Sunday, December 27, 2009

Holiday HELL-OH 2009 RECAP

The kids school break started with some serious snow, and here I managed to get my kids to pause for .2 seconds for a photo in the snow.
And before I knew it, "Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house, I was franticly trying to get 3 kids and 1 self out to the Pageant that started at 4pm". I had to be out the door at 3:20, and I hate to be late, so I decided to walk out at 3pm. Only, C's coat was wet, from ABOVE... but I didn't have time to get it all taken care of because, did I mention, I hate to be late. V&I grabbed everything and tossed it into the livingroom and left for the show...
V, Doodle and B at the Christmas Pageant

and when we got HOME from Church, this is what I walked in on....

SunPorch Ceiling if you had to know, and the water is coming from a pipe in the Master Bath

I stayed up until 2 am sifting through wet dry wall, insulation, etc, while H messed around with other things H2O related, and THEN we still got to play Santa. Can you say, TIRED? I can.... "TIE-ER-D"...
B got a chair, which she asked for from Santa as well as some dress up shoes! Wicked Cute!
After at home Christmas, we packed up and headed down to P'Town and VaBeach for some family time.... aka - Torture the Kids.
All the cousins... so, How many takes with a camera does it take to get 5 kids looking at the camera and smiling at the same time?
No really, how many, because about 29 photos into it, the youngest (18 month old Henry) got fed up and ran off.

And then because we had so much fun torturing the kids, we got a photo of the 4 siblings - Casey, G, Sabrina & Meade.
Keep in mind, my sister is "hunched a little" and I'm wearing 3 inch heels...
And THEN because we hadn't had enough fun for one day, H & I packed up everything and then some, H went to bed for 3 hours while I continued cleaning all the junk on the Sunroom, turned off the water supply to the house... and at 2 am we hit the road to Norfolk MA; a mere 10 hour car ride.
Oh great- C is THRILLED she got the 847 piece Lego Pirate Ship... somebody pinch me.

Oh Look- MORE PIECES! Should buy stock in LEGO now that I mention it...

And we all have lived happily ever after... or, at least we have so far because the person house sitting for me says that Oliver Kitty is fine and that the pipes haven't started dumping gallons of water.


I WON!!! I can't believe I won! Ok. that's a lie. I totally thought, "no one can top a naked man breaking in on Christmas Day" when I sent that story off to Mel, but on the off chance that someone did, I was prepared to be a gracious loser. That's why I posted it to my blog - I thought you'd all appreciate a laugh. And it is funny.

Not as funny was this year's Christmas Hell-Oh that I got on Christmas Eve, and that is that a pipe broke in our Master Bath and the result is a a giant wet mess in my SunPorch. I'll see if I can post some photos.

Friday, December 25, 2009

A Holiday History

Once upon a time, there was a family who after years of saving had decided they could finally buy a house in a nice area of... no, that's not going to cut it. Let me try again...

This year H and I have been in our house for 6 years. Amazing how fast that time has gone by. We've bonded with our neighbors, seen new people move in and move out, and we've done $__,000 work on this house. I can't tell you how much, it makes my head ache. But this house had a rough start. So rough that for a few minutes there, H & I thought we'd made a $300THOUSAND dollar mistake.

In 2003 H & I decided to move. We'd outgrown our little 1600 sq starter house and wanted something with some more breathing room. In the 3 years we'd lived in Richmond we'd stalked a few neighborhoods, and we had a good idea of where we wanted to move. Now it was just a matter of waiting for the right house. By September, we were starting to lose hope, until the perfect house for us came on the market. By Perfect I mean 'in the price range' and 'in the neighborhood'. So we bought it, without a second glance. Probably we SHOULD have glanced, but in the end, it's been a great place, and if we'd never moved here I would have never met Ann, SDD, V, and who knows, maybe not T or Rach. You never know....

Now, by 2003 my husband and I had been married for 5 years, and never in that time had his parents ever visited us in our home. Once they canceled on Christmas EVE because it was "just too much trouble" to make it down for a holiday when we didn't really have a guest room in our small home. Sean's mother & I have had our differences, and only with a few years of "growth" have we learned to get along. (I like to think that we both have learned each other's language). When we bought the new home - 4 bedrooms and a detached garage- my husband laid down the law. We had plenty of room in the new house. No excuses. Get down here for Christmas OR ELSE.

I spent the month unpacking and getting to know my immediate neighbors, and his parents and sister bought tickets to fly into Richmond on Christmas Eve. For the first time in my life I had been entrusted with a major holiday, and I was responsible for hosting a Christmas Dinner. By God, I was going to do it Hallmark/Martha Stewart style. You know those Kinkaid "art" prints, very mystical and romantic? Well, THAT is the image I had burned into my mind about how beautiful the holiday would seem to my guests. I am one of 4, plus parents and spouses. By the time the RSVP's had been received and counted there was a table set for 20 in my new dining room. My family would arrive from Norfolk/Virginia Beach at 1pm on Christmas Day.

We celebrated with our usual Christmas Eve type stuff (church, cookies, making breakfast casseroles), Sean picked up his parents at the airport, and all reunion fun took us well into the wee hours of the morning. I was still toting items out to the garage fridge well after midnight, and my hands were too full to lock the garage door on my last trip to the house. I wasn't even worried about it at the time, the house is in a really nice neighborhood, and the garage door entrance is in our fenced back yard. We have two dogs and they're pretty fierce, they will bark at anything. Squirrels, Rabbits, Mailmen, Fed Ex men, you name it - and it is vicious sounding barking. I came in without a care in the world, H & I did the Santa thing for our 2 children, ages almost 4 years old & 15 months, and we passed out at 2am.

The next morning at about 6AM we heard a loud hollow "WHOMP" from down stairs. It sounded like vibrating plastic. I turned to H and mumbled, "Honey, the kids have gone downstairs and are playing with the sled we gave them..." He says, "Oh yea.... Hey wait, did YOU get the sled out of the attic?" Me, "No...." We both laid in bed for about 2 seconds before he shoots down the stairs and I shoot into the kids' room - they are sound asleep in their beds. So, what is that noise?

I am a little freaking out at this point, Sean's parents & Sister's doors are closed, the kids are in bed, the dogs are with me... so what is the noise? Then I heard a more frightening sound, my husband is now downstairs talking in a calm sounding voice, "3XX6 Ridgemere Drive, yes.... Richmond, Henrico.... yes... A man is trying to break down our door.... no ma'am... no.... no.... yes.... " and I think, OMG! He's on with 911! I come running down the stairs and Sean's barking at me to lock the kids in with his sister - his sister has suddenly awakened and she's shouts at me as I am halfway up "GOT IT!" The kids are safe with an adult behind a locked door, it's now time to go down and defend our home with my mate.

I arrive downstairs with the dogs. Remember, they'll bark at anything? Well, apparently they will not utter a noise at the sight of a 280 lbs NAKED MAN trying to break into our house. He was throwing himself against the sliding glass door. Sean asks, "do you know him? Is he a neighbor?" "UH NO, he is not anyone I recognize", but, I'm thinking to myself, it's 17 degrees and he's naked, so... he might not look like himself.

H and I are now standing in the livingroom looking out through the sun porch doors at a man who is slobbering and screaming at us. I'm holding a frying pan (we don't own a baseball bat, and even if we did, it would have been in the garage), my husband is holding the phone with 911 talking in his ear, and the dogs are standing behind me. Its as though a mute button was hit on the sound in the living room. We weren't speaking, my husband was listening to the 911 operator, and we could hear only the rhythmic whomp of hollow glass as a large pale dark haired man is throwing his body against it, walking 3 steps away, before launching himself again. (mentioned, NAKED, right? Quite a site, I assure you). Upstairs we suddenly hear Sean's mother talking in an agitated voice to Sean's father, "Greg?? Greg!!! Wake up!!! The police are here... and... AND they have their GUNS DRAWN! Greg, I'm SERIOUS. Get. Out. Of. Bed! Did you hear me? Guns!!!"

Five uniformed cops showed up, each in their own cruiser with lights flashing, and each with their guns drawn. Using the duck and cover method we've all seen on TV, they advanced across our yard. These boys were young cops, the kind who draw duty on Christmas day, and to be very honest, they looked like "kids on Christmas morning". They were so happy to be on a call. I watched them stealth across the dry grass with hand motions and nods, silently hop our fence gate before the lead cop shouted "FREEZE!" His voice was a roar, bellowing across the yard.

