Saturday, May 31, 2008

How Did This Happen?

I'm telling you, this vision in lavender was just learning how to walk a week ago, and a gawky 13yo with braces the day before yesterday.

Moving Forward (Running)

So...I seem to really LIKE long runs. And I seem to do them well (I'm always amazed at my times and how easy it seems). I don't think this bodes well for my plan to run 5Ks and just an occasional 10K.

Today I did 7.07m, a gorgeous run in heavy misty fog. It was a new path I found on, and it follows a man-made lagoon for the 2.5 miles, then the bay shoreline for another 2.5, with the other 2 along my home street, out and back. So a lot of waterside running, which was nice. Lotsa ducks, too.

The music my iPod decided on was perfect all the way: I was uplifted, laughed out loud, got teary eyed. This wonderful feeling starts earlier in the long runs of late. This time I was just a little over 2m when it started to feel fun, whereas a month ago I had to wait for 3m.

Part of my problem with short runs is that they're either speed work, which, as regular readers may perhaps have been made aware, I really despise, or they're runs with the dog, which have not been going so well of late. He's gotten comfortable with the whole running thing, and I've come to not be ever-vigilant, so when he suddenly lunges in front of me to go after a nutso squirrel, it's all I can do to keep from breaking a large bone in one or the other of us. I have sworn many swear words over the past two weeks because of Cal and squirrels.

Finally, I want to offer a paean to this stuff (yes, this is still a family blog): my children steal my socks. Apparently, tech running gear, and especially $6 per pair socks (that $3 PER SOCK) are the very height of public school fashion right now. This morning there were no running socks to be found, I just had a pedicure yesterday so was callous-less, and I knew my feet would be Blister City by the end of the run. So I applied this goo liberally to my tootsies and threw on a pair of Champion cotton socks, and miraculously I am without blisters. Good stuff.

Prom night is tonight. No pressure, but the child needs: shoes, jewelery, make up and has a hair appointment at 5, right before the obligatory parental photo session and then dinner. Pics soon.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Sixteen Candles

Today I remembered her newborn eyelashes and tiniest of tiny fingernails. I remembered the way she was both absolutely breathtaking and absolutely aware and engaged with everyone around her and absolutely pissed OFF at the inadequacies of her new environment, all at once. She hasn't changed much.

I remembered driving home from the hospital with her in her car seat in back and my husband driving 35mph on the freeway because the idea of speed with this precious, precious cargo was too much for him to bear. I remembered how tired we were and at the same time how besotted we were.

I remembered how the whole world changed in an instant that Friday morning. And it's been a better place ever since.

Happy birthday, baby.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Coloring Within the Lines

My new attitude helped at work, today. It helped a lot. I got more done in 8 hours than I have in the last month, and received a huge round of applause and kudos for my plan for taking on the Dreadful Project, and even made nice with someone whom I find very difficult (it was well-received, and we ended up talking about running shoes for a bit).

I did not run, however, as some new ab crunches I did yesterday messed up my upper back enough to really hurt. Ah, aging. You try to counteract it, and it does an end-around. But I think I'm good for a little run tomorrow.

And after I posted my zen thing yesterday, I realized that Stefaneener is on the same track (although she came first). And she continues today, so you can have Positive Thinking 101 in stereo, if you like. :-)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Epiphany the Third

A chocolate chip cookis is worth the points, especially homemade, right out of the oven.

Just one, though.
Posted by Picasa


Do they come in threes, or is that celebrity deaths? I can never remember.

I've had two (of the former) today, am looking for the third.

The first was while I fought through the tempo run on the treadmill. In my surfing on running lately, I came across the phrase "don't pick up the phone," suggesting that if you don't listen to the voices in your head telling you that this sucks and you should stop, they don't matter. And while pondering that, I realized this: speedwork is SUPPOSED to suck. That's how you know you're doing it well. You're pushing your threshold for suckiness a little bit farther every time you do it.

