Sunday, March 30, 2008


We are now on the second half of the triathlon training class and in this half we are basically giving up the warmth of the gym to ride our bikes outside. I love that I don't have to take my bike, trainer and wheel prop in and out of the car and the gym. I even like running outside, FAR more than running on the dreadmill. Biking in 3o something degree weather, well that is a bit of a different story--the diplomatic might call it invigorating.

We rode a two mile loop this morning, I think I did it 6 times. I lost count somewhere along the way because I was too obsessed about not crashing into the traffic at the bottom of one hill, the serious chaffing going in my lady garden and thinking about the fact that my feet were so cold they hurt. I am sure in August I'd love the cool breeze blowing in my face, this morning however it was just adding insult to injury. I don't have long bike tights so I had on running tights with my bike shorts on top so I didn't have to wear them to run. Big mistake. I think I'd rather have had the cushion next to my skin that shedding the shorts to run. My feet were so cold that I wasn't sure I'd ever feel them again. When I started running, they starting warming up--I don't think I've ever been so happy to run.

Afterwards we were supposed to get a demonstration on how to fix a flat, basic bike maintenance and he was going to have basic stuff there to sell us. Well he did show us the fixing the flat part but we had to wait around for him in the cold to get around to it. He didn't tell us anything else, he encouraged us to sign up for the free class at his bike shop. He also didn't bring anything with him and missed a golden opportunity to sell things to a captive audience. Moron. I think I'll head off to visit my friends at my favorite local bike shop--its been 2 or 3 weeks since I've been in the bother them about anything. I need a small bike pump and after another week or two I'm going to have to make a decision about a new bike saddle so I am not saddle sore all the time.

I didn't make the Sunday afternoon nap that has become tradition. Instead I went with Esmerelda and PDQ for pedicures. It was Es' birthday gift to PDQ, perhaps her favorite of the bunch!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Where did the week go? And the month of March?

Wow, last week is a total blur!
We started off in Ohio to visit my family. It was a great trip. I got to play auntie to my nephew Brady who turned 9 weeks old while we were there. He is one of those sweet baby boys who look more like wizened old men than chunky babies. He always looks like he is deep in concentration or has something to add to the conversation. After hearing what a fussy baby he was I was delighted to find out that he has a fussy evening session but the rest of the time he is easy going--after the child who didn't sleep until she was 3, this kid is nothing!
The girls got to spend time hanging with Brady along with big brother Matthew. This is the only picture of the three big kids where everyone is a-in focus and b-hand are not in or near the nose!
At almost 3 Matthew has become the train savant rattling off Thomas facts at the drop of the hat. They go everywhere with him--including the tub. We took the kids to a hands on children's museum in Lancaster, OH (if you are near there, check it out). The neighbor and her daughter went along as well, a great time was had by all. Matthew was NOT happy when we were leaving so we ended up with a fourth child (the oldest child stayed behind to work) for the trip back to my parents for Easter. I was a little worried he'd freak out once we'd left home behind but he was content to travel with us, in fact he slept driveway to driveway. Halfway through that trip I realized that the girls' Easter dresses were hanging in the closet at my sister's house. Ooops.

After the exhausting trip home it was back to work. What a zoo! The three days I took off? Well all the meetings for those days had to go somewhere. They were packed into 4 days of almost nothing but meetings and not the kind of meetings where you can just go and have a vacation in your head. No these were meetings where I had to listen so I could act on stuff later or even better, lead them and try to take notes that would distill down the hours of talk into a few salient points. To end the week my new boss who is the president of one of the divisions suggested that he'd like to have me work for the new head of technology saying he thought he could use my help. Its an interesting opportunity, we'll see what shakes out in the coming weeks! The two of them are my first male bosses in ten years. While I've worked mostly with men I've had a female boss since coming to the company, its an interesting switch to say the least.

Its finally Saturday night, Gman had a work crisis and went in to try and figure out how to make it better and hope he isn't to blame, wish him luck on both counts! Now I am off to bed, had a good swim with Es today, she is a fish in the pool! I thought I'd like the slightly warmer pool but alas no, I think I actually worked up a sweat swimming and I didn't like it! Tomorrow I totally loafed for about a week, my allergies were acting up and then there was the traveling. I am so happy to get back to my work-out routine this week. morning is our first bike and run outside for the Spring. Send warm vibes!