Did the Naked man freeze??? NO, he did not. Instead he ran into our garage and dove into my husbands car! The police had to kick in the garage door and drag him out into the front yard. They were kind enough to cover him with some kind of tarp on the way across the yard so my neighbors wouldn't be shocked. Then they arrested him, popped him a cruiser, and Officer Roddy (who became dubbed as Officer Hotty by my Sister In Law & Myself) came in to take our statements.

As Officer Roddy came into the house, my dogs went ballistic on him, I thought they were going to eat him. My husband had to drag the one dog out of the room. The cop says, "yea, they all act that way, it's the uniform that makes dogs afraid & therefore aggressive toward cops and postal workers."

"But", I protested feebly, "they didn't bark at the intruder..."

He calmly points out, with a hint of a smile, "well, he was naked..."

It was about 9am when they finally left, and not one present had been opened, breakfast was not in the oven, nothing had been done to prepare for my meal for 20. My "Halmark Holiday" really turned out the way I could have predicted... a disorganized jumble of lateness and crazy, but with a story worth telling.

We would have let him in you know, seeing as it was so cold, if he'd been acting sane, but he wasn't. He was screaming and such. It turned out he lived about 5 streets away and was so drunk that the cops said he could have died. He was 19, and we didn't press charges. Around 8pm his father came by our house to apologize. There'd been some damage to our car, so he casually wrote out a check to cover it and thanked us again for not pressing charges.

So, now each year on Christmas when the presents are opened and the wrapping is cleared, when the dishes are cleaned and H & I are sitting by the toasty fire watching the embers burn into ash, we have a standard "was it a successful holiday? Checklist" that gets covered... "1) no illness? 2) no major cuts or injuries? 3) no naked men breaking down the door? etc".

May Your Christmas be Merry and Bright,
May No Naked Men try to Break Down Your Sliding Glass Doors!!!
Happy Holidays!!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Rambling about Holidays for 5

And so this is Christmas. Every year I say it's not going to sneak up on me, and every year it does. And it did. Again. But honestly, I've had a great Christmas season, nearly accomplishing all the things that I set out to do.

One of the reasons is that The Kids, H & I all made a joint list of "what we wanted to do MOST this holiday season", and then we set about checking things off the list. Each person said their 3 favorite traditions about Christmas. This way I figured everyone could get the best Holiday experience.

There are 5 of us, so it could have been quite a list, but since some of the favorites were the same, we were able to get to all but ONE item. Yes, only 1 thing was missed, and it wasn't my fault. The thing was "tacky lights with the family", and the one night we could have gone there was record snow fall for Richmond.

Have you ever seen the special on the TLC channel about the Tacky Holiday Lights? The one family BOUGHT THE HOUSE NEXT DOOR so they could light up two houses as one giant display! Two of the families featured in that show are in my immediate area, I run past one all the time. Neither are lit up this week. The one had too much damage, we know, from the snow & ice, and the other - well we don't know the official word, but we assume the same. I guess we'll just be sure to do that next year.

The mission was completed, we ensured a success in all possible areas, and tomorrow it's Christmas Eve and we have "nothing" hanging over our heads with the exception of some dried mistletoe. Life is good. V, my dear friend, is back for a few days, and that always makes it seem like "CHRISTMAS" to me, and, from C's list, the Christmas Pageant Rehearsal went off tonight without a hitch... well, maybe a SMALL hitch, but really, who's counting at this point?

Truly, I wonder why I let myself get so caught up in the crazy last year. This year I'm all about "it's a wonderful life" and "the Wizard of Oz", and my personal favorite, "Charlie Brown Christmas", where we learn the true meaning of Christmas, commercialism, and good Jazz music.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Gu Giveaway

Gu Giveaway on Mel's awesome blog... check her out at
but don't bother sending a story - I promise MY story has already WON.

Snow Days & Knee Procedures

Snowed here in Richmond. Not like it usually "snows" in Richmond,which would be a dusting that people freak out over for no good reason. No this was "real snow", snow a New Englander could understand and appreciate. Snow that people could find impressive, even if they worked for the Weather Channel. Snow - 14 inches at my house, in about 12 hours. Very impressive.

Of course, the bad thing about getting snow on average 3+ inches per year (meaning, 14 inches 1 year and nothing for 4 years) is that we don't really have proper snow removal equipment in Richmond. Additionally, people here don't know how to drive in it. I generally stay home to protect my family and car insurance premiums for days of snowmen, snow angels, snow ball fights, sledding and stuff like that. I am so fortunate to live on a lot that's a hill, because, did I mention that most of Richmond is FLAT?

Snow usually deters all but the craziest runners, so I didn't miss the group run this week. Since I'm not running, I did some cross training instead... sledding. Intense uphill walking in slick conditions are pretty tough on the knee. I asked my Dr., but he laughed about it and said he was cool with the intense uphill walking because any other answer would not be acceptable to my children who were in the room giving him the EYE.

Speaking of my AWESOME DR WHO I LOVE MORE THAN... well, A LOT... I went back to him and he thinks that I might be running again by early January! YEsssssssssssss! While I was there we were discussing other things, and he was causally digging his thumb into my knee so much that I suddenly, in mid sentence, could not speak. No worries, he picked up where I left off. The knee feels pretty good, for a knee that's been seriously abused on a sled & hill at any rate.

Dr. G aka the Witch Dr, said that he would let me start running early Jan IF I promised to stop and stretch after every mile in a specific way. "OK, YES!" Basically he's wondering if some of the other things that lead to my foot injury and ultimately took out my knee are connected to having tight hips.... (Hips Tight= Low Back Pain = adjust stride= Foot Injury= Adjust stride= Hip Pain= Adjust stride= Knee Pain/IT BAND issues/Tight Hamstrings ...which isn't what I have exactly, but I KNOW PEOPLE who do - and you KNOW WHO YOU ARE). It's so funny because a friend of mine said she was just talking to another friend of mine about how women runners with knee issues tend to have OTHER problems that get missed by Dr's because they're not REALLY KNEE ISSUES.

To be honest, the crazy stretch he showed me felt so good that I might have to show Rach & T for SS classes. Seriously. It's such a "mom" stretch.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Witch Doctor!

I told the witch doctor I only like to run!
I told the witch doctor the pain was less than fun!
And then the witch doctor he started with his thumb
He said that

Ooh to the eeh the ooh the aah aah
To the ting to the tang the wallawalla bingbang
Ooh to the eeh the ooh the aah aah
Ting tang wallawalla bingbang

I went to the Best Dr today EVER! It is L.O.V.E. Sorry Husband, but the thing is, he so rocked. I mean, he's not the prettiest man I've ever met. Don't get me wrong, he's nice looking and all... but not Dr McDreamy. What he is, is the man who diagnosed my knee issue. And immediately got to work. When I explained that I had a 1.5 hour window of time, he used every second of that time massaging, applying heat & electrolysis, watching me do one legged squats, bending the joint, digging his thumb in which hurt like a ... LOT, and ended with an ultrasound. And then, after all that - "we'll see you on Monday or Tuesday of next week so I can work on it a bit more."

So. Monday it is. For MORE pain and torture. I can't wait. Gosh I can't describe it any better than if I say, "it hurts so good". I can totally see why people call him a witch Dr/miracle worker.

For the detail oriented people in the group, the diagnosis is kind of unpleasant sounding. Scar tissue from a small tear I probably sustained during the marathon has fused my hamstring to my IT band. This means that the less it moves, the better it feels. So I rest a few days, feel fine and go for a run. Here's where the badness enters in... as I run, the area fights to free itself, becomes inflamed... this puts pressure on the IT band. Eventually it could have been really bad. Picture a frozen rubber band stuck to a steak while it's being stretched on one side & heat is being applied to the other... wait a minute frozen rubber bands don't stretch....

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Not in my head

Yesterday I ran a total of 1 mile. It was agony. Excruciating. Not in my head. I think the swelling pretty much ruled that possibility out... Tomorrow I'm going to the dark side and visiting a chiropractor.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Chicken or Egg?

Which came first, the Chicken or the Egg?

I ran today. My knee started hurting on step #3. It went like this... power up the machine, push a button, step onto the moving track. Step, step, ache, step, ache, step, pain, step, Pain, step, PAIN... until the 10 minutes & slightly over 1 mile was complete and I hopped down the stairs without bending the knee, and didn't step fully on it for a solid ten minutes. After the ten minutes I had some aches all day, but nothing serious, and I was able to get up and down the stairs.