And then, then I was happy even as the sweat poured off me and I watched the seconds slooooowly tick by. Because I was succeeding at having it suck. And succeed I did, doing a full 5K at 9:08 pace with warm-up/cool down at 10:00, which is fabbo for me. I will break 9:00 a'fer you know it. And then? Who knows?

The second came several hours after a colleague, just arrived back from a trip to India that included a 10 day silent meditative retreat, told me about her experiences and her change in outlook since returning. I was sitting at my desk, staring mournfully out my window, despising my job with all my heart. And I suddenly realized that my job is a gift, and I'm just looking at it all wrong, and wanting to live in the glamorous future rather than the pedestrian moment. My incredibly boring job:
  • pays full health benefits for my whole family, for free
  • is part time
  • is happy to give me the most low-stress, boring projects while I'm in the MPH program
  • is happy to let me work my schedule around my classes in the MPH program
  • is RIGHT DOWN THE STREET from the MPH program
  • is situated at the desk with, serendipitously, one of the best views in the whole hospital
  • is surrounded by somewhat crazy but generally well-meaning and easy to work with people
  • and the best: the project I like the least, that everyone likes the least, needs someone to take ownership of it and produce a paper and academic presentation about it. I think I will do that. It will be a wonderful challenge, like getting below 9:00 for 3+ miles.

And I came home to a choice: either I could grouse about my kitchen being a disaster because there are three teenagers in it cooking for French class tomorrow, or I could be delighted because there are three of my favorite teenagers cooking for French class tomorrow in my kitchen. I'm choosing the second option.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Garden Photos

Summer starts on Memorial Day.

The garden is, essentially, done. I need to bury the hoses once they conform to their new bends, and hook up the timers. But the hard work is over, huzzah! I even got a start on veggies today, putting in a couple of bush beans, tomatoes and squash, along with a whole bed of basil starts.

My spouse also built yet another path in our front yard, and hauled yet another 1/2 yard of gravel from the nursery into the truck and out of the truck and to the path and smacked it down. He's my hero.

Memorial Day Running and Musing

My groove seems to have returned. After over a week of excruciating short runs, most of which required at least a 30 second walk in the middle, I went out for just over 4m today at a poky but defensible pace. I plan to do a treadmill speed session tomorrow, and if I live through that I should be back on track.

I ran without the iPod today because I wanted to keep the pace slow, and I ran by Alameda's Memorial Park (at the foot of the Bay Farm Bridge, for locals). The lack of tunes and proximity to the reminder of local lives lost in wars offered lots of opportunity for reflection on war and loss and gratitude to those who fought in wars just and unjust. I love Memorial Day for the same reason I love Thanksgiving: holidays designed for reflection and a search for some deeper meaning in our frenetic lives.

Another cloudy day today, perfect for all the little plants I set yesterday and for the home stretch of work in the yard. Then I will insist, INSIST, that this stretch of cool weather end so that we can start dining al fresco and enjoying the fruits of our labor!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Better Shot of Nose Stud

Here's a better shot. Told you it was tiny.

My needle guy was right, I do feel lots better today, and have made huge progress (and spent $400 in less than 4 hours) in the garden. Photos anon, along with snaps of the end of year Ultimate barbecue and awards ceremony, which starts shortly.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

A Post About How I Did Almost Nothing Today

I've whined a lot about being tired these last two weeks, and it's starting to bother me enough so that I went to see my acupuncturist today, for a double whammy: "tired" and "shoulder is starting to hurt like hell again." Two treatments. My shoulder instantly felt 95% better, and he promised less tired within a day or two. I hope so, as other than that appointment, grocery shopping and a haircut for the Princess, nothing useful got done today at all. No run, no gardening. Just a lot of yawning.

It rained, of all things (we are in a drought, haven't had any since early March), although just a little, and was definitely "sit around and feel blue weather." So I did. We watched some more old Disney films, because that's what we felt like watching. Today was Toy Story 2, the Disney animated Robin Hood (weirdest American kids' movie EVER - Andy Devine as Friar Tuck, just as one for instance, and a bizarre concatenation of Appalachian, 1960's Hippie and Medieval English dialogue) and later will be The Aristocats.

