Monday, April 28, 2008

Running as a hobby

Well, Running as a hobby certainly takes more effort than my previous hobby, which was making fun of people who shop at Walmart.  Oh now wait a minute- don't act like you've never done it.

You know the one's I'm talking about.  They're always wearing a tank top- in January or June.  And there's something about the way they talk about the thing they've shot most recently that makes my skin crawl in the check out line.  They never have produce in their cart unless it's canned peaches packed in syrup, and they're the first to say they have no money to eat better, but they do have money for a big screen TV & designer tennis shoes.  As far as hobbies go, both will make you feel good, and now I know that both can make you laugh.

Despite the pettiness of it, the Walmart hobby has made me laugh.  And it can make you feel good about yourself, but not in the same way that running does.  I guess that's because with running you get endorphins and with Walmart you get credit card debt and a headache.  (I have to be in the store to make fun of the redneck shoppers, and it's tough to get out of there for less than $100).  I'm proud to say now that I've started my new hobby I have ZERO credit card debt and my a** is shrinking.  Or, at least, I think it WILL shrink given enough time.  I saw my waist today.  It was hard to recognize because it's been a long time.  This means that either my hips are growing, or my waist is shrinking.  (Please be the latter of the two.... please oh please....)

I ran a 5K this weekend.  My time wasn't some stellar time that will knock your socks off.  But, its MY time.  Mine.  I claimed that time when I finished a race, something I would have never done a year ago.  Or even 6 months ago.  But on Saturday I crossed a finish line, ahead of my "planned" run time AND I was pushing a stroller.  And I laughed out loud!  I covered, and pretended I was laughing with B, the stroller occupant.  But I was laughing because I could run.  I was fit enough to run the whole race (*w/ a trivial amount of walking).

My sister & 2 brothers are thin and fit.  My father is uber thin.  My mother has always been fit, even if some of her thinness has been lost to age.  (she would kill me if she knew I said that)  So, I think I have the "thin gene", it's just that I buried it under layers of chocolate comfort, homemade whipped cream, assorted pastries, and mashed potatoes with real unsalted butter loaded on top.  I've tried to remove some of those layers this year, because I think they're interfering with my life in the same way a food addiction or alcoholism would interfere.  I have gone the "portion control" route, and though I still have naughty days, I have more good days than bad.  I have removed butter from my vocabulary, unless it's in pie.  With pie I tend to eat my share.  With potatoes I tend to eat Ireland's share.

I always wanted to be one of those women who was addicted to working out.  I mean, if you have to be addicted to something that makes you feel good, why choose chocolate?  Or butter?  Why not aerobics?  You know the women I am talking about, they're either bone thin or muscle bound and they spend every available moment lifting something, drinking a protein drink or bottle of water, and rushing from one gym to the next.  I knew one WA (workout addict) who was a member at 3 gyms Plus ran on the weekends.  She had an amazing figure too.  I admit, I was jealous.  I thought, "If I had enough $ to belong to 3 gyms I could look like that." 

So, I went out and joined a gym.  I signed up for a THREE YEAR contract with said gym, figuring that if I couldn't belong to 3 gyms, that was the best option. I began paying my dues and imagining what I would look like in 3 years.  When we joined the gym, I weighed 145 pounds.  Over time, we came to refer to those dues as the "fat tax".  Because all it meant was $77 was removed from our account in a "convenient bank draft".  Convenient for the gym.  Not so much for me.  After my 3 years of taxation without representation was concluded, I cancelled my membership.  I weighed 144 lbs.  $2,772 for ONE POUND?  I can't AFFORD to lose the rest of my baby weight!  

No amount of money was going to make me work out.  I learned the truth of the matter the hard way.  Money doesn't make you thin.  Or, to be more precise:  Paying a gym membership doesn't make you thin. You (apparently) have to go AND work out (just going in and taking a shower doesn't work either- I tried that too).  

Running is free, within reason.  I needed new shoes, which I splurged on.  But the greatest thing about running is not only that it's free.  It's that it's freeing.  I can just go.  No matter the hour of day, or even the weather.  I can go.  Oh sure, it would be nice to go faster.  But that will have to come in time.  As my a** shrinks, so will my 5K time.

