Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Picky Eater

This is my Karma: having a child of my own who is picky about what she eats.

I don't think I was _that_ picky of an eater as a young child. I grew up mainly in the Philippines and the normal grub there is not fit for a picky eater.

I ate green, sour mangoes. Rambutan. Lanzonies. Monkey bananas. Fried bananas. Banana lumpia. Sweet potato chips. Fried peanuts in garlic. Pusit, which is barbequed squid with hot hot hot sauce on it. Hot dogs made from "who knows what".

Fish, crabs, bird's nest soup with quail eggs (look it up. it's a real bird's nest). I didn't eat balut but I had a version of it called penoy, which is not as fertilized as balut (and I think my version was from a chicken).

But I'm SURE I was picky to my Filipino family. If anything, I am so much more pickier NOW than I was living in that environment. I don't care for fish anymore and even though I loved bird's nest soup, I don't know if I could eat it anymore (I think I can).

I am picky NOW for neurotic reasons: no meats outside the main "meat" group, which for me is: beef, chicken or pork. If you give me lamb, venison, squirrel, or veal, then I will kindly turn you down. And if you try to sneak it to me, tell me it's chicken but it's really gopher, then I will not appreciate it. I don't refuse to eat the "outside-of-my-meat-group" because I think it will taste bad; I do it because I DON'T WANT TO EAT IT. I won't like it. It could taste like BUTTAH and I won't appreciate it because I DON'T WANT TO EAT IT. So if you try to sneak it? You'll probably lose me. I will severely dislike you for almost an eternity. You are playing dirty. It's not funny at all. It's plain mean and I won't respect you at all. SO DON'T EVEN TRY IT. I will put you in the same bucket that I put those damn Fox News following Republicans.

CJ is now me. A form of me, I guess. I like to romanticize myself and think I was not as picky as she is...but I may be wrong. :)

It drives me B-A-N-A-N-A-S. I used to have to find a mantra to recite to calm my nerves when it came to dinner time. She refuses to try anything new: She likes pasta. She likes steak. Mix the pasta with the steak? Forget it. She will refuse to eat it.

When she was a baby, she tried a lot of things *and* enjoyed it! She ate raw red onions that we used to have with a steak dish. She skipped the meat and ate the red onions.

She even ate steak mixed with pasta!

But as she got older, it became a stubborn game of beating horns against each other: mine vs. hers. I. ALWAYS. LOSE. Because she doesn't eat anything I want her to and I ache with frustration.

I've tried the "I don't care if you eat it or not" approach. Food's on the table; pick your own. She never picks anything new or outside of her green group, which is peas and green beans.

The "short order cook": I'll fix whatever you want and we'll eat this.

The "You fix your own dinner": she'll cook a scrambled egg or have PB sandwich.

The "you better eat it or else!": she takes whatever "or else" is.

In the end, I end up feeling miserable...ruminating about why my child has ended up becoming so cruel about food. How she is missing out on different flavors, different cultures, different foods.

Last week, Tim fixed dinner and presented CJ her plate with veggies that I would never have presented her: carrots with onions. He also baked a wonderful chocolate cake. He set it down, nonchalantly, in front of her and said simply "eat your veggies and you get cake".

Ha! I thought. She is NOT going to eat her veggies.

Not only did she eat the carrots (onions were permissible to be omitted), she ate the rice dish he had made...a NEW DISH that she had never had before, nor wanted to try. I was sooooooo happy.

So I decided to follow suit and yet, I was much nicer. I made broccoli with a swiss cheese sauce. I placed one piece of broccoli floret and drenched it in cheese sauce. I said "No candy corn unless you eat this". We all laughed. While Mi-Mi gobbled the broccoli (Mi-Mi is my dream eater: she tries EVERYTHING. If she doesn't like it, no biggie. At least she tried it. And she LOVES broccoli. She orders it if it's a choice on the kid's menu. I know the waiters think: 'there goes another mom forcing her kid to eat broccoli'. Nope. It's her choice and if you're not careful, she'll eat your broccoli too!).

Anyway, CJ ate EVERYTHING. Went back for seconds. While leaving that one lone piece of broccoli on the plate. It wasn't even BIG! And guess what? She didn't eat it. And got mad at ME that she couldn't have candy corn. I was sooooo disappointed. But, I said very little about it. If anything, Tim ragged on her about it but she still got mad *at me*.