So an almost wasted day. I am, however, officially one half of the way through the 18 charted rows of Tangled Yoke, with no mistakes.

No mistakes that haven't been fixed, that is. Want to know what I learned to do? This is definitely the coolest knitting trick I've learned in six years of knitting: I can fix wrong-way cables without ripping all the way back. Yeah. I can. It's almost as good as being able to fly, frankly, or maybe having laser vision.

I figured it out in desperation after ripping the same two 216 stitch rows back twice because of one wrong cable swap early in the row. (Don't ask me why I can't just LOOK after each cable to see if I did it right...learning how to reflip them was apparently easier than remembering to look.)

I'm getting excited about this sweater, as it now definitely looks like a sweater and fits when I try it on, and once the cable is done is just spittin' distance from a button band and blocking.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Holes Where There Weren't

At last bell today, I was outside the door of the Teen Princess and JMan's school, and ran into the Ulti coach/Biology teacher, one of our favorite adults there. He asked me what I was doing (the kids usually get home on their own), and I said I was taking a group of girls to get pierced. Without missing a beat, he said, "you seem like the kind of mom who would do that."

And that really does make me wonder about myself.

Six girls, six new holes among four who were being pierced (the other two and I just there to witness), and a total of 25 holes they weren't born with among the six girls by afternoon's end. This generation is astonishing in its pain tolerance, I have to say. Nobody even winced, and all happily took the coupons for $2 off the next piercing. [The stud in TP's nose is super tiny, you may have to enlarge the photo to see.]

And then, 'cause it's what you do after have giant hollow needles pushed through your cartilidge, we all went out for frozen yogurt. With gummy bears. Now the nose-stud wearer is watching a Disney classic, The Black Cauldron. 'Cause she's that kinda girl.

In other news: no running today due to extreme air quality problems this morning due to a local fire. But I did find a mid-June race that should get me back to my motivated state. And it even offers Indian food at the finish (INDIAN FOOD!), so the Princess has agreed to run it, too.

Lots in the garden, today: two fountains installed, Auntie Jan's castoff patio furniture spruced up and given new cushions, lights installed for nighttime dining, and a few plants purchased. Tomorrow is potting soil and the beginnings of planting.

Finally, I haven't gone on off about how much I love my kids' tiny funky school in a while...I got invited to a boutonierre/corsage-making party for the moms of prom-goers, night before prom. I mean, how cool is that? And, as far as I can tell, there's no ulterior motive, like lets all set rules or make sure they have their stories straight. It's just...let's save the kids a few bucks and make something pretty and have fun.

And you know who let me know about it? TP's date's mom.

It's just cool, that's all.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

On Running

Lordy, I do not want to run. Every fiber of my being cries out, "nooooooo, no, don't do it! Take a nice nap, instead!"

I did a 3.25m Tuesday, and will, somehow, get out today for same despite hardcore wind and chilly spring temps. But tomorrow? I dunno.

Part of my problem is that once I gave up on doing the See Jane Run on 5/31 (coincidentally, prom night) so I could rest up a little, I haven't been able to find a suitable replacement race to aim for. Nothing, NOTHING, local in mid-June. We have an in-town 4th of July race, and since the whole town watches the race and the parade following it, that's tempting (I'd get to wave "hi" to lots of folks I know),'s not timed or organized or medaled, or anything. And it's $50 (all goes to charity), and that's a chunk of change, you know? Not that I wouldn't appreciate NOT getting a cheap t-shirt for once, but I would like a time and place for $50. And beyond that, there's nothing in the area that's remotely workable until mid-summer. And that's too far off to be really a goal sort of goal.

Yes, these are the things I whine about in 2008. Not enough races to run, and too much wind.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Email Withdrawal, Parenting 101

For the second time in two years, I forgot to pay for my domain name (I always remember to pay for my domain hosting, but forget to pay for the name) and so am without email until it's reinstated.

