Saturday, May 31, 2008
Today I did 7.07m, a gorgeous run in heavy misty fog. It was a new path I found on http://www.mapmyrun.com/, 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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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), but...well...it'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.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
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 sees...no 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.
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
Sunday, May 18, 2008
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.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Friday, May 16, 2008
Photos when I get done with those pesky 18 rows.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
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.
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
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
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.
It's nice to be wanted. :-)
Monday, May 05, 2008
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.
Sunday, May 04, 2008
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
From the garden.
A long-ago craft project. (Our last name starts with P. Get it?)
This is where I left off on the quilt. I just need to get to it.
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.