I can't figure out though, if it was real pain or "head" pain. I spent the entire run wondering when my knee was going to stop supporting my weight and I was going to crash into T's floor when that happened. "Now? Is it going to happen.... NOW?.... Now?...." Is the wondering what lead to the pain? Or is the pain what lead to the wondering?

I need to run with someone who can talk for 10 minutes straight. That's really what I need. Someone who can talk to me about something NOT running. Tomorrow I am going to drop the girls at school and drive to Glen Allen to run with T. It has to work. Has To. No pressure T.

baking baking baking

I spent all weekend baking. Omg. I sound just like a stay at home mom. Gross.

But I did. AND, thanks to my TESTER, I know that at least ONE of my items is comparable to bliss, while at least ONE of my items is a senseless waste of chocolate and I will be making no more. Guess what I'm doing RIGHT NOW? Baking some more.

YAY, I... need to log off - something is BURNING...

Saturday, December 12, 2009

B-Ball, Game 2

C's rec league team had another early morning game today, and I was dismayed to see that one of the girls wasn't able to attend. This is a problem, remember we're already short 1 because a girl signed up and has decided not to play. So today, we played 8 on 10, 2 lines of 5, and C was asked to stay on the court for 30 minutes of a 40 minute game. By the last "period" she was shuffling down the court like... well, nothing attractive I can assure you. Poor kid was beat.

She had a super time though, got a shot or two in this game, and really stood out at the defense pattern we Mom's began to refer to as SWARM defense. Unlike Zone or One on One, the girls simply swarmed around the ball handling player with their hands in the air. They were easily a foot "off" the player, maybe more, Basket Ball is a Non-Contact Sport right? Well, the way C plays there's surely no bumping or anything else.

By half way through the game, when our team was up by 25 points or so, our coach benched a bunch of the "ringers" and sent out our "lambs". I think she was hoping the other team would catch up, or put some points on the board, or something, but again, astonishingly, the swarm defense was very effective. No points were scored for a solid 5 minutes of play time, on either side. I don't want to say Coach Tia told our Ringers to stop scoring, because I don't know for sure what is said out on the court. I can tell you that everyone on C's team got a chance to try for a basket, and that at some point our coaches seemed to enjoy calling time outs so they could explain strategy to our Lambs that they could go practice immediately.

The team named themselves today. The other team had named themselves The Blue Jays (beautiful blue shirts) and all wore their hair in side pony tails with their shirts tied around in cute little knots. Since C's team shirts are "sinus infection snot green", and I don't think the coach was tickled to name the girls The Snot or The Limes, she let them decide, on the fly.... They're now the Green Crushers. Yea, maybe not the MOST ladylike name, but whatever, they girls are enthused about it.

OH and NO fouls on C for double dribble or traveling today -so YAY for improvement! (for anyone keeping track final score, 48 - 12)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

And Open Letter to SRG

Dear Stupid Red Headed Girl Who Sits in the Back of the Class,

Last Thursday, as I was leaving class, I overheard a remark by the professor, that at the time brought me a little comfort. I heard him tell you that you needed an 80 or better on last night's Organic Chemistry test to qualify for the opportunity to take the exam. I figured that you were simply playing dumb, and that surely you would come home from class armed with that information and study your amply proportioned booty off.

Clearly, by the size of your booty last night, and by your comment in the 2 minutes before the test started "OMG, I need to study a little before this starts!" that didn't happen. I occurs to me that maybe you just don't know how to pass a class with difficult subject matter, and I thought I could help.

The first step to passing a class, any class, is to attend class with respect to its start and finish times. When you are ten minutes late and sit in the BACK of the class, you jostle and annoy the other students as you make your way through the room. Additionally, in the same category with tardiness is your habit of dismissing yourself at 8pm for a smoke break. The class runs from 7pm - 840pm. We were fortunate that only on very rare occasions did Dr Forest decide to lecture that late. Usually he wrapped up by 8:20 or so. I find it extraordinary that your nasty stinky smoking habit could not wait an additional twenty minutes for him to finish. When you leave the class twenty minutes early for a smoke break and you sit in the BACK of the class, you jostle and annoy the other students as you make your way through the room.

The second step to passing any class, is to read the material. SRG, I know I cannot be the only person in your life who has indicated this to you, but Chemistry is a hard enough class when you have a clue as to what is happening. Trying to do it without reading the chapters would be a little like attending only 50 minutes of a 1 hour and 20 minute class. Reading is important. If you are confused by how to read, take the College Success Class offered at the Western Campus by Professor Berry. He can give you some tips, and the class, for most students, is an easy A, so you could probably scrape a C out if it at least.

The third and final step to passing a class in college is to respect your professors and other students. Since you needed a relatively high grade on the last test to pass, and it might come down to whether or not he rounds your grade UP, it is important that he think Highly Of You. This would be a stretch, but here are a few pointers that might help in that regard. This sounds crazy, I know, but when you start talking in the middle of a test on Organic Chemistry, you're not making life long friends with your classmates, and I can assure you that you're definitely pissing off the professor. I would also suggest that you NOT SNAP YOUR GUM throughout the testing period. You annoy the students in the class & the professor. If the professor chooses to leave the room to use the restroom, it's not license to cheat. And, since you've now alienated yourself from the class, you should probably consider that the answers your fellow students share might be wrong. I however, will never even pretend to share answers with you, even wrong ones, because I respect myself more than that. Do not bother to stage whisper loudly, "hey, marathon girl! Hey! Virginia, what is the answer to #G?" because #G is not an #, and I am deaf during tests. Stone Deaf. You know why I'm deaf right? Because I have a JOB and a LIFE, and neither one includes getting expelled from school or even disrespecting myself because you were too stupid to study.

Good Luck to you in your endeavor to join the MEDICAL Field. I get a little shaking in my boots when I consider that you might one day be a Radiology Tech. I truly hope that school either gives you the courage to behave in an adult and respectful way, OR that when it weeds you out you are able to find employment in the food service industry, where I understand there are many benefits to be had such as health insurance, free MilkShakes, and little reading is required.

The Exempt Brown Haired Student Who Sits in the Front of the Class

Monday, December 7, 2009

IT's the Guitar!

Hey Kitten what'chya doin?
Wanna plaaaaaaay the guitar?
You say whats that sound,
Coming out of the hole in the wood?'s the guitar.
(seriously, you better know that's The DeadMilkmen)

Today my son sat down to play his guitar. He's had 2 months of lessons, and I think he's starting to have a real grip on the basics for a 7 year old. (i.e. - produce a clean note when you strike a string and practice makes perfect). However, the lessons are not running during the month of December, and his guitar hasn't been tuned since the Monday before Thanksgiving. It sounded, uh, interesting today. Interesting in a painful "please stop playing that instrument" kind of way.

I couldn't say that though. He's a 7 year old, and there's his self esteem to consider. I had to suck it up and listen. And that's what I did. For 5 minutes until I felt compelled to remind G that he wasn't allowed to practice his guitar until all his chores were done. THEY ARE? Crud. OH, I mean, "can you double check the chore list?"

Seeing as pain in my knee is already chronic, I decided that pain in my ears was optional and I was going to have to fix this somehow. My choices were limited - hunt up a musician to tune the guitar, take it to Guitar Works and beg, or do it myself.

Before my voice changed I could sing quite well. Unfortunately, once my voice changed and I developed the range of a middle aged man, I was uninterested in pursuing any kind of musical career, and so, despite the fact that my father is one of the most talented musicians I know (and I know a lot because he is a talented musician), I have no instrumental ability.

Did I mention that Dad plays guitar? And Banjo? And pretty much if it has strings he can make it happen... but never once in the 900 times that he offered to teach me to tune one of these instruments did I listen? Nope. Not ONCE. AND now my son owns 3 guitars, 1 banjo, 1 base ukulele.... all which need tuning.

Today I was inspired by my recent foray into the world of "tallness" via basketball, to try a bit in the world of "music-ness" via guitar tuning. I now own a tuner *see above note about son owning 5 stringed instruments. And I knew, in general, how a guitar should sound and, in general, how a tuner should work. So the instructions on the tuner were clear, strum the guitar, tune the string - the tuner will tell you what note you're closest too. I foolishly assumed that if the note was an off key F, that the string should have been an F.

