Monthly Archives: September 2010


Three weeks into this running thing and I’ve missed three days this week already. And I’ve gained a pound.

This does not bode well.

In all fairness, the first day I missed was Sunday and I never run on Sundays.

The second day was Tuesday, and I had twelve children under the age of four in my care for 14 hours. Would you have gone running? And I don’t mean, in the opposite direction, screaming.  By the time they all left it was getting dark. And cold. And well, Monday’s run was gut wrenching.

But I swear to you, if it hadn’t been dark and cold and tripod hadn’t been lurking, I’d have gone anyway, wrenched guts or no.

Wednesday. Yesterday. Four-thirty in the afternoon. All but one child had been picked up, and my husband was going out the door with my nine-year-old to soccer practice.  The kid sidles up to me and while picking at the seams on his ball, he says, “Mom, I want you to go with me.”

“You want me to go to soccer practice?”


Oh. Okay. I grab my sneakers and set my sixteen year old on door duty to watch for the late childcare parent. I’ll run up Cascade hill while he practices.

And then it occurs to me to wonder: why does he want me to go to soccer practice with him? Is it because I’ve had class during every one of his games so far? Does he want his mother to actually see him handle the ball?

I ask; he does.


So I leave my sneakers in the van and I sit on the sidelines and I have no idea what’s going on, but I grin and give him a thumbs up when he checks to see if I’m watching.

It starts to rain, but I could still go running. Who knows, with water in the air, maybe my throat won’t Velcro itself together.

But on the way home we remember that he has cub scouts. I have just enough time to drop him off (twenty minutes late), go home and get my other kids and drop them off at their scout meetings, before I remember: it’s my twelve year old’s birthday in less then four hours. No present yet. No apple pie made (he’s a freak—but hey, I don’t like birthday cakes either). Nothing prepared.

We don’t get homework and reading done and bedsheets readjusted until 9:30.

Today is another day.

It’s also J’s birthday. And I still don’t have a pie made.

I might have to get a treadmill.



My neighbor brought me some eggs:

That thing is at least three inches long!

I could be wrong, but somewhere out there this morning, there could be a chicken who is having second thoughts about this egg-laying business…

Jettisoning the Pencil

Running didn’t feel so great yesterday.

Not that it ever really feels that great. But usually I warm up after a mile or so and lose the I think I’m going to vomit or die feeling, and afterwards, I trudge up the driveway to my back door and get in the shower feeling pretty good about myself.

Not this time. Not so much.

I”m going to blame it on the pencil that fell out of my hair about a quarter of a mile out. What do you do with a full-sized, fully sharpened pencil at that point? It won’t stay in your hair; it’s not like you can run with it in your pocket–assuming you have pockets, which I did not. Besides, everyone knows you shouldn’t run with pencils. You might end up looking like this:

Okay, that was a fork. But you get the idea. I know I was holding it eraser side up. Because what else do you do with it? Toss it in the ditch? (It’s biodegradable, right?) But how do you just…casually throw a pencil on somebody’s property? At what point do you jettison the thing? I’ve never felt more conspicuous in my life. Not to mention that this is my pencil: I keep it in my hair so that nobody else can get their grubby little hands on it.

Never mind that I know where 96 more are; this one is sharpened, and it still has an eraser.

I’m telling you, I wasn’t thinking clearly. I do have to admit that about the time my left shoulder (yeah, my shoulder!) felt like it was going to explode, I finally hurled the thing into a vacant lot. (Hey. I picked up an entire bag of trash last week at the playground that nobody related to me, or in my care, put on the ground. That has to make up for one lousy Ticonderoga pencil.)

Any runners out there want to explain to me why my shoulder would hurt like the blazes while I was running? Walking, even? Limping pitifully the last half a mile home?

Anyway.  I realized that it’s a really good thing I don’t have a treadmill; when you’re three miles from home  and you really just want to lay down and die, the asphalt really isn’t as inviting as, say, my carpet–or even my tile–might be. And there is the traffic to consider.

One can’t just collapse anywhere.

So here’s to the great outdoors. Not only is it free (assuming you ignore my property tax statement), but it keeps you honest. No cheating out there.

Plucking Protocol

At what point should I stop plucking the silver/gray/white hair and start dying it?

And don’t bother suggesting the alternative, because I’m not going down without a fight…

Broken Record

I’ve sat through a few soccer practices and games now. One of my son’s coaches has about three phrases she shouts repeatedly. She never varies from her set phrases, the intonation or the volume. At some point I catch myself  hoping a stray soccer ball might shut her up.

(Did I just say that?)

In all fairness, I started listening to myself today; what are my stock phrases?

