Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Confessions of a Baker Runner

When my child was born, I discovered that I didn't have to fight in the corporate world any longer and I could do what I enjoyed: Baking (hence the pen-name). I've mostly been a black-market baker, baking and selling out of my home kitchen, but I've also worked in a cafe. I have a less-than-healthy relationship with Sugar, Flour and, most of all, Butter. As I always say: I love baking, so I've learned how to love running.

Now that I've settled into a new town, I don't have the connections I once did. Besides, baking in my rental home with an inconsistent oven is much more difficult. So, I've found a proper job in a proper kitchen.

Here's where reality has turned itself on its head. Now, it's no longer "I love baking, so I've learned to love running." Now it's, "I love running and is baking going to get in the way of this?"

Now that I'll be working out of the home for 4 days, in the wee-running-hours-of-the-morning, will I be able to keep up with my training, have enough energy for my 3 1/2 year old,...oh, and remember what my husband looks like? Do you see how crazy my priorities are?!? I'm actually trying to figure out if I'll have enough time to commute to work on foot.

I'm a cookie monster!!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

New Town - New Look - Same Dullness

After a few months on not posting here (instead only here), I'm starting over with a new look.
Sweet.

Twitter

I've added twitter...really so I can log my workouts better.  
Because I'm enjoy tracking them more than I should.... especially for a middle of the packer.
Don't expect wit.
Then again, I might actually say more if I'm restricted to just a few words.

Ta ta

Monday, November 10, 2008

101 in 1001 - An Update

Okay - It's been nearly 500 days now since I posted my 101 in 1001. I've crossed quite a few off, also realized that I was getting kind of desperate to come up with things while making the list (see #38). So, to read this, understand that the first phrase is what I need to do, and then if comments are in red, I'm done; if comments are in blue, it's a work in progress.

Turns out I've got approx 43 out of 1001 101 done. Some seem impossible (see #15, 28, 37), some impractical (see #29,32, 53) and others I need to get a move on it (see# 4, 71, 77, 85).

Of course, I think this list would look entirely different if written today. I'd probably still have #3 on there, though.

b>The Mission:
Complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days.

The Criteria:
Tasks must be specific (ie. no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (ie. represent some amount of work on your part).


