Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday Fragments

Friday Fragments is brought to you by Mrs4444!

Mommy's Idea

Last week I was SO excited to report that we had been experiencing temperatures approaching 70 degrees. It surely meant that spring was right around the corner. Today? SNOW :(

I signed up for my first official race! I'll be running a 10K next Saturday for our short run week.

I haven't really spent much time thinking of a specific goal, but it would be really nice to get in under an hour, which I think is pretty doable, since my 6 mile runs are all right around 9:30/mile. We shall see.

I'm in desperate need of good running song suggestions! The music I like to listen to most often (Cake, Rage Against the Machine, Bright Eyes, etc.) doesn't really have a good beat for physical activity. I've got some Beastie Boys, Goldfinger, and an assortment of punk rock songs, but I'm finding myself strangely drawn to Lady Gaga, Outkast, and Katy Perry. What else would you recommend?

I cleaned house on my FB friends list this week and it felt good. I still have too many people on there, but I don't want to hurt feelings by de-friending people. I wish I had been more selective of my friends to begin with.

I've heard rumors that the Girl Scout cookie orders are starting to roll in. I'm waiting very impatiently for mine. I can't wait to get my hands on a box of thin mints.

This is a downer, but I realized yesterday just how much I still miss my awesome cat Einstein. It's been almost 6 months and I had a massive crying fit in the car on the way to work, spurred by hearing Pearl Jam's Just Breathe on the radio.

I've always loved that song even though it's always made me feel a little weepy. Unfortunately, it was playing in the car on the drive up to the vet's. I should have turned it off, but it just seemed so appropriate for the situation. Does it get easier?

Then, to make myself feel better, I listened to this song when I got to work. Come to think of it, this needs to be on my running playlist. (don't click to listen if you're offended by the f-bomb)

Cee Lo Green - F**k You (Official Video)
Uploaded by Henrietta-Aime-Fumer_Tv. - See the latest featured music videos.

Husband Charlie texted me yesterday to tell me that our garbage disposal was broken. That completes our entire suite of appliances. The house just crossed the 10 year mark. I guess some things really are just engineered to fail. Sad.

Anywho. Tomorrow is another big run, and I'm aiming for 16.5 miles. The route hasn't been posted yet, so I'm being optimistic. Other than that, I have nothing planned except sitting around hanging out with my Charlies. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

15 Miles

A new personal awesome best distance!

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15.3, to be exact. Shockingly, most of it felt pretty good. The last .75 mile stretch was pure freaking torture, though. That's why it helps to have a running buddy - someone who will make sure that you don't just throw in the towel when it gets too difficult. I guess from here on out everything is going to be a new personal awesome best distance. It's funny to think about how not even 3 months ago I was practically dancing in the street to celebrate running 6 whole miles. Now, that just means it's a Monday. And those hills in my neighborhood? When I started running I couldn't make it up one of them without stopping, let alone both of them. Now I can run both of them TWICE. It's amazing what the human body is capable of when you put your mind to it.

Things are moving along well with my running cause, too! I have the website up and running, and as soon as we get the fund-raising bank account set up we'll be ready to go. I met with Rachel and her mom over the weekend and they're both just so excited about it. It's going to be great! That's part of what keeps me going through those mental moments of "WTF am I thinking??" - I bitch and moan about some minor soreness and the toughness of running up those hills, but that's NOTHING compared to what Rachel has been through and what's still facing her in the coming months. It's nice to be running for something.

67 days to go!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

96 Hours

So husband Charlie has been out of town skiing with his brother since Friday morning. That left Toddler Charlie and I to spend the whole weekend together by ourselves. The whole looooooong weekend, thanks to daycare being closed for President's Day. (Why are they closed? No one else is.) I feel somewhat guilty admitting this, but this is the longest time we've spent alone, just the two of us, with no work and school to occupy some of our time during the day. Being a stay-at-home-mom n00b, I feel like I learned a few valuable lessons this weekend.

Playdates will save your sanity. Especially when the weather sucks, like it did this weekend. Pack that calendar. Playdate here, gymboree trial pass there, Sunday night wine night with your BFF, whatever you can get. It takes the focus off the fact that YOU are the only option for a playmate.