It's just freaky to not have email. Like an eerie sci fi movie, where the protagonist looks out his window into the normally bustling urban landscape and one. No one at all.

But I'll talk anyway.

I'm entering new parental waters with both kids.

The Teen Princess is living up to her name. She has been invited to...wait for it...



We told her no dating until she was sixteen, so she's sixteen on 5/29 and prom is 5/31. Neat as a pin.

He's a nice kid, I've known his folks for a couple of years, and a bunch of other young'uns (she's a sophomore, albeit a grown-up one) are going with her, none of them in real couples, and nobody seems inclined to freak out about limos or hotel suites (um, no.) or other stuff all over reality TV. So I'm OK, but still. It's prom. And she's my wittle baby girl.

Deep breaths.

The other child is in some minor, normal, pre-teen boy trouble, and I won't embarrass him in public, but all at once on a Tuesday in what I had dubbed Full Recovery Week for myself...? I'm just not quite up for it. When my office mate whines about potty training two children at once, I have to roll my eyes and bite my tongue, you know?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Coming Along Nicely, Thanks

This morning I had about 4 hours of clear-headed, productive work time at the hospital, and it made me realize I've been in a fugue state for the last several weeks, just moving forward in zombie fashion. I'd concentrated on doing the mindless parts of my job, without realizing it, so I'm not too far behind, but I haven't done anything that required any thought or sustained effort since mid-April, at least. Lucky I'd built up some work karma in the months preceding. I pooped out in the afternoon, despite a latte fix at 3, but am optimistic about tomorrow.

I also am coming along in other areas. I knitted for over an hour on Tangled Yoke, only to have to tink about half of what I'd done, but I do now know what I'm doing right and wrong, and can knit on without feeling like I'm groping in the dark for the right way to proceed.

The garden looks like Christmas Eve at bedtime, just waiting to be filled up with lovely presents(except that we had volunteer morning glories and leftover tiger lilies already going at it). I'm so excited for next weekend, it's been three long weekends (one without me) of hard, hard work.

And running: I took Friday through Monday off (although hiked a few miles in sand with heavy bags on Saturday and worked hard in the garden Sunday), and will go out easy tomorrow for 3. Maybe I'm a wuss, but I'm not an injured wuss.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Heat Wave? So Over.

That's the Pacific, at Thornton Beach, just south of San Francisco, yesterday afternoon. Friday afternoon it was a beautiful 85 degrees at the shore, but the weather doesn't care about work/school days, it just does what it likes. So Saturday we had pea soup fog, so thick you could actually see it blowing across the beach, in waves above the waves.

Still, we had a lovely time, three of the five kids happy to actually go IN to the icy waters (typical water temps here are in the 50's), and four of the four parents watching even the biggest teens carefully for signs of struggle in an undertow. Yeesh.

Back home in the East Bay, it's hard to believe we were in fog that thick just a few hours ago.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Garden Progress

While I was away, eating barbecue and running in beautiful spots, Spouse was making a hero out of himself. Against all odds, he moved 3 cubic yards of gold fines to the back yard in a wheelbarrow (that's over 2 tons, people!) and formed it into paths and a seating area. Then he mulched the new berms with 1.5 yards of small bark (but ran out, we have to buy more this weekend). It looks incredible, and my estimate for two weekends to complete the paths was woefully pessimistic.

So this weekend, after a sojurn to the beach this afternoon with friends in the city, we will begin to work on mulching the rest and getting the scores of pots ready for planting. Memorial Day weekend will be all about planting, and by mid-June we might have somewhere to hang out!

Cal is not allowed in the fenced area. He is nothing if not bold.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Reports: Running

Highs and lows. This week I ran the two most beautiful runs yet, within 3 days of each other. First was the Little Blue Trace in Independence, MO. Spectacular! Birds, lovely trees, a beautiful creek (trace) and only two humans in four miles. Not only that, but it started right behind our hotel, so I got back and hit the breakfast bar as soon as I cooled down.