Also while I had a few minutes this evening and was perusing the pictures from the trip I came across this which may be the best picture ever taken of my sister and I together. One of us always has her eyes clothes, a whacked out look in her eye, or drool in the corner of her mouth.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Maven Says: Lost In Space

Thursday we set off to visit my family in the far reaches of Ohio which from coming from the hustle and bustle of the east coast often feels like moving to a different (and not altogether bad) planet. The life forms are a little different and things move at a different pace. So, for our intergalactic journey we took along the Zula Patrol: Explore Space! DVD. I settled down in the back of the earth roving Odyssey with my 4 and 7 year old and we were off for our trip through space.

From my captain's chair I watched the spacey cartoon characters tell my kids about moons probes and astronaut training. I thought the brightly colored characters did a great job of conveying a consistent message about the subjects in a fun way. Each section had a few main points such as: moons are also called satellites and they orbit around their planet. The tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them and tell them what you told them formula was used well to drive home those points. I thought it was a good mix of scientific facts and fun for kids. It was particularly fun for us when there was a thank you message to Goddard Space Flight Center for some space footage, that is where Gman spends his days getting paid to do space-stuff. Similarly we have friends who work on other NASA related projects and have sent probes to far off planets. (To give you some perspective on Gman and his long time love affair with space, when he and his first wife split he left with the clothes out of his closet and his telescope.)

While I thought the cartoon was fun and a good mix of the scientific on a level that kids 4-7 could grasp, Gman wasn't quite so enamoured. He didn't like that while the cartoon about the moon talked about the moons and their orbits it depicted the moons flying through space to get to the "moon wash." For him the cartoon story got in the way of the scientific fact so it might not be the DVD for a budding rocket scientist. I am a little more forgiving, it is teaching some basic facts about space and astronomy while holding kids attention by telling a fun story that they can follow.

Thanks to the folks at Parent Bloggers Network for letting us take this trip through space and our views on what kids should get out of educational videos. You can check out what other bloggers have to say about two Zula Patrol videos this one on space and another about weather over at the PBN site and you can order one or both of the videos at Border's. You can also check out the Zula website for additional information about the TV show, science center exhibits and co-lateral learning materials.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

You know that warning about drowsiness?

Take it seriously. Last night I took a couple of Benadryl to try and rope in my allergies. I have a nasal spray too but its just not doing the trick. At that point I'd have done anything to stop the itching and runny nose. Someone should have warned me it just wasn't driving that I wanted to avoid. "Do not, under any circumstances attempt hair removal of any type while under the influence of these drugs" is the warning I would add to that label if I were queen.

Boobah begged me to trim her bangs so I obliged and between my haziness, Gman's "help" and her moving her head it wasn't a great experience for any of us. She kept moving her eyebrows and right in the middle of her bangs there is a short place. I gave a fleeting thought to sneaking into her room last night and evening them up while she slept and was still. It didn't look that bad this morning but I am sure grandma will have something to say about it when we go visit for Easter.

Then in another stroke of genius I finally remembered that I needed to wax my eyebrows to look a little less like Sasquatch. I got out the wax (which I never intended to buy, I thought I got the strips), warmed it up and went to town. I managed to get a lot more in my eyebrows than I had intended as well as trapping a good hunk of eyelashes. I tried everything I could think of to try and get the stuff out of my eyelashes and brows without pulling out hair. I was only marginally successful. I have a little bald spot in my right eyebrow and am missing a clump of eyelashes as well. Gman found this too highly entertaining.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Southern Cooking Sacrilege

I told the family this morning that we were going to have breakfast for dinner. I had a taste for bacon and eggs. I stopped at the grocery store after church and got all the necessary ingredients--eggs, center cut bacon, and while drifting through the aisles I was pulled over into the refrigerated breads. Mmmmm, biscuits would taste really good with our dinfast. My first culinary no-no, making biscuits from a pop-open tube.

This afternoon after a marathon trip to Kohl's to use my 30% coupon we attempted to take a nap. It really didn't happen for any of us. When I said I was going to make dinner, bacon, eggs, biscuits--GMan asked for sausage gravy. We were all well on our way to an Rx for Lipitor so why not guarantee it? I sent GMan back to Kohl's to return something and procure more underwear (his were buy 2 get 1 free and he didn't pick up the 3rd package silly, non-sign reading, boy) and to grab some sausage at the grocery store next door.

