about Anne Frank in quite a while, but there was an exhibit about her at the Indianapolis Children’s Museum (which, admittedly was a bit of a downer among the other museum fun, but it was a nice tribute all the same). But seeing the exhibit — which had a box of tissues available near the end — gave me a chance to reflect on both the past and the future. Anne Frank always said she wanted to make a difference in other people’s lives, and I am just one of many for which that rings true. Bottom line: She helped give me the confidence to turn my passion into a career.

Looking at my present circumstances, I am inspired by all the positives she found in life despite being forced into hiding. Though they are not even comparable to her struggles, I vent my own frustrations here, and it helps give me the perspective that I have many things for which I am eternally grateful. Despite the one (currently major) snag of infertility, I have a pretty great life, and I never want to take that for granted. I have a fantastic husband and partner. I have an amazing daughter. I have wonderfully supportive friends. I have a roof (albeit a currently leaky one) over my head. I get down from time to time, but I am not in constant moping mode; I get out and experience and ENJOY life. I continue to put one foot in front of the other by reminding myself that the difficult things surely must get better at some point. As Anne Frank said, “Where there’s hope, there’s life. It fills us with fresh courage and makes us strong again.” Some days, the hope I have remaining for a second child might be so small you need a microscope to see it, but somehow it is there, like burning embers waiting to catch the right wind to reignite.


Wordless Wednesday: Going the distance

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

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The aftermath

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Yesterday was a tough day of recovery, as my IT band (one of my training injuries) was really bothering me. I ended up staying home for the first half of the day so I could keep it iced and elevated, then went into the office for the second half of the day. I have to go up two floors to get to my part of the building, and I always (always) take the stairs, but my knee was bad enough yesterday that I had to take the elevator. I honestly don’t remember the last time I took the elevator at the office. It’s been years. (And I couldn’t bring myself to also take the elevator down when I left, so I slowly hobbled down the stairs on my own.)

Today I am feeling much more normal. My knee has a better range of motion, and while I have to walk slowly and deliberately, I don’t have to limp like I did yesterday. (Which I’m very happy about because I HATE drawing attention to myself, and naturally limping elicits questions from others.) I’ve got a bit of general ache, but nothing too bad really. In fact, I’d say that overall I’m feeling pretty good two days post-race. Not too bad considering second-day sore is often the worst.

Last week before my race, Serenity asked me an interesting question: How has completing a half marathon (now two) changed me? It’s something I’ve thought about but never really put into written words.

*First of all, I now have almost no patience for people who are lazy and make every excuse in the book to avoid physical activity. If I can do it, almost anyone else can. And I’m not talking distance races. Just any physical activity.

*I’m more willing to try something hard.

*I’m more willing to follow through when that something hard becomes more difficult than expected. I’ve said many times, “I’ve run a half marathon, SURELY I can do THIS.”

*It has reinforced the importance to making time to do something for myself.

*It has given me something of my own that I can truly be proud of.

*I’ve learned that just getting out there to take on such a big challenge is half the battle — and much more than most people will ever do.

*I’ve learned to balance my drive to complete a task with understanding and respecting my physical limitations.

But the most important thing I’ve gotten out of my race training? I’ve learned that Baby B knows that regular physical activity is a big part of our life as a family. Recently she has started asking about running in races with me and The Husband– and she specifically asked if she could run the half marathon with me. While she’s not going to be completing a half anytime soon — though I’m pretty sure she runs at least that much each day — I do think it’s time we start to get her involved in one-mile family runs soon. We’ll start near the back of the pack so she has more room, but I think it’s something she’d have fun with. She’s excited to wear her own race bib number. ๐Ÿ™‚

Several people have asked me what I’m doing next. While I won’t say I’m never doing another half marathon, I think it’s something I’m not necessarily pursuing for a while. I’ve thought about — very long term — running a full marathon as my achievement after having Mythical Child #2, but I’ve seen the physical limitations I might come up against, and so I’m not sure running a marathon is realistic or smart for me. But after reading this article, I’m more inspired to run-walk the New York City Marathon at some point in the not-near future. This time my goal was to run about 80% of the time and walk 20%, but I think I could manage a marathon if I switched that ratio and aimed for running 20% and walking 80%, taking the physical pressure off myself so I can complete the distance. Even walking a marathon is more than most people do ona typical weekend day.