Then this evening, we had a cooking 'class' where this lovely woman, Sheri Castle, made a Red Pepper Dip, Orzo with Shrimp, Spinach and Tomatoes, Potato Salad with Fresh Green Beans and Cherry Tomatoes, and Walnut Bars. Sheri went on and on about how great the fresh local produce is right now. The smells from her food was tantalizing. She really sold her recipes. And the food was AWESOME. But what did CJ eat? A walnut bar and a chip. The chip is store bought in a bag. She did not even try a single dish that this woman prepared.

UGH! I am doomed.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening and The Struggle by L.J. Smith

I decided to read this series after watching the TV show on the CW network. I loved the Twilight Series so much that I was ready to read more stuff that was similar.

When I looked into these books, I found out that The Vampire Series came out in 1991, a good 14 years _before_ The Twilight Series. There are *so* many similarities to the characters in the Twilight Series. I can really see where the ignorant would claim "copycat" on The Vampire Diaries, but in truth, it *could* be the other way around.

Regardless, it is still an enjoyable book. Mind you: NOT GREAT. But decent.

What I don't like is the protagonist of the diaries, Elena Gilbert. I mean, she's OK but her character is the most popular girl of her school. The "IT" girl. And the "IT" girl gets her man, and then some. There are references to her superficiality: she was the center of attention and now she's not...why, she wonders. Since I prefer the underdogs, this did not suit well for me.

Another dislike is that there is more teenage-like story lines here. Where Twilight hit the old mom department (like me), this one does not. I can definitely see where teenagers would love this book but this was just too young for me.

What I do like: the two brothers, Stefan and Damon. Damon is not the nice one but if you are like most girls, the bad guy is usually the one that is most attractive. And Stefan is not too bad either.

So there are the main cast of characters. Elena, the beautiful human that is the eye of both brothers. Brothers who are immortal enemies...both happened to be in love with the same woman TWICE...the other being Katherine from hundreds of years before Elena.

And then the usual teenage angst: concern about someone reading a diary in public, concerned about what others say about each other, you know, the usual boring stuff.

The TV show is good, not great. But it is definitely not following the exact path of the book.

Apparently there are two more...at least one for the trilogy and then apparently, a fourth was written after the fans PLEADED for a fourth. I'll take a break and pick it up soon. But because I can wait kind of gives an idea of how the book placed in my assessment.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

One Sick Show

That show would be Durham County, which airs on the famous ION Television, Mondays at 10PM. I don't know how I came upon this one to add to my DVR but I am so thrilled that I did.

So of course I was intrigued as to what Durham County they were referring to, as Durham County is part of our little Triangle, here in Raleigh, North Carolina. But I found out that this is filmed in Canada and eventually, we find out that they are in Canada. Let me tell you, eh, those Canadians are one sick group of people, eh. At least the ones who came up with this show.

I love sick, creepy shows. And it takes awhile for something to come along that astounds me. Wire in the Blood, a BBC series, is one of those...and still one of my all-time favorites. Netflix has made me a very happy customer by having Season 6 on their "Watch Instantly" program (thus, I can watch the series via Tim's XBox 360).

Dexter is another creepy sick show that's on my favorite list. BTW, the new season starts tomorrow night (9/29) so I will be immersed in sick shows watching Durham County, Dexter and Wire in the Blood.

Despite my first sentence, I have never heard of ION Television. The schedule looks like old shows re-aired. I assumed Durham County was one of those shows and I happened to miss it. But it was getting decent reviews and the premise sounded great...and I still wondered if it was set in the Triangle.

The first episode we had to stop almost immediately. The kids were in the room and the gist of what was going on those first few minutes was not remotely kid-friendly. And while the kids can see more than other kids, they don't get to watch these sick shows, including Dexter and Wire in the Blood.

First Episode Spoiler Alert: I will begin to explain why the show is sick and other details that you may not want to know until you see it. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND WATCHING THE FIRST EPISODE AND NOT READ THIS. IT IS TRULY A UNIQUE EPISODE.

Detective Mike Sweeney returns to his roots with his wife and two daughters. They move into a neighborhood that looks like homes you would see in the triangle. His wife is recovering from cancer; his oldest daughter is the brood queen and the youngest wears a doll mask...that is creepy in it own right.