He did his shopping chores while I started dinner for tonight as well as throwing together the beginnings of dinner tomorrow for us and a friend undergoing chemo for breast cancer. While waiting for some sausage I whipped up this recipe from Cooking Light for Middle Eastern Carrot Salad. Finally GMan arrives home and I get to gravy making. This is when I realize we only have whole wheat flour and skim milk. I would guess there is serious rolling over in the graves of serious Southern cooks everywhere tonight. I threw it together anyway and it was good, darned good. Even PDQ tried it (despite wrinkling up her nose at the way it looked) and declared it to be good. A good thing I don't cook things like that often or we'd all be a little bigger and a little less healthy but once in awhile pork fat is good eats!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Running: Now and Then

About 6 months ago I started running with the intention of doing a triathlon this year. I started by finding a Couch to 5K running program that promised to have me running for 30 minutes after 16 weeks. There were some starts and stops along the way, a sore hip here, sore knee there, and a couple of bouts with sinus issues. Then there was winter, I forced myself to run on the dreadmill I didn't like it, but I did it. Anytime the weather was remotely warm enough to think about running outside, I did. Then in January our tri training class started and the running generally followed over an hour on the bike. It really made me doubt my ability to swim, ride and THEN run especially on days like Sunday when it was cold and the wind was fierce.

Today when the weather was in the 50s and I had a day off yesterday I pondered the difference between running (okay RUN might be a strong word, jog or slog might be a better term) now and when I started:

Then: I checked my watch every 30 seconds to determine when I could stop running
Now: I check my heart rate monitor after 10 or more minutes to see where my heart rate is

Then: I'd try to run when there would be the least people who would see me
Now: I run whenever I feel like running

Then: I'd stop running when I had to, I just couldn't do more
Now: It is a concious decision to stop, not an overwhelming feeling of I can't go any further

Then: There was mostly walking for 30 minutes of a "run" and I was worn out
Now: I can run for 40 minutes without stopping and might be able to go longer if I tried

Then: I avoided running uphill at all costs
Now: I avoid running up big hills at all costs but I tackle the little ones full speed ahead

Bring on the spring and an opportunity to run and bike outside. Now that I've conquered my fear of running I need to get over my fear of rocketing down hills 0n my new road bike. The POINT is to go fast!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Happy Birthday PDQ

Friday was PDQs birthday, she turned 7. She mentioned the upcoming birthday at least 7 times a day, 7 days a week for the last 7 weeks. Is it bad that I am glad it is finally over?

Here is one of my favorite pictures from the early days:

I am glad the birthday and party are over but am awed by the seven year old this cute little baby has become. I marvel over the genetic mix, she has my facial features atop Gman's body. Its amazing to watch the outcome of mixing our DNA. His brown eyes and my blue have given her stunning blue/hazel eyes that change with her mood and wardrobe. I hope we don't get blamed for the less desirable of the genetic traits we've possibly passed along like a tendency to gain weight and wide feet.

Everyday this little girl amazes us with her ability to put together complex ideas one minute like an adult and the next minute pinch her sister like a two year old for not sharing the markers . I love that she is becoming more independent and forming strong opinions. Pink is out, blue is in. Like broccoli, hate salmon (and then, being the girl that she is, changes her mind to decide its not that bad).

The birthday magic was shared with Grammy & Pop from Ohio who came for a long weekend and managed to escape from the snow. On Saturday night we held a High School Musical Half-Sleepover in our basement. Thanks to whomever came up with the half-sleepover idea. The girls came at 5:30, we had pizza and did a Wildcats pennant, watched the HSM II movie, had cake and sent them on the way. It was a glimpse into what our future holds, shrieking girls, telling secrets, and swapping opinions on clothes.

Happy seventh birthday PDQ, I love you more than I could ever have imagined possible.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Coffee+Tide=Barf Smell?

This morning I stopped at 4-bucks for a skinny mocha and ran into my tri training coach. We chatted a minute and when I turned to go I spilled coffee down the front of my white shirt (and I do have a meeting with my boss this morning). I whipped out the fabulous Tide pen and cleaned up my mess-coffee gone, no trip home to change my clothes. Then I realized that there was a stench, a smell like vomit radiating from my chest. It was the same smell that GMan created the other day when he spilled coffee on a chamois shirt. I assumed it was the shirt. Apparently not. Who knew that mixing the Tide pen and coffee created a smell equivalent to an elementary school classroom after someone loses their lunch!