I try to walk my dogs every day.  And, because I decided I needed a support group as much as I needed a workout class, I joined a group of women who do Stroller Strides.  They inspire me, encourage me, challenge me, and humor me.  Now I've added running 3-4 times a week.  As I look at this, working out 6 days a week, sometimes twice a day, I'm beginning to wonder if I've crossed over to the WA's.  I guess only time will tell.  I've been in SS for going on 6 months, and running for going on 6 runs.  There's still time.  At least 35:43 worth.  

Yup.  Plenty of time.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

100 99% true things about me... updated version

I got this idea from a fellow blogger.  I found hers to be so "enlightening" that I thought I would do one as well.  So, here it is, the whole "truth", as seen through my eyes.

1) My name is Virginia
2) I lived my whole life believing I was named for the beautiful state in which I was born.
3) I was wrong.
4) I was in fact named for Virginia Military Institute.
5) The year VMI became co-ed was my last year of eligibility.
6) I chose not to go, in part because I didn't want to, and in part because I thought it might kill my grandfather.
7) Thanks to my selfless intervention he lived to be 97 (1910-2007).
8) Great D-Dad was 90 years older than my oldest child.
9) I got married one day after I turned 22.
10) My husband is almost exactly 10 years older than I am.
11) I have three children, ages 8, 5, 1. (11, 8, almost 4)
12) All of my children are named for a person in our family.
13) Fortunately all the names in my family are, for the most part, nice modern names. (Grandmother Trudy had no expectation that we would name one of our daughters Gertrude- and we didn't).
14) One of my idols is my Grandmother Hannah.
15) She had a cocktail waiting for her husband when he returned from work every day.
16) She also had a cocktail of her own while she was fixing his. 
17) The best advice she ever gave me was, "Stay one drink ahead of your husband and you're sure to stay happily married."
18) She was married 64 years.
19) I believe that sometimes the best ideas are the simplest.
20) All my life I have participated in sports that could be considered dangerous.
21) I think that's why running never appealed to me until I found out a friend broke her ankle doing it- I started running this week. (2.5 years ago in April!  Gasp)
22) My other high risk sports, if you wondered, were horseback riding in many forms, horse vaulting (aka gymnastics on a moving horse) and BMX bike racing.
23) In 5th - 7th grades I was a "ranked" BMX competitor (3rd on the East Coast) and I had a 3ft trophy to prove it.  (Imma little bad a** like that)
24) At one point I owned 5 bikes.
25) At this point I own 1 bike.
26) But I still ride horseback and it's still just as dangerous as ever.
27) I competed in an endurance trail ride (10miles) on a horse who had killed his previous owner.  We came in 2nd.
28) While fishing I once caught at 3ft shark in the surf about 10 feet away from one of our favorite swimming areas.
29) I threw it back because A) I didn't know what to do with it and B) I figured it had lived this long it deserved a chance to be a 6ft shark.
30) It did change my views on swimming off the OBX.
31) I used to sing extremely well.
32) Unfortunately that is no longer true.
33) My favorite musical is The Phantom of the Opera.
34) I love to sing along, but much to my children's dismay I cannot hit the soprano notes.
35) As a a singer I performed in various theater groups ranging from professional level Theatre down to "high school drama".
36) On stage I played an old woman, an old witch, a woman accused of witch craft, a whore, a milkmaid, and a raccoon.
37) I'm not really sure what to think of that, but I will tell you I was in over 15 productions and never played outside those types.
38) The best role I was ever cast in was in Steel Magnolias, which is NOT a musical.
39) My greatest moment on stage was performing in Macbeth when I caused an audience member to scream.
40) My worst moment on stage was performing a solo in Oliver when I cracked a note.
