Monday, August 31, 2009

School Days...

Small joy: locking the door after third period, switching off the light and finding respite on my adorable red and white checked couch for 50 minutes between classes. Ahhh...

So what do I do with my time? Assignments for someone else. Oh, the irony. Or actually, the coincidence. People (and I include myself here) misuse the word irony like crazy. Please don't even get me started on 'irregardless." It's not a word, people.

I'm taking part in something from another blog which I found through my new discovery of the beautiful blog, m.writes. It's her mom's blog, called Travelin' Oma. How stinking wonderful can you get? Grandmas with blogs? What's next? Turns out Oma doesn't just travel, she writes, and she has created a 12 week blog seminar--a free online course. She had me at this sentence: "I learned early that writing is a way of talking without being interrupted." Ooh, also this, which was in her sidebar: "Writing is revealing our common secrets." YES. I'm going to give it a shot. Why not? School that you can opt out of whenever you want to is the best kind of school.

Here's my first assignment, y'all. I like things like this--inspiration is often the most difficult part of daily blogging, so it's nice to have new ideas. Plus, in case you haven't noticed yet, I AM A COMPLETE NERD.


Click the button for a link to her blog.

Day 1: Becoming a Writer

Prompt: Every memoir has a catchy title. What would the title of your memoir be? Use the title to write the opening paragraph. Would anyone guess the book was about you?

Response:

Thwarted by Pee

Dammit! The last thing anybody wants to ease into on a Sunday morning is a warm puddle of cat urine on the bathroom floor. Marms the elderly barn cat is living out her final days in the feline rest home that is my master bath. I love her, but she's a complete idiot. Apparently, last night only the front half of her body was over the litter before she let it fly--I can see the paw prints and make a visual inference about which end of the cat was pointing out. Now I'm groggy, grumpy, and the ball of my left foot is gaggingly sticky-wet. Gross, Marms, I think as I hop-slosh to the sink to wash it off. You're totally proving E right about why you can't be trusted in the house. I'm caught between pee and a hard place. I want my treasured orange friend with me for her final days, and I'd like that husband of mine to stick around too. I contemplate not telling E, but I decide that does nothing for the health of our recently-renewed marriage. Stupid pee.

Reflection:

I originally told E on Sunday that if I started a rock band one day, Thwarted by Pee (or Thwarted by P?) was going to be its name. I think it works well as a memoir title too. That same afternoon I opened the trashcan outside and got a faceful of some toxic gas created by the remnants of the same litter box after it sat in an enclosed space all day. Thwarted again. As to the question about someone knowing if it was me, I'm pretty sure they would. I don't know if that's a good thing or not.

P.S. I posted this, and I realize it's totally nasty. Sorry.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Oh, Garrison.

For several reasons, I want to be Garrison Keillor when I grow up. I don't even like potato salad.

Read this: It's time to stand up for homemade potato salad.

Entertaining myself like this:

I'm writing this Saturday night, while E's out again. Don't worry. I'm not going all batshiat crazy like last week. It's all good. He's at his bud Trent's house watching the fights and I've come to my senses. At least about this, thanks to a nice talk with E, a great week, and some supportive and caring email from people who know a whole lot more than I do about life.

Basically I'm entertaining myself and sitting around oozing awesomeness from my pores. I got that pedicure today, and I hit up Winco* with the Meemster, who gave us a surprise visit. I'm sooooo tired. No running yet. I'm thinking I'm going to try tomorrow. We'll see. Ikea is still on the agenda.

*Trying SO hard to save money lately. I'm really starting to get the Crazies about the fact that E has a B.A. and a J.D. and he CAN'T FIND A FLIPPING JOB. Stress. But I don't want to talk about that tonight. Soon.

Sometimes, like tonight, I really like being home by myself. The kids are in bed, I fed all the animals, and I'm just clearing out the ol' TiVo.


Pedicured toes. Sorry if you hate feet. I was happy about my black toenails.

Did I ever tell you that in high school, I bought a pair of black boots to wear with jeans and sweaters? And that my mom made me return them because "only gang members wear black boots?" I love my mom. :)


I started the evening off by removing the blue fingernail polish and giving the whole zebra nail thing another try. I didn't want to pay for a mani and a pedi, so I painted the nails myself. I think I did well. This hand is slightly better than my right hand, but I think since zebra print is irregular in nature, it's okay that it's irregular on my nails too.

I'm just wrapping up an episode of my TV boyfriend's show, Law and Order SVU. Detective Stabler, don't ever leave TV. Ever. I have a full fridge, we had froyo with ML/B tonight, my cat is purring on my shins. All is well in the world.