The first episode debuts with two young teenagers in the woods, having a picnic with another, older man. They're talking about how old they are, which is what the older man wants to hear. He wants to be with young girls.

But someone else is in the woods watching this picnic session.

The picnic session gets very sexual: the older man kissing both girls then tying up their hands behind their back.

Next shot: one girl is dead; the other is crying. It is extremely difficult to watch because it is just a violent scene. Eventually, the older man kills the crying girl. And on top of that, the watcher in the woods is still watching.

Why hasn't the watcher intervened? The viewer is wondering...until this man returns with his own picnic basket... And the crying girl? He discovers she isn't dead until...he kissing the "dead" girl.

So sicko number two enters the picture and dances (think Twin Peaks) with the almost dead girl. She's barely alive and he is talking to her as if she were A-OK...dancing, and stroking her hair. So we know we have two freaks on our hands...

The second freak, we find out early enough, is Ray Prager. He is Mike Sweeney...DETECTIVE Mike Sweeney's neighbor. And on top of that, they were friends in high school...then became enemies. The relationship between the two is strained. Mike doesn't like Ray and Ray? Well he acts like he likes Mike but we already know what a crazy dude he is.

And it doesn't stop there. I don't want to ruin the next twist. But it's even a tad better than this opening scene of the first episode.

Three episodes have aired. I have no idea if there are repeats. But if you like sicko, creepy shows, you MUST MUST MUST watch this one. It'll blow your mind, eh.

Anna's Angels 10 Miler Race Report

As usual, I was vague as to what I wanted to do with this race. My last long race was in April, for the Tar Heel 10 Miler. I PR'd that race and I remember it feeling pretty tough. The last three to four miles of that race was digging deep to keep going.

And since the Fall races, I have upped my threshold for pain: meaning I don't want to feel it anymore.

So I freaked out with the Magnificent Mile and wondered who the hell _that_ person was that did the 10 miler in April. It wasn't me. It was a different "me".

Coach B had her plans. $Bill had his plans. Mine were not developed into concrete numbers but ultimately, I wanted to run strong and be as close to my pace from April's race as possible. I didn't want pain but I didn't want to run this one like Pepe Le Pew. I wanted to push hard, but not too hard.

Make sense? Yeah. I didn't think so.

The more I think about my freaking rules I make for myself the more I think I should be called "The Neurotic Runner". I don't even win these things and I set myself up for such stress.

For instance: today? No stress. I felt confident that I would do well. I wasn't going for a PR. So I wasn't nervous. But instead of just stopping with that, I think "gee, since I'm not nervous, I'm going to suck at this race."

WTF is wrong with me???

Not going to fix that anytime soon...so here's how the race went:

Start and I'm about :40-:50 seconds from the starting mats. They don't go off when I cross, so I know that I"m already that much off from the official time. $Bill is up ahead and I take it all in stride, getting around people. Frank and I start off together and I'm surprised because either I'm going slow or he's going fast. And I'm not dissing his pace: his plan was to hit slower than my plan. But it doesn't feel slow so I'm thinking it's him. I later found out that I was right. :)

But it isn't long until the crowd loses us so I tell him to have a nice race and go on my merry way.

All along this first mile and a half, I feel great. I'm enjoying the vibe *but* listening to my surroundings and hoping that I can leave the talkers at some point. I don't mind talking...I LOVE to talk...but I don't particularly care for the loud ones who think they're several yards apart from each other and pretty much yell out their boring conversations. I recall from April's race that at some point, there are no loud mouths around me, which makes me feel hopeful that I'll have some peace and quiet in time.

I see $Bill at the mile and half point and catch up to him and join him. I told him and a fellow runner, the night before, that I wasn't going to start with him. But once I got to him I said "I wasn't going to start with you but it doesn't mean I can't run with you now :)". And I said it just like that: with a smiley emoticon on the end.

And we did great. We kept at a moderate pace throughout. I couldn't do the math all the time, when the splits were called out, but I knew I was very close to my April race pace, which is where I wanted to be. And I knew that it was better than the pace that $Bill projected for himself so I put on my crown of glory and thought to myself "I'm going to make sure Bill keeps this pace. He's going to be so happy to PR at this pace!"