41) No wait, I take that back my WORST moment on stage was during the audition for Oliver when I missed my cue and stood like a mute while my audition music played on and on and on....
42) I don't know how bad the other people were who auditioned for Oliver, but I have my suspicions.
43) That version of Oliver was a cursed production in my opinion.
44) But I named my orphaned kitten Oliver none the less.
45) Oliver kitty was a wedding gift from my mother.
46) My mother and my then fiance weren't seeing eye to eye on the gift, but we still have him- and the cat too.
47) All my pets have last names, and all are named after literary characters- Oliver Kitty, Heidi Hussenfuffer, Desdemona Dog and Will Feral.
48) Heidi is a Jack Russell Terrorist, Oliver is a white cat and Desi is a black and tan mutt and Will Feral is a butterscotch kitty. 
49) That was not a typo.
50) This year my H and I will have been married 13 years.
51) We went to Bermuda on our honeymoon.
52) We're going back this summer. (and I hope that's true of THIS summer too)
53) I have been to only 4 foreign countries.
54) France, England, Mexico and Bermuda.
55) England doesn't really count, because i never left the airport, but I have a stamp in my passport that says I've been there.
56) France was my favorite, with Paris being the highlight of that trip.
57) French was one of my best subjects in College.
58) I still long for the patisseries that line the streets of Paris.
59) When someone tells you not to drink the water in Mexico- you should listen.
60) I love to cook.
61) It's a hobby of mine that stems from my food obsession, combined with a need to control things.
62) Every month I create a menu that I print out in calendar form, just like the menu from the school lunches.
63) I think my dinners are better than school lunches because they're healthier and taste better.
64) I think my H would agree that they are healthier, but I doubt he would agree that they taste better.
65) My H and I weigh the same.
66) I am 5'2
67) My husband is 6'.
68) I guess it's easy to see why I am neurotic after all.
69) A few years ago I wrote a book.
70) Don't look for it on the shelves because I have been rejected more times than I care to count by more publishing houses than I care to mention.
71) The most amazing book I've read this year was the Life of Pi.
72) The most inspirational book I've read this year ever was The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho.
73) It has helped me to try to stop believing the one true lie.
74) I won't tell you what the lie is, get the book and read it yourself, it's not very long.
75) The least inspirational book I've read this year was Skinny Bitch.
76) Aside from the title, I didn't get anything out of the book.
77) I like Tofu (which is mentioned a lot in Skinny Bitch).
78) I think it's wonderful because it can be made to taste like anything you want.
79) By the way, my son likes Tofu so much he often says "It's better than pork".
80) My not so secret vice is reading trashy smut novels.
81) The other one is that I love a hot shower.
82) I like to make people laugh.
83) Until college I wasn't a very good student, but I compensated by being the class clown. 
84) For 2 semesters of college I had a 4.0 & was on the deans list.
85) I am still the class clown.
86) I enjoy watching football on TV.
87) I have a fantasy football team in my husband's work league.
88) I manage it obsessively.
89) Last year we finished 2nd.
90) The year my husband managed the team we came in last.
91) (Don't tell him I told you that).
92) One of my New Years Resolutions was to stop volunteering for things.
93) It's not really going all that well.
94) The other was to be more "green".
95) I say, "about that" and "it is what it is" a lot.
96) I talk too much.
97) I have run enough races to know that I prefer to epically fail trying for the BIG GOAL over a 1 second PR.  I'm sure that's not always a good thing.
98) I am an insomniac.
99) I love RAP, despite the fact that I spent most of my life refusing to listen to it because I thought I hated it.
100)  Speaking of things I hated that I don't, I've finally decided on that ink situation.  Now, to break the news to H.