I made a hair appointment for Tuesday to get my roots fixed. I thought I'd show you tonight just how awful it is. I was waiting for payday. Payday is here, and I'm tired of looking like the bride of Cletus. I haven't had my hair done since mid-June. Wouldn't be so bad if I hadn't gone blonde. SO impatient for this appointment.

Anyway, the roots. It was hard to get a good pic with the iPhone.


I've been wearing it back, and curly, because I feel like this doesn't look as bad as straight and parted. Oh, and did I mention that I watched too many Youtube hair how-to videos a few weeks ago and I chopped my bangs? It was the night before school started. I don't know what came over me. Yeah, not a good idea, Curly-haired P. Not exactly pretty, either. Another reason to pin back my hair. Thank Jesus that hair grows. (It's not that bad, but let's just say it's not that good either.)



This is not my best angle. Ignore the shiny head. I look so freaking cheerful! It's late. It's been hot. E's gone. Why waste powder or smiling? Not successful catching the fullness of the tragedy that is my current dye job. The other thing that happens over time is the stuff she puts on to negate the brassiness goes away. Yipe. Hello, brassy yellow hair.



I can take a pic in the bathroom mirror, right? You can kind of see the dark in between waves on top of my head. You can also see how I bite my lip sometimes when I concentrate. I wish the iPhone had an external button to do the camera shutter. I can never hit it right since it's a screen button. Oh, what am I saying. There probably is something like that, only I don't know about it. Don't tell me. It will only make me feel like a bigger idiot.



So here's where I show you that I've gone past the point of being passable, in the dark roots realm. God bless Carrie Bradshaw for making frizzy hair and dark roots chic, but I've skipped right past that boundary. I have shattered the glass ceiling of dark roots. This is less Sex and the City and more COPS. You can only disguise this kind of crappy self-maintenance for so long.


Yeah. I can't wait for Tuesday.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

My sunshines

Two nights ago...

Henry: (climbing in my lap) Mom, sing me a song... like, that sunshine one or something.

Me: (singing) You are my sunshine, my only sunshine--

Henry: (interrupting) Wait! Isn't Dad your sunshine too?

Me: Yeah, dude, he is. But this is about you right now. (singing) You make me happy...


Tonight...

Me: (whistling)

Ad: Mom, do you speak bird? That would be really cool. But not as cool as if you could, like, talk to trees and stuff.


later tonight...

Ad: Mom, you know what's so cool? Dad was staying up late on Christmas, and he TOTALLY saw Santa Claus. Isn't that awesome?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Linkies

Happy Weekend!

I can't remember the last time I was this happy to see a weekend. Maybe it was in June before I got an entire summer off? This week wore me out. My busted ankle blessed me with a terrific emotional meltdown. Time to regroup and make up some sleep. I thought I'd link to some of the wonderful things I found on the web (and in life) this week.

Kandee Johnson, blogger, makeup artist and Youtube channel owner. Cheery how-to videos about makeup, fashion, hair. Fun.

m. writes, a lovely mom blogger I discovered this week. Her blog has a section called "write club." She's smart. She's artistic. She's creative. I dig it.

Tracy on the Cheap who puts together outfits I enjoy. I am all about these little pink ballet flats.

Goofy clay LOST figures
on Jorge Garcia's blog.

Trinny and Susannah (of original British What Not To Wear fame) have a new show on TLC called Making Over America.

A hilarious broken Maytag washer/newborn baby drama frustration-induced narrative over at dooce.

Danica is giving away an iFitness belt on her blog, Chic Runner, in this post.

Pioneer Woman posted an excellent post about making jam, if you're looking for one.

Have you seen True Blood lately? This week's episode had me on the edge of my seat.

Erin, who went to my high school and now lives in Juneau, AK, is thinking about hosting a Yoga retreat. Check out her post about it here and pass it along to anyone who you might think would be interested.

Bakerella posted these instructions for adorable Cowgirl Cookie jar mixes. So cute!

My East Coast bud Heidi of the Lance entitled While My Boyfriend Was Sleeping, whose writing I admire and enjoy, wants you to meet her bridesmaids.

Cool Blogher connection made: White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett meets and posts a blog with links to a mom blogger's discussion of Health Care. Sent to me by Patty, math teacher extraordinaire, and the person who told me about blogs in the first place. Very cool story!

Tomorrow I'm having a lazy day, maybe a pedicure. Sunday is a trip to Ikea with K. I'm going to try not to wait until 10:00 PM Sunday night to grade the papers I brought home. Go out there and do something fun this weekend.

TTYL


Making it work? Project Runway thoughts after Ep. 2

There is no joy for me like diving headlong into a full TiVo queue. It's like a full bucket of cookie dough ice cream, untouched and ripe for consumption. Mmm... I have to say that the sense of fulfillment is even greater when it's something I really enjoy, a la Biggest Loser, Californication, Mad Men, or Project Runway.

