Thursday, August 28, 2008

General observation

Sitting here at the computer, avoiding unpacking boxes again, I happened to glance out into the backyard to see our new lawn guy. My goodness, he's built! Nice of my husband to find me some eye candy, isn't it? (Can't tell what he really looks like under the hat, glasses, and iPod but from the neck down he's quite a sight.)

A meme stolen from Beth

I swiped this meme from Beth's sadly neglected blog. ;-) It's old (the meme, not her blog) but I never did do it when I originally saw it so here it is now just for interest's sake:

What we have here are the top 106 books most often marked as "unread" by LibraryThing’s users. As in, they sit on the shelf to make you look smart or well-rounded. Bold the ones you've read, italicize the ones you started but didn't finish, asterix the ones you own.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell*
Anna Karenina*

Crime and Punishment
One Hundred Years of Solitude*
Wuthering Heights*

The Silmarillion
Life of Pi : a novel*
The Name of the Rose*

Don Quixote
Moby Dick
Madame Bovary *
The Odyssey*
Pride and Prejudice *
Jane Eyre*
A Tale of Two Cities*

The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel
War and Peace*
Vanity Fair*
The Time Traveler’s Wife*
The Iliad*
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner*

Mrs. Dalloway
Great Expectations*
American Gods*
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius*
Atlas Shrugged
Reading Lolita in Tehran : a memoir in books*
Memoirs of a Geisha*

Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West*
The Canterbury Tales
The Historian : a novel
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man*
Love in the Time of Cholera*
Brave New World*

The Fountainhead
Foucault’s Pendulum

The Count of Monte Cristo*
A Clockwork Orange
Anansi Boys
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath*
The Poisonwood Bible : a novel*

Angels & Demons
The Satanic Verses
Sense and Sensibility*

The Picture of Dorian Gray
Mansfield Park*
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest*
To the Lighthouse*
Tess of the D'Urbervilles*

Oliver Twist
Gulliver’s Travels*
Les Misérables*

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay*
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time*
The Prince
The Sound and the Fury*
Angela’s Ashes*
The God of Small Things*

A People’s History of the United States : 1492-present
A Confederacy of Dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything*
The Unbearable Lightness of Being*
The Scarlet Letter*
Eats, Shoots & Leaves*
The Mists of Avalon*

Oryx and Crake
Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed
Cloud Atlas*
The Confusion
Northanger Abbey*
The Catcher in the Rye*
On the Road*

The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Freakonomics : a rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance : an inquiry into values
The Aeneid*

Watership Down
Gravity’s Rainbow
The Hobbit*
In Cold Blood : a true account of a multiple murder and its consequences
White Teeth*
Treasure Island*

David Copperfield

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Good news!

The plunger is not with W.'s sheets and blankets. Yay! (Still don't know where it is--and the spices are still awol too but at least one disgusting possibility has been ruled out.)

The things you find

In going through boxes and trying to put things away (no easy task given how different the houses are), I have found some very interesting stuff.

We still have paper napkins from our wedding. That's more than 13 years ago for anyone counting. We also have a shameful amount of fast food napkins despite having cut fast food almost completely out of the diet over the past two years.

I have enough moisturizer/lotions to baby the skin of the entire metro Charlotte area. I even have one that is clearly from my childhood. This should tell you how frequently I use it. Ergo, no more for gifts, please!

If I love something, I am a stockpiler. The sheer amount of stationary, purses, and books I own is staggering. Don't be surprised to get a letter from me soon so I can use up some of the stationary. ::grin::

Movers pack anything, just in case. I've unpacked candy wrappers and empty soda cans (because those were clearly necessary to our health and well-being down here).

The contents of a junk drawer look even worse and more useless when seen out of their drawer. But it's a good bet that you'll find something fascinating in there if you take the time to rifle through the mess (so that's where those keys went!!!). Hey look! I can actually touch-up paint all the nicks and dings in the car's finish--not from me, of course. ::wink::

The things you don't find are a little more disturbing. I've unpacked all the bathroom boxes and still haven't found the plunger. That means it is packed somewhere with something that should never be in close contact with a plunger. Come to think of it, nothing should be in close contact with the plunger except the toilet. And we try to minimize even that contact. Makes me cringe to think it could quite possible be with the missing pantry box (and if I have to replace all my spices because they were snugged up to the plunger I will be ticked indeed). It could also be with W.'s sheets and bedding, which is not in his room, nor in his sister's, brother's, or ours. At least the bedding is washable but the idea of it with the plunger still gives me the heebie jeebies.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

More on moving

Questions inspired by moving:

1. Why is it that you will need a doctor or a dentist or an ER the first week or two after you move? (We've needed a doctor for a booster shot required by school--urgent care had to handle that one--and a dentist for tooth reconstruction since R. chipped her tooth today when she came up from under water at the pool--did the good Lord not grant this child eyes with which to see the large, immovable, concrete barrier right in front of her face? On second thought, maybe we need an opthamologist too.)

