Tuesday, December 30, 2014

These shoes are made for . . . loping along

I've never been much of a runner. Remember the physical fitness testing in school?  Do they still do that?  I remember having to do the flexed arm hang, shuttle run, 50-yard dash, and 600-yard dash. I can't remember what else. Sit-ups, maybe?  I remember doing okay on the 50-yard dash, and even the flexed arm hang. The 600-yard dash, though? There was no dashing involved. I would jog along for a bit and then walk around the track, usually with a couple other girls, while a gym teacher yelled, "C'mon, ladies!" I have just never been much of a distance runner.

So, naturally I'm planning to run a 5K in May. I even got new sneakers for Christmas. I've gone to the gym a couple of times since then. Normally, I go right for the elliptical and then do 40-45 minutes on that, shying away from running entirely. I think it all comes down to high impact vs. low impact. I spend a lot of time doing yoga and cardio and don't have any issues because it's all low-impact - as in, my feet stay on some sort of surface the whole time. Anyway, right now what I'm doing is to run on the treadmill (it's 8 degrees here today so that's why I'm not running outside). I run for a couple of minutes, then walk for a bunch of minutes, and then run for a couple more minutes, etc. My hope is that eventually I'll be running more than I'm walking.

I do have few challenges when it comes to running:
  • My left foot doesn't really like it. This is the foot on which I had surgery in May. You know how when you wreck your car and the insurance company fixes it but it's never quite the same again?  It's like that. My foot doesn't hurt like it did before the surgery, but it will never be "right" again.
  • I'm kind of, um, busty. I just strap 'em down and hope for the best.
  • My hips aren't huge fans of the running. I've been struggling with my bad hips since I was in my 20s. I never sleep very well. My poor husband has been so patient as I've tried out different types of bedding and mattress pads on our bed. Right now, I have a memory foam mattress topper and two mattress pads on the bed. If I ever find the magic combination that allows me to sleep without pain, it'll be the best day of my life. 
So, why persist with the running then?  I guess I just want to see if I can do it. I don't like not being able to do something. I also want to see if I can understand what it is that all of my runner friends are always raving about. Plus, I'm signing up my daughter for the 5K as well (we plan to run a 10K a month later). I figure it's something we can do together. Although my plan is that we'll do some training runs together in the spring, the reality is that she could roll out of bed tomorrow and run miles without stopping. Damn kids and their energy.

I'll keep you posted on my running progress (I'm sure you can't wait).  If you happen to belong to my gym and see me loping along on the treadmill . . . for the love of God, just avert your eyes. 

Saturday, December 27, 2014


I somehow failed to take many photos of our Christmas festivities this year.  Maybe we just aren't as cute as we used to be - I dunno.  On Christmas Eve, I had to work a half day. My husband and daughter were at home playing video games. On the way home, I stopped at the mall to buy my husband a new cell phone. My plan was to wrap it and wait until Christmas morning to give it to him. He uses his phone so seldom that I was pretty sure he wouldn't even notice that his old one was now dead.  I ended up giving him the new phone later that day, though. I mean to tell you, you have never seen anyone less enthusiastic about getting in iPhone. "Okay, thanks," he said, and set it on an end table. It's the iPhone 5C (and not the newest model) so it was cheap (the case I bought cost more than the phone).

The kid immediately piped up: "I'll take it if he doesn't want it!"

Later that evening, we went to church. I coordinated the service so I figured I'd better be there. I'm desperately under-qualified to lead a Christmas Eve service, but our church doesn't have a regular minister at this time. The service was pretty well attended and I got good feedback, so I hope I did okay. After church, we visited a house in town that has all kinds of crazy lights. We drive over there to check it out every year.

We didn't have a white Christmas this year, which was pretty unusual. Honestly, I'd rather have snow/ice/freezing temperatures than the mud in my backyard.