I wanted to blog about Tim and the gang last week, but I have to say that the four hour extravaganza that was the premiere left me bereft of energy and with a touch of sensory overload. This week I've come to my senses and the abundance of chicken imagery and strangely misspelled names warrants comment. I can't stands it no more.

Okay. Let's talk for a minute about last week. Glad to see diaper lady go home, though I thought her design would have worked well as a soccer ball. She was just weird. I think they always through a weirdo in there just to see what happens. It's like throwing something at the wall to see if it will stick. It didn't. Moving on. I also couldn't believe that Mr. Naked Nightgown Guy didn't get eliminated. I think "nude" should basically disqualify you no matter what. The Emperor's New Clothes parallels are astounding. I would have auf'ed two in one episode. Totally. I would have gone all "Tyra" and just changed the rules of my own game, right there in the middle. The next person I am going to eliminate is... Right after I call this person's name... The person will be... And the name I will call is... Sorry to mix Tyra in. Realities are blending together. You'd never get that from Heidi though.

So Nudie is back this week, and so are a bunch of other randoms that haven't done much that made me go I need to pay attention to you besides the menstrual guy who had to go all Aunt Flo on Tim last week. Hey bro, man up. God bless Tim for seeing him through, though, you know? Tim's just amazing. Just one of those people you just want to know and meet for coffee. Like Bonnie Hunt. Or maybe he's nothing like that to you at all; I digress.

So this week's challenge is designing for an "actual celebrity" (as opposed to a pseudo-celebrity? HA.) who happens to be the long-ago pregnant Rebecca Romijn. I love that they filmed this so long ago that her kids are practically in the third grade. Way to take forever to bring the show back, guys. I knew it was in the can for a long time before it aired, but it just made me laugh. Also, it made me really want to give a high five to Ms. Romijn for being a total BA and getting her figure back so quickly after twins. So she wants to celebrate her curves. Translation: don't make me look like a whale, but I want to look pregnant.

Can we talk for a minute about Qristyl? (Kris-tal, not KWr-istill, as I am sure you and the English language would have us believe it is pronounced.) I have no problem with her, I just have a lot of questions. I may need some counseling regarding this name. Go ahead and start your name with a Q, girl, but where's the love for a "U"? Q without U is like PB without J. It's just hard on the tongue. The Q gets stuck in my throat without U to keep things movin'. Beyond that though, it just seems like you're setting yourself up to have the conversation where they go Kwristill? and you're all No, Kristal... so why not simplify? I mean if her parents named her this, then she's just kind of stuck... these are just the things I wonder every time the chyron rolls. It hurts me. It would be like calling myself HeatMMMQher with four M's and a silent Q. (Bonus points for knowing the source of that nerd humor.)

Design-wise, it seemed like this might be a difficult one for some of the designers. Where does the belly go? Not good, dude. Not good. There were some really beautiful things. I loved the detail on the winning design, Shirin's burgundy dress with the lined coat. Gorge. Nobody wants to look gross, and she totally hit the mark in the pretty department. I also really liked the navy gown with the (grosgrain?) ribbon detail, but by the lack of boob coverage, it was obvious that Althea hasn't ever been preggers. Pregnant boobs look at tops like that and laugh. Then they march on voluptuously and do their own thing, refusing to be cowed or contained.

Nudie didn't really bring it. Nice shorts, dude. The fact that they were large enough for two girls to stand in told us that maybe you weren't quite in the realm of understanding the pregnant physique.

But nothing, and I mean NOTHING compared to the train wreck hot messness that was Malvin and his chicken/egg fertility look. Never mind the fact that the final design looked like a burlap baby sling... by the time we got to the final scene, we already knew about the complete freak show that was Malvin. He totally reminds me of the head goth kid from South Park. His whole design was a tribute to fertility imagery, namely in the form of the chicken. It's okay, dude. I get the whole fertility motif. You just took it to the line, and then you took it five miles past the line. No pregnant chick (pun intended) wants to resemble anything that waddles, specifically any birds. Man, it made me laugh. I'm going for a chicken leg look. Yeah, you are. Women really like feeling like they have a giant gut/butt and little skinny legs that pooch out at the thigh. Winner. Auf Wiedersehen, buddy.

And oh, Ra'mon? C'mere a sec. When pregnant, we also like to avoid the whole bowling ball bag look. Kthanksbye. And Louise? I'm keeping my eye on you, you wannabe Diablo Cody, you. Your nightgown with hand-dyed lace was pretty, and I'm pretty sure you're going to be interesting slash a vampire. I'll be watching.