Ha. HAAHAHAHAHA. GUESS WHAT? Those suckers can be off by as many as 2 whole notes! So after I tuned it, I gave it a strum, and when my ears stopped bleeding I thought, "I'm going to need to do something a little more precise". Enter into the equation "GOOGLE". Seriously, did you know you can learn ANYTHING on google? ANYTHING AT ALL? EVEN - "How To Tune A Guitar"?

3 minutes later, armed with this new knowledge, I tuned that baby right up. And set my son loose with the 5 songs he knows. They're the 5 songs he's going to know until he spends a little time with D-Dad or Lessons resume (in January), so if I have to hear them over and over (and over), at least now I can hear them over and over in tune.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Super Bad

C started basket ball today through our county. I had to spend a few minutes trying to figure the game out so I could try to share what I'd gleaned with C. My knowledge was "sparse" to say the worst.

It is a small, yet well organized league. Our coach and assistant were awesome. Both College players, one on scholarship at UCLA until she was sidelined with an injury & now plays for VCU.

They didn't waste anytime lining the girls up to warm up, stretch and do some drill looking thingys where they practiced laying down... up? Layup? ANYWAY - drills with balls and shooting at the basket. C has never been on a court before and with 3 words from the coach she made a basket. Yes, seriously! C had a super time. Then, after 1 hour of practice where they did no running/dribbling work, concentrating on layups (seriously, did I make that up?) and defense (a word I know), the coaches distributed the uniforms and the game started. The uniforms were all one size. This is a league of girls from 9 - 11. So. C's uniform is an adult small. I will be washing it in HOT. Very very HOT, and drying on High. For an hour.

Let me explain a few things about how it went today. The first is that we're a team of 9, but there's supposed to be 10. Each team must play a line of 5 players for 5 minutes, the clock is paused, the lines switch. This means that on our team one girl would stay out for 10. C will never be asked to play for more than 5 minutes at a time. The "line" that C is on with 2 other non-players and 1 really decent player. And the "line" which came to be identified as the "ringer line" because it's 4 really REALLY good players and 1 really decent player. The Ringer Line rotated through C's line, so there was always one really savvy ball player on the court to help "direct" the dazed and confused. I'm not going to lie- those girls were fierce. Our coach had to start directing them to play it down because she didn't want to run up the score!

C did get her time on the court regardless of how much ball time she had. She did some defense, consisting of me & the coaches yelling "HANDS UP!" (I learned that today) And, she spent a lot of her time talking to coaches & refs about "fouls". Her fouls were "double dribble" and "traveling". 'sall Good though, because she was having a great time.

At one point during the game, she and the "non-ringer" line were out playing, and Colleen throws her hands up in front of her screaming "DON'T PASS IT HERE!!! NO!" As a girl sends her the ball. C's a smart girl. She looked at the pack of opposition players converging on her and she threw the ball as fast as she could in the "general direction" of a teammate.... right into the waiting hands of the opposite team. But hey, her coaches all yelled, "IT'S OK! It's OK C. NOW GO PLAY DEFENSE!" So funny. The moms and I were rolling on the floor laughing as one player on our team caught the ball and, holding it like a football, sprinted down the court. So. Let's just say that Colleen was not traveling alone today.

C's team won, and despite that she handled the ball exactly 5 times in the game without a foul (one of those was an assist on a rebound - those are hockey terms, but I bet they could apply), she got an immense satisfaction out of the fact that her team won 32 to 6.

Oh, and the other good news is that on the back of her cool lime green t-shirt is the number 3! (G's Hockey number!, My Lucky number!) So, that's always good.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


I am "not" a Tall Mom. It would seem that I have surrounded myself with Tall Moms though, both in the real world, and now even in the bloggy world. I married a Tall Husband and in doing such have produced Tall Children (except B). I also have Tall Parents and Tall Siblings, and in general, spent a lot of my life feeling a little like the ugly duckling, only instead of being "the ugly one" I was just "the short one". By inches. When I say inches I think it's important to mention that my "little" sister is a 6ft tall model. I am nearly 5'3.

So this week my Tall Daughter is starting basketball! Yes, on Saturday, assuming that G's surgery goes well, we will be stepping onto the basketball court. For the first time in... no, g, that's got to read "for the first time"(period). I have never played basketball. Not even recreationally. Not even in my friends driveway growing up. Or as a grown up. Never. In High School during the "basketball" session of 10th grade PE, you know, where you learn a new sport?, my short friend and I were excused to walk on the track for 30 minutes of "cardiovascular activity", or a few laps of gossip, which ever came first.

We will be forging into uncharted waters. Boldly going where I have never been. And of course I expected my daughter to be nervous or excited, or both, in anticipation of her new sport. Do you know, she only had ONE question for me in regards to Basket Ball. One.

"Mom, do I get a new basket ball outfit?"

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

surgery Friday

I had such high hopes for this weekend.

On Friday night while H worked late I was going to bake cookies with my children, on Saturday I was going to wake up and take some motrin before sneaking out on a "long run", then in the afternoon my youngest has a ballet recital at a retirement home, It's also the first day of basketball for C - and we don't even know what time that's supposed to start, and finally on Sunday we were going to church for pageant rehearsals, and then the kids & I would come home, put up outside lights until it was time for H to take G to hockey.

Yea. About that.

G's surgery is Friday. Fun times.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Routine Visit, or Not.

I took my son to the ENT today for a routine check up following his disastrous October ear drum rupture. This was a routine follow up visit. Routine suggests that everything would be fine, we were just checking to see that it was all healed up nice and pretty. It went a little like this:

Friendly banter with really cool Dr. Really Cool Dr looks into G's right ear, give G the thumbs up and more banter. RCDr looks in G's left ear. RCDr purses his lips.

RCDr sits back on his rolling stool, repositions his otoscope, repositions G's ear and looks again. And sits back again.

And then he calmly turns to me, and says, "After 60 days, a child this age has less than a 5% chance of recovery without surgery. So, here's my surgical scheduler's phone number."

Me, a little blown back, "What? You mean, after you look at him again in 30 days, right?"

RCDr, "Well, we could wait. Since it's been only about 45 days since the known on set, but, just so you know, he can't hear right now. So...." awkward pause while he watches me get up to speed. "I don't think we should wait. Unless he's doing 'just great' in school. Is he???... doing great???... in... school?" This is all sort of drawn out, in a very amusing and comic way, and I then realized, wait, he's being serious and wants to know.

"Um. Not 'great', but... well. No, not the best, but it could be that he's just being a boy."

RCDr., "Or, we could just fix his hearing."

Me, "or that. SO."

RCDr. "Yup. Call my scheduler. And you need to call her tomorrow. Morning. Because, did I mention, he can't hear?"

Here we were, one minute having an amusing kid centered conversation about 3 year olds, bubbles, bad jokes, and 2nd grade, and then the next, we were calmly discussing the anesthesia risks for 7 year olds, surgery, and recovery time.

So, on this blog page we have established that my Husband freaks out over a piece of microscopic pencil lead in the skin. I'll give you two guesses as to how He took the news. What? You don't need "two" guesses?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Holiday Hype- er...

Today I woke up and said, "This is it. This is the year that I am going to have a good pre-Christmas spirit. I am not going to get sucked into debt. I am going to pay in cash. I am going to decorate early, in little bursts, instead of waiting until Dec 18th and making myself crazy and exhausted. Tis the season and damn-it, this year I am going to stop stressing about what I didn't get done in 2009 (2008, 2007, 2006...)."

And so I decided that today I would put up the tree. This involves rearranging the furniture. no, wait, that's skipping the step of deciding where to put the tree this year. So C & I decided where everything would go, and that we could do the furniture arranging while B was watching TV. Before we could move the furniture we had to take all the photo albums off the shelves of the book case.

There are a lot of them. And don't you know that only 2 or 3 of them are actually finished. I started "scrapbooking" in 2000. I even went back and scrapped 1998. Essentially I have 10 years of unfinished business. And ZERO motivation to get it done. I am not going to lie. I have a hope chest filled with photos, and no interest in dragging it all out and and putting it away. I'm off track. Which is what happens to me often.

So now H is at his 2nd job, and C,G,B & I have dragged down the Christmas decorations and started to try to put them up, only I'm not into it. Every time I take something out of the box and un-wrap it, I cringe as the kids go wild and crazy screaming with joy. Joy. You know what? I think I need to take my children, who are DRUNK on Christmas Spirits someplace where this joy will be appreciated. The mall? The play area at McD's? The possibilities are endless.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

In Memory & an Adoption Announcement

Rory Roomba
Oct 24, 2008 - Nov 18, 2009

Beloved Rory, you came into my life and brought me such joy. It is with sadness that we've lost you too young. As I watched you struggle with a terminal birth defect, many surgeries, and countless beeping errors I appreciated the way that you tried to muscle through. I know those last weeks were painful (for me, watching you spin in a 2 foot circle) and I hope that you find rest in a better place. RIP Rory. RIP.