Don't bargain with something you really want. Of course, the parenting literature would have you believe that you shouldn't bargain at all, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Yesterday morning I had every intention of keeping our morning breakfast ritual of coffee (for me) and munchkins (for us). Charlie was having issues cleaning up the cards from his matching game. He's usually a very good cleaner-upper, so I thought maybe he just needed some motivation. I told him that as soon as he cleaned up the cards we could go and get our munchkins. He didn't budge. I told him that I would help him pick them up and then we would go and get our munchkins. I threw one card in the box, he threw one card in the box, and then he dumped them both back out again. So I brought out the big guns. I told him that if he didn't clean up his cards, then we wouldn't be getting any munchkins at all, thinking that there was no way he wouldn't actually clean them up. Well he sure showed me. He didn't pick up a single card. And I had drawn the line. No coffee for me. Damn.

Relax at Your Own Risk. Last night. The last night of this adventure. 7:30, I shut the door to Charlie's room behind me. I had about 1/8 cup of peppermint ice cream left in the freezer and enough chocolate syrup to make it worth it. I also had half a bottle of wine in the fridge. I pulled the ice cream out and heard Charlie yelling that he needed to go potty. Up the stairs I went. Sat on the potty, re-diapered, back in bed, shut the door, walk downstairs. I got out the spoon and turned on the laptop. "Mama! Need new diaper!" Uggggggh. Up the stairs. Change poop diaper. Back downstairs. WHY is my foot wet? Because the cat knocked over my glass of water. It's UNDER the couch. By the time I cleaned it up, Charlie was shrieking for a drink of water. Then the potty again. Then more water. Then my ice cream melted. Should have just gone straight for the vodka.

It is really, REALLY hard to be annoyed with a toddler. Especially when it's your own. As irritated as I was after the five millionth potty trip after lights out, and as annoyed as I got when he was taking his sweetass time coming in from the car while I had to pee so bad my legs were shaking, and as horrible as the drive to gymboree was after we didn't get the munchkins, he's just being a two-year-old, and looking at him and remembering that these moments are fleeting and just won't last just makes everything else fade into obscurity. Few things are better than snuggling on the couch while watching a Yo Gabba Gabba! classic.

But even after all that, it's kind of nice to be heading off to work right now. And if feeling that way makes me sound like a crappy mother, then that's your problem.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday Fragments

Friday Fragments is brought to you by Mrs4444!

Mommy's Idea

It's been absolutely awesome out this week - temperatures in the upper 60s, and we even hit 70 yesterday! I tried to get out and enjoy it while it lasted, rumor is that we're getting back to snow on Tuesday :(

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When we were kids we used to take the seats off of the Big Wheels, pile on as many kids as possible, and fly down the big hill in our neighborhood. It's a wonder any of us made it out alive.

I've been struggling with my MP3 player lately. It only plays the songs in one order it doesn't hold enough music to go without repeats on my long runs. To be fair, I only paid $10 for it a few years back. So I've decided to get an iPod shuffle. That's right, I'm drinking the apple Kool-Aid. It's going to be my reward for finishing the half marathon next month (March 20!!).

Speaking of KoolAid, do you remember these?

They were SO gross, but SO cool at the same time. It wasn't until my parents caved in and bought us a pack of them that we realized they had been watering down the KoolAid for our entire childhood.

Have you seen the Vermontasaurus? Pretty neat.

I'm annoyed with The Office this week, so my top quote of the week is coming from The Daily Show. Technically I have two favorites, but one of them is R-Rated so we'll go with the other one.

From John Hodgman, the resident expert on everything, talking about how to cut the budget by altering the shape of the Pentagon:

I'm talking about the Rhombus, the most threatening of all the parallelograms!

Mmmm, geek humor.

I was really glad to see Ken Jennings give Watson a run for his money on Wednesday night. Unfortunately, it was too little, too late. I still <3 Ken, though. How can you not?