About halfway through the race, my thought was more like: thank goodness bill is running with me because I wouldn't be able to keep this pace up!

We had great rhythms going and we never stuttered up the hills, which BTW, this was an extremely rolling route. I found it just as rolling as the Chapel Hill race but Frank said this one today was not as bad as April's. He ran both so I believe him. But wait. I ran both too!!

Doesn't matter. I enjoyed the Chapel Hill race route so today, I just made comparison's.

The pain hit me at mile 8. And my brain was starting to become doubtful. This is normal for me. It's like choking on the final point; throwing in the towel; defeated before it ever ends. I want to just stop and forget everything I accomplished up to now. Great pace. Great time. Just forget it and walk this mo-fo to the end. My legs are TIRED. And it feels like Bill is speeding up. Why? I grab water and tell Bill "Go Bill Go!" and watch him go off into the sunset.

But after a few seconds, I said to myself 'fuck this! don't give up! you are doing great! two freaking miles to go and you're going to slack now?" So I aim at Bill and try to catch him. I never do but my dream of grandeur was that we would cross together.

OK. At some point, while wearing my crown of glory, I thought I would 'let him cross before me' but as you can read, the crown fell off pretty hard at some point.

The last 400 meters I got a stitch. So wild since Bill and I followed a runner who struggled with at stitch for the first four miles before she finally stopped to rest. At least I got it in the end. But wait, how the heck am I going to sprint to the finish? Not that I had a lot left to sprint but I wanted to run in fast after seeing that I was close to my PR time. I wasn't going to beat it but I sure the hell wanted to get in there soon.

Then, as cruel race directors do, I lost the stitch as I ran UP to the finish and got through at 1:28, according to my watch. This is one minute over my PR of 1:27.

As I was reveling in my after glow, Bill points out that Frank had just crossed the finish. 1:33. WTF??? He's supposed to go SLOWER! I was so proud of him because he is such a great runner and is in great running shape right now.

So my BFFs PR'd today's race. I am sooo happy for them. And I put in a great effort without letting my alter ego sabotage my race at the end. I needed this one. Something to make me feel better about my long distance running.

I've got a few races left in the season...mostly 5Ks until December, when I hit my half marathon.

Some observations from today's race:
* man running without shoes, IOW, BARE FEET, through RTP
* the runner who continued to run with a stitch; she just kept squeezing her right side...I felt bad for her
* panic at water station #2...no one had water ready to pass out and we didn't have a crowd of people that could have taken it all before us; this threw me off a bit, BTW
* the silent mile marker volunteer: she had a stopwatch but said nothing when we passed her
* tight running lane; seemed like they _could_ have expanded the running lane on those major roads, since they were double lanes...
* meeting Facebook friend Mary...she's fast but there are those fast people who relate to all runners (like Coach B)...she's always encouraging and also blogs about her races...it was so good to finally meet her

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Magnificent Mile Race Report

First of all: I am a cop out.

I agonized over this measly ONE MILE RACE for a good week.

I did not want to set a goal because I did not want to push myself.

My past track workouts were KILLING ME. They hurt. Real bad. And I have issues with pain from running.

I can endure other pain, like childbirth and tattoos.

But running? I'm a wimp.

Sooooo...when $Bill was planning a sub-7 minute mile, I thought "good for you. I'm just running."

And when Coach B was advising me to run like hell, I would think "um, I will do what I do when the gun goes off".

I just didn't want to put a time on me. And it was ridiculous. I don't know why I was so weird about it but I knew it was weird, even to the very wire of the run.

And then the gun went off and guess what? I ran it. I ran fast. I found a rhythm to breathe without feeling extreme pain (like at the track, but still painful) and at the halfway point, I saw my watch @ 3:28.

I haven't done 3:28, I think, ever. Just a good two weeks ago, I was DYING to even attempt a 3:45 on the track. It. Was. Killing. Me. It. Hurt. Like. Hell.

Those track workouts just beat me down and I just didn't want to feel like that for a whole mile.

But the adrenaline of race day did something and I survived and unofficially, my race time was 7:10 (for 1.04 miles BTW, for a 6:54 mn/mile average!!!).

And I was really happy. It's been ages since I have ever been happy about a race. I always critique myself and think how much better I could have done.