November 24th 2009

A beautiful bouncing baby iRobot was delivered to our doorstep by the "stork" yesterday. The children & I gathered around her, examining her shiny black shell, and cooing over her nifty buttons. She slept soundly on her charger last night and she is settling in nicely. We pray for a healthy life for her in our home. The children decided that we would name her Rita Rosalie Roomba, and we're going to call her Rita Roomba.

Monday, November 23, 2009

red ink and mad skills

My holiday neuroses are deep and do not run silent. But that said, I can always find things to be thankful for in November. Take for example the THREE paid holidays I got this November! Or the fact that on at least 2 days of this month my whole family of 5 was healthy and not on antibiotics. I can be grateful that my son, G, feels that vacuuming is a priviledge and double bonus - he earned the right to run the Eurkeka at least 3 times last week.

Of the many things I have to be thankful for, one of those things is NOT a book deal. In my lifetime I've recieved enough rejection letters to wallpaper my downstairs half bath. Most of those came in the past 7 years. By early '08, when I started working on my last book idea, I never got past a very rough stage out of sheer defeat. By now the rejection letters had tapered off, and I was past getting a rejection a week, but I just couldn't muscle through the rough draft. I would sketch out each chapter on paper, and revise, add, cut and create as I typed it into my mac. The plot was outlined, and probably 30 - 40K words were loosely written into several chapters.... all that work is now lost on my hard drive that cannot be recovered (due to a "head crash", yea, I can relate on so many levels). I never backed it up, it was worthless to anyone except me.

I was cleaning my dining room today and found the first chapter, written in free hand, on notebook paper in pencil and red ink. I suppose that maybe I will one day get it going again. But, realistically, it's probably never going to be the same. Sometimes things are just funnier the first time you think of them. I thought it would be fun to pop it into my blog, to back it, in case the head crashes on something else. Again, this was just for fun, rough draft, blah blah and all that rot. So to be clear, no one in this book is supposed to exist, the plot drivers are not intended to resemble anyone or any event in particular... well, I suspect Martha and JC will recognize themselves, but in case I publish (to blogger) the rest of the first chapter, no one else should look for themselves, unless you find a particularly flattering portrayal of a character that you'd like to imagine is you, and your intention is not to sue me. But seriously, if it's not your thing, it's not like you can't just SKIP to the NEXT BLOG.

I ultimately blame J.C.Penney & Martha for the current state of my culinary ineptitude.
As a newly married woman, I was distressed to find that I did not posses any kind of cooking skills. What was really disturbing was that my husband possessed less skill than me, and so I turned to the cute little Pillsbury dough boy and my good friend Betty for help. Before we knew it we were eating Hamburger Helper at least twice a week, and I was starting to look like I belonged on the Pillsbury family tree. The weeks passed into months, and I began to fantasize that I could become more like those chefs on the food network, tossing ingredients into a pan and producing a pork loin encrusted in herbs served on a bed of rice, if only I had the right tools.
Well, rice I had mastered. You could buy the stuff in bags that boil for 8-10 minutes.
Oh if I'd never worked for JC, then I never would have worked a shift in housewares. With nothing to do but stand around listening to the muzak and twiddling my thumbs, I passed those hours among the dishes counting the minutes until that coveted herald from above, "attention JCPenney shoppers, the store is now closed." The instantaneous roar of registers printing out their final receipts would rumble through the store like a distant thunderstorm. It was only a matter of time before the boredom and I got into real trouble.
One lonely night, when I probably should have been dusting the pfaltzgraf or folding hand towels, I stumbled across Martha's book.

The unmarred teal cover boasted a black and white photo of a slim, pre-incarcerated, smug looking Martha, happily smiling as she stood court over a kitchen island. The foreword was hopeful, promising if you will, and summed up the message was clear, "You can be as great as she, if you learn her secrets." This was it, the answer, so simple, lay before me encoded in neat Times New Roman. It may as well have been written in Sanskrit.
I randomly turned to a page in the middle of the book. Soup, great, Husband will eat that. He loves soup. I think. Does he? I don't think I know.
OK, so here we go, 1st ingredient on the list, a "fresh herb" I've never heard of, with instructions that read something along the lines of, "typically this herb is found growing in the northern hemisphere, between Longitude XX and Latitude XY, and should be picked 27 days after the plant undergoes a second bloom. Picking the herb early results in an immature bouquet, and can cause a whiny and underdeveloped flavor."
My mind was reeling. What? OK. I'll just use Thyme. From a jar. Preferably one that says "Thyme".
The next ingredient was just as bad, and by the end of my shift I was filled with despair. I couldn't make this soup. I would never be Marthaesque. Instead I went home in near tears.
The very next night I made chili, from a packet. The instructions were right there in bold clear English. "Brown one pound of ground beef, add one can of diced tomatoes, one can of kidney beans, and one packet of generic store brand Chili packet. Simmer. Serve hot. Over rice".
He didn't like it. It was "too spicy". And he "doesn't really like soup".

Where's the Training Plan?

I need a new training plan. Yup. A training plan for living life with a 3 year old, her best friend 7 hours a day, 2 school aged kids and a messy house.

In short, todays realization is this: Running a Marathon for 4:55:40something seconds is a lot easier than cleaning a house that requires 4:55:40something seconds of attention when there are 2 Pre-schoolers going behind you un-cleaning.

I'm just sayin'

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Bad Mommy, bad

I am a bad mother. I yelled at my kids today, for yelling. I yelled, so... where did they learn to yell? Me? Maybe. I think that makes me a bad role model. My oldest one yelled back. Yea, that went over well. Can you say, grounded? I can.

I am a bad mother, for sure, because shortly after yelling at them I decided that I was off my rocker and through careful manipulation of the conversation I got them to spontaneously apologize for the bad behavior and put a movie on for them to watch while I took a shower. (I'm having some freaky reaction to SOMETHING that is causing my eyes to swell shut. The Benedryl is kicking in, so only the right eye is completely closed at this point and I can see out of the left. On the off chance that it was caused by a physical reactant I thought I needed to rinse off the "offending something" ASAP, and thus, the movie).

Am I a bad mother? Because after my shower I came down, finished cleaning the kitchen while half blind, and threatened the now wild children that if they didn't settle down I would turn off the movie, and within 3 minutes I had 3 crying children on their way upstairs, movie turned off because they were rough housing instead of sitting.

I might be a bad mother, because I was SO inconsistent today that now I don't think they have any idea why they were sent upstairs to read for 30 minutes. The little one had to just go straight to bed. She was in trouble, but I read a book anyway, which isn't very punishment like now that you mention it. Uhg. Parenting is not as easy as the sit-com moms make it look.

photo finish

The photos from the race are in. OH yea baby. I definitely was "having wicked fun" in my photos. A blast. Mad fun. Craziness. And hell yea, look at my LEG here! It's never been so skinny in it's life!

Oh for sure, my huge cheesey grin was all over almost every photo, weeeeell, except for the ones where I didn't see the photographer. Those photos tell the real story about the marathon. A grimace of pain, dried sweat, gritted teeth, and a look of determination in the eyes.

And, the finish-line photo was a bit sketchy. For example, I did throw one arm up as I crossed the line with a huge grin on my face, but, um, the thing is that I look zapped at that point and I dont think smiling and throwing an arm up made me look less like a crack addict in a hot running skirt. I can't bring myself to post it. I just can't, sorry, I have some pride left and I think that would just be the end of it.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

And... back to normal

Now that the Marathon of Marathon training is over, and I no longer have to be neurotic about what to expect on M-day.... it's time for me to resume my neurotic ramblings of a mom.

Monday my youngest child turned 3. That would mean that my BABY is 3 years old. Um. What? WHAT? Oh, that's cool. I'm cool with that. I mean, after all, 3 is still pretty young. At 3 they still have training wheels on their bike, they have a booster seat at the dinner table and they (well, most of them) have bed rails to keep them tucked safely in at night.