The NYC Marathon is pretty walker friendly, closing the finish line about 8 1/2 hours after the race begins. I’ve never been to NYC — that is one of my dream destinations — and what better way to see the city? I’ve always said that if I did a marathon, I’d want it to be BIG — not just some small-town race. My supervisor ran the NYC race a couple years ago, and he said it was an amazing experience, with spectators lining nearly the entire course and cheering you on. I would love to embrace my slowness like the writer of the article did, and even take a camera with me on the course to capture the great moments and great people you encounter. Just really find a way to ENJOY the race atmosphere and experience. What a great place to do that.

Now, this is not currently realistic for a variety of reasons — it’s held during our busiest weekend of the year at work (though that event is often held in late October instead of during race weekend…it just depends on the year). We’d have to figure out something to do with Baby B because she’ll start kindergarten in fall 2012 (wow, so soon?!), so she’ll be in school whenever I’d do it, and I’m not taking her out of school for something like that. I do not run fast enough to qualify for entry into the race, so I’d have to rely on the lottery system to get in. If you’re denied three years in a row, you get automatic entry the next year, but it’s possible to take up to four years to even get in the race. So it would take the stars aligning just right to make it happen, but it’s something to put on the radar as a very long-term goal. (Have I made that clear? NOT soon!)

Even if race training takes a back seat for a while, I’m still planning to remain physically active, both for myself and as an example for my daughter. I’ll return to the gym tomorrow to resume cardio and strength work, with a goal of running maybe once a week. I can see running some 5Ks for fun, but my serious training is done for now. Back to recreational running for me.

So what? I’m still a rock star

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Kentucky rain keeps pouring down,
And up ahead’s another town
That I’ll go walking through
With the rain in my shoes, searching for you
In the cold Kentucky rain, in the cold Kentucky rain.

–“Kentucky Rain,” Elvis Presley

The day did not start off well (aside from the flowers given to me by The Husband before we left the house). Of course, I entered the Lexington Half Marathon with a head cold, and though it was waning by race day, I could still feel its effects. The race started and finished at a Thoroughbred auction house, with only one road in and a promise to close that road at 7:15 a.m. since the race route went through the entrance at 8 a.m. A drive that should have taken us 10 to 15 minutes from our house ended up taking us an hour. And it’s a good thing they did not close the road at 7:15 as promised because we didn’t make it on the grounds until after 7:50 a.m. To say I was stressed about it is an understatement. I tried to remain calm and patient, but with the standstill traffic and time running out, I faced making the decision of whether I needed to get out of the car and walk the final 2 miles, hoping that The Husband and Baby B would make it in time to see me, or just stay in the car and hope for the best. Affecting this decision was the fact that it was starting to rain — and, you know, the fact that I didn’t need to add an additional 2 miles tacked onto my already daunting task ahead.

In tears and threatening to just skip the whole thing because it wasn’t worth it, I made the decision to stay in the car until a certain time, then we were able to get onto the grounds before that time came. The Husband still had to drop me off because there wasn’t time to park and then get to the starting line, but once I made it there, I found out that they were delaying the race and it would start at 8:10 a.m. That was a definite relief, as I still needed to stand in line for the bathroom.

The Husband and Baby B parked and made it to the starting line, so I was able to see them one more time before the race started. By gun time, the rain was more than just a little sprinkle and seemed like it would stick around for a while. I was right about that; it rained for the entire length of the race except for the last mile. Most of the time it was a steady rain, but often it was a driving rain blowing in sideways. I was soaked within the first two miles. I was able to see The Husband and Baby B at three different points during the first mile, as we circled the auction house grounds before hitting the roads, and I was glad to see them several times then because they were unable to leave and see me at any other points on the course with the road closed. (Well, they could have left through a back way, but they would not have been able to go back in until they reopened the road, after I’d already finished.)

It’s hard to remember some of the specifics of the race because we went through a couple of backroads to the Kentucky Horse Park, so the scenery was quite static throughout the route. I mean, it was pretty, but it doesn’t make it very easy to recall what happened when, whereas in Indianapolis, I could remember that something happened going through this neighborhood, or when going by that monument. I didn’t really have that with this race.

I do remember that when I was at the four-mile mark, the leaders were already backtracking to the starting line. Yikes.

Because of the rain, I was never really able to get into the zone that I found in Indy. Despite wearing clothing that wicks away moisture, it was just too much rain (definitely more than just “moisture”) and I felt like I was carrying 30 extra pounds at time with each squishy step. And oh the squishy shoes! Pure misery.

