Friday, February 27, 2009
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
So how about this: the cost of this studio is ridiculous. The monthly tuition isn't terrible but the additional competition fees are ludicrous and out of proportion. They are also stupidly insane in a struggling economy where people are losing their jobs right and left. In addition to competition entry fees, which I fully expect to have to pay for, we have to pay for each and every extra rehearsal our child must attend. That is $10 each and every time. Perhaps this doesn't sound like a lot but she has extra rehearsals almost every weekend from now until July, at which point she has *14* extra rehearsals. Yes, July alone will cost me $140 in rehearsal fees because apparently they must rent out a gym somewhere instead of using the studio rooms they already own. Now, multiply that amount of money by more than 60 kids (I don't know the exact number of competition kids but 60 is in the ballpark). What a stellar use of money, don't you think?
I've already had to fork over money for the team leotard, team warm-up suit, team make-up set (from Avon), barrette, earrings, necklace, and bracelet, all of which must be purchased through the studio so that they can take their cut of it. I have to pay more for each of four costumes (three of which are for competition) than I do on my own clothing.
We also had to pay to buy tickets to the debut show this past weekend. Now while that doesn't necessarily sound terrible, how about this: we were all *obligated* to purchase 10 tickets to the tune of $50. Now maybe others are comfortable with asking friends and neighbors to pay for tickets to a dance show put on by 4 year olds through 18 year olds, but I'm not. Quite honestly, I would never be willing to go to a show my child wasn't in so I don't want to put others in the position to admit to me that they agree that such a premise is one of Dante's circles of hell. And we have very little family in the area so I had to eat the tickets, of which we used a whopping 4. Not that I'm bitter about writing checks for nonsensical crap, mind you.
Now the kicker in my mind was the costume snafu we had. As mentioned before, these are quite the ugliest dance costumes I've seen, and given how bad dance costumes generally are, this is going some. And they are rangingly expensive, of course, but I expect that. Above and beyond that though, R. was given her three costumes before the show and two of the three fit fine. They were a child's large. The third, however, was a child's medium. Now she's a fairly tall kid and she really needs the large. The medium looked like it was absolutely painted on her body. It will never last until nationals in July as it already leaves red gouge marks on her shoulders. So I e-mailed the studio owner and asked her if there could possibly have been a mix-up in the sizes, especially since it didn't match her other two and the fact that she is without a doubt the tallest kid in the number. I also might have mentioned that R. could barely get the belt that should velcro closed around the middle to close and that someone was in danger of having an eye put out it popped as the three threadlike velcro closures straining to keep it together gave up when she danced around in it. (Too flippant, you think?) Miss M. agreed that she'd check things out that night at the dress rehearsal. Do you think one thing was said that night? Nope. So I asked, rather loudly, in the dressing room if the other moms would please look at theirs and see if anyone had a large that shouldn't. That bastion of friendliness looked over at me in horror and continued dressing their children without even a token glance at the tag in the costumes. So we still have a painted on costume with ruffles that barely cover her rear (everyone else's comes half way down their thighs) but on the plus side, R. did swap belts with a child whose belt was so droopy that it wouldn't stay up while they were standing backstage. I do believe I paid a cool $100 for this charming costume that should last her as long as she doesn't ever grow again or even eat a tummy-bloating dinner at Taco Bell. You'd think for the amount of money I keep forking over to these people that they would at least look into the costume thing ($600 last month and $400 more this coming month just to give you a taste of the amount I am whining about--not exactly pocket change).
