Thursday, September 29, 2011

October Baseball is Back!

So what if it will still be September when the playoffs start? This is the MOST wonderful time of the year!

The month of September started out with the AL playoff spots all but locked up by the Yankees, Tigers, Rangers, and Red Sox. The sux had a 9-game lead over the Devil Rays to open the month. And then, we watched the red sox embark on "a collapse of historic proportions." Oh, joy, oh, happy day. The red sox will be relegated to their couches for the rest of the baseball season.

Have I mentioned how much I love Mike & Mike?

Of course, it's not all going to be smooth sailing for my Yankees, as they're going to be facing off against the Tigers and Justin Verlander, who will probably end up being one of the best pitchers we'll see in the modern era. Let's go Yankees!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Making Shit Up

One of my co-worker's favorite phrases is "What, you think I make this shit up?"

Sometimes I feel like that is the correct thing to do with all of the random questions Charlie asks. We were those highfalutin parents who vowed to never lie to our kid, to answer his questions honestly, and to fill his head with useful and accurate information.

Only three years in, and my resolve is slipping.

This morning in the car: "Mom, is the sun coming up? Where did it go at night?"

The rational part of my brain tries to explain that the Sun didn't actually go anywhere, the Earth did. While sitting at a red light, I try to describe the way that the Earth moves around the Sun, and try to demonstrate that the Earth also spins on an axis, and that when it looks like the Sun goes down, it's actually the Earth turning away from the sun.

We've done this dance before. I enthusiastically explain some kind of natural phenomenon, drawing pictures or gesturing to illustrate, and then I see that his eyes have totally glazed over.

This morning it was even worse - I got a "Mom, stop talking. I want to eat my granola bar."

I guess the correct answer to "Mom, is the sun coming up? Where did it go at night?" is really just "Away. It went away."

And one of my favorites:

Calvin: Why does the sky turn red as the sun sets?
Dad: That's all the oxygen in the atmosphere catching fire.
Calvin: Where does the sun go when it sets?
Dad: The sun sets in the west. In Arizona actually, near Flagstaff. That's why
         the rocks there are so red.
Calvin: Don't the people get burned up?
Dad: No, the sun goes out as it sets. That's why it's dark at night.
Calvin: Doesn't the sun crush the whole state as it lands?
Dad: Ha ha, of course not. Hold a quarter up. See, the sun's just about
         the same size.
Calvin: I thought I read that the sun was really big.
Dad: You can't believe everything you read, I'm afraid.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Charlie's Got The Girls-Only Blues

I thought we'd have a few years before we started to go through this kind of thing, and I didn't think that watching it happen would make me so sad for Charlie.

The backstory: We live in a neighborhood with lots and lots and lots of kids. Great, right? Well, yes and no. Most of the kids are 2+ years older than Charlie. That doesn't seem like a lot, but when you're talking about the abilities of a 5-year-old compared to the abilities of a 3-year-old, it's night and day. There are a few who are only a year older, but they're all girls.

Charlie's neighborhood BFF is a 4-year-old girl (L), who lives across the street. They've been good buddies for a good year now, and Charlie and I are friends with the parents, so it works out quite nicely. Or worked out nicely, anyway. Lainey has reached the stage where the slightly older neighborhood girls make more appealing playmates than the little boy across the street. I totally get that, really, I do. And there's nothing wrong with it. But as the mom of said boy, it just makes me sad.

Yesterday afternoon we were cleaning up, and Charlie was standing at the window checking out the action on our street. L finally came outside to play, and Charlie was beside himself with excitement. "Mommommommommommommom, L is outside! Can we play? Can we play?" So we got shoes on and headed out to play. Charlie ran across the street to see her, but when he got there he was stopped by a 5-year-old girl (J), who told him that he wasn't allowed to play with them, because it was "girls-only time."

Poor Charlie was so disappointed. I mean, what do you even say to that? You can't force L to play with him if she doesn't want to. She's at the age where whatever the bigger girls say is gospel, so of course she joined in, "Yeah, Charlie, it's girls ONLY! You can't play with me right now."