Second was Otis Rd. in Cedar Rapids, IA. My sis writes about it much more eloquently than I, but it was all that and a bag of chips. Six miles was easy as pie, with that much beauty.

But a treadmill run Wednesday suggested to me that I have pushed too far these last six weeks. In between the travel schedule, which has been insane, and the training schedule, which as been pushing it, things were getting hard. Too hard. I took Thursday off, and tried again today, albeit in high 80's temps at 6:00am, and it just wasn't happening. Two miles into a tempo run, my stomach felt awful, my knees hurt, my back hurt and I was totally out of breath. I know when I'm licked, and I'm taking one, possibly two days off, and then doing a slow week, as if recovering from an injury. Then I'll pick up the training schedule as of two weeks ago, and plan to run the next 5K in mid-June, instead of in two weeks.

Still, being able to purchase and wear size four blue jeans that are not embarrassingly tight? That experience yesterday made up for any sadness about having to slow down. Running rocks.

Reports: Knitting

Tangled Yoke did indeed get tangled. Yes it did. I made it to row 7 of the charted yoke, and then all the tiny mistakes became one big one. So I ripped back to the base row...and am trying to look at it as an engaging mental exercise. Yes! Brain fun! That's what charted patterns are. Fun.

Photos when I get done with those pesky 18 rows.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Reports as Events Warrant: Kansas City

It's been a tiring travel week, following on the heels of an exhausting six weeks of travel. But we're home, and with no plans to leave the time zone, or even the county, really, until August. Thanks goodness.

The Princess and I left Thursday for a stint in Independence, MO. Every Ultimate trip is better than the one before, and this was no exception. Friday was a balmy midwestern day, with rain in the morning: the teams practiced on a local soccer field and I and the other chaperones headed off to the Harry Truman Presidential Library. This was a great museum, so much better than I anticipated. I really thought it would be a snoozefest (and I *like* history), but I came away with a much better understanding of Truman's era and the decisions he made, and was both entertained and moved throughout the two hours we spent there. Five stars. Although the gift shop is sorely lacking. No chocolate, for one thing.

Friday night we found ourselves in the misnamed Power & Light district, which had little of either going on, nor people, nor shops, nor really anything. With no Plan B, someone's memory of some kind of museum being open late on Fridays was the best we could do. Fate was with us: It was one of the best art museums I've ever visited, it was free, it was open until 9, the kids, to a one, loved it, and the museum staff were incredibly gracious about having their space taken over by 35 teenagers.
Outside the museum, almost as spectacular as the exhibits inside (just perfectly laid out, with lots of space between each one, lit well, beautiful rooms, etc.), was a fabulous sculpture garden filled with Henry Moores and other great works. We strolled about at twilight, and figured our night could not be topped.

We were wrong. We really wanted barbecue, 'cause that's what you eat in Kansas City. Driving down Main, our caravan of enormous vans veered into Gate's BBQ parking lot without calling ahead or even thinking ahead, but good things started to happen as soon as we crossed the threshold. Everything about this place was spot-on perfect for us, from the counter staff who growled in mock (?) exasperation at us for not knowing what we wanted NOW, to the too cheap prices (!), to the wonderful dining room matron who adopted our group and took us to barbecue Nirvana. It was so good it was indescribable. We cheered at the end, literally. Best 'cue ever. Ev. Er. By a long mile. Here you see senior Jesse going for a record in the Q eating contest that spontaneously erupted.

There was frisbee, too. I only watched the girls, because the boys were playing about a half mile away, but they played better than I've ever seen them. It was great fun to watch. Games ended at 6:30pm, and as the "good game" line set up, a HUGE bolt of lightning hit about 200 yards from us, and the skies opened up biblically. Being as we were on the highest field on the highest hill for quite some distance, we calmly made our way down to the vans...shrieking really loudly and pushing smaller people out of the way. We survived, and went on to have dinner at IHOP, which was surprisingly easy with 43 people on a Saturday night.