Each and every day I get more disenchanted. And while R. says she doesn't want to switch studios, I may not give her a choice. Of course, if she doesn't bring her grades up it will be immaterial because she will be doing no extracurricular stuff anyway. If there's a silver lining to poor grades, I guess it's that it would solve my dance concerns easily. :-P
Oh and I should say a small bit about the actual dancing since it's not really about the money, right? (OK, it is about the money, but...) I'm also not sold on the dance choreography and the dress rehearsal I saw showcased rather sloppy dancing. Now I heard it was cleaned up the following night for the show but I stayed in the back so I can't speak to that. What I can say, having watched the routines the day before though, is that this studio is overly obsessed with flexibility and simply moves dancers from Gumby-like position to Gumby-like position, sacrificing much of the grace and fluidity that makes dance interesting to watch. Do I care if some nine-year old can get her foot behind her ear while the other set of toes picks her nose? Nope. Now I probably have no idea what I am talking about here, not having been a dancer myself, but I am left less than impressed with the constant contortions. Where's the beauty? If my wallet must be empty, feed my soul, will you? And so I'll now have to wrestle with whether or not to force a change on R. who likes it here, despite her complete handicap as concerns flexibility.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Little background here. A couple of weeks ago my neighbor's 8th grade daughter told her mom that another child kicked W. on the bus but she didn't want her mom to tell me. Obviously we moms don't honor silly requests like this and T. told me what her daughter had told her. Apparently my generally oblivious and oftentimes cantankerous (what a combination, eh?) 6th grader sat in a bus seat this particular boy seemed to think was his and so he told W. not to sit there the next day. Cut to the following morning when W., in all his obstreperous glory, sits in the same seat. Well, apparently no 6th grader can just ignore this 8th grader's dictum and so he hauled off and kicked W. The bus driver did not see this but my neighbor's daughter thought W. should report this other kid and get him kicked off the bus. He did not. Nor did she say anything, explaining to her mom that she didn't want to make it worse for W. When I asked about the incident, I was casually told that this kid was a bit of a bully and that it was fine. (Apparently my child is also becoming more stoic because he not only ignored the kick, he didn't cry--and he's generally a big crier.) Stupid mom thought that was the end of it since W. never said another word about it.
So this morning we get a call from the 6th grade assistant principal who clues in the completely clueless parents. Apparently other children had told their parents and those parents had contacted the school about this ongoing bullying. (No indication to us from W. that he was living with this daily either.) The assistant principal confronted W., who admitted the reports were true. The 8th grader has been disciplined in school and his parents were contacted yesterday. Yay school for getting right on this!!! Then today there was a peer mediation between W. and a 6th grader who is apparently "sort-of" a friend of W.'s who has watched this situation, never stuck up for W. during it, and even picked on him some at the egging on of the older kid. Will this change anything? The cynic in me thinks no but at least the school will keep an eye on it. As to the rest, I do worry (it is my job, after all) that W. will be the neighborhood pariah as a result of the whole thing since all the kids involved live here too. I specifically asked if it was made clear that W. hadn't been the one to report it since I wanted the bully and the follower to know that other people were watching them too. I did restrain myself from asking the names of the kids but I might see if W. will cough them up when I ask him about it later today. Of course, if I find out, I'll never ever be able to like either of those kids ever, even if they were to become the nicest, most pleasant boys around so perhaps I should leave it unknown.
But I am also wondering why W. didn't bother to tell us (not that he told anyone until directly questioned) and that worries me too (see how good I am at the worrying job?). This parenting thing, it's gonna be the death of me! Oh, and a rhetorical question here (well, if you have an answer for me, feel free to share it but I suspect it's one of those unanswerable things): Why the heck is my child such a bully magnet? What about him screams out to be abused? And somebody please promise me that we'll all make it through this in one piece.
Monday, February 23, 2009
I got books in the mail this week. I got books in the mail this week. Nanny-nanny-boo-boo. ::happy dance:: I know, I know. Completely out of proportion with the very small number of books I received but I do so love to get them that I just can't restrain myself. Last week's haul consisted of two review books (both of which I've already read and enjoyed and now just need to get working on the reviews) and today brought a wonderful surprise bookcrossing book (I do so love surprises!). They were:
That Went Well by Terrell Harris Dougan
Losing My Religion by William Lobdell
Tuesday Night at the Kasbah by Patricia Kitchin
Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page and you can find out what came in other peoples' mailboxes there.
Anyone else want to send me something to bring me joy at the mailbox and keep me occupied during my long evenings sitting at kiddie sports?