Even though it's Friday, it's going to be tough to beat the awesomeness of yesterday: Half day at work, Dewey's Pizza for lunch, running in short-sleeves and capris, and playing at the park. Here's to trying! 15 mile run on the schedule for tomorrow, so I plan to do a whole lot of nothing tonight :)

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Our Flying Pig group is divided up into two sections: the "fast" group (9:30/mile and quicker) and the slow group (everyone else). I run with the slow group, and that's ok. I'm not trying to set any records, here.

On Saturday, I opted to run with the faster group because their route was closer to my house. It was a down week, anyway, and I figured I could just fall in with their back-of-packers, since 9:30 is my average pace, anyway. It went swimmingly, and I ended up running 10 miles at a 9:34 pace. I also allowed them to talk me into joining them again for the weeknight run, and that turned out to be a giant, confidence-killing mistake.

The whole point of last night's run was speed. We were divided into pace groups and instructed to run a 1.5 mile warmup and then regroup for interval runs, where we would jog for 70 seconds and then run for .6 mile at a speed 45 seconds below our goal pace. I knew I was in trouble when we took the "warmup" run at a 9:20 pace. We stopped at a light before starting the intervals and my head was already pounding. I knew it wasn't going to end well. It didn't. We were supposed to run 6 sets of intervals (plus an optional 7th). I made it through two and a jog before I started to seriously lag behind the rest of my pace group. Then I forced myself to do one more, but I ran at my own pace. By the time I got back to the start line the rest of my group was already on the fifth set. I wimped out and ran back to the car, instead. I was afraid that if I ran a fifth loop, I wouldn't be able to make it that last 1.5 miles.

In the end, I still covered 6 miles in under an hour. Only in my own warped sense of reality is that a "total freaking failure." But the fact that I struggled so hard to get it done coupled with the fact that I was running waaaaaay behind everyone else was a real blow to my confidence. Plus I'm battling a cold and some sinus issues, so I just haven't been feeling like myself this week.

Anywho. Just needed some time to bitch and moan. Today is a new day, it's going to be 70 degrees, I'm going to get in a pleasant 6 miles this afternoon, and then on Saturday my running buddy and I are going to run 15 freaking miles. It's going to be awesome.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


So who's been watching Watson beat the crap out of "his" human counterparts on Jeopardy this week?

I'm both absolutely enthralled by it and kind of sad about it at the same time. It's obviously a phenomenal technological accomplishment. It would be even more amazing if Watson was actually "hearing" the question and responding to the sound and inflection, rather than being fed a string of text. However, something about the fact that we're pitting man vs. computer, and that the computer is absolutely mopping the floor with the humans, makes me feel a little unsettled.

The statistician in me is really enjoying watching this all play out - there's so much neat stuff to look at that I can't even take it all in. I've been DVRing the episodes and watching some parts twice - once to watch the swirling avatar and the colors and patterns light up as the machine churns through the data, and once to watch the three "top answers" that the machine spits out and the confidence levels associated with them. I want to know so much more about what it's doing and how it's working and PBS had better be planning an incredible documentary about it.

The sociologist in me, on the other hand, is wondering what these new technological developments mean for the future labor market. This is something that my non-sociologist husband has been talking about for the last few years, too. With all of these new technologies becoming widely (and cheaply!) available, we're going to eventually be able to replace huge swaths of the labor market with "smart" machines. Where will these workers go? Also, why not give it a feminine name and presence? (I know it's trite, but the gender sociologist background insists that I point it out)

And of course, the sci-fi geek in me is thinking about Skynet and AI and HAL and WarGames and Asimov's Laws of Robotics. It's almost enough to make you want to just stay in bed with the covers over your head.

If you're interested in more information about how Watson thinks, this article was pretty descriptive without using a lot of techie words. This one, too.

Monday, February 14, 2011

On Valentine's Day

We've never been big into valentine's day. In fact, we've been so little into the "holiday" that way back in 2004 I dedicated an entire LiveJournal post to the fact that I hated valentine's day. Can't even blame it on being single and bitter. It was just a collection of random quotes from movies, TV shows, and the interwebs. I think this one was my favorite:

"A crust of bread is better than nothing. Nothing is better than true love. Therefore, a crust of bread is better than true love."