But I surpassed my own expectation...and quite honestly, it helped to not have a goal. I was off the hook. :)

The day started off cool but by race time, which was 2:20 PM, it was quite warm. The men started at 2PM and when I saw $Bill, finished, I was so jealous. YOU'RE DONE. I wanted this thing done, since I had been torturing my brain with the stress of it.

He did well too and I saw him closing in on the last 1/4 mile of the race and he looked like he was in pain. GAWD I did not want to feel that pain.

But when I lined up, I just decided to just go for it. Coach B was so excited about the race that it caught on to me. CJ was running it too and I thought, just let her have a great race. Who cares about me?

The gun goes off and we're off. Empowering to run with fellow females, BTW. CJ was well ahead of me. She had a great start. I felt like I was sluggish: everyone seemed to pass me. I decided to concentrate on getting a good breathing rhythm so that I could survive. And I managed to to do that I felt pretty confident, even though I was still hoping to hurry this thing up.

A little over a 1/4 mile into it, I passed CJ. She slowed down quite a bit but I hoped she could keep a steady pace. After seeing my 3:28 at the half, I felt confident that I wouldn't slow down at all. If anything, I thought I'd be faster but that didn't seem to happen.

As I approached a young teen, I could hear her gasping for air. I definitely didn't feel that way and I felt for her. She started 'crying' (no tears, just pain). I heard someone tell her to lengthen her stride and slow down a bit. The girl cried "mom! please don't leave me!" and I realized that her mom was running stride-for-stride with her daughter, who was in pretty good shape. It was a tender moment during the run and I thought "how the hell is that mom talking to her daughter???" She continued to coach her at the pace we were going. I loved that woman. It's exactly something I would do, I KNOW IT, for my daughter. Even though TODAY, I left her behind. :)

Mi-Mi ran the 1/4 mile race, alongside her BFF Y-Y. They were so cute and Mi-Mi ran pretty well, despite falling down. This could have been the end but she just got right back up and kept running.

Bill and I put in another mile after our mile races. We ran the recreational mile as our "cool down" and I have to say, that was the BEST MILE I have ran in weeks!!

Now I will be positioning myself to cop out of my long runs. I have a 10 mile race in two weeks. Suddenly, I will deem myself as *not* the long distance runner type. I bet I make my coach crazy.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

This received high kudos from one of the smart young authors at Teen Writing Club, a group of incredibly talented teenagers who write stories *for fun*...and spend their own time sharing it with me and their peers.

So I had mentioned finishing Coraline and Beth exclaimed that The Graveyard Book was one of her favorites. With such high praise, I had to give it a go.

And it was definitely well-deserved high praise. This story is incredibly original and creative (to me). It starts out pretty gruesome and by the end, it all comes full circle.

Nobody Owens is the main character. A young toddler who "escapes" a mass murder of his family by crawling to the nearby graveyard. It is here that his new life begins, being adopted by the graveyard inhabitants. Yes. The ghosts of those buried there.

The reader meets these ghosts and finds that Nobody, AKA "Bod", can actually do ghostly things as a human.

There is action but for the most part, this book is an incredible story of relationships and a growing boy.

I loved it. I don't know that I loved it as much in the beginning as I did towards the end but it certainly will be something I will reflect on fondly, and miss the characters that I grew to know.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Easy Running Ain't So EAsy

Today's run was supported by the following random songs on my iPod today:

Take Me On the Floor by The Veronicas
Still Waiting by Sum 41
Just Dance by Lady GaGa
Soldier's Poem by Muse
Animal I Have Become by Three Days Grace
Time Is Running Out by Muse
I Put A Spell On You by Marilyn Manson
You Are the Best Thing by Ray LaMontagne
When You Smile by Concrete Blonde
Sad Songs And Waltzes by Cake
Am I Evil? by Metallica

I had three easy miles and yet I felt spent trying to get what should be easy miles in. I had strides at the end and these killed my legs.

And so the agony I feel about running one measly mile at tomorrow's Magnificent Mile is elevated. And utterly ridiculous.

I have to get over it. I've checked out mentally, even though, for the most part, I am physically ready.

How fast will I go? I don't know and I don't have a plan because I'm too chicken-shit to make a goal. My fastest mile was in 2004 for 7:21. I didn't think I could do that, but credit must be given to my BFF Melisa, who told me -- before I did it -- that I could do sub 7:30.