The Just For the Love of It Challenge is one of the choose your own books kind of challenges that sound like such a good, easy idea and yet when you sit down to compile the actual list, you are surprisingly stumped. Perhaps part of my problem is that one of the rules is that you should only read books you just can't wait to read. Every book in my house falls under that category at some point and time and heaven knows that there's no hope for me to read all of them sometime between now and the end of April! But, because I love compiling lists and fondling my books debating whether to put them on the list or not is always an enjoyable exercise for me, I'm signing up for this one anyway. I decided not to make the list retroactive to January 1 so it'll be a much shorter version of what I would have written then. Here's the tentative list:
1. Fork It Over by Alan Richman
2. Spies by Michael Frayn
3. The Lost Years of Jane Austen by Barbara Ker Wilson
4. Merry Hall by Beverley Nichols
5. The Tale of Desperaux by Kate DiCamillo
6. Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliott
7. Cordelia Underwood by Van Reid
I'm sure I'll be adding more as the next two months roll along!
Sunday, February 22, 2009
I think he was a little worried by the prospect beforehand but I don't have much patience for fretting over the inevitable so I just ignored the fussing. This did not endear me to him, I'm sure. Then he was horrified to learn that I had no intention of sitting in the waiting room for the several hours it would take between when he was taken back to be prepped for surgery (no one allowed to accompany adult patients to this, incidentally) until he was ready for release. I just told him I'd be happy to pick him up when he was ready to come home and headed merrily on with my errand-packed day. Not 10 minutes later I got a phone call from a nurse to confirm that I was indeed intending to come and collect him when he was ready to go. Ummm. No, I'd rather you send my seriously drugged post-op husband out on the road to walk home (it was *only* outpatient surgery after all). I reassured her I would pick him up when he was a rambling, drooling mess even though I was clearly a negligent wife who wouldn't even stay for the mere 5 hours he'd be in the hospital.
Once he got home, I was all for sending him to bed and ignoring him until he felt better. This is how I'd prefer to be treated and how he did treat me after my foot surgery several years ago when I wasn't even ambulatory. Again, I probably got marked down in the compassionate wife category for this.
The following day, since he seemed to be feeling rather decent, he got to go to T.'s baseball tryout and to R.'s dbeut dance show. Apparently the latter caused him some pain (the hard chairs, not the dancing) but because I am all about ignoring frailty, I just nodded and let the whining go in one ear and out the other. I then proceded to miss the fact that he was out of bed at least twice last night getting pain killers. I can't say I truly ignored this as I didn't even wake up at all. Miss Sensitivity, that's me.
And apparently my good wife score hit an all time low today when he asked me to check and make sure he'd gotten all of the dressing he was supposed to remove off. Before he even got halfway across the room, my eyes were closed and I was doing the visual equivalent of stuffing your fingers in your ears and chanting "Nah nah nah nah nah." I think he was a little offended I wasn't going to look at his battle wound but I felt compelled to point out that he had known me over half his life and he should know by now that I do not do yucky things. I didn't even look at my own foot after surgery, the scar still makes me wince, and he thought I was getting up close and personal with his incision? He must still be taking more pain killers than I realized!
So whoever out there is judging the Wife of the Year awards, just give me a shout about where to pick up my award, as long as it's nowhere near anything that will require me to act compassionate or sensitive or just to plain old look at yucky stuff.
Fork It Over by Alan Richman
Johanna by Claire Cooperstein
Kristin Lavrensdatter II by Sigrid Undset
Spies by Michael Frayn
Bunnicula by Deborah Howe
The Lost Years of Jane Austen by Barbara Ker Wilson
One Hundred Million Hearts by Kerri Sakamoto
A Pigeon and a Boy by Meir Shalev
Merry Hall by Beverley Nichols
Anne’s Perfect Husband by Gayle Wilson
Slam by Nick Hornby
The Alphabetical Hook-up List by Phoebe McPhee
We'll see how it goes. Heaven knows this is all subject to change, of course!