I know I'm not telling you anything new, only that I agree with Heidi, NeeenaGarceeuh and the gang. I also felt like the runway got totally CHOPPED last night. It was way too short. I hope this isn't a portent of things to come. I don't know if that was because they were over on content, or because they've decided to retool it for Lifetime. I so enjoy the runway! The best part for me is seeing the final designs. It went by in a blip last night. It was so choppy and spliced. So sad. Bring back the full Runway, PR.

Project Runway, I'm so glad you're back. To the rest of you: Carry on!


Thursday, August 27, 2009

My desk

This post is inspired by April, who asked people yesterday to post pictures of their desks in her post about organization. I took the opportunity at lunch today to snap some bomb iPhone pics. I then used my similarly bomb Paint skills to add some pink boxes so I could tell you about all the lovely details that complete my desk area.

From left to right:

Bulletin board by my desk
1) Leftover strip of border that the last teacher left in my room and I was too lazy to take down.
2) Drill Team competition photo, circa Jan. 2005. Or was it 2004? Or 2003? Who could remember.
3) Spray painted pointe shoes from my last year as Drill Team coach when I danced in the blacklight rally with the girls. I did two routines: a ballet dance and one where I did "the worm" in orange pants.
4) Drill Team and Dance Company pictures from many years of Disneyland.
5) Partington Cove, Big Sur
6) Me and Lis
7) Mom and Dad
8) Sumo wrestler ballerina guy--a pic I clipped from a magazine ad in high school. I still love it.
9) E and baby Henry... awww...
10) More Lis.
11) Money tree from Mom
12) Hanko in last year's Halloween costume



Computer area
1) "You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him to find it within himself." ~Galileo
2) New York City Ballet poster
3) "Don't make me use my teacher voice" sign from Mimi
4) April's blog
5) Speakers, hooked up to #6
6) iPhone dock
7) Diet Dr. P. It really does taste like regular Dr. P
8) Paper holder--holds copy slips, post its, cell phone confiscation slips, envelopes, 3X5 cards
9) Hand sanitizer just for me. The kids get a different one so I don't get their germs.
10) TLC Peanut Peanut Butter bar that Henry opened and then didn't want, so I saved it in a bag.
11) Noisy keyboard.






Desk top
1) USA. USA. USA.
2) Bookshelf with no shelves because they lost the pegs when they moved it in here.
3) Broken lamp. I have to turn the light bulb if I want to turn it on. No switch.
4) In basket
5) Lesson plan basket
6) School forms basket
7) Cinnamon gingerbread candle
8) Keys
9) Mary Poppins mug from Disneyland school trip last year... has about half a cup of Chamomile tea left in it from this morning.
10) Vanilla candle
11) Plate from lunch... all I ate was a cracker, but I didn't want it to touch my desk.
12) Mouse





TA Desk
1) Georgia O'Keefe prints from an art book I cut apart.
2) Kleenex stash. This will probably only last three months.
3) Peer-edit instructions for autobiographical essay, Freshman class.
4) Chair covered with T shirt from the class of 2006 AP English 12 class.
5) Yosemite poster
6) Orange TA chair
7) Sample "anchor" papers for AP English 12 prose essay
8) The best stapler ever invented
9) TA work bin
10) TA work bin was actually taken from the now defunct Business Department
11) Lesson plan book/ calendar






What does your desk look like?

Kids Eat Free Chart

There are quite a lot of deals out there, and unfortunately I miss out on a lot of them because I can't remember which nights are which. This is for my hometown, so it may differ for you, but here's what I've found:



Feel free to share, to link here, to forward, and to comment anything I missed! I'll keep adding to it if you have any more verified restaurants. :)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Getting outside the box

Next week I'm trying something (semi) new. I'll be taking my second quilting class, and I'll be joining E's mom, Mimi and his sis, April. The only other class I did was about three years ago, and since then I've made one other quilt. That's a total of two in my lifetime. Well, one and seven eighths, since the one from the first class still doesn't have a binding. Or any binding. I'm not sure if it's singular or plural. That's how clueless I am when it comes to quilts.

Today the Meemster, Ad, Hanko and I went fabric shopping. I've had a gift certificate since 2006 that I've been too afraid to use without assistance. I get all sweaty and worked up going in the quilt store. Talk about feeling like a poser! Anything I feel about running pales in comparison to how I feel when I walk in that quilt store and meet the icy stares of the dames that run the place. They are all so nice, but I feel their eyes on me while I fabric shop, and I feel like a third grader amongst college students: way out of my league.

It takes me forrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeevvvvvvver to decide on fabric colors--it's like having to choose your paint colors before seeing the picture you're going to paint. So difficult. It involves a lot of stacking, stepping back, and squinting. There's no going back once you start, so it better be good. I love my final choices though. I can't wait to see what the quilt looks like. Here's a few pics of my fabric. Or is it fabrics? Do you see the grammatical shenanigans I'm going to get myself into here? (Ignore the yellow in the left corner. That's an actual beautiful quilt from Meem's quilt group when E and I got married.)