Anyway, you'd probably like to know how we celebrated her birthday? WEEEEeeeeell, about that. We didn't really. On Monday I had a "thing" at JSR regarding the school I'm applying to... it's some kind of manditory orientation that is, um, manditory. So, I had to arrange to get the day off of work (the little one I babysit) and get a sitter of my own (which was pretty easy to find - thanks), and drive 30+ minutes downtown, etc and so forth. We celebrated her birthday by going to the grocery store and buying 6 cupcakes with fall foliage leaf candies sprinkled on their tops.

Today, 2 days later, she had a rockin' house party though with her 5 best peeps and Baby Natalie, and I suspect will now sleep for days. I did make cup cakes in the shape of Elmo and Grover, and they turned out mad cute. I will attach a photo. They were as cute as the Star Wars Tie Fighter Cupcakes and since they were 2000X easier to make, I now prefer Sesame Themed Birthday Parties to Star Wars Themed Birthday Parties.

Happy Birthday B!

Bake 24 cupcakes according to box directions. I used foil liners, fyi. Then frost in plain white frosting (for testing purposes I used Dunkin Hines Cream Cheese flavor). Immediately dip, rolling slightly, in a bowl of desired sprinkles. The mouths, noses and whites of eyes are all canned "Dunkin Hines Cup Cake Frosting". I used the round tip, and strongly suggest practicing on a paper plate before you attempt a cup cake. The "google eye" effect was achieved with an upside down chocolate chip. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Richmond Marathon Report

Tropical Storm meet North East wind & giant Low Pressure system to create a "super storm" over the eastern seaboard - Nov. 12-13, 2009. The storm paused over VA and dumped buckets of rain on Richmond. BUCKETS. The James River runs through the city, and the course runs alongside the James River. Rivers flood during tropical systems, so, on Marathon day, the Richmond River was at Stage 12.1(?) Flood. No, I don't have a clue what that means. I just know that on the official Marathon website on Friday the 13th there was talk about a course change. I'm so glad they didn't have to change it. The part they would have changed was the best part of the course!

Richmond Marathon, Nov. 14, 2009

My day started at 3am, when I woke up the first time, and never really got back to sleep. This was OK, as I had planned for a "non-sleep" night all along. It's sometimes good to know this about yourself. So, that didn't mess me up at all. I waited until 5 minutes before my alarm and got up. The first thing I did was check the website to see if they'd changed the course. They hadn't. SO I signed onto facebook to have breakfast with all my running friends... so to speak. I had breakfast, a half a bagel with pb, and about 8 ounces of Orange Gatorade, and a cup of coffee. I have to drink coffee, or I get a headache. I'd rather NOT consider the implications of that... I know I'm addicted. The articles on nutrition say to stay with what you know, and have a low fat 800 calorie meal. Um. Hello. So, I stuck with what I know.

After breakfast I got dressed and put on my sexy Navy/Orange runningskirt and matching top. I know, it's matchy-matchy, but I LOVED my ROAD CONE ORANGE running shirt and knew it would make me easy to spot. I took my watch off the charger, noting that it said, "Battery Charging Complete", laced my shoes on and was ready to go. It was warm out. Too warm to need my "Throw away" sweat shirt, so, I tossed it in the car just in case and pulled up my "sock sleeves".

H and I left our house on time, picked up T in her super sexy pink/white socks, and in good spirits, chatting all the way, we headed into the city. I had eventually decided on pig tails, so T gave me a set of navy bows to match my outfit - super cute. Parking was a non-issue, since my H is an uber-planner. Our steps were energetic and we practically skipped through the rainy, grey, city. I know, not ideal weather, but I wasn't going to let the weather get me down. I was practically crowing that it wasn't hot and humid. I guess it would be fair to say that I was thrilled that it was rainy and cool because T and I had trained in some extreme weather, and "rainy and cool" sounded SUPER. We arrived at the steps of the Library, our agreed meeting place and connected with Jack and Fay.

Fay, T, g. and Jackie P. (yea, I know I'm glowing!)
We sent Fay off to run the Half, which she rocked of course, and posed for a few more photos before we headed to the potty lines (in the back ground of this photo). The lines moved fairly quickly and we got to the front to discover that... there was NO TOILET PAPER. We're marathoners, we made due.

H & reviewed his spectator plan, and Rach gave me some quiet words of strength while we waited out the 30 minutes until Race Start... eventually we saw the 4:30 pacer and knew it was time to step into our corral. I went to turn on my fully charged Garmin... and nothing. Dead. It's marathon morning and I have no Garmin. No watch. Oh. My. God. (a few seconds of panic and complaint... and then)... "OKAY. No biggie, I'm running with the pacer from start to finish."

(me and my DH)