Sunday it was windy, more than a little. Windy enough that games were decided by the coin toss, 'cause teams couldn't score upwind, so whoever picked the downwind goal on the first point had the game, no question. Our girls lost two of three that way, sadly, but still played well enough overall to take 6th out of 12 in the tourney. Last year they were 11th, and it's pretty much the same teams, so huge improvement. They're hoping to place next year.

Oh, forgot. It was also a little muddy.

Sunday night we said goodbye to the team at KCI, and checked into a hotel at the airport, to sleep before our next trip: a 5.5 hour drive to Cedar Rapids, to pay our final respects to my grandmother. The occasion was sad, but the company, including many loved ones, was wonderful, and the service and reception was so nice. Just as she would have wanted. Wednesday the Princess and I drove back down to KC for the flight home. And here we are.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

A Life Well-Lived

Adams, Elizabeth Ann "Betty" Roth

CEDAR RAPIDS - Elizabeth Ann "Betty" Roth Adams, 93, of Cedar Rapids, died Sunday, May 4, 2008, at the Dennis and Donna Oldorf Hospice House of Mercy in Hiawatha following a short illness. After a private memorial service at Cedar Memorial Park Chapel of Memories, members of her family will greet friends at a reception from 1 to 3 p.m. Tuesday, May 13, in Oak Hall at Cottage Grove Place.

Her husband, Henry James "Hank" Adams, and son, Henry James Jr. "Jim" preceded her in death in 1961. Her sister, Rosemary Reid, with whom she was very close, passed away in 2007.

Betty was born Aug, 20, 1914, to Walter Kerr Roth and Elizabeth Nicoll Roth, in Cedar Rapids, where she grew up. She attended Washington High School and continued her education at Ward-Belmont College, Northwestern University, and graduated from Parsons in New York City. Betty and Hank were married May 14, 1938, at First Presbyterian Church in Cedar Rapids.

From an early age, Betty exhibited a passion and talent for the visual arts. She studied painting for many years and developed into an accomplished painter, specializing in watercolors and collages. Subjects included colorful floral stilllifes, impressionistic landscapes and occasional abstract pieces. Later in life, she branched out into other creative media, expressing herself in quilting, clay work, woodcarving and many other crafts. In addition, Betty was eager to share her artistic knowledge and skills with others, and she taught several art workshops to other residents of Cottage Grove Place, where she made her home since 1996.

Betty's interest in seeing beautiful new vistas also expressed itself in her love of travel. Betty's travels abroad took her to England, Scotland, Italy, and many areas of Southeast Asia, including Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Singapore, Bali and Vietnam.

Family, friends and new acquaintances alike appreciated Betty for her keen sense of humor and, perhaps most importantly, her ability to laugh at life and at herself. Practical and independent, she was a self-possessed and self-sufficient woman throughout her years, even through her final days. She lived a life of dignity and grace, and will be fondly remembered for her loyalty to family and friends, intelligence, curiosity, thoughtfulness, sense of adventure, fortitude and resilience. She will be greatly missed.

The family wishes to thank the nursing staff and caregivers of Mercy Medical Center and Cottage Grove Place for the excellent care they gave Betty during her illness and especially want to thank the caregivers at the Oldorf Hospice House of Mercy for the tender and compassionate care they gave Betty and her family during her last days.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

I Picked

'K, it's University of California, Berkeley, for me. $24,000 vs. $61,600 (yow!) for the program, and they let me on to the Cal public health internship site today and boy HOWDY are there some cool things on there, and I assume there will be for summer of 2009, too.

So, I'm done. I'm a Cal bear, starting August 27, 2008. Phew.

Prednisone is a wonder drug. JMan still looks like heck, just awful, like he just got out of a burn unit, but he is feeling much, much better. No itching, no oozing, no pain. Just very very talkative and hungry.

The last three days in front of the telly (with the prednisone adding to the appeal of that channel) have paid off, for all of us. He watched a lot of the Food Network, and is working on some from scratch salsa fresca for us right now.

How 'Bout That?