My fast runs for the past few weeks have hurt *really bad*. So, honestly, I'm a little scared at feeling that hurt again, solidly for 7-8 minutes. During track workouts, I can actually take a recovery break...not likely to happen tomorrow.

The good news is that Cerina will be running and thus, a family event. I run for me. And I run for them. And the fact that she wants to run, to beat me, is satisfaction enough.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

I'm Only Half Kidding

Over the years, I have battled the mental beat down I put on myself when it comes to my running performance. I'm afraid to push myself too hard and I also tend to find fear at some point in a race and take any push I have and 'lighten' that edge. Meaning, to me, I wimp out.

I can succeed in my training and then I choke during the goal that I've trained for.

Recently, however, I have pushed myself really beyond my comfort zone. Under Coach B, I have definitely gotten to that level of not only getting faster, but pushing myself a little harder even during races. It's not perfect -- I still have doubts while I race and think about throwing in the towel and giving up, but so far, so good.

But beyond my improvements, I have come to terms with the fact that I'm not really enjoying the 'pushing too hard to be fast' point. Perhaps my instinct all along has been to run fast but not THAT fast.

And everyone around me seems to think I'm joking. I'm really not.

I mean: I am happy to be faster but to push so hard that my legs tingle, my breathing is SO hard, and I feel like I'm going to collapse because I can't keep up with my feet? I don't like it.

This probably really started with the first Chase Run. This run reminded me of my Second Empire race, several years ago, where I ran sooo fast that I couldn't slow down. I think my first mile was sub 8 and I remember thinking: holy shit! I don't run that fast!! And I was scared to slow down because I would just stop and walk the whole thing. So I kept going (how, I'll never know) and ended up having a PR to last for several years.

But I ran three of the four summer chase runs and I enjoyed one: the first one because I wasn't prepared for what it would feel like. Once I knew that pain, I didn't want to go through it again. And I did it twice more and both times hurt as bad as the first.

My track runs have been harsh too. I pulled through last week's 800s, which was a magnificent feat...and today's 400s...but let me say, that pain is too much to enjoy.

I don't know how elite athletes handle it. I'd like to think that they programmed themselves early on vs. me and my late-in-life running persona development.

I'd like to think that the summer weather has beat me down and that when the weather cools down, this confident, bubbly runner will emerge and I'll be like BRING IT ON!

But currently, and for the last several months, running fast has not been for me.

I have the Magnificent Mile this Sunday. Run my fastest mile. Running quarters this morning made we wonder what the hell I was going to do for a fricking whole mile! For god's sakes, I've run 13.1 miles!!! And I'm worried about one? One that may take me anywhere from 7 to 9 minutes to run! ;)

Sunday, September 06, 2009

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Actually, Bad and Ugly go together.

I usually don't get too inflamed in the discussions on Facebook. I find myself to be free-thinking enough to let ignorant people remain ignorant and fire off their diatribe without raising my blood pressure one iota. But with this week's viral "No one should die because they cannot afford health insurance" status updates made it's way, I couldn't believe some of the comments on my friends' posts. I wanted so bad to reply but fortunately, those weren't my acquaintances to deal with.

And as a proponent of good experiences everywhere, I would like to point out which, of these statements, actually sound good...have good spirits...telling about the person's personality that would say such a statement. Karma, my friends, can be a bitch. I know. I have experienced it myself.

This is the status update that many wonderful people posted:
No one should die because they cannot afford health care, and no one should go broke because they get sick. If you agree, please post this as your status.

Here are some of the responses that illicit an "Are you serious? You really said that?" thoughts from me...actually, my thoughts were more vulgar:

I like to believe that I shouldn't go broke paying for lazy people who won't get off their asses.

I don't know who is, but I like her!

the problem is everyone wants someelse besides themselves to be responsible for that o/w i completely agree

are you for or against obamacare cuz you have conflicting statements here!

What the government is trying to pass now will basically be one big HMO. I ask if you are pro obamacare cuz I've seen this post from some pro obamacare people on here.