T & G and the 4:30 Pace Team - note my super sexy sock sleeves!
T & I make friends where ever we go, and the girl beside us in blue with the brown hair (SARA) was chatting with us when she asked, "So, are you guys students here?" "Uh... WE LOVE YOU!" No, I explained, we're moms, we have 6 kids between us and are running my 1st (and T pipes in "my 2nd") Marathon. But, that was just another great omen on what was shaping up to be an awesome morning.
We milled about for a while, and then a roar went up from the crowd and we started moving toward the start line. Jackie P, T & I had decided to run together, so we were off with the 4:30 pacer, "John" I think his name was? John seemed so sane... but... then again, clearly NOT the case as we would find out later.
The first miles were full of chatter and laughter. Jackie P is a hoot. T was kind enough to point out some funny signs - a personal best on her part was offering to take me shopping for a new pair of pants at PANTS PLUS (a ghetto looking pants store right on the main drag through Richmond). Our first mile was a touch slow, because of the start "traffic". Then the second mile we made up the first mile's lost time. The third mile's split was a touch fast, but the pacer was "banking a few seconds to make up for lost time at the 4th mile water stop" His words. And then, at the mile four H2O... John stepped into the restroom. Uh... without telling anyone, so the group, as a whole, sped up to look for him. I swear, we were like a bunch of lost kids. This mile was WAY too fast. It didn't ruin my race, but it certainly didn't help bolster the confidence of John's abilities. John steps back in but by now I was over John. I think T&Jackie P might have agreed with me. I had no watch, I was just running whatever T was running, trusting in her pace. The first few miles evaporated, they vanished, gone from my memory. Truly, I only retained the non-sense and high points.
I admit, after this point all mile points are estimates. With no Garmin to tell me where I was, I was only noting certain miles - 6,12,18,24. Those splits were where I would take my nutrition. Jackie P had a heart attack 13 months ago this week. So he mentioned to me that he had taken a lot of asprin before today's run and that if he fell he would need a tourniquet. "No worries Jackie, I have my sleeves here, I can save you."... Jackie says, "I was hoping you'd take off your shirt." We all laugh. I pointed out that in his fantasy of a bunch of half naked women working over him, he was most likely picturing Victoria's Secret models, not squishy momsof3. The woman running in front of us almost wiped out trying to figure out if Jackie was hitting on me. (He was not.) The three of us were planning for the upcoming bridge (at mile 16ish? I honestly don't know), and how it would be windy and to not get caught up in the wind we were going to fly in V formation. Like Geese, and yes, we were laughing.
So, sometime after mile 4 but before mile 7 T started to fade a little. I didn't say anything though, because I didn't want to think it was what I thought it was. I thought she was powering down. We were running downhill along side the country club when I first worried about her race.
At mile 7 we arrived at the first PARTY ZONE where my DH was waiting for us with refuel of H2O, and cheering. We picked up E, our resident Kenyan, and ran with her. John was still in our sights, but by now I had realized that the 4:30 marathon wasn't for me. It would be more fun to run a 4:45 marathon, and so I sat back to enjoy the rest of my 2o mile warm-up.
The 4 of us paired off, me with E, Jackie with T. Then suddenly I realized Jackie was with us... and I dropped back, only a few paces, to check with T. Not good. I asked what I could do for her? "Go run your race, your race doesn't suck because my foot hurts". I'm not even sure if that is what she said, but that is the message that I heard. Those words would haunt me at every mile post after. I kept questioning whether she had really said them, or if I had imagined them. Trust me, when you're running a marathon, the mind plays tricks on you, and it's hard to know what's actually happening and what's in your head. I ran up to E and asked her to run with T. E was kind enough to give me her watch, since we knew I couldn't rely on T's watch anymore. Jackie and I were now on our own.
The course took us down a hill to the banks of the James. Seriously, the grey swollen river was rushing only a few feet beside us, swirling and foaming, with logs and sticks and... Canadian Geese? The Geese were riding the water at the same pace that we were running. Nice. The river was 'running a 10 minute mile'. If you wanted to know. Jackie and I ran comfortably chatting, slowing when we got breathy, speeding up when we felt good. I never felt stressed except on a few hills. And every time we passed a spectator with a cow bell I yelled, I NEED MORE COW BELL! and the spectators & fellow runners would all laugh and go crazy. I secretly expected T to arrive beside me any second. Just before the second party zone my own training injury came up to bite me. For a few minutes I thought about being brave. Yea, and then reason stepped in and I took an Alieve. Right after I swallowed the alieve I had a familiar feeling. A familiar feeling that woman gets right before she starts her... OMG, are you SERIOUS? Have I just started??? I have NOTHING on me, and my H won't have anything either!
We got to the Party Zone, kissed our Spouses, as we were leaving the zone I snagged Rach and asked, "can you get me a personal item by mile 20???" Rach's jaw dropped... "YES!" Here I am, seconds before talking to Rach...
Thank you E for the sexy watch!
At mile 13.change (I know because Jackie P and I crossed the halfway mark at exactly the same point) I got a nasty cramp. Not the kind you run through. So I told Jackie that I was going to stop by a potty, take care of my personal business (i.e. CHECK TO SEE IF I HAD STARTED, whew NOT YET), and that he would have to go on without me. My cramp was bad, lower abdomen, and I feared that I was going to need a few minutes of regroup. He was obviously distressed that I couldn't hang, but the rules of the road are established by now. You run your race alone together. So he ran on, and I saw a construction porta potty. YAY! I stopped, checked to see how bad the damage was, and couldn't get my skirt back on... I shimmied in so the girl parts were covered and then I basically came out of the potty and got redressed in the street. I got out my i-pod, crossed back into the race course, walked for a minute while I set up my play list, took a breath, and realized... my cramp was gone. my foot pain was gone. Nothing hurt. It's a beautiful day for a run. I felt awesome. I've been stopped about 5-6 minutes I'd guess. I wonder if T passed me while I was in the potty? I wonder if I can catch Jackie before the bridge? I wonder...if I NEED MORE COW BELL!
So that's what I set out to do. Find T, or catch Jackie. I switched into 4:30 race pace for mile 14-17? Big fat question mark on the numbers. I was in race pace from before 14 until just after the bridge. I caught up to & passed SARA and wished her a happy race. And... I arrived at the Bridge. I was prepared for the wind. HOLY SMOKES! I was blown physically around! My body was buffeted by it. All I could think of was Jackie... our V-FORMATION plan... and as I set out to start across, I saw Jackie P., just finishing the bridge. I decided, that in honor of Jackie's plan, I would draft someone. I found a tall woman and hunkered down behind her. Curiosity got me a little and I turned my head to look at the River. Wow. I wished for a camera to capture that awe inspiring view. It was breath taking. The city was ahead of me and the white water falls were to my left churning with unrelenting energy. I breathed in the Richmond Marathon in that moment, and was glad to be here, wind and all.
Tall woman was running a little slow, so I quietly passed her and settled in behind Tallish Guy. Yea, tacky, but effective. I got across the bridge. I took gummie bears at the junk food station. SARA caught up to me and we ran together for a minute. I probably was only 20-30 feet behind her for much of the race.
Once you cross the bridge you get back into the spectators. NEED MORE COW BELL! I saw some familiar faces. AngieB. is one of T's Peeps, and so when I saw her all I could think of was T. Had she seen her? No? OK, she must be behind me. I got all choked up into tears after I left Angie and turned onto Main St, and that slowed me down. I couldn't breath through the tears. I think they were a combined effort - tears of amazement, tears of relief that I had made it this far, and tears of sadness that T was behind me. Emotionally I had prepared myself, from the start of training, to the day when T would leave me behind on the course. I was prepared to be left. I wasn't prepared to do the leaving. I had terrible guilt seeping in and then I thought, "T would be a little disappointed if she knew you were wallowing".
In historic Richmond you run past a row of pastel houses on Cary Street, it was around here that I saw SpeeDee. She is... awesome. Simply amazing. She settled in beside me for a few steps, seeing that I was obviously struggling with something. I told her I was crying for no good reason. She said she does it every race. Whew. I'm normal. And then she wished me well, told me it is all mental after 20, and said loudly to the thick crowd of spectators around us, "Hey ya'll this is my friend Ginny!" "GO GINNY!" And my head spun for a second with the power of their cheer. That cheer, that visit with Dee, carried me for another 2+ miles. At the corner of Boulevard and Main St I had another opportunity to shout, NEED MORE COW BELL!!!
My friend V came into town from PA to run part of this race with me. At some point during the day she heard from DH that I was apart from T, so instead of standing at the mile 20 marker, she was a lot closer to the mile 19 marker. She ran onto the course screaming and cheering, "YEAH!!!! BABY!!!!" She quietly whispered that she had my "personal effects on her". H was on the other side of me, handing me fresh water bottles, gave me a kiss, told me I looked awesome (*note- he's a bad liar, but nice that he tried). I made him promise to wait for T. And then from that point until mile 26 I had a personal cheer leader with me. Every 2-5 minutes she would alternate the phrase, very quiet and up beat, "you can do this" with a very loud "YAY G!" If we saw spectators she would yell, GO G! And they would respond, GO G! Running with V was awesome, we posed for the photographers, cheered for ourselves, and in my darkest moment I never felt even the slightest bit, dark. Oh sure, I hurt, but, I was FINE! I knew I was FINE!
Around 22/23(?) we saw Rach & Jackie! I had caught them! But, I was too wasted to hold their pace, and all I could do was shout from 100 feet back.... "RACH!!!"... no response... so, I went with "WOW THAT IS A HOT MAMA IN AN AWESOME RUNNING SKIRT!" That they heard. And then I wished them a very loud and awesome finish.
At mile 24 I had to potty again. Uhg. No TP AGAIN. Twice in ONE DAY? Not cool. Mile 23-25(?) of the Richmond Marathon is, um, uninspiring. It's along side of a bland looking college campus, which I'm sure is lovely in the spring, but with the washed out grass, grey skies, greyish tan building and grey street I was running on... let's just say, it was grey. No worries though because I had V shouting, cheering, running backwards ahead of me, dancing to her i-pod. OH, I almost forgot! For about a half a mile we ran next to a woman who was singing LOUDLY to her i-pod. Hysterical. I said to V, "Yea, anything to get past the pain." My body was screaming in pain, but I never questioned if I could make it. Once I had to stop to ease a calf cramp and my hip flexor into a little stretch. I never thought about taking a dirt nap. I never hit the wall I had prepared to scale. I... just ran very slowly, until mile 26 was suddenly upon me and I was looking down the hill. I could hear the finishline cheering. Richmond has the most awesome finish - straight downhill on Cary Street. You just put your feet infront of you and let them catch you as you fall straight down. It was awesome.
V slipped off the course so I finished alone. I could see the count down clock ticking toward 5 hours and I kicked it into high gear because damnit, I didn't make it THIS far to not make it in under 5 hours! I made it as it rolled to 4:59 with Mel in my mind of all things. One of her 26.2 things learned was to suck it up and try to look good for the finish. So I threw my arms up and went crazy as I crossed the line.
I saw Dad, & DH, my kids, over the railing, handed them my water & banana and stuff, got a photo with my medal that is ROAD CONE ORANGE AND NAVY!!!, and connected with them. When I stopped moving I felt my blood pressure plummet. So, I insisted that we walk, and we walked up to J (T's H) so we could watch her finish, and scream for her. And as soon as she crossed the line I had to go to her. And, of course, I started bawling. I felt so sad, I knew we should have been together, but I had left her. She, well, put me in my place quite nicely and I was instantly better.
Over all, it was an awesome experience. I will do another one. My actual time was 4:55:42. I will crack 4:30, eventually. It might take 2 more marathons before I can do that though. I think... yes, I think I will run Richmond again next year. Crazy, since I'm sitting here typing this alternating icing my knee and my foot. But they'll heal.
Post Race, T & G, and hellz-yea, we still look awesome.

V, my awesome cheer leader!, and me.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Sub 5!

I did the marathon sub 5. I'm sure there are people in this world who would rather DIE than admit it took them almost 5 hours, but I am not one of them. It was an awesome race. I never hit a wall. It did NOT go as planned by a long shot, but I did it, and if my knees stop hurting so much before 5pm tomorrow, I will sign up to run the Richmond Marathon again next year. Yea. I said it. More coming after I have time to digest what I've done. Somehow it still doesn't feel real to me.