My inspiration was a recently rediscovered treat, the Creamsicle. I started off looking for oranges. It's going to be going on a white or off-white (I think they call it "snow") background.

This is my absolute favorite one. Interesting color combination with the steel blue and brick red.

All laid out. Orange lead me to red, which led me to including an ice blue and some pink. I was going for "summery." The blues are for a little pop of color. BAM.

I adore the fabric in the foreground. I'm sorry it's blurry here. I wish it was in the kind of fabric you could use for a dress. It would make a beautiful sundress.

More of this.

Bright and happy. I really hope it turns out.


My last experience with the quilting class was less than sensational. I was already nervous, which is never good. Like I said, I'm not great at sewing. I learned when I was in junior high, and I tried REALLY hard but I was slow. Instead of waiting for me to struggle through the project I was making, my grandma just finished my projects one day when I wasn't at her house. It killed me. I was so sad. From that point on, I was just kind of unsure and inferiority complex-ridden about sewing. I thought I'd done something wrong. Cut to me 15 years later trying to learn at the hands of some very talented women. I didn't even know how to thread my machine needle. Oh the shame.

April has been sewing, like since she was in the womb, so there was no terrible sewer cameraderie there. It's in their genes. Gluten-free E is even Totally Badass Quilter E. (Subject of another post.) I hate looking stupid at anything. Anyway, I went to the class with sweaty palms and my new sewing machine, and I just didn't feel comfortable. You know that feeling where you're smiling, but inside you're like I am going to either scream or cry if anyone asks me anything too complicated? Yeah, that. I liked the thing about everybody sitting around talking while they sewed things, but I felt like I was paralyzed by my lack of knowledge. If you don't know how to do anything without someone holding your hand, it's a very slow process. I felt like a baby.

Do you know what's the hardest for me about quilting? All the seams on the back. All the ironing--I'm sorry--PRESSING. Don't call it ironing or those ladies will jack you up in the parking lot after the class. All the holding the seams the right way so they don't stitch in the wrong direction. Ooooh. It gives me hives. The thing is, I can envision beautiful quilts in my head. I want to be awesome at it. I don't like being semi-awesome or mostly-retarded at things. I just felt such shame when the instructor held up my quilt top that had taken me hours and tears and sweat and seam-ripping to finish, and said now this is exactly what you don't want the back of your quilt to look like. Did you hear that? It was the sound of my pride deflating. The corners of my eyes burned and I silently swore to myself that I would try so hard never to humiliate a student like that, particularly if they had really tried their best at something.

I have to say I've had some very positive experiences with quilts and/or fabric since then. I've come to learn that April is totally laid back and cool about the whole thing, and that Meems is a really good teacher. She has spent a lot of time helping me. She doesn't mind telling me 800 times how to sew a border, or watching me try to press unsuccessfully because I can't remember the right technique. When it's just the two of us at my house, I don't feel nearly as stupid. I've managed to complete another quilt in the meantime since the last class with her assistance. I'm going to take this positivity and give the class another try.

I'm never going to be any good unless I can be in that quilt shop and learn the trade. If I'm going to be in this family, I'm going to have to learn. I want to learn. I want to be awesome. Like crocheting, quilting gives you the ability to gift meaningful, handmade gifts to people you love. I want that. Time to suck it up, put on my big girl panties, and sew.

Ima Nerd

Every time I work really hard on a post, I get all excited. This is it, I'll think, I did it. I actually wrote something worth reading... and I'll post it assuming that in two hours I'll have loads of comments... okay, one or two, at least. I'll check the site meter and see that 120 people read the story since I posted it... I'll get all excited, then I'll click on my site and see it sitting there, waiting for me:

0 comments.

I have to laugh at myself. I seem to get the most comments when I post thoughtless crap that I don't spend more than five minutes writing. Not that I'm complaining, I love any and all comments. It just cracks me (and E) up sometimes that I'll pour my heart our or try too hard to be funny, and then I hear the internet equivalent of crickets chirping. Am I right? Anybody? Anybody?

I'll keep checking my blog around the clock after I post, hoping that I just forgot to hit 'refresh' or that something was there that hadn't posted yet. Meanwhile I'll go read 50 blogs about almost nothing where the author posts something like a picture of a girl with runny mascara lounging in a bed of weeds or a pair of shoes and gets 100 comments in an hour. I know that my stuff is too much or too long for people to read sometimes. I also love those random pictures and shoes other people post. I just love the irony when I try so hard and it doesn't happen.