I keep getting a whiff of the offending smell and am transported back to the days of having a small infant. I'd come to work and smell spit-up. I couldn't see it, often I'd already cleaned it up but the smell lingered. I hope this one goes away and FAST!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Exercise High

This morning we did a mini-triathlon in training class, 10 minutes in the pool, 15 minutes on the bike, and a 10 minute run around the indoor track at 5:15 in the morning.
10 min swim=400 yds (2:30min/100 yds)

15 min bike=unfortunately no odometer or speedometer on the bike but I mixed in some serious spinning with a few hills, I felt the pain :)
10 min run=.95 miles (10.32 min/mi)

I felt really good afterwards, like we were just getting started. What a change! I can remember the last time I tried to run the indoor track at the gym about a year ago, I couldn't make it more than a lap and a half before I had to walk. The 2:30 min/100 yds was my goal for the Tri to Win in June, maybe I need to move my goal time down just a bit.

While the scale isn't moving much I can see changes in my body. My weight is only down six pounds since I started training on 1/21. When I went to the doctor yesterday my borderline high blood pressure was back down in the normal range. Es called to tell me Kohl's was having a sale and most things were buy one, get one free. Who can resist BOGO? I was thrilled to find that all the clothes in the misses section fit--no plus sizes for me! This morning my pants are sitting around my hips because they are too big in the waist. Yesterday the receptionist in our building even made a comment that I was looking thinner. I was shocked, yeah, I see all these little things but was surprised anyone else could really see the difference.

More important than the physical stuff though, I FEEL different. While work may not be great and the kids may send me to the loony bin, I feel good about what I can do with my body. I've been thinner but I don't think I've ever been in such good shape physically and we are just getting that party started.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Fear of the Unknown

At work I get the feeling there is something up. And I don't get the feeling it is anything good. A big project got shut down last week--it had been my project for several years. I moved on and the guy who took my place got laid off in the shut down. I feel bad for him and a bit like I dodged a bullet. I've had a new boss since December and I've only talked with him one on one once since. I finally bit the bullet and asked for some of his time. I want to make sure what I am doing is what he expects. At first I enjoyed the freedom of doing my thing and not really checking in with anyone, now it has me a bit uneasy.

I've been giving a lot of thought lately to what else I might want to do. I've been there for almost 10 years after wandering in off the street as a temp. I've worked my way up into an interesting job with good perks, the flexibility needed for the Mom of two small kids, and a short commute. I feel kind of like the side benefits are too good to go out looking for something new. There is also comfort in the known. I like the people I work with, its the only "corporate" job I've had, and sometimes the devil you know is just easier to deal with.

I really think I need to polish up my resume and start looking at least casually. One never knows what might happen tomorrow. Oh I hate the thought of looking for a job though. Better to look while I have one though than wait until I don't.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Simple Pleasures: The Sunday Afternoon Nap

Regular nighttime sleep has been elusive on and off for years. I've been going for acupuncture at Ling Tai acupuncture for about a year now, I am taking herbs at night, doing yoga before I go to bed and for the most part I am sleeping well at night. I have a feeling it will be even better this weekend when our new mattress arrives. Now, if I could just stop Gman from snoring...Not sleeping at night there was not even a chance of a day time nap, the sleep just wouldn't come. Enter triathlon training.

Since I started training I have been sleeping more soundly at night. Part of it is getting up early in the morning, Thursday mornings at 4:45 AM to be exactly and a few minutes after 5 on Wednesdays. But there is no time during the week to catch up on sleep. Its up early, work all day and then run to activities in the evenings.

On Sunday morning, one of the days I used to sleep in its a bit after 6 when I have to be up and out for a 2 hour workout. By the time we get home from church on Sunday I am spent. I really don't think I appreciated rest until I started seriously training. I am working my body hard and in return it needs some serious downtime. The past several Sundays Gman has entertained the kids for a bit and I have soaked my sore muscles in the tub and then settled down for my Sunday afternoon snooze. I always wake up feeling better (after that moment of guilt over all the things I didn't accomplish while I was sleeping). For the most part I've given up the guilt and am trying to embrace the idea that not only do I need exercise, I need rest to help rebuild the body as well. There is something decadent about sleeping in the middle of the afternoon. Its like a forbidden treat, sweeter than the nighttime slumber we all get.