I've seen this same comment posted by others today. I guess the Big O lemmings are on the march. I suspect that this is the message that the Big O is going to give to school kids next week, because he's having no luck with thinking adults, only with lefties. My response is, So what are you doing about it? Compelling others to pay for your good feelings? Have you looked into what has happened every time another country has implemented such a system? You need to think through the eventualities before supporting feel-good policies. And back a program that has a chance of being successful, not the first such offering to come along. No one should go broke from being sick, or from blindness, or whatever. Nor should a country as magnificent (and yes, flawed, too, we're humans after all!) as our good ole' USA go down a path where others have gone and found nothing but calamity and ruin.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Recapping This Week's Runs

I got my first 10 miles under my belt since running the Tar Heel 10 Miler in April. I've been inching towards the mileage, putting in 9 miles last week, so I _should_ be able to get 10 miles in, but 'ya never know'.

$Bill met me for the run. He had 11 to conquer. We are both gearing up for our 10 mile race in three weeks. And although I was a bit worried about doing 10 miles in three weeks, I can honestly look back at today's run and think "wow, this wasn't too bad".

I am still reeling from Tuesday's amazing feat: conquering an amazingly hard and aggressive track workout. Bill and I had the same workout; his a few seconds faster than mine. But it worked the hell out of my legs and I have been sore for days since doing it. But most importantly, I am beaming with pride at accomplishing that workout. It was hard. It was beyond challenging. It was long. And I conquered it.

Thursday's run started out pretty hard but somewhere more than half way through it, after running UP an incredible hill (half mile hill), I found my second wind and managed to end up with a great feeling run.

Let me tell you. It's been a long time since I have had good run days. And this past week has been pretty great. Including the weather.

It's going to be a busy race season for me. My first race is next Sunday. One mile race but as short as it is, it's tough because it's an all out 'how fast can I run one mile'. And then there's race after race after that one... I haven't raced since May so it'll be interesting to see how I do.

Workout Partner

Yesterday I let the day get away from getting my workout in. At least up until 8PM. After a good pep talk from Tim ("the day's not over; you still have time to get your workout in") I found my second wind and said "I'll do it!"

The workouts I do at home are from the P90X plan. If you have done these, then you know: these are not easy workouts. For the most part, I really love these things. I see results. But they are so GD hard that you hate them because, well, it's gonna hurt and it's gonna be hard to do.

So I put myself in a robotic mode, where I try not to think about it other than "I'm going to do it." I run upstairs to get my very needed towel and announce to the girls "mommy's going to workout in the basement! anyone want to join me?" I wasn't expecting any kind of answer, but perhaps someone would accompany me and just hang out while I'm crying in pain.

Mi-Mi, in her usual sweet voice that melts my heart always, excitedly proclaims "I want to! I want to!". She then tells me she needs to get her workout clothes on. And she does: cute shorts and tank top.

We head down to the basement and I roll out a mat for her and find her teeny-tiny weights that we got from somewhere (where? I have no clue). The first few minutes of the workout is a warm-up but I know that once we start the actual workout, I'm going to lose her but right now...I thought this would be fun.

We start: running in place. She is going. And fast. Then we get to jumping jacks. She is loving it. And her attention is focused on Tony Horton and listening/following to his every word.

Running lunges throws her off and I lose her for a split second: "I can't do these!!!!" I tell her 'let's do jumping jacks instead' and she complies but at the end, decides to give running lunges another start and gets it. She is beaming with pride.

Next is the easy part: stretching! We do a few and then when we get to the part where you stand straight, arms in the air, and bend to the left/right, she flips. "I CAN'T DO THESE!!!"

I think: ignore her and she'll try again.

Nope. Wrong thought.

Tears. Real ones from frustration.

I then say "don't worry about it, you can jump in at the next stretch."

Now she is throwing a fit, crying badly. And through the tears I hear her say "pause it! pause it!" I tell her "it's not a biggie, there are other exercises you can do." "I DON'T WANT TO. MY ARMS ARE GONNA BE FLOPPY!!! MY ARMS FEEL FLOPPY!!"

And it dawns on me and I just laugh. I can't help it. She had stretched one side of her body and couldn't do the other side. Now her arms were "floppy" since the other arm didn't get to stretch. Hey, it's the whole Yoga thing: do both sides to stay in balance! I loved her more than anything at that moment because she knew how to express it in a way that I could understand.

So I paused it. And then after she threw her fit some more, I worked with her to unfloppy her arms.