Christmas Day was pretty uneventful. We opened gifts and then headed to my sister-in-law's house for brunch. After brunch, we came back home and spent the afternoon playing games and finding spots for new stuff.  P got me a few things that were on my list: some new running/gym shoes, a watch, and a fancy Bluetooth speaker. The contents of my stocking lead me to think that I must be an alcoholic who likes to take baths.

As planned, we pulled the dollhouse out of the kid's room in order to make room for her sewing table and dress form. P has been hitting on the dress form and calling her his girlfriend. He's always dreamed of having a mate with no head, I think.

All in all, I'd say it was a good Christmas. Miss Thang had gift cards from  Jo-Ann Fabrics and Justice, so I drove her to both locations today. Her math skills sure are iffy. At Jo-Ann, she had a $20.00 gift card and spent $28.00.  At Justice, she had a $15 gift card and spent twice that. I'm adding the extra money to her tab.

That's a root beer next to her, for the record. My girls loves da root beer.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Here you go, Rachel

Every year, I post a blog entry about my favorite songs from that year. Nobody reads it except Rachel, my music-loving friend of 33 years.

I didn't download a ton of new music this year. Plus, it's harder for me to tell what I purchased this year because I had to restore my entire music collection from back-up a few months ago. In October, I bought a new car and now have Sirius XM radio. So, instead of listening to new music, I now listen to inappropriate comedy (when my kid isn't in the car). When my daughter is in the car, I have to listen to Top 40. I have fantasies about very bad things happening to Ariana Grande.

Anywho, some of my favorite songs from 2014:

Happy with Me - HOLYCHILD (Good tune for the gym)
Hurry Up Sundown - Springsteen
Water Fountain - Tune-Yards
Diamonds - Johnnyswim
L8 CMMR - Lily Allen (guilty pleasure sort of thing)
The Orwells - Let it Burn
Madman - Sean Rowe
My Silver Lining - First Aid Kit (Stay Gold is a close second)
Too Cool to Dance - James Curd (Another gym song)
Bury Our Friends - Sleater-Kinney
Happy Idiot - TV on the Radio
Left Hand Free - Alt-J

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Labor of love and all that jazz

I sent my husband and daughter to a movie this evening so that I could finish painting, wrapping, and assembling. I've been hiding out (and painting) in Geeky McNerdikins comic book room, so ignore the junk in the background. Here is a photo of the sewing table (formerly red and white) and the dress form my daughter requested:

The table has a leaf on each side so it's been a challenge to paint the table without letting the hinge get stuck in one position (with each leaf up or down). I think it came out okay. It has a little drawer on one side.  If I had more time (and some, you know, skills), I'd add a design or something to the top.

As if to seal the Christmas deal, the kid handed me a card before dinner today. It has a hand-drawn snowman on the front and says this on the inside:

"Dear, Mom. I love you so much! You make me smile. I am giving this card to you because I love you. Remember the time when I said I love you most but then you overtook me with I love you mostest. Or when you and dad hugged and I acted sad so you gave me one to. I love you the most any other person can love you in the world. XOXOXO"

Man, is that kid good or what? 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Merry, Merry

Well, it's all over but the shouting, I guess. Our gifts are shipped (to Oklahoma, Virginia, Maryland, and Minnesota), and I'm all shopped out. I took a half-day off work last Friday and knocked out a lot of the shopping then. I just need to wrap the gifts I bought for my kid and my husband. Of course, I need to kick them out of the house first, which is no small feat. A asked for a table she can use for sewing. My friend Sarah is moving and had an extra table. A win-win! I just need to paint that bad boy and I'll be all set. I would do it after the kid goes to sleep but half the time she stays up later than I do.  I did get her the dress form she wanted, too. Dress forms can get pretty pricey and the one I bought is fairly basic. I just hope it's not too rickety. The only way the table and dress form will fit in her bedroom is if we pull out the huge dollhouse and put it in storage. I might just shed a tear when that happens.