Who could argue with that kind of logic?

I can trace my dislike for the holiday all the way back to 1992. And I did, with the help of my stash of old diaries.

Let me quote from the mind of my 10-year-old self:

"(Febuary 14, 1992) Dear Diary, Valentine's Day. No exclamation. Richie really dumped me for another girl. I don't know if I still like him or not. I tried to say I'm sorry. He would not talk to me. What do I do at roller skating?"

ZOMG!! What do I do at roller skating?!?! It's certainly rough when the 6th grader (who doesn't even know you exist as anything other than a pesky 5th grader who follows him around like a lost puppy) dumps you for another girl. I bet you anything it was for one of those bitchy Petroski twins.

(as a side note, in digging around through that old diary, I found out that we were apparently planning to move to Pennsylvania at the end of that school year. Why don't I remember that?)

Then there was the year after that, in 1993, when I painted a ceramic heart to give to the boy that I had a crush on (seriously, since the 3rd grade). I put it in a little box lined with cotton and stuck it in his mailbox, then rode my bike back down Linden Ave as fast as I could so no one would see me. I guess it was painfully obvious that it was from me (I had a problem with wearing my heart on my sleeve, as my mom liked to say), so the next day when we were walking home from school he ran up to me and, obviously humiliated by the situation, shoved a wrapped gift box into my hands. I opened it to find a little Precious Moments teacup. Certainly not something an 11-year-old boy would do. It was painfully clear that his mother had bought it and forced him to reciprocate the gift. Of course, that didn't stop me from proudly displaying it on my bookshelf for years and years after.

After that brief trip down memory lane, I dug up my freshman year diaries just to torture myself further. Apparently this valentine's day (1996) was better - Sean (Sean P, my boyfriend of an entire 2 weeks) had bought me a gigantic bag of skittles and picked out all of the purple ones. I can still remember the gift bag he gave me that year, full of shiny purple easter grass. So random. Can't remember what the teddy bear looked like.

I flipped through the pages a little bit more until I saw this gem of an opening:

"Today was one of the best days of my life. Until we got caught."

Can't wait to see what that was all about.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Friday Fragments

Friday Fragments is brought to you by Mrs4444!

Mommy's Idea

I've just about had it with winter and single-digit temperatures. I'm SO ready for spring! I know it's right around the corner, I can see the sun starting to peek over the hills on my way to work in the mornings.

I had Skyline Chili this week for the first (and last!) time. Yes, I've been in Cincinnati for 15 (!!) years and have never been to Skyline. It's just not my thing. I like chili and I like spaghetti, but I don't think those two things should ever be combined. We had an out of towner in the office and they insisted on taking him to this Cincinnati landmark. I think my friend Jeni said it best on my FB page - "yuck, sorry... I've never made it past the smell and way it looks like cat food that the cat threw back up."

Don't I just look absolutely thrilled to be there?

See my awesome ponytail? I haven't had the motivation to blowdry my hair since New Year's Eve. How sad is that? Part of the problem is that I'm in desperate need of a haircut (I don't rock long hair well) and part of it is just pure laziness. I'd rather sleep an extra 10 minutes.

I have to make cookies for Charlie's valentine's party on Monday. I want to do some kind of chocolate cookie with pink frosting. I have a great chocolate cookie recipe that I've been dying to try, but the idea of just dipping some oreos in white chocolate and covering them in pink sprinkles is starting to sound appealing. Especially since I promised mom homemade lasagna and chocolate lava cakes for her birthday on Sunday.

Last night's Office was pretty good. There were a lot of awesomely funny quotes, but not many that I was comfortable posting on my FB wall, which includes co-workers and young family members. In order to keep things somewhat clean, I went with a Michael Scott-ism this week.

Michael: It goes to show that you get everything you want in life, and you don't even have to work for it, it just comes to you.