2. Why can't cardboard boxes be a decorating statement? And no, I don't mean on the walls like in that old episode of Trading Spaces!

3. Why don't you appreciate the grocery store you know and love until you are wandering around lost in the aisles of a foreign store, looking at brands with which you are completely unfamiliar? I didn't really expect them to carry either Graeter's (the stores in Detroit didn't either) or frozen Skyline (one store in Detroit did) but I was hoping. And not having the good yogurt flavors is just unpardonable since that's my chosen breakfast these days.

4. Why is it that the things you need most desperately are apparently deep in the depths of some box you might never uncover? We've been here three days now and we still haven't located the box with W.'s sheets. He's sleeping in the doggy smelling papasan chair in his room instead of in his bed. Oh, and we actually had to go and buy T. some new shin guards despite owning enough of those to outfit an entire team because they were not in his dresser any longer but he needed them for practice today.

5. How can a house be bigger than your previous house and yet you still have a garage full of furniture you need to haul to Goodwill because it simply doesn't fit in the bigger house? Most of the stuff I'm okay with getting rid of but there are a few things I am determined to save, even if my house starts to look like a furniture showroom floor.

6. And finally, why do we do this every couple of years? I mean, I morph into a complete b%tch and yet somehow we still think this is a good plan. Not moving must induce amnesia in us.

Friday, August 22, 2008


I am a complete slug.

I have no desire to unpack the scads of boxes in the house. This means we have eaten out for every meal since we arrived. Even that is getting boring.

I have no motivation to run. This means I have played hookey from my training schedule this week (although I'm hoping this is an okay thing since my legs seem to have needed the rest). I am riddled with guilt over this.

I have no interest in calling the head of the dance studio R. went to a few days ago to tell her R. won't be dancing there. This means I am an ungrateful and rotten soul since this woman was lovely and went out of her way to try to make us feel welcome.

All I have been doing lately is eating my weight in junk food and wasting time on facebook. Yeah, that's productive!

Wonder if I should muster up the oomph to find a doctor and see if they can prescribe some happy pills for me. :-P

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Middle school orientation

The number one reason never to have children: having to relive the horror that was junior high/middle school with them.

Went to W.'s middle school orientation today. He seemed mostly blase about it. I was too until I realized how old it makes me to have a kid going into 6th grade. Somehow, in my head I'm still 22 (and the hair isn't rapidly greying, the wrinkles aren't settled and starting to sink like the boobs did several years ago, and the joints aren't aching with age). Hard to face the fact that I'm not young and perky anymore. But those 6th graders made me face it. Have kids gotten taller over the years? My son is apparently a shrimp this year so maybe I just haven't noticed. Also, shouldn't someone tell these children that deodorant is a blessed discovery? Loads of tall, stinky, acne-sprouting, braces-wearing children shuffled morosely out of the cafeteria and towards the 6th grade hallway. No wonder these next years are so awful! I feel sorry for them and sorry for me that I'll be immersed in all this for the second time in my life.

And just a taste of what's to come in my life this year-- W. has never met anyone else with his name before (ever). This year there's a *girl* with his name, not only in his grade but in his homeroom. Should make for an interesting year. Oh yeah, she's also about a foot taller than he is. He is so not going to love that. ;-)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Major whine

What on earth made me think that training for a marathon would be a good idea at the same time we moved? I must have been on crack! I am totally stressed out; the house is full of boxes; and I am depressed by the overwhelming logistics of getting life back to some new kind of normal. So by all means I should try and squeeze training runs into my life too. And today's run just made everything worse. I could barely motivate myself to get out the door so I was hours past when I normally run (and into the hottest most unpleasant time of day). I didn't drive the route I mapped before running it so not only were the hills rude surprises, but the fact that a street that was supposed to cut through to another neighborhood and didn't--ending in a cul-de-sac--made me stop in astonishment at a mere 3.25 miles (it was supposed to be a 6 mile run). The run felt like cr@p anyway (sore, aching muscles and stiff joints combined with a monster blister on my poor smallest toe) so when the road dead-ended, I had to work really hard to avoid tears. I ran a slight bit more but basically walked home (logging a mile less than I should have total and a good 2 or more miles fewer than I was supposed to *run*). There I avoided unpacking boxes, laid on the couch feeling sorry for myself for about 15 minutes, finally dug through the boxes in the garage to find R.'s dance shoes so she could go to a studio tonight, and drove off in the middle of rush hour to a place I had never been so we wouldn't miss competition try-outs. Result? She's not sure she wants to go back to the studio (they were quite nice to her and to me). So that was worthwhile. Not!