1. Start my own blog and learn the "code."
2. Sell a cake I make I don't think I can count my son's school bakesale - Sold Cookies in Dec 07, Sold an actual cake March 08; Got a REAL job as a Baker :)
3. Do a comedic spit take 8/27/07 at Wine Tasting Party - damn that's fun to do
4. Have a 2nd child- en route
5. Speak Spanish well enough that someone thinks it's my first language
6. Make the inside of my car look new again 8/6/07, but I'm sure it will quickly undo itself
7. Visit a college friend saw lots of them at Ben's wedding in July 08
8. Run a half marathon in 2:11:00 -2:15, so close! 11/16/08 = 2:12 DAMN IT!
9. Grow something in my yard and eat it Been growing basil & rosemary, but I don't think I should count them
10. Make Dad happy and become a member of DAR done enough for my tastes
11. Find a doctor I'm comfortable enough that I'll actually see him/her when I'm sick
12. Preserve Dad's journal
13. Fix the dining room chairs and re-cover them - or just move and leave them behind
14. Write and print a children's book
15. Raft a class IV rapid again
16. Write 30 days in a row.
17. Host a dinner party where I actually cook everything
18. Finish an entire pack of Whitening strips
19. Go back to place I met my husband totally worth it
20. Visit (out of state) Mom 3 times per year. Oct 07, May 08, Oct 08
21. Take husband on picnic, with food he'd actually like
22. Do a 5K in less than 9 minutes per mile Tax Run 08 in 27:30 WHILE PUSHING 45 lb KID IN STROLLER ON A WINDY DAY!!!!!! HOORAH!
23. Get wedding album professionally printed
24. Finish a book that has nothing to do with parenting "C.C. Pyle's Amazing Foot Race" by Geoff Williams (and I will never complain about a training run again)
25. Create slideshow/movie for Brother's weddingmay 08
26. Spend time alone with each of my 3 sister-in-lawsOct, Thanksgiving, x-mas -that's enough
27. Complete Stand up For Kids training and volunteer at least 5 times with youth.moved - must replace this with something
28. Go 7 days without dessert. Made it 3 days....damn hard for a baker to do; On day 4, thanks to the Master Cleanse (June 11); I think it's impossible!Hoorah for Morning Sickness! 21 days, no problem! ;) March 09
29. See a live taping of John Stewart's Daily Show
30. Take Mom on Vacation
31. Take Mom to bury her mother's ashes.
32. Teach son to throw a pot on a a potter's wheel Started Nov 07, 2 1/2 is a bit too young
33. Do to a dermatologist to check out "freckles"
34. Write my will. We're mostly done
35. Take the family camping where there aren't alligators or crocodiles
36. Learn the difference between wine grapes
37. Teach husband how to put the car seat in his car Totally and Utterly a losing battle
38. Make a hat
39. Get a bikini wax (yikes!) 5/12/08 not as bad as I feared
40. Figure out our health insurance (real) costs been trying, but it seems to keep changing
41. Sell something on Ebay June 1, 08!
42. Visit Eugene, Oregon with family In July 08- boy even got to go to the Country Fair and roam with real-live hippies :)
43. Throw a party for Mom
44. Beat husband at a game of Scrabble
45. Finish the NY Sunday Crossword without help 8/5/07All but a few spaces, that's as good as it's ever going to get!
46. Clean the blue room 9/15/07
47. Organize a midnight 10 miler while it wasn't 10 miles, I organized a 5 mile Hash Run and hope to continue it bi-monthly - 10 miles would be too unrealistic to gather enough folks for an informal race...and too long to be drinking beer at
48. Edit home videos 3/4 done
49. Edit vacation video for dad
50. Carve "casa d" sign
51. Finish before that 64 year old woman in the sprint Triathlon, the one whose killed me twice Key Biscayne Sprint Triathlon #3 August 26th, 2007....As I'm getting out of the water, I see her on the beach already, but I catch up. I leave on my bike and get close to the bridge, she blows me away, I start to lose hope. On the last mile of the run, I see her ahead...I muster every last speck of energy and pass her, coming in 3 minutes ahead. I shaved 3 minutes off my last races time. I (barely) beat the woman over twice my age, oh what a proud moment. I later find out she had a really bad day, 6 minutes slower than her usual. It took the gods slowing her down for me to beat her. I'll take it.
52 Make at least one homemade gift for those on my x-mas list between baking and ceramics, I've got this covered 2007
53. Make Mom's house suitable to bring family to stay everytime I go, it gets a little better
54. Host cooking party
55. Host charitable cooking session, preparing meals for others
56. Host wine tasting party 8/27/07
57. Deal with "the ring" situation, either come clean about it disappearing or find a brilliant replacement i still feel sick
58. Buy a nice piece of art for home violet alligator - no really, it's beautiful
59. Fix the rocking chair 2007
60. Potty train the boy before he turns 3 i think he did all the hard work, though
61. Bring my own bags to the grocery store for at least 15 times in a row, start over if I forget. try to make it a habit day 1: 8/15/07 - going really well Take 2: 8/21/07 September 07
62. Use my bike for transportation any distance under 2 miles, unless weather doesn't permit - until 1001 ends Doing so around 75% of time - times I don't include: the boy throws crazy tantrums getting on bike and "dear god, it's 105 degrees out"
63. Run 600 miles this year (starting 4/22/07 - 4/22/08) 8/15/07 200 miles, 10/10/07 310 miles, 12/16/07 460, 2/4/08 584, February 11th 2008 I reached 601 miles!!!!!!!!! Final Tally for year: 758.25!
64. Oil each of the 5 teak benches/chairs/table we have Jan 08
65. Steam clean the rugs once per year 07
66. Liquid fast for 3 days -Day 1 of Juice Fast: 8/22/07 36 hours...seemed like a lifetime - June 8, 08
67. Learn to play a song on the accordion I'm counting Happy Birthday
68. Write and record a song on guitar
69. Take son to Orlando we only went to Downtown Disney and it was ENOUGH for a 3 year old
70. Run 3 half marathons 11/25/07 Space Coast Half (2:31), 1/27/08 ING Miami (2:29), Ft. Lauderdale A1A 2/17/08 (2:16)
71. Take a 3 day, kid-free vacation with husband
72. Take son to volunteer 3 times per year 12/16/07 Bread Delivery, Feb 08 cake delivery
73. Teach son to brush his teeth twice a day harder than first imagined - at the age of 3
74. Track my every cent for a month (keeping all receipts) Wow- I spend like a diva!
75. Have a decent family photo taken
76. Host a haunted house for Halloween
77. Girls weekend at Beach house again - May be tough with the move
78. Type up my prose - turns out, it kind of sucks. not sure I should follow through
79. STOP buying bottled water (except in hurricane situations- and recycle those)doing great
80. Calculate how much each of the baked goods I make costs - begun, WOW Vanilla is expensive! Judging by prices, I think I'll stay in the cookie/bread business rather than cakes
81. Use only ONE glass per day at home 1 month in a row why is this so hard!?!?!
82. Make a windchime
83. Donate blood made attempt in Nov 07, but denied for having a cold
84. Sign up to be an organ donor - put in will
85. See the sunrise with husband
86. Learn to rollerblade
87. Reconnect with at least one person from each of my phases of life (highschool, college, camp/VA, street artist, ORC) (1/5) Catherine, Tom/Joel, saw J in P-town, Matt S, Mike! - hoorah facebook!
88. Finish tattoo on back you wus.
89. Use my juice machine everyday for 2 weeks
90. Take my son to play in real snow
91. Send something to Postsecret . -turns out, I can't do it via computer - must actually MAIL something
92. Clean and return borrowed baby supplies to friend for her new baby (before August 28, 2007) 8/26/07 just barely
93. Organize the boy's closet - yikes 9/15/07
94. Sort through baby supplies, would I really use some of that stuff again?2007
95. Read something by DeLillo...finish it even
96. Have a campfire in backyard...even when we have power Jan 08
97. Get the Los Angeles City Limits sign from mom's garage - population 1 million
98. Recognize someone famous BEFORE the husband does12/07 Saw Cody Gifford - Kathy Lee's son, I recognized him in public because I used to work in the community where they live.
99. Redesign Pantry, making baking supplies for accessible and cleaner September 07
100. Learn to play and perform a song with husband falling slowly "Once"
101. Laugh so hard I pee myself. (hum, really?)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Really? You break your Blogging Fast with this?