I had projected a finish time of 2:45, and I wrote my splits for 3, 6, 9, and 12 miles on my arm. I was actually 2 minutes ahead of my pace for 3 and 6 miles, then was right on target at the 9-mile point. However, by the time I reached 12 miles, the rain had gotten the best of me and I was a couple minutes behind, so I knew I couldn’t make up the time in the final mile and I “slacked” a bit. Well, as much as anyone can slack after running 12 miles. A welcome sight was seeing the 13-mile marker, and just around the corner from that was the finish line with The Husband and Baby B cheering me home. Once again I was pretty emotional at the finish, but mostly felt relief at completing the task. I finished 4 minutes slower than my goal time, but considering everything I went through to get to the finish — both during training and on race day — I really felt no disappointment in not meeting the time goal. (Okay, maybe a little, but not really.)

I got some food and water after the race, then we went back to the car to head home. In the car, I was greeted with a very nice congratulatorycard from The Husband, and he said there was some chablis at home. (I’ll probably just have a few sips until I find out if this IUI worked, but I love the thought behind it.) I had the support of many people during this journey, but especially from The Husband and Serenity. I couldn’t have gotten through this without them.

The thing that struck me the most this time was the support from the other runners and from the spectators along the course. Because The Husband and Baby B were at the start/finish line, that meant I had no other people I knew cheering for me along the route, so hearing the other people encouraging me was a huge help. It’s amazing how far a few claps and a, “Great job! Keep it up!” can go for motivation.

The damage: My left knee hurts a lot, and I’ve been icing it all afternoon. Thankfully it didn’t hurt during the race, just after. For the last probably two miles, I had some chafing on my left inner thigh from my soaked pants rubbing. I had some sore places on my feet from my wet (and very dirty) socks after I took off my shoes, but nothing that’s too bad (and nothing that bothered me during the race).

But despite everything — the various training injuries, the rain, the wind (how was it in our faces going BOTH ways??), a head cold, a much hillier course than Indy — Pink said it best: “Well, so what? I’m still a rock star.”

Running on empty

Friday, March 26, 2010

I stood up from my desk on Wednesday to meet The Husband for lunch when it happened.

That moment where I felt the first twinge of maybe, possibly getting a cold.

I accepted that it might go that way, but I was hopeful that it would not go any further. Sometimes it does, sometimes it does not. By the end of the workday, however, I knew that it was going into a cold. No problem normally, except for the fact that my half marathon is on Sunday.

Um, not the best timing.

It’s about right, though. My training hasn’t gone nearly as well this time, as I’ve had issues with my shins and knees at different times in my training, to the point that I had to significantly alter my schedule and switch two of my runs to cross-training while keeping my long runs. So to have a head cold — that I feel possibly going into my chest now — well, that just figures, doesn’t it?

Oh, and the forecast for Sunday calls for rain. I think I’ve mentioned how much I dislike running in the cold. But I despise running in the rain. It means I have to run with a baseball cap to keep the rain out of my face, which bothers me, and I cannot stand when my shoes get squishy — and remain that way with each subsequent step.

I’m taking care of myself in order to be in good shape for Sunday. On Wednesday night I went to bed at 7 p.m. and slept for 11 1/2 hours. Last night I went to bed by 10, but I had to get up early to take my car to the mechanic, so I’m planning an afternoon nap assuming the car doesn’t take all day. I’m trying to avoid cold medicines and other things that might dry me out because I don’t need to be dehydrated before the race, but I will use something on Sunday if needed. I actually think I’ll be okay if it’s just a head cold; I’ve run with plenty of those before. When it gets into my chest is when things get a little more complicated, especially with my asthma.

But I keep telling myself that I hadn’t planned to improve my time from Indy anyway, and the whole reason I’m even doing this is so I can be a part of our city’s first half marathon. Just getting to the finish line will complete that goal. Part of me thinks that’s lame, but I remind myself that even getting to the starting line is more than most people ever do.

And by Sunday, I will have done it twice. I have a lot to be proud of, especially in light of the extra challenges this time.


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usThanks to Serenity for nominating me for the Beautiful Blogger Award, as it now gives me a post for today. (I feel like I’ve got both nothing to say and everything to say, and I’ve been getting overwhelmed when trying to sit down and write lately.)

My task is to share seven interesting things about myself:

1. I wanted to become a journalist after I read The Diary of Anne Frank. The fact that someone could have such an influence on so many people simply by the words she wrote — it changed my life. While I no longer do the writing part (professionally, at least), I’ve found another area of journalism I love: copy editing. I think I have a natural talent for it, as I’m quite a detail-oriented person — yet can also see the big picture.

2. My dream job would be an editor for a movie or TV show. I want to be the person who detects anachronisms in the script. Or who watches the film footage and notice that a cut between angles reveals that in one shot a cup was on the table and in the next shot the cup was mysteriously gone. I’m constantly on the lookout for those kinds of things, and I think this is a job I would be very good at.