To see other Sunday Salon posts, go to: http://dhamel.typepad.com/sundaysalon/.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Guess I should get around to signing up for my own challenge, eh? Of course I will be doing this as I am also hosting it. The rules are to read four books between March 1 and August 31 that contain the names of the four major compass points (North, South, East, and West) in the title. My list as it stands right now will be:
1. North of Ithaka by Eleni Gage
2. Bound South by Susan Rebecca White
3. East of the Mountains by David Guterson
4. A Strong West Wind by Gail Caldwell
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Then, after my workout and a quick dash home to change, I was scooting along to my Weight Watchers meeting [and incidentally, their scale must be broken because I weighed more naked at home than I did fully-clothed (big sigh of relief from all readers not wanting that scary mental picture!) at the meeting) and trying to push the speed limit as much as I could since I was running late. Well, Murphy's law means that there was a very slow moving truck from the highway department two cars in front of me. And I wondered why they were keeping such a distance when it didn't look like he was throwing anything from the back of his truck. It wasn't long before I didn't have to wonder anymore as the cars in front of me turned and I was stuck at a stoplight behind what was obviously the road-kill cadaver truck. Yes, three deer legs poked out of the back at strange angles for me to watch as we bumped slowly over speed humps going through the little downtown by my house. On the plus side, the sight made me less interested in getting lunch once the meeting was over. I do think it'll be a while before that one leaves my retinas though.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Of course, we also have the problem that everyone has with the amazing disappearing socks compliments of the drier monster. I have an entire bag of unmatched socks at the moment. Every now and then a match miraculously shows up but I should probably declare some of them permanently mateless and just turn them into cat toys for my friends' cats.
And lastly, shame on those of you who started this post wondering if I was going to talk about my sanity. There's no hope for a return of that so there's no point in even bringing it up. ;-) I just hope my misplaced sanity hasn't gotten a hold of my scissors!
Sunday, February 15, 2009
I thoroughly enjoyed this memoir and the look at what an adopted child must feel when faced with the large and boisterous family Hopgood found. Having lived outside of Detroit myself, I was familiar with the landscape of her childhood and found the common ground there to give me just that extra bit of joy at the recognition of schools and places. I'm certain that Hopgood censored some of her feelings a bit out of courtesy towards family members but overall this was an interesting look into a very complicated situation that is probably going to become more common as today's international adoptees grow older. Recommended. My thanks to the lovely folks at Algonquin Books for the chance to read the Advanced Reader's Copy.
I managed to find a dress that still fits and didn't make me look too much like stuffed sausage (yes, I am such an accomodating--HA!--spouse I do have a few formal dresses in my closet from which to choose). I hadn't worn this particular dress before because it had been bought for our India trip before we were told that modesty was the name of the game there. Let's just say that this dress greatly highlighted twin assets and was therefore deemed (by me) inappropriate. I know this begs the question of why I bought it since I am uncomfortable with cleavage at the best of times (this is why I love sports bras: they mush down the overly generous chest area nicely, thank-you). In all honesty, I bought it because it was a loose and flowy lycra. Even better, it was cheap. As in less than $50 cheap and I refuse to spent scads of money on something I don't really want to be wearing anyway. But the loose and flowy came in mighty handy last night since the foundation garment has yet to be made that can conquer the bulges around my middle. I dragged out some black patent leather shoes I last wore for a friend's wedding (and she's been married for almost 11 years now) and a black pashmina to cover the exposed-by-the-dress bits and called my outfit done. Now I do love jewelry so that accessorizing was less problematic than actually dressing.
But the major stress was yet to come. I had to wear make-up. *Gasp* Given that I still have make-up left over from my wedding (and we have a child who is almost 12 and was not a honeymoon baby so you do the math), I am obviously not much of a make-up wearer. As I stood in the bathroom applying it, R. wandered in and said in sheer amazement, "Mom, you're wearing make-up?!" and proceded to ask when the last time I wore make-up was. D. answered, "When we got married." Strike two D.! (Strike one was telling me he needed me to go to this function in the first place.) Then T. wandered in and asked, "Mom, since you never wear make-up, how come you're so good at putting it on?" (Is it any wonder that he's a 6 year old Casanova with girls vying for his attention?!) I told him that since I had to do R.'s make-up for dance every year, I had learned a few things. W. is still in the ignoring girls phase and apparently mom is no exception but he did say I looked nice when his father questioned him directly. Of course, he also mocked D. for the tux and said that he didn't look at all like James Bond so I guess I got off easily. Make-up done, hair finished (how sad is it that the barrette in my hair was R.'s fake diamonte thing from last year's dance competitions?), and dressed to kill (especially if a breast popped out and impaled someone), we headed out the door. The neighbors caught sight of us and came over to get a good look. Their 14 year old daughter took one look at me and said, "Are you actually wearing make-up?" Apparently me in make-up is going to be a seven-day wonder around here but it shows you how unlikely it is for me to have it on. LOL!