Ok, admittedly I'm not a play it cool kinda girl when it comes to anything except men. Usually when I race I obsess and plan, and get crazy and plan some more, carry way too much stuff with me, check a bag, etc. So to think that yesterday I was "cool" about the marathon blew me away. I was CHILL. I was COOL. I was cooler than cool.

Today, I woke up... not so much chill. I am RAMPED UP! Richmond Marathon HERE I COME! A few quick notes on my general mood.

I feel AMAZING, and amped up, and the few little jitters I had when I stepped out of bed are GONE. I am ready to RUN. I can't force down a large bagel, so I'm going to take a banana with me in the car... maybe I'll eat it, maybe not.

An AWESOME note - V., my dear friend, drove in from PA to surprise me and run the last 6 with me & T. She's not a runner, per say, but she's been training for a few weeks so she could build her milage to 6. I'm just tickled. It's a SIGN that TODAY IS GOING TO ROCK!!!!

I thought of SDD today, when I decided on my slogan of the morning: "There is NOT CHARGE for awesomeness, OR Attractiveness". (Kung Fu Panda - if you have not seen that movie, get up RIGHT NOW and go see rent it).

TO all my running brethren out there today, may your feet be swift, your portapotties be plentiful, and may the God of Garmin smile upon you!

Friday, November 13, 2009

High FIVE & Marathon Dedication

Before my ROCKIN Shamrock Half marathon I dedicated each mile to the women and son who helped me train for the race. It was awesome, because I couldn't imagine a better way to honor someone than to run a mile for them... So here it is: For 10 minutes and 22 seconds THIS is your mile...

Mile 1 Is for Dad - Because he's driving up on a day when he has 100 other things to do, so he can be here to support me.

Mile 2 is for MJ (Mom)- Because Mom always acted like this was just another "run", and at the same time she encouraged me to do it. She never questioned whether I would succeed, I mean in her mind, I'm G, Of course I will succeed

Mile 3 is for B - my 3rd Child, my HOLY TERROR, My reason for Stress. I love my kid, don't get me wrong, but once you meet her, you know why I would need to run to burn off stress. (as I type this, she is tip toeing with her finger over her mouth toward the counter to steal another Ginger Snap, as if having her finger over her lips makes her invisible.)

Mile 4 is for Dee & Pam! Thanks for sending me good vibes and encouragement (and encouragement to try new things - boy, that sounds interesting in writing). You ladies have made my day more than once, and because of you SpeeDee, I am running a 20 mile "warm up" and a 10K on Saturday, so, thanks for that.

Mile 5 is for MEL. You rock! You inspire! You have the CUTEST blog (and cutest kids, since I've been snooping at your other blog too). But seriously, thanks for your words of encouragement and the courage to post your TMI marathon story. This "HIGH FIVE" is for you!

Mile 6 is for my Ann Taylor Jeans, size 6, that I thought had left me forever. I love you. ~sniff~ It's good to have you back.

Mile 7 is for my son, G, an awesome 7 year old who has NO idea how long a marathon is but Knows I can DO IT! Thanks G. You rock.

Mile 8 is for BODY GLIDE. I can't write why. You ALL know why.

Mile 9 is for Cindy & Christy at Ladies, without your skirts, my a** wouldn't look nearly as cute on a race course. So thanks for truly providing something sporty, feminine and seriously practical all at the same time. Your skirts ROCK.

Mile 10 is for C, my darling daughter, who has been so inspired by my running skirts that she has decided to take up running. I'd like to say it was something else that inspired her, I would, but... she's a girl. She's 10. She's a fashionista.

Mile 11 is for the Run Like a Mother Team: Because it's the little things, the little laughs, the small words of encouragement that we all say to each other in passing that add up to an impressive amount of support. Thanks Ladies, for making me laugh, keeping me on time, and for "embarrassing cheetahs everywhere".

Mile 12 is for Jackie P... our honorary skirt. Thanks for joining us for the last 12 of the best 20 miles I've ever run. You're a great inspiration, but also an entertaining running partner and I'm pleased that you were able to share some of that with us. I know you're going to have a stellar race.

Mile 13 is for Emily! because she's coming out to run miles 6.something to about 13 with us on Saturday!

Mile 14 is for ANGIE BERMAN who is AWESOME and invited two hot, sweaty, over heated?, dehydrated, sad runners into her home for a few minutes of sanctuary on an EARLY Saturday morning. Thank You Angie - I will never look at the road that leads to your neighborhood without thinking to myself, "Angie Berman may have saved my life..."

Mile 15 is for Victoria, Ann, Marc, Chele, Denise and Melissa, thanks for all your encouraging words, boxes of pasta, cute texts, DRIVING DIRECTIONS, etc and so forth. Denise & Melis, I know you're going to ROCK the 8K and Half Marathon!

Mile 16 is for Fay! I love running with Fay. She's the best, she's quiet, pretends to listen to my rambling and rambling and rambling for miles on end, and when she does say something it's either very smart and on point, or hysterical. You're the best & I know you're going to KICK IT on Saturday in the HALF and CANNOT WAIT to hear about your awesome race!

Mile 17 is for my H, Sean, because he was against this all along, but he's going to suck it up and make it work. Thanks babe.

Mile 18 is for Rachel P., because you know what you need to say to help someone succeed. Your business makes you an inspiration to many, and I'm happy to be included in that group of lucky women, but most of all, you are a gift, a treasure, (with a good sense of humor to boot) and I consider myself so SO lucky to count you as a friend. Thank you.

Mile 19 is for Tonia because you're my best friend. When my kid says something funny, I can't wait to tell you *saving a tidbit for the race BTW, remind me, it was G, when I see that I have a free morning I want to find out what you're doing, when I have a good run I want to share the glory, and when I have a bad run, I know you'll either tell me it's OK or to suck it up, which ever is appropriate. I love that you know which is appropriate. ...You know I could type all day and not scratch the surface... to sum it into one sentence, "I would rather spend a Sunday evening at the ER with you, than anywhere else by myself."

Miles 20 - finish: is for me. Months of training, believing, and preparing for this day to climb my Everest have paid off. This is MY time. My 20 mile warm up will be under my belt, now it's time for a 6.2 mile race and a Marathon PR.

My goal on Saturday is: To have fun. To Finish. To PR. If I have fun, surely I'll finish, and in finishing, I'll have a nifty Marathon PR.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

"People" & Chemistry

And I don't mean the kind you might find at a bar...

When we last followed our chemistry student she was griping about the stupidity of her fellow chem students, particularly SRGSBC (Stupid Red Headed Girl Who Sits in the Back of the Class).

SRG annoys me to no end. She talks in class, is late every class period b/c she's outside smoking until class time - she's basically a smelly loud student who whines a lot. I breathed a sigh of relief when I found out she and I are not in the same major (me Nursing, SRG Radiology), and will probably NEVER have classes together again.

This week, SRG and her friend sat in on a study jam session I had with 2 other students before our most recent test. Nice Guy had called me earlier in the day to ask me to come a half hour early to review the test material. Since I have a high GPA, and I have a grip on the material, I can afford to be a little smug. AND I was nice and showed up, reviewed all the test questions, and probably helped myself to a better grade as well... (annoyingly I know I did NOT get a 100, b/c I blew one of the easiest ones on the test! UHG - I hate that).

SRG, after we've reviewed the math portion of the upcoming test, says, "OMG- I totally didn't even read the chapter, what's on the test?"
Me, "Really, you didn't even take the time to read the chapter, after he told us that the first 10 pages of the chapter contained half of the test material? I always try to read each chapter before class. I promise it makes his lectures much easier to follow."
SRG, right before she nearly lost her life, replied, "Uh - Hello, I don't have time to read the chapter before class, I have a LIFE and a JOB."
Me, Eyes narrow, brows raise. Ecks and NG both looked at me, to see my reaction I'm sure. I turned to her and said, very clearly, so she would be sure to understand, "Yea, I get that. I have a job, 3 kids, a husband, a house to run, a 4.0 GPA, an A in Chemistry, and I've just trained for a marathon."

After that I excused myself and went upstairs to sit in class and re-READ my notes before the test, because I had given up some of the time in my LIFE to come and help these peole study. I would like to know is WHY spend time and money on college classes if you're not going to put the effort into them to do WELL??? Heckfireandshoot- she could at least have been gracious or appreciative that I was willing to tutor her where she had questions. Stupid people annoy me. Ungrateful people annoy me. Stupid ungrateful RUDE people piss me off.