In sum total, what I accomplished today:

1. Destroyed whatever confidence I had in my running.
2. Significantly enlarged the blister that ate Manhattan I've been sporting since the 14 miles run on Saturday.
3. Moped around the house as if it was an Olympic sport and I was in gold medal contention.
4. Ate like cr@p (what else is new this summer?!).
5. Unpacked a grand total of 2 boxes.

I wonder where all my get up and go got up and went?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Mupdate #4 (8/14/08)

Since it's August and my mileage has increased on every single day I get out there to run I figured you all needed yet another update on my progress (and another poke to donate if you haven't yet had the opportunity). I will offer fair warning that this mupdate is in much worse taste than those prior. So if you are easily offended by raunchy or gross stuff or you want to still maintain the ability to look me in the face in person, you might want to skip over this month's offering. You've been forewarned though, so if you are still reading, well, here we go.

This has been an interesting month. I have become an expert in many things, not least of which include aching joints. I have ample time during my long runs to catalog all those things about which I didn't used to be so knowledgeable. For instance, if you want to know the original identity of the smear of roadkill you've just passed, ask me. I'm almost certain to know. I can even tell now just how fresh the splatter might be. I have run past a pulped porcupine, flat bats, squashed frogs, and a rigid mole. I am pleased to say that I have yet to find a snake in the road, flat or otherwise, although I tend to leap like a spooked horse whenever I see anything stringy enough to be one of our no-shouldered friends. I think a snake on the road would be the end of my running career! To be derailed so easily is sad, but only fearing snakes and not minding the gruesome carcasses is a huge leap forward for the girl who hyperventilated and passed out when they brought the fetal pigs out for dissection in high school! More than the car casualties, I will say it did give me great pause to run past a rather enormous section of vertebrae that had clearly been picked clean along the side of a very rural, little-used road. It continues to give me pause that each time I run past and there seem to be fewer and fewer bones left. The fact that whatever animal possessed this enormous spinal column was significantly larger than I am makes me stay just that bit much more alert as I run down that deserted road. Well, more alert or more vocal, one of the two.

And speaking of being vocal, I need to proffer an apology to all the folks in Cedarville and Hessel who have encountered me singing to my iPod lately. Not only am I a poor singer at the best of times, but the fact that I only wheeze out about every third word of the song can't improve Erasure's Abbaesque songs very much. (Yes, I have quite the odd mix on the iPod.) Actually, if any of you are like my husband, you don't think anything would possibly make those songs worse, but I promise you that until you've heard my incomparable warbling, you haven't heard anything! Oh, and I discovered to my chagrin that I apparently have some classical music on my iPod. Now, I have nothing against classical music but I sure don't remember putting it on there and it is about as awful as it gets to try and run to. So if you all have any suggestions for good stuff for running, send 'em my way because I'm sure the marathon folks want me to finish this race sometime this year, instead of slugging along into 2009 simply because symphonies aren't peppy enough to keep me cookin' along. Hey, maybe I should stick with the classical music in spirit and throw Bolero on there at the end! Currently my runs end with Jeff Buckley's Halleluiah but while the sentiment is correct, the beat just isn't motivational.