When I'm teaching, it gets so awkward if they don't laugh at my stuff. I have to say I'm totally used to the crickets by now--most of what I say isn't funny to them or they don't get it--but then I can at least make fun of myself. THAT they do get. I have the awkwardness built into my shtick. You have to just own it if you teach teenagers, otherwise your life would be a living hell.

Maybe a lot of it is that most of you don't want me to know you read this blog? Or you don't know if it's okay that you do? I wish I could say to all of you once and for all that I don't mind that you're here. My mom reads this. My former students read this. E reads this. I want you to know this is okay by me. That I totally already get it that the internet is a completely public place and I don't mind you knowing anything I post here. I really don't, and what you get here is sometimes very open and honest but is also very carefully scrutinized for how much I should reveal. It's good for me to write. You're reading, I'm writing. It's all good. If I did care who read my stuff, I wouldn't link to it on Facebook or Twitter. I wouldn't put it on the internet. I embrace the openness that comes with this blog as a medium. It's actually helped bring me closer to a number of people who have commented/emailed/contacted me regarding things I've written.

I'm thankful for all approximately 119 of you who read, and for the 1 who posts a comment occasionally. I'll try to be more comment-happy with the blogs I read too. I know I'm guilty of reading blogs (mostly on my reader, which makes it harder to comment) and not clicking through to say something.

Okay, I promise only to check this 4,563 times tonight before I go to sleep.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

All hail the fail whale


Do you know the fail whale? This morning I channeled him on my run. Before I get started, let's just get it out there that this post should have a soundtrack. I'm thinking some orchestral, waltzy thing. Blue Danube, perhaps? Da-da... Da-da... bink bink... bink bink... There, got it in your head now. This story needs that kind of juxtaposition of smooth, lilting waltz and awkward, clumsy runner fail. On we go.

I had a hard time even getting my donkey butt out of bed this morning. I should have known that was a bad sign. Loath to quit, however, I strapped the dogs into the sneakers, strapped the girls into a sports bra, pulled on a (white--it's dark at 5:00 AM, remember?) sweatshirt and jaunted out the door jauntily. By jauntily, I mean it took me 20 long minutes to drag that same butt out the front door. I don't know where the time went, but somehow I wasted 20 minutes. Maybe I was flashing, Desmond-like, into the past. Who knows.

After I took off once in the wrong direction, corrected, and then still managed to set out on a path that was altogether different from the one I'd mapped last night, I decided to quit fooling around, man up, and just do my miles. The initial part of the run was actually pretty sweet. I was breathing easy, I was warm enough in my sweatshirt, I had a nice pace going and I was feeling safe and happy. I wasn't thirsty, I hadn't forgotten to bechapstick my lips, and there weren't even that many cars out. My feet were just moving under me like a well-tuned machine, and I didn't have to give it much thought.

(Do you still have the waltz going in your head? Did you forget? It's absolutely relevant to the next portion of the story.)

About a mile and half in to the four and a halfer, I started to notice that my nose was running. I pulled a Kleenex out of my zip pouch and went to town on the sucker. Just kidding, I totally didn't, I went to wipe it on my sleeve. I was hoping you wouldn't judge me so harshly if I said I wiped it on a Kleenex. I'm not an everyday sleeve-wiper, but I didn't have any Kleenex, and I was sweating like a hog in Florida, so I was going to have to wash the thing anyway.

(Duh-duh-DUH... duh-duh-DUH... duh-duh-DUH-da-DUH-da-DUH-da-duh-duh...)

At the point of nose-wipeage, I reached up with my left hand, lifted my chin slightly, and averted my eyes in a well-timed bit of unfortunateness. My left foot hit an electrical panel for a stoplight, and I went down. The panel had been covered by asphalt, NOT VERY WELL, mind you, and in the dark I couldn't see that it wasn't flat. I hit. Man down. Slow-mo commenced. I felt this awful purple-white pain in my left foot. Yes, purple-white, like the color the sky turned in LOST when they stopped pushing the button. Everything is LOST today. Ben Linus. I grated my teeth together as I went down, and I landed on what I am sure of was the outside of my lower left calf and two of my palms at the same time. I was playing cement twister in the dark, on the boulevard, by myself. Right foot FAIL.

Time seemed to return to its ordinary speed just in time for one of my bike riding buddies to appear in the horizon, all blinky and be-vested. I thought oh good, someone will help me. Expectation fail. He just kept on riding. No wave, no "are you okay?" no "can I help you up?" Nothing. I was literally sitting on the side of the road clutching my ankle, crying. Thanks for your assistance, Jerkface. Maybe it's good it was dark, because it was quite a spectacle. After the pain stopped being immediate and sharp, I stood and tried to put weight on it.