I'm in a new town and job hunting on Craig's List. This is by far my favorite posting. I mean, what is this? A joke? A movie casting call? Renegade bank robbers? A-Coup-Team? I don't care! I want to be a part of it!

Need a few good men ( NOT MARINES) (austin and beyond!!!)

Reply to: gigs-907522802@craigslist.org [?]
Date: 2008-11-05, 8:07PM CST


Looking for a few good men or women to complete action/rescue/adventure team. Must be a team player and have skills. NO AMATURES!! We currently have a mechanic/rigger (Macguyver stuff) and a strong man with martial arts skills and a station wagon where we will execute our operations incognito style. We are looking for someone with computer/ hacking skills, that also has other skills, like martial arts training. Must be physically fit and able to follow orders. We are also looking for a man or women with good looks that can charm the pants off someone, but must also be smart, quick witted, and have other skills..like communications or something beneficial to the team...like picking locks, carpentry,welding, sewing, a master of disguise...bilingual a plus!! Military training a plus!! Must have lots of connections. If you make the team you will be paid after jobs are finished. Some of the jobs we do will be pro-bono (not in favor of the U2 guy)...but certain jobs we take will be for free...but they will be for a good cause and we will get hugs from people we've helped..and probably a home cooked meal...hopefully some apple pie or something. Also we will be volunteering at the Food Bank this Holiday Season. Having you own tools is also a plus like grappling hooks, crossbows, night vision goggles, nextel 2 ways, binoculars, repeling gear, hearing devices, bug spray, life jackets. We also will be offering a dental and vision plan. Sign on bonus for the right candidates! Thank you!


Location: austin and beyond!!!
it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
Compensation: $1000 based on experience
PostingID: 907522802

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

See Mommy Run (away from blogging responsibilities)


Hi folks!
I'm done blogging....here....for a while...until the move to Austin is complete.

If you're still interested in reading about my running experiences, head over to See Mommy Run. I'm one of nearly dozen bloggers, so look for my "name" on the bottom.

Friday, August 1, 2008

A rip in time to a parallel universe?

My 3 1/2 year old son was playing in the corner of our living room yesterday morning, squatting over his Legos.  He was still in his pajamas, which include a diaper, when he called out that he wanted to put his "morning clothes" on.   As I went to pick him up, I noticed a small puddle under him.  I touched his pants, he was dry.  I felt his legs; they were dry, too.  Being a mom, I stuck my finger in the puddle and smelled it.  It was indeed urine, but the boy was completely dry.  I asked him if he peed there and he said no.  

I carried the boy into his room, helped him get dressed and then followed him to the kitchen as he ran to get paper towels.  In the 4 minutes that we were away from the puddle, it vanished.  Completely gone.  No trace of moisture, no scent of urine.