Friday, April 25, 2008

something that bothers me on PBS

Ok, there are so few things in life that are free and good, so let me start by saying I'm a huge PBS fan.  Honestly, I have nothing against PBS in general.  In fact, I think PBS is so great that I occasionally have been known to fork over a few $ during their fundraising events & I encourage you to do the same if you enjoy the programming.  (Goddess forbid Sesame St should ever go off the air, even though I do not like the new theme song- but that is not what bothers me on PBS).  I think the channel in general does a good job promoting women & minorities in a positive light.  BUT WHY, OH WHY is Bob's assistant on Bob the Builder a blond bimbo who always has to call on Bob & his machines for help?  And, does anyone else find the sexual tension between Wendy and Bob distracting?

These are the sorts of things that I ponder all the time.  It's really no wonder my house isn't clean.  

Monday, April 21, 2008

Hell revisited- I should have known better.

Now, I'm sure many of you must wonder what could drive a SAHM to claim she has been to hell not once, but twice.  No, I'm not talking about the obvious pains of childbearing, or even the scars of childhood acne.  I am talking about sitting for 4 hours at the Miss Virginia Pageant in Richmond yesterday.  For the 2nd time in my life.  I should have known better.  It's not like I was a pageant virgin.

First let me say this.  There should be rules about who can go to a pageant.  No one with a blog should be allowed in, because it's just too much fodder for one post.  I could feed off this for DAYS.  Weeks.  Possibly months, except that it's an election year and I'm sure one of the candidates will screw up & I can talk about that instead.

My neighbor's daughter, a lovely 19 year old girl, was nominated to compete in Miss Virginia Teen.  So, in support of her, I took my daughter (mistake #1) and went to watch, cheer her on, and as it turned out- wish for death by the 3rd hour.  The thing is, they combine the Miss Teen Virginia with THREE other pageants in the same genre.  So, I essentially sat through 72 contestants competing for the coveted Miss Virginia title in four age categories.  

Interestingly, despite the fact that they "claimed" to be judging those girls on a good personality, it did seem that they means of judging personality are determined by the firmness of their rock hard abs and perfectly toned legs.  Why am I focused on this when there is so much to choose from?  Well, for one, I had my impressionable 8 year old with me.  

C is a lovely girl, very pretty and very interested in the marketing that goes behind being the prettiest in her group.  (People tell me all the time that she is the prettiest in her group.)  She is thin with a beautiful unusual face, wide cheek bones and good hair.  With a swim suit model aunt and beauty-queen-like "nana", she certainly has the genes to grow into a fine looking young woman.  She is not however, brimming with self esteem.  I think its in the "nature" of her personality to question her self worth, no matter how much we "nurture" her.  So, in an obvious moment of stupidity, I have exposed her to the worst example of superficial beauty meets vanity meets ego run amok.  I mean- what was I thinking???  

(((In my defense, I'll tell you what I was thinking.  C watched all the pre-pageant fun.  She watched us help Neighborgirl choose her beautiful clothes and hair styles.  She saw the great shoes and she adores Neighborgirl so I thought- she has earned the right to watch 20 evening gowns parade across a stage.  (at the time I thought there was only one pageant going on).)))  

As the mother of an uber thin child with a weight concern, I could not have predicted the impact of the day, but let's be honest, I must have had SOME idea of how it would end.  

C is now toying with the idea of competing in a "beauty pageant".  She thinks she could eat Special K and lose some weight.  Did I mention that she is 51 inches tall & 48 pounds and FRICKIN EIGHT YEARS OLD?  Well crap.  Where have I gone wrong?  I try to preach "It's not about being thin, it's about being Fit and Strong".  Obviously my message has been distorted by my own neuroses and those stupid Special K cereal boxes.  Life with kid is so much easier before they learn to read.  

If I tell her she can't do a pageant, she will think I don't believe she can win or that I think she is TOO something (too fat, too thin, too shy, too etc).  If I tell her she can do it, I will be feeding the monster. 

Speaking of feeding things...  Mistake #2 was not taking any food.  Watching 72 underfed young women march across a stage in a swimsuit is enough to make anyone hungry.

I should have known better.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Inspiration takes many forms

Last week I had never posted on a blog before.  I had never even read one to tell you the truth.  But a friend of mine asked me to comment on her blog, and I did.  And my inbox was flooded with requests for a blog.  
I think that's so interesting because while I must appear quite witty and creative in person, I'm actually quite serious in private.  Could be a Gemini thing.  Could just be part of the neurosis that comes with motherhood in the modern world.  (or, I might just appear obnoxious in person, in which case you all need to stop feeding my bad behavior with positive reenforcement).
Needless to say, I feel a LOT of pressure.  You remember that pressure that came before a test in Psychology, where you knew there would be some brutal 185 word essay question based on the reading of some obscure passage, and you hadn't actually done the reading?  Yea, that kind of pressure.  Interestingly enough, I usually still did well on those questions.
So bear with me whilst I plow on ahead with my "very" first blog.  I assure you I will do my best not to make mistakes, but I also assure you, I will do my best make it fun.