We got to the ball and headed to the one couple I had met before. We stayed with them the entire evening. The ball was put on by the same folks who did the most ghastly Christmas party I had ever been to and while this was a better event, it was still dead boring. We timed our arrival to hit the end of the champagne cocktail hour and didn't have to wait too long until we were allowed into dinner. we're sitting at the table and steak dinners are being placed at almost everyone's place. Given that D. had asked me what meal he should RSVP for, I knew that I would be getting one too. Au contraire! Apparently someone had decided that the couple we were sitting with and I should get the vegetarian option--not that there had been a vegetarian option on the list D. read to me before replying. For the health and safety of all food servers out there, let me let you in on a special bit of advice: when a woman has already been coerced into a function she really wanted no part of, do not screw up her dinner order. We protested our dinners (and the pasta dish they gave us was not only unappetizing looking, it smelled badly) and our server headed off to get someone else to deal with us. I don't know if we ended up speaking to the manager or not but he said there were no more steak dinners as the group had ordered only a certain amount. Normally I am a shrinking violet about confrontation but I was not on my best game plan last night. I told him that that was completely unacceptable as we had RSVP'd for steak. He reiterated that there were no more steak dinners and that he could give us chicken instead if that would be okay. I told him that it wouldn't. And furthermore, I wondered why there were spare chicken entrees but no spare steak entrees. I must have looked increasingly belligerent (and I'd had nothing stronger to drink than water) because he said he'd find us steak but that it would take 20 minutes. I said that would be fine. After he left I looked at D., who knew I was hopping mad and said, "Maybe I should have told him 20 minutes is unacceptable as well because I don't like my steak well done." I think he cracked a sickly sort of smile at this, mentally calculating how many years he'll be paying for this. ;-) They found us steak meals in about 5 minutes so obviously someone was lying to me, which I still don't appreciate this morning. And I am unimpressed with the service given that I believe what should have been said when the mistake was discovered was, "I'm sorry. We'll make it right." Then they could take up the discrepancy with the group hosting after the fact. Instead, they got my hackles up and made me less likely to go to the event next year (okay, there was already no way in the world I'd be going next year anyway) or to ever eat at the resort again despite the fact that the steak was very good.
Dinner over, we sat through the dancing because D. not only has 2 left feet, but he can't march to a beat on either one of them. We did wander over to have our picture taken but I suspect that it will be rather frightening given the southward creep of and chill affecting the twin assests. Don't think I want a souvenir of the evening anyway! It was finally late enough to escape the ball and we headed home. I was grateful that all anatomical bits stayed mostly where they belonged in the dress and that the whole thing was over. D. was grateful that I didn't throw a full on tantrum over the dinner snafu. All in all, as successful as any fancy evening ever gets for us!
Saturday, February 14, 2009
I originally didn't sign up for this race for several reasons. The one I gave my running friends was that I was going to be out of town (and I really did plan on heading north to my very favorite place in the world) but an even bigger pair of reasons were my weight--I'm 20 lbs. heavier than I was last summer--and my fitness level--which is appallingly poor since I'm only managing runs once or twice a week. The latter shouldn't have been a big concern since walking during a race is always an option but even fat and out of shape, I am still the same competitive me I've always been and I didn't want to really have a lousy run for my own mental health.
Well, the ticket north fell through ($500 to UP Michigan in February? Are they kidding? Nobody wants to be up there in negative a billion degrees. They should have happily handed me the ticket for free or paid me to take it. I mean, seriously!!!) so my best excuse, or the one least likely to earn me raspberries and rotten eggs, disappeared. So on the spur of the moment yesterday, after talking to my friend C., I decided to sign up if there was still room. In talking to C. about the race while I was deciding whether or not to subject myself to the race, she gave me a goal that would be doable and that would not take a chunk out of my pride. She was running for a PR (personal record for you non-runners) and wanted me to help her. She very much wanted to break 30 minutes and I knew I could do that so I promised I'd get her to the finish under 30. This took a bit of the pressure off going for my own PR off since there's no way I could have done that in my current fitness state.