No one else was home and it couldn't have evaporated.  The boy has witnessed the small puddle and, too, wondered where it had gone.  And although there are many a times that I have placed wishes for these kind of messes to go away on their own, it's a little freaky when it actually happens.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

BMI

Jessica is "overweight" -- and a triathlete.

5'6"
155 lbs.
BMI 25

Been feeling a bit crappy today, then stumbled upon this flickr site by Kate Harding. It posts 100+ photos of people, listing their height, weight and BMI. It lets you know if they are "normal," "overweight," "obese," or "morbidly obese."

BMI is bullshit.

But just like "8 glasses of water a day," BMI is easy to grasp, so it's idea spreads like wildfire...then it is hard to contain. It can be used to generalize, but says little about your actual health.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Unplanned arm workout

Back home again!
I've been in Sunny Portland, Oregon (Eureka! I hit the 2 weeks of summer jackpot! Funny, it rained in Miami the entire time I was gone. Good Karma?)

My running was limited but my training was intense. I hit the Portland hills just once in running shoes, for a short 30 minutes. It was all I had dreamed. Alas, no sitter for the rest of the trip.
But for 9 other days, I carried my 43" tall, 45 pound three year old for hours and hours and hours. I now have arms and shoulders of steel.

More to share later, but here's a nice child carrying trick I figured out: If your child falls asleep and you must carry him/her but your arms are dying....put your backpack on backwards over the child, it will hug him/her next to you and give your arms a break.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

?

Random thought:
Wearing my hair in a ponytail/pulled back for 30 years has made the middle of the back of my (incredibly straight) hair permanently wavy.


With that note - I'm going on vacation. Hope to run a few miles in the cool Oregon air. Bummed that I'll miss the Olympic Trials in Eugene, though.

Friday, June 20, 2008

I broke up with running

I broke up with running, just like the ads say.
We saw too much of each other, day after day.
And then when I got sick, it didn't nurse me like I expected. Up until that point, running always made me feel better: my health and self-esteem. I started to resent running.

Miami spring days turned molten and soggy - running didn't make me happy anymore. The time on my watch dripped by and each step drained me. I tried the treadmill at the gym, but the halogen lights made our affair seem so contrived. I tried signing up for races to be inspired, but they came and went without sparking anything.

So I stopped. I rested. I cleansed my system. Then I watched it rain for three days. In the height of the storm, in torrential monsoon rains, I decided it was time to run again.

I am in love again.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Nice Side Effect

Ever since giving birth (over 3 years ago), I've been weepy.  
I weep when I see Publix commercials, I weep at the news, I weep when I see little kids holding up signs that say "Run Mommy Run."  No kidding, I have to fight back real tears 15-20 times a day over the minutest of things.  When I know no one is around, I let 'er rip, but that is rare these days.

I have had to suppress the urge to cry zero times since I started fasting.  Weird, like birth left some Tear Toxin in me and I've been able to "eliminate" it.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Cleansing

I've been absent, well, because I haven't had much to say. Times, they are a stable. Which reminds me of an old saying: "Is it a blessing or a curse to be given just enough?"

So, I thought I'd shake things up a bit by detoxing my body. By detoxing, I mean feeding myself nothing but a mixture of lemon juice, syrup, water, and cayenne pepper for 5 days and waiting for the "eliminations."   Honestly, I hope to figure out why I've been nauseated for 2 1/2 years since the doctors can't.

Last week, starting Monday, I prepped by abstaining from all kinds of caffeine, including coffee. To say that I live and love coffee can be summed up in two ways: a) I have a tattoo of a coffee cup b) I was raised in Seattle (where my high school had an espresso cart before anywhere East of the Columbia River did). It was horrific.  The hours I wasn't asleep, I was wishing I was dead...and I think maybe my family was, too. It wasn't until Saturday (day 6) that I was able to be somewhat normal.
On Sunday evening, I ran a 5K race in a decent time, but I was really struggling. I had a banana post-race and began my "fast".

I've made it two days now and am doing alright.  I'm not starving, rather,  I feel like there are 40 hours in a day.  When I remove food from my life (whether it is baking, preparing meals, going out to lunch/dinner or having snacks), there is a tremendous hole.