No dice. My ankle yelled back at me, something about being a retard and some other words I can't repeat. It hurt so bad, but it was 5:20 and it was dark and all I could think was that E was going to have to pack the kids in the car (after waking them) to come get me. I didn't want that. I gave it some more time and then decided I would walk for a while. I kept heading in the direction I had been moving, only because I was heartbroken at the fact that I might not make my mileage for today, and I was damned if I was going to start this whole mess again tonight with a maybe busted ankle.

God bless adrenaline, because I think I had enough in me from the excitement of my sidewalk dive to keep the pain to a minimum. I made it to the halfway point, running from time to time, and turned back. I managed to run for most of the distance, but my ankle eventually just started to feel cold and too loose. I tightened my shoe laces, but by the time I made it back to my neighborhood, I just gave in and walked. It hurt.

What a giant fail! We didn't have any Motrin, so I had to take Aleve. I hate Aleve, because just when you think it's worn off and it's time for another pill, you remember oh great, I have another 6 hours to go before I can take anything. We don't have any kind of sports tape or wrap, so I am wearing tennis shoes to work. I was totally late because I wasted more time sitting on the couch trying to rest it after the run. I just feel kind of off. Please, oh please let this day go by quickly. I just want to get in my bed and crawl under the covers and hide... maybe with an ice pack on my left ankle.

Monday, August 24, 2009

I love this man!

I came home tonight to this...



(Handy E, fixing our baseboards 4 years after he took them off to paint them.)

and this...



(a clean-scrubbed kitchen counter)

and something which had not previously been there before... THIS:



(yes, it's a pantry, but wait for it...)

it turns into this...



(sliding shelves? are you kidding me? I can actually get to the back?)

it now does this...



(ta da!)

AND HE EVEN CLEANED AND ORGANIZED THIS:



All my appliances, all where I can reach them!

I decided it was snack time... time for a Laughing Cow/Wasa combo... my new fave. Yum. I am so hungry today after yesterday's 7 mile run.



I even took this super awesome beauty shot of myself eating my snack. E said it was gross because I had food on my face, so of course I had to put it up. That was a challenge. Could I look like a bigger goob? Yay for cheese.



Mmm...



Guess what came in the mail? Part I of The Thorn Birds. Good afternoon!


One more thing... today in my Freshman class, this kid was showing a picture of his wiener dog for this project we're doing. He said "this is my wiener dog, ______, and I really love him, but he leaves me a present on the floor every day when I get home from school..."

Freshman #2 goes "REALLY?" (all excited) "What is it? A present?!?!?!"

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Long run report: 7 miles


Seven miles. Done.

We didn't get the babysitter thing worked out early enough, so I got all set to hit the road by myself at about 10:45 this morning. While I was standing in the entryway, my dad called to say he could watch the kids. By then, though, E had already decided against running and I'd set my sights on a grand tour of the town so I just took off.

Several things were good today. Before I get into the running, I wanted to post a small joy--for two days straight, my weight has been down to 149. That feels like a huge milestone to me, being under 150. Now if I can just keep it that way. Today was also the first day where I actually could notice a difference in how my body looks. I don't know if it's muscle tone or weight loss or both, but I just felt like I looked better. E said something this morning too about noticing, which just made my day.

Anyway, back to the run. Seven miles. I got a few miles in before I had to walk or take a drink of water--two biggies for me. The weather was cool enough that I didn't feel like I was burning up (see this post about the awful run I did in the heat last Sunday) or dehydrated. I took several strategic walk breaks early because I knew that running for over an hour was going to be a big fat challenge.

Things went well overall. No matter what, I'm glad I finished it. No aches in my shins or calves, which had been the two things plaguing me this week. I have scoliosis, so another area I sometimes feel some pain is in my left shoulder (also a dance teaching injury I got from demonstrating a shoulder stand a few years ago). I noticed that I was carrying my tension there early in the run, so I tried to adjust a bit and relax. It's sore now, but it sort of stopped being an issue after about three or four miles this morning.

At about the halfway point (I had turned of Majel because I wanted to just run and not worry about how slow I was) I decided that I was feeling like I could use a little more energy. I had packed a Clif Shot gel in my fuel belt to give it a try. Last week I tried the Luna beans, and I wasn't thrilled with them. They were kind of gigantic and got all stuck in my teeth, so I felt like I wasted a bunch of water on swishing and goo removal. The Clif Shot was interesting, to say the least. I tried a chocolate one, and it was about the consistency and flavor of chocolate frosting. Not bad, but I'm not sure that's what I want in my mouth when I'm running. I don't even really like to drink Gatorade because I don't want to taste or smell anything when I run. Just give me some water, you know? But I know your body needs more than that for a long run.