3. Growing up, my sister and I had basically no restrictions on TV watching, either with content or with amount of time we were allowed to watch. Don’t get me wrong — we watched plenty of TV (and some very age-inappropriate things [can you say Best Little Whorehouse in Texas?]), but I don’t feel like we were glued to the TV. We played outside a ton, and those are the moments I always think about when remembering my childhood. I watch almost no TV now.

4. I almost never wear “real” clothes around the house and by far prefer to wear more comfortable clothes such as yoga pants and a T-shirt. The very first thing I do when I come home from work is change clothes, often before Baby B has even taken her coat off. I go home on my lunch break, and I change into more comfy pants for the 45 minutes I’m there. Basically I just wear real clothes around the house if we have companyย  (and even then, depending on who it is, I might change into my comfy pants toward the end of the evening when we’re just relaxing).

5. I’m addicted to e-mail. I have my e-mail program up on my browser all day long at work and immediately read any messages I see come through. I may not be able to respond right away, but I like being caught up on my messages. I check my e-mail before I go to the gym early each morning. First thing I do when I come home (well, after changing clothes) is check my e-mail. Last thing I do before going to bed is check my e-mail. It just takes a few minutes, so it really doesn’t take away from other things I do.

6. As much as I love e-mail, I refuse to pay (at least) three times what I currently pay to add a data plan to my cell phone. I’m not that addicted to my e-mail.

7. When I was little, I used to think that babies came from moms drinking milk. I don’t know if someone told me this or if I came up with it myself, but it made sense to me because my mom never drank milk, and I thought it was just because she didn’t want more kids. So now as an adult, I do not drink milk. I want to like it, and try it again occasionally, but I don’t like the taste. I do use milk on my cereal (just the barest amount) and am fine with using it in recipes, but drinking it straight disgusts me.

I’m going to tag these ladies (all public blogs):

1. Life and All Its Possibilities

2. Life in the Soupbowl

3. The Dew Baby

4. What Has Possessed Me?

5. Not Afraid to Use It

6. Life With Luca

7. Morgan-Boo and Piper, Too!

The rules:

Thank the blogger who nominated you.

Post the badge.

Write seven interesting things about yourself.

Tag seven other bloggers.

Just want to be in the running

Thursday, February 4, 2010

So I’m at the end of week 5 of my 12-week training program for the half marathon, and I wish I could report things have been going better. I overdid it a bit during week 2 and ended up having some shin soreness that escalated to the point that I had to take off week 4 completely in order to heal. Thankfully I know better than to run through the pain — it doesn’t fix anything, slows down the healing, and this isn’t important enough to ruin my body over — so I began running again this week and felt great for the first three runs. I even felt great after that third one and thought I was good, but then a few hours after the run my right leg started hurting right on the lower shin. It looks like I need to skip my long run tomorrow (though may do the elliptical or bike at the gym if those aren’t painful so I can at least get a workout in).

I keep telling myself that it’s not a big deal. That if I need to walk the entire race, I can do that. That I only decided to do this because it’s the first such race in my city. That it’s not like I’d ever planned to better my time from Indy, instead taking a more laid-back approach to training.

And all that is true.

But… (you knew there was a but, right?)

It’s just frustrating to have the drive and desire to do something, but then you encounter physical challenges that hold you back from reaching your intended goal. Only so much is within your power, so when those physical issues come up and there’s not much you can do, it’s challenging. You feel like you don’t have control. You sometimes have trouble seeing other people succeed in the way you want to.

Hrm, where have I heard that before?

Oh yeah. With having trouble TTC #2. Hrm. Interesting.

Not such a good thing to have that parallel since one of the reasons I did decide to train was as a distraction from TTC. Looks like that backfired a bit. ๐Ÿ™‚

But, as with most things, I’ll push on in both realms and do my best to succeed. The definition of success may be a little different now, but in the end, that doesn’t really matter as long as I tried my best and hopefully reached the end goal.

She’s going the distance

Monday, November 16, 2009

Because [she’s] racing and pacing and plotting the course,
[She’s] fighting and biting and riding on [her] horse.
[She’s] going the distance.

Um, so I signed up for another half-marathon.

Despite saying I had no desire to do so.

And despite saying that I can’t do winter training (primarily because of asthma that is aggravated by the cold).

And despite the fact that I’m going to have to go to work after the race (I can’t take off because it’s a pretty busy day).

But hear me out.

I learned this weekend that our city is holding its first-EVER half-marathon, which is kind of a big deal. There’s a big part of me that really wants to be a part of it, just to say I was there and participated.