Anyway - my mind is clear as a bell, which is unusual, especially without caffeine.  A few more days to go.  Can I survive the boredom?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

it's virginia hot


it's Virginia hot and the Everglades' fires have sent the ashy snow over the town
making it smell like a festival,
like home.
but i don't mind sweating while sitting still;
it makes me feel human,
sultry.
it makes me think of swimming in the Rivanna River at midnight,
steam blurring the treeline,
black snake passing in a figure 8;
when i was still invincible.
the heat muddles our attempts at beauty,
taking the advantage away from the sculpted.
time moves slower,
except for the folks in the air-conditioning who buzz away doing chores
looking out in pity,
or disdain,
at us poor folk plodding in the wet air.
they are crisp,
but unseduced.


photo stolen off of mike caron's flickr

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Southern Hospitality

My Country Music Nashville Half Marathon Story can be found over here.

Cafecito

In college, I was introduced to an "up and coming" author named Julia Alvarez.
I've followed her work ever since and gone to see her speak when she has come to Miami.

So, I was surprised to stumble upon a previously unread book in the library a couple weeks ago. It was tiny, just 40 pages or so, called A Cafecito Story. Essentially, it's a story about how one gringo was inspired to continue the "old ways" on a coffee plantation in the Dominican Republic. The afterward explains how this tale, although not true, was loosely based upon Julia's and her husband's own experience - and how they have a farm, Cafe Alta Gracia, that continues the old way in addition to serving the farmer's community.

As if it wasn't already inspiring to a conscientious coffee addict, I was shocked to find out it was actually a lot cheaper than the conventional coffee I normally buy.

And it's true what Julia says:

"Coffee tastes better when birds sing over it."


(confidential to AtlantaMom: thanks for checking on me. I'm fine...just offline for a while)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Item 22

of my 101 in 1001:
Run a 5K in less than 9 minutes per mile

now reads:
Run a 5K in less than 9 minutes per mile 27:30

I must add, I was pushing my 45 pound son in a stroller on a WINDY day.
When I PR, I do it in style.
 

Monday, April 14, 2008

Thanks a million (...tears)

I'd like to give my thanks the 60 something old man in the white convertible who slowed down to ensure I'd hear him yell "You're STUPID" while I was crossing the street.

You were that final drop that let me cry it all out.

Cry about not being pregnant again, for the 13th month in a row of trying.

Cry about fucking every single thing up this morning at work and having my new boss ridicule & belittle me.

Cry about being settled for the first time in life and then the Gods shaking that up and telling me to move.

Cry because I've been wanting to for weeks, but all these other little cracks in the damn weren't enough to take it down...

until on an already disheartening day that began at 4am...again...you vocalized how I've been feeling about myself.

Friday, April 4, 2008

On! On!


Last Friday night
8:15pm - Gathering in the glow of a side street's lamp post, about 20 folks hovered, handing around a clipboard and studying enigmatic icons on the wall. A kitchen timer was set for 13 minutes, entrusted to a guy with a pocket, then activated before two women went scurrying in opposite directions. Dressed in black, saddled with packs & headlamps, the two met up a few blocks away, squatting at every intersection to mark up the ground with chalk. They wove through the hip urban sidewalk cafes, barged past tourists, and disappeared down a Ficus-lined street.

Just beyond the coral church, they unveiled the night's first cache: a keg of beer & cups. Looking at their watches with cups in hand, they were confident in their lead and agreed to slow their pace. They nodded to the late night dog walkers, even chattering & shuffling to appear harmless. Street after street, they laid the course in chalk: real trails with encircled arrows, false trails with frowns and checks backs with encircled plus signs. They ran past haunting old Florida homes with elaborate gardens, and Spring Breakers lost in the labyrinth of side winding avenues. Up ahead, they saw a familiar face...and the second table of supplies propped in a friend's yard: oranges slices, bananas, and more beer. By their 3rd cup, they had miscalculated their lead. In the very near distance, the pounding of 40 feet could be heard. A dozen flashlights could be seen turning the corner, descending on the two like a lynch mob.

For a half mile, the women sprinted, having only enough extra energy to scream once. They clung to their rattling bags and abandoned a fallen headlamp. With hearts pounding, they looked back to notice they were alone again. In order to keep that lead in the last mile, they had to slow the others down. Squatting, one drew a triangle and instructions for the hunters to sing. A little bit down the path, the other drew a triangle and directed them to sit for 60 seconds. The commands continued, back through town, past the singles bars, past the adult kickball league, past the random Spring Breakers handing out jello shots (why, yes, thank you, I would love one!), past the sailing club and the marina.

There they stopped. They wiped the chalk off their clothes, giggled about the adventure, swayed to the cover band on waterfront patio and waited for the hounds to buy them a beer.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

capitulo siguiente

En quatro mas meses, decire adios a esta ciudad. Nos moveremos al centro de Tejas.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Miami Intl Triathlon

I had a crappy race. My first really crappy race.