For those who don't already know, I had to head home in the middle of the last month to move from Detroit to Charlotte. Neither place holds a candle to the UP in terms of beautiful running weather. It's generally been pretty perfect up here this summer. I think I've only run in long sleeves once and I could easily have been happy in short sleeves by the end of that run. Of course, as is usual with the changeable weather up here, I have also been caught in some deluges. (I was going to say rain showers but that doesn't even come close to describing what I've been out in some days.) The good news is that the rain (and sometimes hail) always passes through very quickly so I have yet to do an entire run in miserable weather. Of course, the quickly passing rain storms leave behind their own set of fun. Once they pass through, it's hard not to notice that my shoes squelch badly; the Body Glide isn't as effective, leaving some rather raw bits I don't appreciate; and most entertainingly of all, I look as if I am the single entrant in my own personal wet t-shirt contest. Surprisingly (or maybe not), I get more honks and waves from people when I am soaked to the skin. Of course, this generally happens on my long run days when I am out for literally hours so the number of people who see me being a little bit exhibitionist is much higher too. On the other hand, when I see some of the folks slow down and crane their heads to catch a glimpse of who is loony enough to have been out running when it was clearly going to dump an ocean on her head, I want to remind them that the wet t-shirt thing is humiliating and to please just keep driving. I know that I'm in a see-through, formerly white t-shirt, suctioned to my skin as I plug on down the highway. I am also unfortunately aware that such a sight isn't nearly as appealing as it was when I was 20 before babies and gravity had their way with me. I am, however, pleased to say that running bras are as good as anything at putting bits back where nature originally placed them so at least the sight isn't as horrific as it easily could be.

The wet shirt problem (and if we're being honest, I sweat so much that I often don't even need the rain to sport such a thing)suctioned to my body is highlighting another problem I've encountered this summer though. This marathon training has made me ravenously hungry and I eat anything I can find in a tri-state area. It's disconcerting and, frankly, a bit disgusting too. I wasn't paying too much attention to it until I noticed that I have certainly gained rather a bit of weight (and I'm grateful as can be that the scale in the cottage is broken so I can't tell just *exactly* how much weight) and if that's not bad enough, I am getting slower on my runs. I have since connected the two since I am having to carry that much more pudge around with me. Not a happy thought. Wonder if that entire box of fudge is the culprit? Humph! Back to more mindful eating it will be, although being able to roll down the hills in San Francisco might make for a nice break for my legs every so often.

I do actually have to eat on my long runs to keep my energy up and I know I've already waxed rhapsodic about the Gu gels but I can't leave them out of this update since I'm using them more than ever. I tried other flavors, wondering if I was stuck in a rut with my chocolate flavored stuff but while the Tri-Berry was acceptable, the Lemon-Lime nearly had me scraping my tongue in disgust. Even worse is that the Gu and water combination inevitably makes me belch (loudly and repeatedly) for a while--just imagine that combined with my stellar singing ability here for a minute. As hilarious as that image probably is, try to feel some sympathy for me since after the Lemon-Lime Gu, I spent the next 4 miles urping it back up for repeat performances. Not nice at all. If I'm going to have to taste things more than once, I prefer chocolate, thank-you very much!

You're probably all wondering how I feel about the long runs I'm doing since I don't really mention those any differently than I do the short (in comparison) runs, right? I think I must be a truly warped human being because the truth of the matter is that I am thoroughly enjoying the long runs much more than the short runs. I know I have often been told that I am mental but this probably seals the deal. And I have been experimenting with ways to make the short runs more palatable. In general, it takes me almost 2 miles to stop looking like I'm the stunt double for the tin man from The Wizard of Oz. I don't know why I can't loosen up any sooner than that, even with stretching, but I have yet to find a way. So the farther I go, the looser and happier my joints seem to become. Of course, I must also admit my shortest runs of the week are the morning following the long runs so I'm likely still recovering from those when I wobble out there. I'm also generally recovering from some sort of excess on Sunday morning--sleep deprivation, an evening at the bar, or even just a massive "I made it that far" ice-cream sundae--which doesn't help. I will say that the night I was out very late and didn't get much sleep actually made for the easiest short run the next day. Perhaps there hadn't been time for every muscle in this aging body to clench up in protest against any further mileage. I might just test this theory again this weekend! ::grin::

I have to test all my running theories up here where I run alone because I am apparently beyond gross when I've been running, which isn't nice for a running partner to endure. Charlotte is much hotter and much more humid than Northern Michigan for sure but I don't know that it makes a significant difference in the odiferous end result that follows my runs. It's probably a good thing that I come in in the boat alone and go home in the boat alone after the runs if my long run in Charlotte is anything to go by. Since I don't know Charlotte yet, when I was down there, D. drove me to the long run and dropped me off while he went to the gym for his workout. He was finished long before I was and spent some quality time sitting in Panera using their free wi-fi while I finished up. Once he figured I'd had enough time, he came over to the Team in Training group and chivvied me along to the car. I wasn't quite ready to leave (hadn't stretched, was still talking, etc.) so it served him right to have to get in the car with my smelly self. He hopped in, closed the door, and then looked over at me in horror, throwing open the window and announcing: "You stink!" Well, duh! But I guess that means I should stop doing my runs up here and then following them up with errands that bring me into direct contact with other people who have even the slightest sense of smell. Might have to shower and change before I hit Cedarville Foods from now on (especially if I'm in one of my wet t-shirts)!