So off I went to register. And again with the signs from the universe: there was room, at least until I got home from registering, at which point the race was full and closed. When you register late, you aren't guaranteed a race t-shirt. In some cases this would be a blessing (like the Turkey Trot t-shirt that is so creepy ugly) but I kind of wanted one from this race since I knew it would be marginally girlie with hearts and stuff both for Valentine's Day and because the run benefitted cardiovascular research. I had my fingers crossed that the only size left wouldn't be small (have I mentioned the extra 20 lbs. I'm carrying right now--nevermind that busty girls like me never get to dream of small t-shirts no matter how tiny the rest of the body gets) and it wasn't! Miracle of miracles, all they had left were mediums. But I can do medium--usually. I will day it was a little unkind of the barely post-pubescent man-boy handing out the shirts to look at me and say, "We only have mediums left. Will that be okay?" with such a concerned look on his face. For just one day I'd like to be built like a runner (ripped abs and minimal chest and all--although my legs are pretty decent even now and I definitely have runner's feet since I am still sporting a grand total of 4 toenails amongst my 10 piggie toes) so I don't have to face questions like this! I just said, "Perfect" and handed over my entry fee.
Cut to this morning. I had told my parents what time I needed to leave to get to C.'s house since we were carpooling to the race but either they misunderstood or I inherited my inability to read a clock from them as mom got in the shower 2 minutes before I needed to pull out and dad was still in bed. So D. gallantly offered to move their car (it was behind mine) so I could head out. I don't know if he did this because he loves me (it was early and I know *I* wouldn't love me that much) or if he knew how keyed up I was since I'd already had to hit the bathroom 3 times in a mere 20 minutes. Amazing that a small race caused me so much more intestinal distress and anxiety than the marathon did. I can only guess that I realized just how incredibly out of shape I am and as a result was worried I had been overly cocky in promising C. I'd help her get a PR. I mean, I had her goal riding on my running. A bit nerve-wracking, I tell you.
We got to the race and had to park way out in East Bumble but at least our brisk walk (in the chilly rain) to collect our chips and find the start served to warm us up a bit. Entertainingly, there was no definitive starting line so we all kind of mashed together close to a telephone pole that seemed close to the traffic cones that narrowed traffic for the race. C. gamely went along with my claustrophobia needs and we stayed to the outside of the pack both while standing at the start and once the strobe light went off sending us on our way. I had laid down my coaching rules before we took off and she mostly followed them (chief among them was that she could start her watch when we took off but that she wasn't allowed to look at it again until the end). My watch was set to beep at each mile so I could tell her how much farther without looking either. It was also set to let me know if we were faster than a 10 minute mile pace but I didn't tell her that!
C. and I have run together ever since I got down here and we ran the same marathon so I know what she's capable of and how she normally runs. I knew I was being a bit of a slave driver when she said she couldn't talk and run at the same time since she normally chats steadily throughout an entire run. But I also knew we needed to keep up a pretty quick pace to reach her goal. As we started off, we headed up a long, slow uphill that had looked rather difficult when we had driven down it before the race. Amazingly, it was far easier than I expected although it was the point that quickly made C. admit she couldn't talk at our pace. Once we leveled out, we turned the corner and headed down and around a park. At one point, we saw a bit of a hill in front of us and some woman running close to us half wailed, "Big hill." I restrained myself admirably. Not only did I not make a snarky comment (I try to only be bitchy to my family since they are stuck with me forever whether they want to be or not), but I didn't even turn to C. and roll my eyes. We did both mention it later after the run though because it was so ridiculous to get in a snort about. Not only was it not on a par with the nasty hills we ran in SF, but it wasn't even a patch on the hills we run every Saturday with the Team in Training folks around here. So we kept on trucking, even up the "big hill" that a toddler on a tricycle could have tackled without breaking a sweat (okay, I am also bitchy here on my blog as well as with my family), and made the final turn back onto the main drag. The lovely thing about this run was that the entire final bit was downhill--that same long, slow hill we'd already run up on the way out. Gotta love it when gravity does the work for you! As we headed into the finish line, I wasn't paying attention to the official time (especially since there were no mats at the start so no way of getting an exact time) btu I was hoping like crazy that we'd pulled off C.'s goal. We both hit our watches as we crossed the end mats and I told C. to look at her watch then. We ran in it 27:05 according to our watches (and the official chip time was 27:14 so we were about 10 seconds back from the start). Much faster than I thought we'd do and C. is still riding high, as she should be. She claims that she never would have gone that fast without me but I'm quite confident that she always had a sub-thirty 5K in her and just needed the tiniest mental push to get there.