I tried to get him to play with me, instead, but he wasn't really interested after that. It was absolutely heartbreaking. I wanted to stick my tongue out at J and tell her that Charlie didn't want to play with her, anyway, but then that would just make me the crazy lady.

Poor kid.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Race Recap Complete

Check it out on the other blog. It's not nearly as long as the Pig post, I promise :)

Reeeeeeeeeeeeally looking forward to Friday!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


On Saturday, when I got to Wright Patterson AFB at 5:00 in the morning, I logged in on Facebook to "check-in" and let my husband know that I had made it up there safely. Of course, I took a quick scroll through my news feed, and immediately noticed that there were what seemed like hundreds of posts asking for prayers for a fellow mom in my mom-group.

I've never really met A in person, but we've been active on the same local message boards for years and we've crossed paths at the occasional large-group get-together. A and her husband worked hard at getting pregnant. They finally did, last year, and were expecting a girl. Sadly, her water broke at 18 weeks and they lost their precious daughter Addyston. A few months later, they became pregnant again, this time with a boy. Again, problems cropped up around the 18 week mark - they were able to stop labor for a while, but she delivered their son, Michael, at 24 weeks, the very edge of viability.

Michael continued to grow in the NICU, and made good progress. There were constant positive updates from A about when they were able to hold him for the first time, when he was able to breathe normal air, when he ate well, when he gained weight like they wanted him to - it really looked as though he was going to beat the odds and one day go home to his parents.

Then, last week, he took a turn for the worse. They weren't exactly sure what the problem was and tested and tested until they found out. Unfortunately, the news wasn't good. Little Michael fought for eight long weeks, but the fight ended early Saturday morning.

It's times like this that really make me ponder the whole faith issue even more. Why do such horrible things happen to such good people? In all the years I've known A, she has been nothing but nice, welcoming, friendly, kind-hearted, yet she has had to bury two of her babies in the past year. What kind of higher power could possibly allow that to happen? The faithful are quick to jump to the whole "everything happens for a reason" and "it's just part of the grander plan," but I just don't get it. And I'm ok with that. I'm good with where I am.

But then, at the same time, part of me almost wishes that I *did* get it - that I was so secure in just *knowing* that everything happens for a reason, and that Michael is playing happily with his sister in some kind of utopian afterlife.

Please keep A and her family in your thoughts and prayers. She is one of the strongest women I know.

And to think, I was upset about missing the 4:00:00 marathon mark. Hug your families. We are so lucky to have them.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Air Force Marathon Update - I Didn't Make It.

That's right, I didn't meet my goal time.

I missed it by 10 seconds.

You can read the short version about just how freaking close I came here. Full Race Recap isn't ready yet.

Registration for the 2012 Air Force Marathon opens January 1st! I'll certainly be back.

My Running Buddy is ahead of the curve and has already completed her Race Recap. Go show her some love!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Wishful Thinking Thursday. And, Pumpkin Spice Lattes

This morning I stepped out of the house and it was a cool 45 degrees out. Projected high of around 60. Perfect fall morning. Perfect day for a Pumpkin Spice Latte.

This is how my morning should have gone.

Wake up on time. Shower, dress, get Charlie ready, pull on hoodie for the first cool morning.

Get in the car and stop at Dunkin on the way to work for aforementioned Pumpkin Spice Latte, to celebrate the arrival of my favorite season.

Get one of their new Caramel Apple Donuts (I'm kind of obsessed - I had one on Saturday and have been thinking of it ever since) to eat for breakfast.

I had one on Saturday and I've been thinking about it ever since.

Instead, it went a little something like this:

5:40 - Alarm goes off

5:49 - Alarm goes off

5:58 - Alarm goes off, lay in bed for another minute calculating how many more minutes I could stay in bed before I would be late for work, decide that I have to get out of bed, regardless, because I have to pee, notice that the clock says 6:00 and have one of those "oh, shit!" moments when I realize I'm definitely going to be late.

6:25 - Try on three shirts, decide none of them look right, scramble to find something else

6:40 - Finally find acceptable clothes, run past Toddler Charlie taking his sweet-ass-time on the potty to hurriedly throw his lunch in his lunchbox.

6:45 (the drop-dead time for me to leave the house without being late) - Realize I forgot breakfast, scoop yogurt into a tupperware and throw granola into my purse.