It wasn't even goal induced (My aim was to "Not get last in my age" and I came in 8th out of 14). I started when I sensed their disorganization at early packet pickup and it came to a head when they announced they'd pushed back start time 35 minutes. I did not enjoy myself - it's a shame, because the course was beautiful.

I race because I love the excitement in the air; because being in the presence of superior athletes inspires me to push myself harder. I like checking out other people's tricks and hearing their stories. I like sipping out of little cups of water and pretending to pump myself up to cliche classic rock. I like waking up obscenely early and accomplishing something before my husband has even walked the dog. I like hanging my shiny new medal on my three year old when I get home and trading race stats with my friends.

What I don't like is paying for the beta race version. It was the inaugural race, so there were kinks to work out, but everything just seemed to rub me the wrong way...including the $90 entrance fee.

Early packet pickup - I arrived a half hour after it was supposed to be open. Son in tow, I drove 30 minutes to get there (pushing his nap time back so I could run in and grab the packet.) The packet folks arrived an hour after me...but they didn't bring the ankle chips. "Pick that up at the Expo" they said. (uh, what's the point of early pick up if I have to go to the expo anyway?) At Friday's Expo, they were going to charge me $5 to park (thankfully I knew the parking volunteer) then expected us to walk through abandoned area with broken glass everywhere. They advertised "Kids activities like face painting and bounce house" - nothing, just broken glass on the sandy shore. They excluded instructions explaining where all the numbers, etc go. I had to ask friend. Not much of a big deal, all this, but just slightly inconvenient. I skipped the Pasta Dinner because I just had a bad feeling it wasn't going to be worth the effort.

Race Morning - They switched parking lots from expo (okay, a little confusing, since part of the expo is casing out your "Race Morning Plan"), we had to park far away and pay $5 for it (school parking lot - not even a public/private parking lot - WTF? why not just put it on my race price of a gazillion dollars?). I'm glad I got there early since I hadn't expected the extra 10 minute pitch black walk.

I get to transition area at 6:15 am (first race at 7, my race schedule for 7:32,), I'm told I have 3 minutes to set my stuff and get out. Wha? The paper said transition area closes at 6:45! I have to rush to set up everything, get out and stand around in a jagged parking lot littered with broken glass for 45 minutes in just my suit? Not happy. I begged them to let me at least go back in and get my flip flops.

So then I realize there is no water ANYWHERE in waiting area - thank god I brought my own....oh, too bad it's locked up in transition area. Man, I'm getting thirsty. Maybe I'll just go wait in line to use the restroom to take my mind off of it. A girl comes out and says there is NO toilet paper in ANY of the 10 toilets we're waiting in front of....this is at 6:30. Okay, now I'm getting angry. Maybe I'll check out the ocean, get a few strokes in away from the start/finish. "GET OUT OF THE WATER." Alright, jerks.

I didn't eat that morning because I had it all timed out. Drink coffee pre-race, swim at 7:30, have first gu right after. It's what I do. 7am they announce my race has been pushed back to 8:05am...after the hot hot Florida sun has come up. Damn, I'm thirsty now. And I'll be hungry by 8, but my SNACKS ARE LOCKED UP IN TRANSITION AREA!!!!!!!

I'm done with the race before I even started. I was so dizzy and angry that I couldn't focus. Yes, I did better than expected, but I aimed way low. About as low as the Race Director.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

The Not-So-Obvious List of How to Pack for a Music Festival with a Small Child

Taking a small child to a festival can sound pretty scary. There's the heat, expensive unhealthy food, the question of napping and all the freaky people (if it's a good one). But I think it's really rewarding to dance in a field with your child, if you are prepared. In fact, I substituted it for my long run on Sunday.

While looking online to see if I'd forgotten anything, I found no help in getting ready. So, in a change from my usual posting, I've decided to write down a few things I've learned in the last 3 years of parenting-at-festivals. In addition to the usual (sunblock, water, hat), these few items can fit into a backpack (except the final two, of course).