I fully do not expect to equal or better my race time from Indianapolis. I’m going into this with much more relaxed expectations, to truly have fun with the experience. Of course I’ll still need to put in some good training time, which will have to be during the winter because the race is on March 28, but I’m not planning to go all out like I did before.

This is something I know I can do. I’ve done it before.

So when I paid my $50 this morning for registration, it didn’t feel like that big of a deal (but in a good way). As long as I keep the pressure off myself, I think this is going to be a good thing.

I’ll work now on coming up with some kind of modified training program to get me to race day in just more than four months.

(Wasn’t I just doing this?!)

Booster club

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I had only less than two weeks to really prepare for the 5K last weekend as I’ve kept up running this summer but more on a recreational basis instead of actual training. I worked hard during the two weeks I had to train, but the fact is, I knew I wouldn’t set a personal record just because a lot of race conditioning comes over time, not crammed in at the last minute. But of course I still wanted to do my best, so I went into it thinking I’d love to break the 30-minute mark (which I’ve never done) but would be happy with something around the 32- or 33- minute range.

The course was nice and flat (bonus!), but what I didn’t account for was the fact that I ended up running on two blisters — a quarter-sized one on the bottom of each foot, right where the toe meets the foot. And it’s my own fault, really. I should have changed into my better walking shoes the day I arrived in Boston, but I completely forgot about it until it was too late.

The weather on the morning of the race was slightly chilly, but once we were warmed up, it wasn’t too bad. Perfect for running, actually — maybe low 50s. Serenity and I decided we wouldn’t necessarily stay together when running; we’re both used to running alone and even though we knew we could possibly help each other, I think we were hesitatant to hold each other up.

The first mile of the race was so-so, and the second mile of the race was better for me (that’s usually my best mile). However, by the last half-mile, I was struggling a bit more and had to take a short walking break.

Two older (40s, I’d say) women passed me and looked back and said, “Do you need a boost?” At first I said no, but then I figured that actually, now that you mention it, yes I could. In general it’s hard for me to admit when I need help, but I figured I didn’t have much to lose and had a lot to gain, so I said yes. They said, “We’ll get you to the finish. It’s hard running alone. We chat with each other and the finish is here in no time.”

And that’s exactly what they did. They asked me questions about my running, hat other races I’ve done, where I was from, what I was doing while in town — just whatever they thought to ask to help me keep my pace and get to the finish line. I finished in :34.07 — my worst 5K time ever, actually — but I did finish.

I know I could have done it without them.

But I’m glad I didn’t have to. It was the best part of the race for me.

And it reminded me a lot about tackling parenting with The Husband. He gives me that boost when I need it, and I do the same for him. While our journeys during the “race” might be different, our ultimate goal is to make it to the finish line together. While I could do the parenting thing alone, I’m glad I don’t have to. We’re in this together, helping each other along the way.

I don’t have to be SuperMom…because together we are SuperParents.

(And on that note, a big thanks goes out to The Husband, who took charge at home with Baby B [who was sick part of the time] while I was away over the long weekend. I love that he’s fully capable of taking care of things in my absence. I didn’t even have to leave him any instructions on anything. He so totally rocks.)

And then what happened?

Monday, May 4, 2009

I’m kind of brain-dead from finishing one of our biggest issues of the year at work, so I don’t have much left in me to compose a coherent post from scratch, so I figured I’d update on a few things I’ve mentioned recently.

*Potty training: This has slowed down quite a bit, ever since Baby B’s cast came off. We’re not sweating it, as I’m sure part of it is because she has some newfound freedom without the cast and doesn’t want to waste it sitting down. ๐Ÿ™‚

*The post-cast era: Baby B still has a very, very tiny limp that I’m pretty sure that only I notice, so it seems like her recovery is going well. We have a final follow-up at the orthopedist a week from tomorrow to make sure things look good in their view.

*Ditching the crib: Baby B has not returned to her crib since she started sleeping on the futon a week ago, and even both naps this weekend were on the futon. When she doesn’t go to sleep immediately, so far she hasn’t gotten up from her futon and gone to play blocks (for example) or anything else. She’ll just stay on the futon and play with her baby dolls or read a book she has with her.

*Be polite: “Get out of my face” has morphed into, “Get out of my way.”

*Running/exercise: I’ve lost an additional ten pounds since the start of the year, so I’m very pleased about that. That brings my total to about 42 pounds. I’ve been doing the 30-Day Shred workout DVD most of the time, and now that the weather has gotten warmer, I’ve added in some running once or twice a week. I think I may do a 5K this coming Saturday, as long as the weather cooperates. No real goals or anything, just want to go out and have fun with it. (Who am I kidding? I’m sure I’ll have a time goal in mind, but the main point is to have fun.)