I hereby proclaim myself guilty of uttering the following phrases more often in one week than the soccer coach utters hers in one game:

  • Milk at the table! (Or crayons/snack/paint–whatever the kid is trailing across the room.)
  • It will taste the same, no matter what color your plate is.
  • Books are for reading, not eating.
  • Be nice to your brother.
  • How about you sing in a pretty voice?
  • You’re going to fall down.
  • Who’s stinky?
  • No screaming, please.
  • In the water! In the water! That’s the wall!
  • Shut the door. Shut the door. Shut the door. SHUT. THE. DOOR.
  • Hang it up.
  • Where does that belong?
  • You got down; you’re done.
  • Where did you have it last?
  • I’d look in all the same places you would.
  • The bathroom is not a place to play.
  • The fridge is not a place to play.
  • That’s an inside toy.
  • Go potty first.
  • Just try it.
  • I knew you could do it.
  • Just a minute.
  • Hold on.
  • Wow….
  • I don’t know; I didn’t wear your shoes. (Socks, cleats, coat, etc.)
  • Food. (In response to the question: What’s for dinner/lunch/snack? They hate this one.)
  • Good food. (In response to the question: What kind of food?)
  • Really good food. (You can guess this one.)

Watch Your Back, Canada Fitness

When I was in elementary school, we had this fitness program come through the schools each spring. The teachers posted a gianormous poster in the hall that charted each student’s progress on a variety of fitness tests. At the end, you were awarded these embroidered badges–bronze, silver, gold and maybe something for the superstars called “excellence” or something.

I hated the Canada Fitness program. It didn’t matter how hard I tried, I only ever squeaked by into the bronze category, which at least spared me the ignominy of going up to the stage to receive a “participation” pin, but still. Bronze. I consoled myself that as far as anyone else knew, I’d just barely missed silver–and a lot of students significantly more athletic than I did just that. I don’t think anyone kept their badges.

In junior high, I started a program of running around Nicholas Sheridan lake on the crushed lava rock paths(5.8 km). I told myself that if I tried hard enough, long enough, I’d surprise everyone that knew me.

I tried–possibly not long enough, I don’t know; the Canadian winter had a way of cutting short most outside activities. I’ll blame it on that. I don’t think I ever improved enough to even make it around the lake once .

I got married, had kids, began walking routines sporadically and dropped them. Running? Hahahahaha. Yeah right. I am simply not an athlete, I decided.

Until July, when I came home from the cabin and got on the scale.

I’m going to come out an say it. One hundred and forty three pounds. I weighed that much going in to give birth to my first child. Going in. Nine months bloated.

NOT good. Horrifying, in fact.

Not to mention that school was starting in less than a month and I had nothing to wear because, well, my youngest child is seven years old and you tend to ditch the maternity clothes at a some point.

So I started walking. And watching what I ate. Lost some weight (128.8 this morning, thank you) and started punching new holes in my belt.

And I started running.

The first time, out of my entire three mile walk, I ran from one driveway to another. The lots out here are about 125 feet wide, just to give you an idea of how far that is. I thought I was going to die. Every day I ran a few steps further. At some point I realized that the first thing I searched frantically for after my outings was my inhaler.


Yesterday I took it before I went running. Even though I didn’t feel like I needed it.

It was amazing. Take that, Canada Fitness Bronze. I was flying and alive. Okay, maybe I was only flying for the last half mile–but I’ve never run so far in my life, and I’m thirty four years old. I didn’t know my body could do that.

I was staring at the ceiling last night thinking–what if? What if a woman my age could really change her physical makeup? How far could I run in a year from now, if I don’t let winter get in my way? What, really, am I capable of?

Hear Me Roar

(Disclaimer: I actually stole this post from my other blog; I’m busy today. Sue me.)

I attended my first soccer game. Ever.

My ten year old was playing.

It was his first soccer game, also.


Lest you feel bad that you weren’t invited, rest assured that had he recognized anyone else on the sidelines, he probably would have walked home in his cleats. Nothing personal; he just does not consider being soundly whipped to be a real social occasion.

Someone pulled him out near the break–halftime?–whatever you call that interval where the kids are supposed to be catching their breath but really they are just playing soccer still, but off the field and with more balls, and the parents sit on the sidelines and shiver and wish someone would just get the game going again. Anyway. They must have told him that a defender can actually leave the immediate goal area, because during the second half he started to resemble more than an additional goal post.

I just want to let you know that I left all my books in the van. Nor did I sit and gab with any of the other parents huddled on the sidelines.

I actually watched the game.  Kudos to moi.

But when I came home and had read with the kids, it was really, really dark by the time I went outside for my walk–not to mention threatening rain–and so I rode the elliptical that is gathering dust in my neighbor’s garage until there was sweat pooling in my socks.

(Eww. I know you wanted to know that.)

Point being: who should be waiting for me when I was done, but the three legged dog!! I kid you not. He was sitting on the back step, waiting. He growled. I growled. He ran away.

I am woman, hear me roar.

(Oh, and to all you voxers out there–I did add you all to some readomatic or blogsurfer or something, but you still aren’t showing up unless I go into the guts of this thing; I know I’ve seen blogrolls on the sides of these things before. Still getting there…)