I've read on a bunch of runners' sites that you're supposed to consume a gel in one or two gulps. Ha. This must be for super-duper runners who can pound and run. Why does my failure here make me feel like the squeamish chick at the bar who can't slam a shot? I took a deep breath and gave it a squeeze, which resulted in this big gooey mess stuck in my throat. The proceeding gag was enough to stop me in my tracks. Gagging and running? Pass. Hot chocolate goo? Pass. I had this thought for a second that I was going to blow chocolate chunks all over the sidewalk right there in front of First Baptist Church and all the families were going to drive by and say to their children that they needed to avert their eyes. I looked at the pack after the gulp and saw that I hadn't even consumed half of it. Awesome. It took another four or five tries to get it all out, and once again I wasted a lot of water trying to thin the frosting that was left on my tongue. We'll see if I continue with this. I wish they made it in smaller packs for wimps with strong gag reflexes.

So I kept running, and I was running on the main streets through town so I'm sure that someone saw me--and by someone, I mean my students. Nobody yelled "hey, Mrs. P, is that YOU?" out their window at least, which was nice. I got a DM on twitter from a former student about halfway in that said he saw me and to keep it up. That was okay, I like him. It made me smile and keep going. As I got to the main street, two things happened. It got really hot (or at least, much warmer than it had been) and the gel decided to wreak havoc with my tummy. Yeeeeouch. Ugh, I was not happy. To give you a good description of the digestive distress I was feeling, it was about like eating an entire burrito before an aerobics class. Yeah. Poopy.

I was running down the main street of our town and thinking, Oh my God, I'm going to have to barge into Denny's and ask to use the bathroom... God, it was just terrible. I kept running as much as I could because I didn't want to lose time, and wondered why there weren't many options along the road for places I was going to be able to stop and use the restroom. I just felt like I was going to be sick. I finally decided to just suck it up (after some walking) and try to make it home as quickly as possible. Like I said, I'm not so sure about these gels and stuff. I might just try the peanut butter and jelly sandwich thing next time. Or maybe almond butter, since peanut butter and me ain't really friends anymore. But... ugh. Just ugh.

I made it back in one hour, 28 minutes. I mapped it after I got back and it was a little over seven miles. Even with tummy trouble, that's about a 12:30 average per mile. Not bad. I really wasn't trying for speed, just completion. I have to say I didn't really do a good job of zoning out this time--I got myself all nervous about the run right before I took off and I probably couldn't concentrate because of that. I was feeling the feet hit the pavement and paying too much attention to the fact that I couldn't get in a good, deep breath. I did have this one moment of glory when "SexyBack" came on my iPod and I just ran and smiled to myself at my awkward love of guilty pleasure pop songs, but it didn't last long. I'm looking forward to my 8 miler next weekend because I think I'll run the same route and just add on. I'm always a little better once I've already run a route.

I got back and took a bath, but I couldn't sit still. My legs are kind of restless since I finished the run. I can tell I'm going to be sore. E made some delicious tri-tip for lunch, so I gorged on that, mashed potatoes, grapes, apples, carrots, and cucumbers (which I am still trying to teach myself to like). I watched TV and then I came back in the bedroom to take a nap, but those legs are still just restless... I think I'll sleep well for tonight, but I gave up on the nap right now when I couldn't even meditate myself into a relaxed state. (I like the meditation podcasts from the meditation station--on itunes... silly, I'm sure, but they work for me and they have a good progressive relaxation meditation I like.)

That's all for the long run report. I had to walk a lot which I'm not excited about, but given the stomach issues I was having, my pace didn't really end up being that bad. I'm exhausted, but I'm really proud that I did it. October is getting closer and I'm starting to get excited, thinking about really running this half marathon.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Nice walk

Tomorrow I attempt to run seven miles for the first time. Seven miles at the same time. Sheesh. I'm sitting down right now to map my route. I'm really hoping E will come with me for at least part of it, but that's going to mean getting a babysitter. We'll see. E's always all talk about running and then he doesn't really want to go. It would be nice to spend the time with him.

Speaking of E, things are better. We had a good talk this morning and I managed to do a better job of communicating what I'm feeling. We spent a lazy day around the house and tonight I went for a big long walk just before dusk. I think this helped immensely in the me not feeling upset anymore department. I love a good walk to clear my head.

I ended up talking to my dad on the phone for about the first 20 minutes, and the rest of the time I did what I always do when I walk, I listened to the Adam Corolla podcast and laughed out loud. I saw a few more animals tonight too... down by the lake I saw a bunny family and ducks galore. I didn't really get any good pictures, but I got some pictures. :)

E's putting the kids in bed--Henry has sufficiently kicked all our butts at Mario Kart Wii. Now I'm going to re-watch Californication with E... just started with Episode 1, Season 1 again. I love Hank Moody. As E just said, he's so "deliciously inappropriate." Plus, he'll always be Mulder to me.