I had expected the race to have lots of people dressed outrageously but was disappointed that people didn't really do it up. There was one guy dressed as cupid and a woman in heart print pajama bottoms but that was really it. Both of these folks beat us, needless to say. Wouldn't it be cool to be a fast enough runner to be able to dress goofy and appropriately themed and still smoke most of the other folks?
So official time was 27:14, which was almost 1 full minute slower than my PR but I was quite pleased with the run. I even ended up 15th in my age group. There are definite benefits to getting older. Even non-speed demon times rank pretty high. LOL! Someday I might feel like I can attempt my own PR again and this definitely inspires me to try and haul myself out on the roads more than just twice a week again. Funny how something like this highlights the things you enjoy--maybe not in the moment but certainly in the glow of accomplishment afterwards. And perhaps, just perhaps, I might be a decent coach. :-)
Friday, February 13, 2009
Here's tonight's dinner menu: Yogurt-marinated chicken, mint and garlic orzo, sauteed leeks, and salad. Tasty sounding, no? Don't all rush over though because there won't be enough and I'm not juicing any more dad-gummed lemons. I have learned my lesson. When life gives you lemons, don't make lemonade unless you have a kitchen tool specifically for this purpose which will save any open wounds on your hands from intense pain. What do you think? Too long for a bumper sticker?
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
I'm still working on organizing the basement (only 4 more boxes left to deal with in total!) and decided to move the seven thousand cans of paint from the corner the previous homeowners stashed them in. As I was moving them, I found several I can get rid of which inspired joy out of all proportion. Then I noticed one I thought I should probably be keeping based on the color smeared down the can. It's labelled "Prison White." Hmmmmm. We've always called it "Re-sale White" and given our penchant for moving hither, thither, and yon, we've generally left the walls this color because of unimaginative buyers. Might have to re-think or maybe make the kids touch-up paint with it as a part of their work-release programs when they are in trouble!
Monday, February 9, 2009
I did get some books in the mail this past week (and one today) so I thought I'd mention the goodies. I had ordered a birthday present for a friend from amazon and to make up the free shipping amount, I tucked a book in for myself as well. Shocker, I know! I am contemplating doing a triathlon so I was pleased to see a sparkly new copy of Slow Fat Triathlete by Jayne Williams come through my mailbox. I don't know if I should just do one without reading the book or if it would have information that didn't scare the pants off of me and that would make me even more eager to try one. We'll see. Might put the whole thing off 'til next year anyway so I have a chance of being a slow, less fat triathlete. :-) The other book I got arrived today and was a book I won from Luanne. It's Love and Other Natural Disasters by Holly Shumas and I could have a hard time not jumping into it right away but I should really hold off until I leave Russia during the Napoleanic Wars (War and Peace, which is giving me no peace right now). We'll see how long I manage to stay submerged in Tolstoy's world before I simply must have a break! If you are curious about what others in the book blogging world have gotten in the mail, check out The Printed Page for links.