Rule #223 re: women

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Yesterday I discovered, much to my disappointment, that my favorite pair of jeans has a hole in the butt/thigh area, and they’re not wearable anymore. Not cool. So last night I decided it was time to dig in the closet and pull out all those all pair of jeans/pants that I’d outgrown but still kept. And, much to my delight, I discovered that I had 9 pairs that fit me now that I’ve lost some weight.

Overheard before dinner last night:

Me: “I gained back 9 pairs of pants after going through my closet!”

The Husband: “I thought you were going to say you gained back weight.”

Me (laughing): “No, no Pants! I gained back some pants! It’s almost as good as going shopping!”

The Husband: “Wow, it’s a good thing you kept those pants that didn’t fit anymore.”

Me: “Oh, that’s the thing about women. We never get rid of clothes that are too small. There’s always the hope that we’ll get back into them one day.”

What happened next?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I realized recently that I talk about a lot of issues that come up in our day-to-day lives but sometimes don’t give updates later, so I’ll take this chance to do that.

Tummy issues: We’ve started the probiotic, and she may be having a mild reaction to it, so that may have actually been our allergy culprit. We don’t know for sure because if it was a reaction, it was very mild, so we’ll continue the probiotic until we have a reaction similar to before. Hopefully it won’t happen, but we’ll have the Zyrtec ready just in case. And more than anything, we just hope the probiotic helps!

Biting: Baby B had one day a couple weeks ago where she bit one child (on the lips! ouch!), but other than that, we haven’t had a problem with this since the week after Labor Day. That was when she was cutting her canines, and now the biting is coincidentally gone. Her last round of biting was when she was cutting her molars. I hate blaming stuff on teething, but the correlation seems too strong here. Just four more teeth to come in. We’ve had a few signs that her two-year molars may be coming in, but I think we’re still far from those cutting through. I can’t wait until she’s done with getting new teeth. (Well, at least until these baby teeth fall out.)

Picky eating: Baby B is still quite a picky eater, but I think we’re getting better about knowing what foods she will eat and how we can trick her into eating those and other things. We still give her new foods, including what we’re eating that night, and sometimes it’s successful and other times it’s not as successful. I feel like it’s not nearly as stressful an issue now, so either she’s better about it or I’ve become better about dealing with it. Maybe a little bit of both.

My running: I seem to have recovered physically; it took about a full week to feel 100% again. I gave myself that week off from any form of exercise (besides walking The Dog), but I started doing workout DVDs earlier this week. My goal is to lose an additional 10 pounds before packing on the pounds with mythical child #2.

Toddler talk: I was afraid that when Baby B learned to say the name of The Dog, it would come out sounding like penis. Thankfully I was wrong on that; it comes out sounding quite close to the actual name, which I would have sworn would be difficult for her to say.

The scary shadow: We seem to have nipped this one in the bud. She had that couple of days where her shadow was very scary to her, but our approach of making friends with it, dancing with it, and acknowledging it before she had a chance to get scared really seems to have helped. She was quickly back to normal and ignoring the shadow as usual. Now if she does notice it, she might stop, but she doesn’t freak out.

Wordless Wednesday: Finding the finish (finally!)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

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For more Wordless Wednesday participants, click here.

The aftermath

Monday, November 3, 2008

Two days after the race and I’m quite sore, but it’s not really any worse than I was expecting. I have to walk slowly, but I don’t have to hobble, though going down stairs is quite a chore. Thankfully we don’t have stairs in our house, just at work.

I’ve had several people (both here and in real life) ask me questions about my running/races, so I’ll take tonight to answer those.

  • You said you’re not going to do another half-marathon or a full marathon, but are you completelydone with running?

My running shoes have been retired for the time being. At this point, I still have no desire to do another long race, though I may consider doing another 5K in the future, though not until spring or summer at least. I’m not a good cold-weather runner, but I can see myself getting out to run on nice days when we have them. I’ve definitely taken the step back from competitive runner to recreational runner.

  • Do you still plan to workout?

I’m giving myself a week off to let my body recover from the intensity it endured, and then I’ll get back to doing aerobics, pilates, and some yoga. We also take The Dog for regular walks, so that will be part of my workout regime, too. I really need to get back to eating better; in the last couple of months, I got into the “well, I’m just going to work it off running” mindset, and I don’t have that excuse anymore. My weight loss came to a standstill with the training (and with that poor mindset), and I’d like to lose another 10 to 15 pounds.

  • What kind of music do you listen to when running?