I didn't send Christmas cards or do any baking this year. I actually enjoy doing both but just didn't seem to have the time to take on any big projects this Christmas. I did show up at a vegan bake sale last weekend, which was awesome (got my fill of baked goods without baking, in other words). I have been dragging the kid around to our usual festivities.  We saw a Christmas musical last weekend and have attended a few other events as well. She wants me to take her to a kids-only shop (at a local museum) on Saturday.  I pointed out to her that she doesn't have any money because she never bothers to do any chores. She's trying to convince me that she wants to buy gifts for me and her dad but I think she actually wants to buy them for the boy.

Speaking of the boy, he called yesterday and invited her over after school.  So, I talked to his mom and agreed to a playdate.  I am just not ready for this! My baby still can't turn the shower on by herself and now she's walking home from school with a boy.  I cannot deal, mes amis. Can. Not. Deal.  He does seem like a nice kid, so it's not that. It's just that . . . my baby!

One bit of good news - our foster dog (Botas) got adopted last weekend. His new family is very nice and I know they were excited to get him. People always say, "Oh, I could never foster. I could never give up a dog like that." Well, let's see. Young Botas pooped on my floor, dug in the trash, and counter surfed. He's also very sweet, super cuddly, and extremely adorable.  So, that's why I didn't kill him.  My job was to fix him up as best as I could (we did make a LOT of progress with the housebreaking during his weeks with us) and then pass him along to someone who apparently doesn't mind a little puppy poop on the floor. So, that's what I did. It's all good.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Six months ago today . . .

. . . I went vegan. I haven't lost an ounce (which would have been a nice little side effect) but my conscience is immeasurably lighter.

Originally, I was just going to try it for a week but once I did that, it just seemed to make sense to keep going. I should probably say "plant-based diet" instead of vegan because I know I'm not great at this vegan stuff. I'm sure I've accidentally eaten things that were not 100% vegan. Every Wednesday, I go to a local grocery store (that has a kick-ass salad bar) and get a salad for lunch. They have this balsamic vinaigrette dressing that I love, but it does have trace amounts of honey in it (and I had eaten it several times before I noticed that). I probably shouldn't eat it, but I tell myself that I get bonus points for the salad itself.  At work there is a candy bowl full of Lifesavers. One day I Googled Lifesavers and it turns out that not only are they not vegan, they really aren't even vegetarian. They contain stearic acid, which is sometimes animal-derived. Trying to eat vegan is a bit of a minefield.

My friend Jennifer (who has been vegan for quite a few years) told me that all vegans have to draw the line somewhere. So, I try to keep that in mind. I won't eat, say, a piece of cheese or drink a glass of dairy milk (I had actually switched to almond milk years ago anyway), but if something I eat has some random sub-ingredient that isn't vegan . . . well, I guess I won't lose too much sleep over that. I'm doing my best, and that's all I can do.

I have learned to cook some new stuff, which is good. I'm not much of a cook, but I try. Last weekend I made an awesome black bean soup. I'm going to try another new soup recipe next week. Today I'm taking my foster dog Botas to his new home and I'm stopping at a vegan bake sale on the way home. (I thought going vegan might also help to rein in my sweet tooth but . . . nope!)

The two main challenges I've encountered since I went vegan:

1. Restaurants.  They are tricky. Jennifer gave me a list of stuff of local restaurants and which meals are vegan (or can be made to be vegan), so that was helpful. Being out of town and eating out can be tricky.

2. Company lunches. Our administrative person is just as nice as can be and wants me to be able to eat at company lunches (held regularly on Fridays), but it's just causing us both too much anxiety. I can't eat pizza or most of the other stuff that gets ordered. I've tried to reassure her that I am more than fine with just bringing my own lunch. No trouble at all.

The main benefit I've encountered since I went vegan:

Peace of mind. I became a vegetarian at 19 as a direct protest of factory farming. I didn't want to be a part of something like that. I did my research and I was done.  Adopting a vegan diet means opting out of support of the dairy and egg industries as well.  They are really no better than the factory farms. And I'll spare you the details of what you probably already know.

I know that most people want to leave a big mark on the world before they die, but I'm trying to leave as small a footprint as I can.