Sunday, February 8, 2009
Saturday, February 7, 2009
I have to say it's been a long time since I read a series romance book but for some reason, I felt compelled to pick one up at the store and read it. I should have remembered why it had been so long. The only good thing I can say about this book is that it didn't suck up too much of my valuable reading time since it was so short and such a quick read. The premise is that Alexa's sister leaves her groom (and her father's business partner), Santos Cordero, at the altar. This is a terrible thing since it turns out that Alexa's father has embezzled money from his future son-in-law and the wedding present was for Cordero not to press charges, nevermind that the bride herself was a wedding present of sorts to Cordero (ie not a love match). Alexa, of course, doesn't know these circumstance and is horrified by Cordero's seeming lack of devastation by his unceremonious jilting. He, on the other hand, thinks she knows and vows she will be the one to pay her father's debts, in his bed. The two tumble into bed on after the mock reception. Hello, your sister was supposed to marry this man only a few short hours ago and you are so overcome with passion that you can't keep away? Obviously this plot twist bothered me but as ridiculous as the instantaneous lust storyline was, the writing in this was appalling. I've already posted my favorite line but rest assured there are other equally laughable bits in here. I also wonder at the lack of an editor. When Alexa flees Cordero and he ultimately follows her, he ends up leaving her home in a raging storm, bad enough to bring down a massive tree that crushes his car. And yet after the two of them traipse off in this fury of nature to prove to Alexa that he wasn't lying about not being able to leave, they are overcome by passion so dire that they must again immediately jump into the sack so Cordero carries her into her room, which is illuminated by the light of the moon. A storm so fierce trees are toppled has a moon shining brightly through it? Really? England's storms (and specifically Yorkshire) must be far different than those I've seen here in the US. Where, oh where, was Walker's editor and why was this not somehow altered or completely struck from the manuscript? ::sigh:: Obviously I won't be heading back into series romance again any time soon since this has cured me of the desire for quick, easy happy endings in the near future (not that I'll eschew all romance but the short serials will not darken my door again too soon).
Mom's towel is somehow better than their own towels so when I came home from my run looking forward to my shower, my towel was already cold and soggy from use.
The beasties love nuts and despite asking them nicely to crack the dratted things (I buy them shelled but the ones we have now were a gift and therefore still in their shells) over the garbage, I still had sharp shells all over the floor and counter. This is particularly not nice to discover in bare feet.
Children numbers 2 and 3 went through their closets this weekend as requested. I had loads of clothes to fold and put into a box for my sister's munchkins. I did not also expect to find a mountainous pile of shirts that still fit sprawled across child #3's floor instead of in the closet where he originally discovered them.
As if the wet towel wasn't enough, when I came home from my run, I also discovered a frying pan coated with egg left on the stove for the kitchen fairy to clean-up. The kitchen fairy also found raw egg dripped down the front of the cabinents. Gack!
The basement, aside from the one day *I* worked very hard and made it immaculate, is and has remained a landfill for Toys R Us since we moved in.
Because sneaking things seems to be standard procedure for the K. kids, I also discovered an old receipt wrapped around something that had been chewed up and spit out on the (carpeted) floor of the basement closet. Yes, it was all glued to the carpet and no, I still haven't figured out what it was originally although chocolate seems to be the prime candidate right now.
This is all just what I've discovered so far in the past two days. I swear pets are easier! So if you are thinking about having kids, get a puppy. You'll thank me for it.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Monday, February 2, 2009
It's so very exciting when I actually have something to report for Mailbox Monday. And this past week, I did get a book in the mail. Even better, it was a totally unexpected goodie. The kind folks at Algonquin Books sent me a copy of Mei-Ling Hopgood's memoir Lucky Girl. Since it arrived on Saturday, I have been making my way through it, annoyed at the interruptions that have taken me away from it (Super Bowl? Who really cares about the Super Bowl?) so I'll be finished and have a review for it soon. Maybe I'll be lucky again this week and find more unexpected good reads in the mailbox. I'm keeping my fingers crossed!
Sunday, February 1, 2009
Looking forward to February, I have 3 review books I need to tackle. The good news is that I am already half way through one of them. I also have 6 reviews from the January books to write and post so I need to get on that and not fall so far behind. I have one challenge that finishes up in February but it'll definitely challenge me to complete it since it calls for me to finally get back to and finish War and Peace. In general, it's looking like it'll be a pretty good month. And if I actually finish W&P in a timely manner, I will probably gloat at book club, so that'll make the read worth it too!
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