6:47 - Realize I forgot Charlie's breakfast

6:50 - Finally in the car - if the lights are on my side, there's still time for Dunkin

6:52 - Stuck behind a schoolbus *damn!*

7:15 - Arrive at school, make a spectacular diving catch when Charlie catches his foot getting out of the car and nearly takes a header into the pavement.

7:20 - Stuck behind a schoolbus *damn!*

7:43 - Arrive at work

7:47 - Text from co-worker, morning meeting with client at diner - get back in car and drive to diner

7:54 - 9:15 - Drink too much crappy diner coffee, eat dry toast

Freaking school bus. Play along with Nota, if you need a do-over, too.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The 30th Birthday Extravaganza

Better late than never....

So now I'm all old and stuff, right? That's what being 30 means? Well, my gray hairs can kiss my ass. My super fun birthday extravaganza included an acceptable time in the Cheetah Run, lunch out with the Charlies, Tina Fey's Bossypants, and a wine tasting at Valley Vineyards thanks to Alison, who really puts the "B" in BFF. S and R even came all the way down from the far northern reaches of the 'Nati for a surprise appearance. If this is what the 30s have in store, bring it on!

Us 30-something chicks really know how to party. Evidence follows.

This is all for ME!

The old (tipsy) lady

The (B)BFF

The Aftermath

Hot Ladies!

I'm incredibly lucky to have good friends to celebrate with. I hope they know just how much I appreciate their friendship. I'm going to try to make more of an effort to show my appreciation for all of the fabulous people in my life, starting with lovely lovingly-sarcastic handwritten cards. So, A, S, and R - make sure to check your mailboxes this week :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Ben and Jerrys - Oh No, They Didn't!

Oh yes they did. They went and made an ice cream flavor called Schweddy Balls.

What? You didn't see Alec Baldwin as Pete Schweddy on "The Delicious Dish?" Shame on you. I'm embedding it here, advertisement and all. It's totally worth it.

I just watched it again. Never gets old.

One of my favorite things to do while I'm in DC is visit one of the many Ben & Jerry's Scoop Shops. I almost always get the same thing - one scoop Chocolate Therapy, one scoop Coffee Coffee Buzz Buzz Buzz. But then I saw the Schweddy Balls announcement, and I knew I had to get me some of that.

It was lovely, if a little unexciting. Not really the punch of flavor and chunks that I'm used to from the Ben & Jerry's kitchens. I think I could have done without the rum balls, I prefer malted milk balls, anyway. The balls themselves could have been a bit larger. They were too small to really get your mouth around.

Here it is, nestled safely beneath a scoop of Buzz Buzz Buzz.

Mmmmmm, balls. No one can resist a Schweddy Ball.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Back in the DC

God, I love it here.

I'm in town for a Health GIS conference.

My Geek Crush, Todd Park, gave the keynote address today. I love him. How could you not love someone who gets so excited about DATA? Plus, he ended his speech with "...And may the Force always be with you." Swooooooooooon.

I had hoped to do some sightseeing this time around, since my trips mostly consist of the inside of my hotel room and the inside of our DC office building, but it's been pouring since I stepped off the plane. I did get a nice 6-mile run in. It was wet, but I always enjoy running in new places.

If you're just lost without me today, check out my recap of the Cheetah Run over on my running blog. I'll give you a sneak preview: It sucked.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge - Week 17

A Song that Helps you Remember

I just realized that I forgot to post the topic for this week, but that's ok. It's also a Tuesday, and not a Monday, but that's ok, too. There are more important things in life than adhering to arbitrary blog deadlines. Thousands of people learned that the hard way 10 years ago, this week - September 11, 2001. Ten years. In some ways it feels like it happened such a long time ago. So much has changed in our world since then - we've been "at war" for almost 10 years. We've been remembering those lost on that day and in battles overseas. Our confidence and sense of security has been shaken. We have to take our shoes off to board planes and we can't bring our own bottles of water through the security checkpoints. My Muslim friends endured weeks months years of threats and taunts (and a few arson attempts on the local mosques). So tolerant, our people.