In all my solitary runs up here, I have come across quite a few deer grazing by the sides of the road. Normally they raise their heads and stare their liquid brown stares before finally deciding that they should turn tail and run. It is sort of embarrassing how long they stare at me plodding slowly up the road at them before they think it prudent to leap gracefully off but today's run took the cake. Not only did I see a deer, but this one clearly thought the goofy looking two-legged thing making its way down the road at a snail's pace was absolutely no threat at all because this deer didn't even deign to run off! It literally poised itself for flight and then thought better of it as it stood and watched me run past it close enough so that I could have reached out and patted it on the head (yes, it didn't even turn tail!) as I went past. I didn't look back after I passed it because I didn't want the knowledge that I was so lead of foot that I was absolutely no threat at all and that it had stopped watching me and gone back to placidly grazing beside the road.

I also need to mention the serious torture I put myself through when I run. It is truly cruel and unusual treatment to be forced to run past a bakery emitting lovely morning smells each and every morning. Worse yet, on the long runs, since I run through two different towns, I get to run past two equally lovely smelling bakeries. It takes every last ounce of willpower I have to keep running instead of stopping and indulging. And if the bakeries aren't enough, I have duly noted all the houses I plan to stop in for breakfast some day. Some people obviously make a consistently wonderful, full breakfast, in direct contrast to the serve yourself cereal thing at our house. Do you think the inhabitants would think it weird if I knocked on their door one morning to introduce myself and invite myself in?!

And now to the ultimate runner's indignity: pooping your pants. (I warned you this one was graphic!) I had always heard that running would help get your system moving and while I knew this to be a truism, I never did understand the people who were so terribly concerned about where every bathroom around their route was or worried desperately about pooing themselves. I mean, I don't really push my body that hard that I'd lose all control of my bowels, right? Well, yes and no. I was out on the 12 mile run this past weekend and I was cooking along at just under 10 minute miles, which is a pace that I am completely and happily comfortable with over the long haul (once I get through that first 3 miles). All of a sudden though, I had to poo and I had to do it NOW! Given that I was in the middle of nowhere (remember the deserted road with the vertebrae on the side of it?), this was not a happy thought. I tried running a bit further, although just where I thought I was going to conjure a porta-john out of the blue, I don't know, but it was quickly obvious that any further clearly wasn't going to be an option. So I crashed into the woods, scrabbled at my shorts and barely averted a disaster. However, I had bolted into an area lacking in good leafy cover for clean-up so I gathered what I could find and did the best I could. I was, at this point, only 8 miles into my 12 miles so I was less than pleased about the state of my rear as I resumed my run. Wouldn't you know that two miles later, I had to go again--IMMEDIATELY. Off into the woods I scooted again. Not that I had the forethought to look (because when you are concentrating so hard on keeping everything slammed shut there's no room for other thoughts), but I lucked out and chose a much better area in terms of leaves. I can now tell you which leaves are most comfortable on sensitive hind-ends and which have tickly little fur on their stems and should therefore be avoided at all costs. I am sad to say I can also now understand why some cultures think it impolite to shake hands using the hand you use to wipe your bottom. Gack! I didn't want to touch my water bottle or my Gu after my little wilderness excursion so it was a darned good thing that the run was almost done. As bad as all that was, there was more indignity to be had. When I got home and hopped in the shower, I discovered that 4 miles post potty stop was too long for my poor bottom. It was chafed beyond all belief and the hot water from the shower actually *hurt* it. If you are laughing at this point, know that someday I might be able to join you but for now, I have to live with the memory of smearing some rather delicate, rubbed raw bits, with bag balm and that's just no laughing matter. Too bad my sister had gone home with her small children and their diaper rash ointment. That would at least have been slightly less mortifying (I think).

I know I've made training for this sound like such fun you all want to hop out there and join me, right? I have my longest run ever on Saturday if anyone is up for the challenge. That'll be 14 miles for those keeping track. I've never done that before as the half marathon at 13.1 miles is as far as I've ever gone. So think of me out there at the crack of dawn, probably sporting a wet t-shirt, with the unimpressed wildlife staring at me as I hit an all-time high distance, hopefully without needing a non-existent bathroom.

Thursday, August 7, 2008


Everything going on right now has made me an ill-tempered, completely insufferable b*tch. Nomrally I wouldn't care much but even I don't like me right now.

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