During my training runs, my MP3 player had the soundtrack to The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (Broadway version) and then the Rent soundtrack (movie version). I liked running to musicals because I could follow the plot in my head and it helped pass the time better. For the half-marathon, I thought it would be better to have a whole variety of songs to mix it up some, and I think the strategy worked. I had a wide range of stuff from Ace of Base to Aerosmith to Backstreet Boys to other songs from musicals.

  • Did you get any kind of certificate or award or trophy or anything for the half-marathon?

Yes, I got a finishers’ medal after crossing the finish line of the race. I’ll try to remember to include a picture of it for Wordless Wednesday.

  • I don’t think I could do it. Was it hard?

Yes, it was very hard, but I think it was a challenge that anyone could take on if they dedicate the time and energy to the training. I keep reminding people that I am not a runner by nature. Seriously, if I can do it, then so many others can. In observing the other runners around me, I noticed there was quite a variety of body shapes and fitness levels.

  • What did you learn?

As corny as it sounds, I definitely learned that I can do whatever I set my mind to do. This was not an easy project for me to undertake, and I had moments where I questioned my sanity for doing it, but the end result was a good one.ย  I also learned how important it is to give myself that “me” time. So much of my time is spent taking care of Baby B and our family that it’s easy to lose myself in all that. I gained back not just my body, but also my time with me.

  • Are there any moments you won’t forget from your races?

In the 10K, I’ll always remember that dog that ran with me for more than half the race. It was distracting at the time, but in hindsight, it was kind of cool and probably helped keep me running. Seeing The Husband and Baby B at the 12.5-mile mark in Indy and running over to give them a kiss was something else that I’ll always remember. Knowing they were there to cheer me on, and knowing that going over to them helped give me the extra boost I needed to finish the race, well…that’s very special to me. They were two of my biggest supporters through all this, and I couldn’t have done it without them.

On that note, I want to thank everyone here for your support with my running during this past summer and fall.ย  A lot of my success comes from within myself and my ability to get motivated, but so much of it comes from the encouragement of others. A special thanks to The Husband, who didn’t complain once about all those hours I had to be away from the house (which put him in charge of Baby B if she wasn’t asleep for the night) or about all those leg massages I requested. He believed in me even during the times I wasn’t sure I believed in myself. And another thanks to Serenity, who when I initially mentioned the idea of running a half-marathon back in early July, said (and I quote),ย  “I think you should go for it. I really think you should try it. You can do it!” I signed up that very afternoon (before I had a chance to chicken out) and never looked back. Without that encouragement — from The Husband, Serenity, and all of you — I wouldn’t feel this incredible sense of accomplishment. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Monumental achievement

Sunday, November 2, 2008

I thought I could. I thought I could. I thought I could. I began yesterday as just someone who was training for a race and ended the day as a half-marathon finisher when I completed the inaugural Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon.

I couldn’t have asked for a better race. I got tired in the last quarter of the race, of course, but everything went even better than planned. I woke up at 5 a.m. surprisingly well rested and ready to go, and I didn’t feel nervous once. The morning started out a little stressful as we hit standstill traffic downtown when we were trying to park before the race and I got to the starting line just 10 minutes before it began, but after that, it was smooth sailing. (We were stuck within a block of the race start, so if it’d come to it, I could’ve just gotten out of the car and wasn’t in danger of missing the race, but it was a stress that I didn’t need that moment.) I was emotional as I kissed The Husband and Baby B before they left me to go pick a spot beyond the starting line to watch me. When I woke up and checked the weather, I was pleased to find out it was 50 degrees; much better than the low 40s that had been predicted. This meant I could wear my short-sleeved shirt without having to wear a throwaway shirt over it. The morning felt cool at first, but once I’d run the first half-mile, I felt fine, and never at any point during the race did I feel too hot, so it was quite ideal. I saw The Husband and Baby B again as we entered Monument Circle just before the three-mile mark, then I set northward on my own and knew I wouldn’t see them again until the 12.5-mile point.

I made sure to not begin too fast, and I kept close to what I felt was my usual running pace. My realistic goal time for my normal pace was 2:45, but I said I would have been thrilled to break 2:30. I wrote on my inner arm what should be my split times for 3 miles, 6 miles, and 10 miles for the 2:45 pace so I’d know how I was doing. (I would’ve just memorized it, but I was afraid I’d forget in the moment.) We received our 3-mile times, and I looked at my watch to see that I was several minutes ahead of the pace. The same was true for the 6-mile split time, but it wasn’t until I heard the 10-mile time that I believed I had a shot to hit 2:30 instead. I saw The Husband and Baby B at the 12.5-mile point, and I ran over and hugged and kissed both of them quickly, and that helped give me the boost I needed to make it the last 0.6 miles and see them at the finish line.