And that lasted for a few more minutes until we got to the next stretch that she couldn't figure out so I let her throw her fit while I continued on.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

The Poison Apples by Lily Archer

This came to me via CJ, who had enjoyed the book. What better recommendation can you have than that? After all, she recommended each little bird that sings which is one of my all-time favorites.

Anyway, this was a pretty good read. The premise is three young girls, each telling their own story -- thus chapters are titled by their names, e.g. "Molly", "Alice" and "Reena". And each of their story teeters on a heartbreak, but not enough to turn the book sappy (which actually, would have been welcomed by me, but doesn't take away from the story). The heartbreak is how each girl ended up in a divorced home...

...with an "evil" step-mother taking over the role of dad's significant other. Let me tell you, these are situations where you will be ENRAGED at the dumb-ass dads, who allow these stumps declared as "women" into their lives; to treat their children the way these skanks treat their woman.

Let me tell you, Lily Archer had a way of revving up the fire in me with these situations.

The title of the book is the name of their secret society to avenge the cruelty of the evil stepmothers.

All seems that vengeance is on its way but alas, nothing comes out of it. I really want to avenge these girls -- and their mothers -- and ruin these sorry-ass dads. Me thinks this isn't the end of The Poison Apples.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

The Man In The Attic

Our house is haunted. And it wasn't _that_ much of a concern until CJ moved into her new room. Suddenly we have 'the man in the attic'.

Spooky, huh? The mind of a warped 11 year old.

So she hears sounds in the attic and decides it's a man that lives up there. Tim takes her up there. No one is there (we didn't think so, if you were wondering).

I thought we were done with the 'man in the attic' stuff until a couple of days ago.

We have been contemplating after-school care for CJ. Mi-Mi is set but because CJ is older and in middle school, there are fewer options for after school care than elementary-aged children.

The YMCA has a program that we are considering, although we aren't thrilled about it. Babysitter is an option too but we went through our life savings over the summer to pay for the one we had. So I considered having CJ stay at home, alone for ~2-2.5 hours. I would work a schedule that would allow me to get home at a set time, if Tim couldn't be there.

She has been left home alone before *but* with Mi-Mi there. So 'by yourself' alone is different than 'no parents, no Mi-Mi'.

Tim decided to give her a test run a couple of days ago. He called me up, found out I was 15 minutes from the house, and said he would go get Mi-Mi and leave CJ alone. Approximately 13 minutes later, I am at the turn to my street and I see a familiar face walking along the sidewalk. It's CJ! WTF??

So I pull over and ask her why she's out there. She said 'Daddy told me if I get scared to go for a walk.' Uh-oh, I think to myself. This home alone stuff is NOT going to work.

I asked her what she got scared about and she told me, 100% serious, even to the brink of sadness: "Because the man in the attic was coming to get me."

Um, what?

Except when I said that, I also laughed out loud. Hysterically. Because it was so funny I thought she HAD to be joking, even though I knew she wasn't.

She continued with: "this is what he's been waiting for. For me to be alone so he could come down and get me."

I react with laughter again, which I don't recommend in a very serious 11-year old moment, because she was none-too-happy with my laughter. I couldn't help it. It's just too ridiculous.

"There is no man in the attic" I tell her...she clarifies with "OK. A _GHOST_."

We got home and I let her settle her nerves a bit. Later, I tried to 'rationalize': if there were ghosts in our house, CJ, they would be from a death in the house. No one has died here. And no one died before us because we met the owners and they are alive and well, as well as their children.

She asks: how do you know that one of their guests didn't die here?!

OK. She got me. But wait! I am rationalizing the concept of having GHOSTS in my house...in my ATTIC!!

I leave it alone. There's no talking sense to her. She has her mind set.

So I contact the Y for more information. We have few options and the Y will have to be it. I let her know and then she cries over that. She doesn't want to go to the Y. She informs me that the night before (I am writing this), she has discovered that the ghost in the attic is actually nice and had her phone tell her what time it was. I don't know exactly what this means but that is what she said. She is now trying to bribe me back to the decision of her staying home, with the nice ghost in the attic.

I'm glad I am not easily creeped out because this could definitely creep out a sensitive person.

Today, while I was waiting for my doctor to show up for a follow-up, I decided to record my blood pressure #s on my iTouch. When I opened my Notes application, the first thing I saw was this note, which took me a few seconds to comprehend how it got there:

I hate the YMCA it's for rich snoty people.