In honor of Valentine's Day, NPR did a story on the best break-up songs. I was shocked to find that I had only heard of ONE of the five they showcased. My 15-year-old self was disappointed that Nazareth's Love Hurts didn't make the cut, as I spent hours upon hours listening to that song on repeat after my first "real" boyfriend broke up with me the night before my family left for a 20 hour road trip to Florida. But I'm not bitter, or anything ;)

Have a happy Friday!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

It's Official! And, Big Plans.

As of 10 minutes ago I'm officially registered for the Flying Pig marathon. Whee! (I do feel just a little nauseous thinking about it)

When I decided that I wanted to run the Pig I briefly considered signing up with one of the charity teams, like Team in Training or the Race for the Cure group. I knew that I wanted to do something good with my time and raise money for a good cause, but I was afraid that I wouldn't actually be able to cross the finish line.

When I crossed the double digit mileage mark a few weeks ago and started to get pretty confident in my ability to finish the race, I started thinking again about what organization I wanted to run for.

Then I had the perfect idea - one of Charlie's favorite daycare teachers is currently undergoing treatment for cancer. She's super young - only 24! - and is missing a lot of time at work. We all know that care work doesn't pay super well to begin with, but to have an entire month of no income has to be rough. So I've decided to turn my marathon run into a benefit for her. I talked to her about it yesterday and the center director about it today, and everyone is totally on board with the plan. I need a website and a paypal account and... what else? I've never done anything like this before, but I'm really excited about doing something good.

Details to follow!

And of course, all I can think about is the Michael Scott Fun Run. Anyone for carbo loading?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Best Superbowl Commercial Ever

Maybe it's just because I have a little boy of my own who is obsessed with all things Star Wars (especially Darth Vader), but watching this one made me feel a little teary.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Friday Fragments

Friday Fragments is brought to you by Mrs4444!

Mommy's Idea

I feel like Charlie grew into a little boy overnight. One day he was a little toddler, and then he woke up one morning and was a tall, outspoken, independent little person. Of course there's nothing better than watching them grow and develop, but it's still kind of sad at the same time.

Of course, if you ask him he'll tell you "I'm not a little boy, I'm a tiger!"

We're getting more snow tonight. MORE SNOW. I know I shouldn't complain, since we were (mostly) spared the massive storm the rest of the country got this week, but I'm not looking forward to running in the snow. Not just IN the snow, but while the snow is falling. That stuff stings!

I guess snow is better than sub-zero temperatures. I snapped this one two weeks ago when I pulled up in front of the Running Spot.

It's Girl Scout Cookie time! I submitted my usual order for one box of Thin Mints and one box of Samoas. Yum!

It probably won't surprise anyone that Thin Mints are the best-selling Girl Scout Cookie, accounting for 25% of sales. What is somewhat surprising is the second best - it's Samoas, at 19%. I would have thought Tagalongs were the second best, but they only bring in 13%. Samoas always seem so polarizing - you either LOVE them or you hate them. Mmmmm, cookies and statistics. What a delicious combination.

Did you know they've trimmed the Girl Scout Cookie lineup this year? They cut it down to six! I don't really mind all that much, as I thought the expansion of the product line had gotten a little out of control, anyway.

I was a Girl Scout for 10 years and Cookie Season was always my favorite. I loved selling cookies. Those 10 years also included an incredibly disastrous stint as a camp counselor, but that's a longer post for another day.

I was all set to revive my Office QOTW, but the last two episodes have just been disappointing.

I DVRed a program called Yoga for Runners last week and tried it out over the weekend. It's really freaking hard to do yoga with a cat in the house. He had no interest in sharing the yoga mat and then decided that it would be super fun to attack my feet and calves. Kitten teeth are like needles through the skin.

Sometimes C says things that surprise me, in the "I thought I knew you!" sense. We were giving Charlie a bath the other night and somehow Brooke Shields came up. I think it was in the context of Charlie Sheen. I don't know why we were talking about him, either, but that's irrelevant. Anyway, so C said something about Brooke Shields, and I said something about "who is she, anyway?" and he said "You don't know who Brooke Shields is? She was a model. A Revlon model. And then she had a TV show."

We had a date night last week. It involved Five Guys and UC Bearcat basketball. You know you're jealous....

Have a good weekend!


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