The last couple of miles were difficult, not just because of fatigue but because of the emotion of it all — knowing how close I was to finishing after all this time and all this hard work, and hearing people on the sidewalks saying, “You’re almost there! You can do it!” — but I pushed through and beat my ideal goal time by 18 seconds. Unbelievable.

My left ankle began hurting a little bit around mile 6, but it seemed to get better by about mile 8. (Not coincidentally, I’d taken a Tylenol around mile 6.) Other than that, the only other annoyance I had was that the seam on my shirt sleeve started rubbing the underside of my arm a little raw, but that was pretty minor. I was very thankful that my shins didn’t give me problems (occasional shin soreness was always my biggest training challenge). In fact, I didn’t even think about my shins until about mile 10 when I realized they weren’t giving me a problem. No problems with asthma. No issues with my headphone cord bothering me (which they did sometimes on training runs).

It’s funny, though, because so much of the race route is already a blur to me, even just a day after the race. That’s both good and bad, of course. It’s bad because it means my memory of the actual race will fade quickly and I soon won’t be able to remember specifics (which is why I want to write this now). But it’s also good because the reason a lot of the race is a blur is because I was so focused inward on what I needed to do that my surroundings were secondary. (I mean, I was aware enough of what was going on around me for safety reasons, but I was able to find the “zone” that I needed to be in.)

There are some things I do remember, however…things I don’t want to forget. I think I’ll need to do them in bullet points since they’re kind of scattered, so please forgive me that.

*Going through the Meridian Park neighborhood around mile 7 and mile 9 was probably my favorite part. So many residents were out on their front lawns or in their driveways cheering us on, and there were handmade signs scattered along the route encouraging us, and I can’t say how much that means when you’re just starting to get tired. Several neighborhood kids were on the street writing chalk messages to us: “Way to go!”, “Meridian Park loves runners!”, and “This is the only uphill in the race!” You could feel the sense of community and involvement in the neighborhood, and it was great to be a small part of that. In looking up some information about the neighborhood for this post, I found their neighborhood’s blog where they encouraged the residents to get out and support the runners. I was very touched, and I really wish they could know how much it helped not just me, but many others.

*We got to our north-most point, 38th Street, and headed back toward downtown via Meridian Street the entire way. It was a bit daunting to see how far the downtown buildings were at that point, but it was nice to know we were past our halfway point and every step was truly a step closer to the finish line.

*Around mile 6, the marathoners and half-marathoners split up, and we met up again at our 8-mile mark. From that point on, they listed the mile markers for both races, so it was a good mind game to look at the mile points for the marathon and pretend I’d come that far. “Twenty-two miles? Sure, I can do another four!” Much better than thinking you’ve still got four left out of 13.

*I loved the encouragement from the bystanders, both the ones who were there to support someone they knew and those who just happened upon the race because they were in the area. But my favorite comment was from a mom to her probably 10-year-old daughter: “You wouldn’t believe all the hard work these people have done in order to get here.” So true.

*We went through Monument Circle just before the three-mile mark, as I mentioned before, but we also went through again around the 12.5-mile point. Since we approached Monument Circle from Meridian Street (which runs north-south right into the circle), we could see the monument for several miles ahead of time. Actually reaching Monument Circle again — to the extra cheers to onlookers and knowing we were so close to the end — was a fantastic moment.

*I held it together as I crossed the finish line, but I did start crying once The Husband and Baby B found me and gave me a hug. Partly from the sense of accomplishment, but partly because of the relief that it was all over. If I was inclined to run a full marathon before — and I wasn’t at all — I’ll say that I’m even less interested in doing that now. Kudos to those who can do it, but I just don’t see it on my agenda. I don’t even have a desire to run another half; I’m super happy with my finish time, and I don’t see how I could realistically do better. This is the perfect note to begin and end on.

(Note: A few photos to come on Wordless Wednesday for November 5.)

Run a half-marathon? CHECK!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

I don’t have much time to go into detail, but I just wanted to mention that the race today went perfectly, and I finished in 2:29.42…18 seconds under my ideal goal time!ย  Temperature at race time was 50 degrees, which was a nice surprise since we were expecting lower 40s.ย  I’m very happy with how things went; I felt very prepared and properly trained.ย  I wouldn’t say it was easy, because it was hard, but I think it was “easier” than I was expecting.

Gotta run…these legs need a nice soak. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ll update on Sunday with more details.

(This post begins my participation in the NaBloPoMo challenge.)