(random video from youtube, this cute boy isn't mine)

  • Food: I don't care that festivals don't allow food. I always pack a small lunch box, aim for the security queue with a woman who looks like a mother and hope she'll know there is no joy is spending 12 hours with a toddler living on corndogs & coke. An apple, a banana, a PBJ, ziplock bag of raisins/nuts/dried fruit, an applesauce & mini spoon, a few boxes of Parmalat (boxed milk), water cup. Add a granola bar for you or whatever you need to keep you from your own melt down when you're tired and sick of waiting in the burrito line for 45 minutes. Bringing food for your kid is legit - they know you'll still spend money on beer and kettle corn.
  • Earplugs/Studio Headphones: It's so very loud, even in the back, so cover those ears so you have at least the option of heading up front with the wee one. Great for naps, too. If you don't have studio headphones or Bose sound canceling headphones, bring several pairs of the foam plugs since they are easy to lose (and oh so cheap, and I guarantee you'll be asked by another desperate-looking mother if you've got extra).
  • 2 changes of kids clothes in Gallon Ziplocks: tightly folded in large ziplock - put everything in it's own ziplock. When the chaos of the fest hits, individual see through bags make it easy to sift through. The ziplocks can be used to hold trash later.
  • Pajamas: tightly folded in large ziplock. Dress kid in PJ's as you leave venue & pray for sleep on ride home. Leave 'em in the car if the walk/ride back to your ride isn't too long.
  • Blinky Light: Put on kid when sun starts to go down and so (s)he won't beg you to buy a $12 glow toy.
  • Camera/Cell phone/Pen: Take photo of kid when you get to fest so if/when (s)he gets lost you say to staff (s)he looks exactly like this. I have a ribbon that has our info on it that I safety pin to the back of my kid's clothes and when I forget it, I just write my phone number on his arm.
  • Folding Beach Mat: I've recently discovered the absolute beauty of one of these folding mats. Not only is it totally compact & easy to fold, but you can sit in wet grass without getting wet. And if it rains or gets mud on it, it cleans up and dries quickly.
  • Small squirt Bottle: Because it's hot & water makes it tolerable. Besides, it's an activity.
  • One small imagination toy: like a truck, a couple matchbox cars, an inflatable ball, doll, or a shovel.
  • Jogging stroller: You need giant wheels to get you through the grass, mud and rugged terrain of a festival. You need a place for your child to nap. You need instant shade. If emptied of valuables, it can be left anywhere. No one is going to steal it (people leave tents, blankets and chairs near stages, your stoller is no different).
  • Prepped Car: Leave behind in the car a bottle of water (because you'll never be able to find water once you leave), bedtime stuff (blankie/animals/box of milk) and change of clothes for you . Keep an extra snack/sandwich/munchie for the ride home. You might want to have wipes (for a hippie bath) and a pillow.
Anyhow - If it sounds like a lot, it really isn't. I haven't ventured camping at a fest with my boy, yet, but that's more because I can't talk his dad into it. And of course, I only have one, so I'm sure it's easier than it would be with more children.

I'm curious to learn your "Big Event" packing strategies.  Go on, share....HERE.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

The Motivator


Last night, my three year old was a HERO.
He was applauded and cheered for.
He inspired dozens and dozens of people to push themselves harder than they thought they could.
He motivated a 30-something athletic man to run a bit faster than he planned on.
He helped shave 3 minutes off a young woman's Personal Record.
How?
He sat patiently in his stroller as I raced an 8K.

Nothing motivates runners to pick up their pace like being passed by a stroller.


(thanks to Vancouver Dad for the photo)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Third Time's a Charm

Three half marathons, in 4 months.
First (November), a wee bit slow because of sore foot.
Second (January), I was pace leader so I had to stay put.
Third (February), I blew my PR out of the water by almost 14 minutes.

Hoorah for me.

March is a Sprint Triathlon with a half mile swim (WTF?)

April is half marathon number four.

May....who knows.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

My Baby

He woke up, slid out of my bed and pitter-pattered into the living room. He is three, but when he crawled into my lap on the recliner and let me rock him, he was my infant again. Sleepy eyed, he stared off towards the ceiling for several minutes and I thought he might fall back asleep.
His hand came up, as if to stroke my cheek but instead, he slammed it into my nose.

H-O-N-K!

Monday, February 11, 2008

iFriends

Chit-chatting on my long runs with the folks in my training group invigorates me. It takes my mind off perceived effort and makes the miles seem shorter. Often times, one decent story (say, how my friend's son has given up diapers yet isn't quite potty trained) can last a mile. And once the tears dry up after learning that the little boy just wanted access his penis "so it dodn't faw aff," I can look around and say "Whoa, we're already on Main St!"