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Kid's Christmas List (Subtitle: Surely You Jest)

My daughter handed me her Christmas list a few weeks ago. I offered to give her my Christmas list and she just gave me a "does not compute" look in reply.

The other day she handed me an addendum. "That's not how this works," I told her. "You only get one list."

Then, a day later she asked to have it back so that she could edit it. Seriously, kid, give it a rest.

A few of the items on her list are pretty straightforward and yes, she's getting them. She wants a dress form for sewing and a table for laying out patterns and whatnot. Some of her gift "suggestions" are dumb but I'm buying them anyway, such as this bird in a cage.

What's on the addendum, you ask? A Netflix subscription, Darn Yarn (I thought it said Damn Yarn but I'll take her word for it), and a bunch of sports stuff: a new helmet, a soccer ball, a basketball, and a volleyball. What's weird about these items is that my kid has almost zero interest in sports. We took her to a hockey game last weekend and I seriously don't think she glanced at the ice even once.

Here's the stuff she's definitely not getting:
  • A "gineau" pig.  Ha ha ha ha!  I actually thought about it for half a second and then remembered who would be taking care of the "gineau" pig. My to-do list is plenty long already, thankyouverymuch.
  • Orbeez foot spa. Ha ha ha ha!  If you're not sure why this one is a problem, I would encourage you to look carefully at the picture. 
  • Karaoke machine with microphone. I don't want to buy a cheap one and I don't want to invest in an expensive one, so there you go.
I was unsure about a few of the other items so in those instances I passed them along to her aunts and a cousin. She asked for the High School Musical 1, 2, and 3 DVDs. I'm sure I'll live to regret it if some sucker does buy them for her. She has watched Camp Rock about 87 times and has memorized the songs. I would REALLY like to thank my middle sister for sending the Camp Rock CD a couple months ago. In exchange, I've threatened to buy this for her three-year-old. 

Friday, December 5, 2014

This is serious, mes amis

My daughter has an admirer, a beau, a suitor. What do kids call it these days? A boo? And she's his shorty?  Is that how this works?

Being a good NPR-listening, Democratic-voting, liberal Unitarian Universalist, I've been very careful to tell my daughter things like, "When you grow up, you might marry a boy or a girl. Or maybe you won't want to get married at all." Well, I needn't have bothered. My kid is firmly interested in the opposite sex and I think I can already picture some seriously dramatic teen interactions coming up in a few years. I'm just imagining some lovelorn fool from her algebra class standing on our front lawn and begging her for just one more chance.

For now, though, we are just in the beginning stages of the gooey stuff. A boy in her class has it bad for my kid. When I went in for parent-teacher conferences a few weeks ago, I took the opportunity to look through my daughter's desk. It was like Hiroshima in desk form. Very bad, very messy things happening under that lid. It looked like what her room would look like if I left her to her own devices. I did find a note from the boy in her desk, though. He asked her if she wanted to go to the movies with him. (And if she says yes, how does this work, exactly? Does his mom drive? Do I drive? And where do we sit? Between the two lovebirds is what I'm thinking.)

When I asked Mrs. K (during the conference) if she knew who the object of my daughter's affection is, she said, "Do I ever."  Apparently she's been through this sort of thing before and said that it normally just fizzles out at some point. Fourth grade romance is a tenuous thing, I guess.

My daughter tells me that she and the boy sit together on the carpet during reading time. They also sit together at lunch. She said that at first the other boys made fun of him but now they don't. Fourth grade romance knows no barriers, people!

Today, when I picked her up from daycare, she was wearing a new scarf. It was an early Christmas gift from her wooer (I am running out of synonyms for boyfriend).  His mom made it. Is that not the cutest thing?  He put it in her locker this morning. I won't tell him that she spilled queso dip on it at dinner. Shhhh.  

I am not sure what happens next.  Do I need to rough him up or anything? Ask him about his employment prospects? And, most importantly, how soon does he feel that he can take over the monthly payments we are making to the orthodontist?