I just got the nod from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health (this is for the 80/20% distance/on-site program, so I'd spend about a month a year in Baltimore, and do the rest locally), which is pretty slick. I honestly wasn't expecting that. I'm 99% sure I will turn them down and stay with Cal . Cal's program is not only on-site, allowing me to make better long-term connections here on the West Coast, but it lets me focus on biostats over broader public health curricula, which JH doesn't not allow for. But as I haven't written a check to Cal yet, I will reflect for a day or two before doing that.

It's nice to be wanted. :-)

Monday, May 05, 2008

What I Did This Weekend, Besides Run

This is not really a "before" shot. For that, we would have needed photos when it was filled with weeds and old plastic toys and dropped fruit. But this is how it looks today from our bedroom deck, with the weed block for the path and one bed down. 3 cubic yards of "gold fines" (poor man's decomposed granite) are being delivered Saturday (Spouse just said to me, in all seriousness, "it comes in little bags, right?"). I came home from Home Depot tonight with a wheelbarrow and a tamper and the rest of the needed weed block. I think maybe I should have bought a giant bottle of Motrin and a heating pad, while I was at it.

JMan has the worst case of poison oak I've ever seen. He and friends wandered off trail on a hike a few days back. It's covering over half his skin area, and weeping so much we have to park him on towels. When the doc-in-training saw him she thought he had Stephens Johnson syndrome, which is a toxic drug reaction they put you in the hospital for. Let me tell you, THAT freaked this mom out a little. But the pediatrician said, "no, that just looks like one of the worst cases of poison oak I've ever seen" and gave us a prednisone scrip and a suggestion that we buy a lot of oatmeal and start chicken pox style baths. He was optimistic JMan will be back at school Wednesday and fully functional by next weekend.

And you? You can be grateful that my photography bug has some limits.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Race Report: Devil Mountain 5K

OK, I now see what a big difference race management makes to running geeks. This one was not well managed (I'm going to avoid a five paragraph rant here), so I'm grateful I wasn't in a hotly contested race for first. As it was, my official time and place are both dismal and completely wrong. [Can I just say? Two queues at the finish does not work if a dad with an $800 baby stroller stops dead 10 feet before the actual finish to check on the baby, and all the other runners who chose the other queue get to go way ahead of you both in time and in the bib tear-off line...]

Unofficially, I took 6th in my group, would have easily taken 4th or 5th if I'd been smart enough to ignore the pacing line-up [everybody else did] and start the race on time. By my clock, I ran it in 27:49 (8:58 pace), which is a 41 second improvement over the Greek in March, and it was much, much easier. In fact, if I'd known the course, I could have picked up the pace the last mile. [Final gripe: mile markers? K markers? Anything other than fans shouting, "you're halfway there!" would have been useful.]

Bitchy bitchy bitchy. Two months ago I just wanted to survive a 5K, and now I'm all, "geez, I wanted to place and race management prevented it..." A grip is needed, and I shall obtain one. I will choose future races more carefully, and in the meantime be happy that I am getting faster, as I'd hoped.

Now, back to the yard! It's starting to look like a construction area, but you can also start to see how it will look when we're done. Very cool.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Last Batch. For Today. I Promise.

I can't stop. Seriously, it's becoming a problem. I've already used up 4 AA batteries, need to go get rechargeables.

From the garden.

A long-ago craft project. (Our last name starts with P. Get it?)

When teenagers get angry.
This is where I left off on the quilt. I just need to get to it.

In between shoots, Spouse and self managed to get a lot done in the back. We decided to take on a bigger project than originally planned, and create gravel paths and a seating area. So tomorrow post-race is gravel shopping.
I love my life.

More Photos

Believe it or not, these are all from one three hour period yesterday (frisbee practice and then a party). The two gorgeous small children are Stefaneener's things.

I have a lot to learn, but about every 10th shot is turning out to be a keeper, and if I just keep pressing the button, I should get something, right?

Today is house cleaning, bill paying, back yard mulching, and tomorrow is race day. Woohoo! So glad to have a weekend at home. First time in over a month.