A few months ago, I found some iFriends (to coin a phrase), for my solo running days. While searching for free stuff on iTunes, I stumbled upon a podcast called the Extra Mile. It's a bunch of runners from all over the globe that submit stories & running updates, recorded while they are running. Some are advanced, some brand new, but all have that slightly stecato speech that you get when you converse on the trail. I love it. And it trips me out when I hear a car coming, then look around to find an empty street followed by the runner announcing "Hold on, I've got to cross this intersection." Most of the episodes run around 60 minutes (pardon the pun), so I can stretch a 45 workout into an hour with less mental resistance. They accept submission from practically anyone, so if I ever figure out how to carry a recorder in my bra, you might hear my voice one day...and we can advance from being e-friends to iFriends.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

"Strong" Coffee




Out the window, a Sysco truck parked mid-street caught my attention. The driver opened the back, rolled out a dolly with vegetable boxes stacked 10 high. I watched him disappear into truck again, leaving his stack balanced on the tailgate.

So from 30 feet away, sitting on the sofa of the bookstore, coffee in hand, indie music on the speaker above, I blew.

One quick puff of air directed at the boxes...and they toppled over.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Once...in Ireland

Once upon a time, a decade or so ago, I lived on the streets of Ireland.
I was a rebellious young woman with dreams of being an artist. Hopeless romanticism, curiosity and stubbornness quickly turned me into a Starving Artist. I sold Big Issue and made jewelry & sculptures out of found objects -life wasn't easy or as I'd hoped. My adventures led me to an Irish mandolin player in County Clare who healed and then broke my heart.

Naturally, I related to this film...




...but the fact that my husband loves and is inspired by this film, reminds me I am a "right feckin' loowkey gerl." I'm in a good place now.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Campfire

For the last week or so, I've dug through the trash piles of neighbors and the depths of empty lots to find firewood. Dry wood is a pretty rare find in the Tropics, so I ended up cutting up 3 Christmas trees to create a campfire for my friends. It's a miracle my neighbors didn't call the police. Taking saw to limbs and digging a fire pit is instinctual for me, a major part of my old life in the woods. In Miami, it's freakish...or worse (gasp), for laborers! Why not just buy fake logs from Publix, I was asked half a dozen times by different people.

But then my mind wanders to what the question probably means: Why not just do the campfire in the fireplace? Or why not just use candles? Why bother lighting them? Why not just make S'mores in the microwave and watch Everyone Loves Raymond on the couch?

I found that contentment is not counted only by weekends, it's counted by the minute. Gambling on later rather than now often ends in disappointment or hallow satisfaction when things do go as planned. Getting dirt under my fingernails is therapeutic and growing blisters on my hands is humbling. When the match is struck and the fire lights, the whole experience is there: the cutting, the hauling, the digging, the stacking, the tending.

I'm reminded of the "craft kits" management ordered from Oriental Trading at a summer camp where I worked: These cute packages that each kid glues A to B and B to C. Voila! They can take home a fancy token that took no skill or thought...only the kids would often leave them in the craft lodge. Their ugly baskets or bead necklaces always went home. There is more value in what you create than what you manufacture.

Anyhow, I really needed the downhome, hanging out around a fire: even if it's 75 degrees out with scattered showers. It was good for my soul. It was humbling and made my hair smell like pine. And the whole experience gave my neighbors something to gossip about.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Daughters of the American Revolution

Since I believe that one must never be so set in her ways that she denies herself the chance to learn a new perspective, I set out to meet the not-so-young women of the Daughters of the American Revolution this morning. While my undying father prepares for his death, he passed down a folder of papers linking us to a soldier in the American Revolution. I found my Great Aunt Mary's DAR membership card for the Biscayne Chapter, and I learned my 2nd cousin Myra partakes in South Carolina.

They do what?

Other than tracing their ancestry to warriors, I am not so certain my role in this Club. Do I have profound respect for the military? Not so much. Am I proud that my Great Great Grandfather's Last Will & Testament bequeaths his "nigger-girl" to his son? Emphatically NO. Can I hold my hand over my heart and actually sing all the words to America the Beautiful? Not without a detectable amount of sarcasm.

Since I had to bring and attend to my wiggle-happy son, my information gathering consisted of: a. DAR plays a very active role volunteering with Veterans; and b. they have a remarkably attentive Minutes taker (whose rendition of last month's 2 hour meeting took 20 minutes to report). Is this something I should be involved in (see #10)? After all, if things keep moving towards Theocracy and the Caste system here in the United States, I might be changing my passport. But then again, just because I don't like the cover of a book, doesn't mean I won't bother checking it out.

Let's see what I learn.