In other ways, it's hard to believe that it was 10 whole years ago. I can still remember exactly where I was (had just moved into our new apartment) and what I was doing (sleeping, since we had moved all night) when our roommate came banging on the door shortly after the first plane hit. I had just turned 20, and had actually just flown back from a birthday visit to NYC a few nights earlier. I was naive about the global climate and had never heard of the Taliban, but Charlie, being an avid news reader, immediately started talking about Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden. He knew before the second plane came. I remember watching the second hit, and then watching the towers come down. I had stood in front of them just days earlier. We did nothing but watch the news. I cried a lot. Everyone did.

We were lucky. We were spared the pain of losing family members and friends. Mostly, anyway - my uncle (who was more like a father to me, and my closest confidant) lost good friends, good people that he had known since childhood. In the months after the attack, he turned to hard drugs to help him "cope." We lost him for a few years, but not permanently. Like I said, we were lucky.

A few weeks after, there was a telethon called "America: A Tribute to Heroes." Bruce Springsteen sung a song called "My City of Ruins." It was originally written about Atlantic City, but took on a whole new meaning in the context of 9/11. It was cathartic.

"My City of Ruins" was featured on "The Rising," which was released right before the first anniversary of the attacks. The album felt like it was written to heal our hearts. It's an album that recognizes the sadness and grief and remembrance, but it also conveys a sense of peace and hope for the future. I would link to every song on it, if I could.

I don't know how many of you ever had the opportunity to see the New York skyline while the towers still stood. To this day, I just can't get used to the hole where they used to be. Every time I drive into the city on my regular visits, their absence is painfully apparent. I can't even imagine how the fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, children, and friends who have much larger holes in their hearts feel every day. May we never forget.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

30 While 30

Taking a cue from my many other blog friends who are turning 30, I'm putting together a list of 30 things that I want to accomplish while I'm 30. Some of them are hobby-related, some are reading-related, some are fitness-related, and some of them are just things that sound like fun. To give credit where credit is due, I originally got the idea from Jen at Beantown Baker, who had a 30 BY 30 list that she did, and she liked it so much that she did it again.

My list is pretty wordy, which is for my own benefit, so 10 months from now when I'm wondering WTF I wanted to read The Great Gatsby I can come back to this post and remember. Feel free to skip over the words :)

So here we go!

** Food-Related Goals **

Bake Something New Every Month - I love baking, and some of the stuff that I bake is pretty freaking tasty, if I do say so myself. I want to force myself to think outside of my Ina's Outrageous Brownies box and bake something new and interesting every month. I think Focaccia bread will be first on my list.

Bake a Successful Cheesecake - One of my baking endeavors will definitely involve cheesecake - I've only attempted it once and it was a total disaster. Think "hollow in the middle" and really, really dry. To make matters worse, it was the first thanksgiving that C and I were dating and I was invited to his parents' house. I made cheesecake because it's his dad's favorite. He was nice and choked it down. Awkward!

Try Something New Every Week - My Pre-K teacher, Mrs. McSoud, used to tell us to "try something new every day." Apparently, I had an adventurous palate when I was a kid. I've grown out of that, and I feel like there's a whole other world of food out there waiting for me, especially in the cheese department. This will be a veggie-cheese-fruit-nut-legume-recipe thing, only.

** Fitness-Related Goals **

Run a 5K in 24 minutes or less - If I plug my 10K time from the June Redlegs Race into the McMillan Pace Calculator, I see that I should be able to run a 5K in about 25 minutes. I'd like to improve on that and hit the 24:00 mark. Funny enough, I've never run a 5K, so the Cheetah Run tomorrow (my actual birthday) will be a good reference point for progress.

Do an Unassisted Pull-Up - We started our first round of P90X more than 18 months ago. Two full rounds plus another year running and cross-training with the P90X DVDs and I still can't do a single unassisted pull-up. I'm going to make it happen this year.

Yoga Once a Week - I used to be religious about yoga. It was a multiple-times-per-week activity. I've gotten away from it and I miss it.

** Hobby-Related Goals **

Sew Something - This can be anything, but will probably end up being a bag, because those are supposed to be easy. I've been saving three old t-shirts that would make perfect tote bags, and I keep telling myself that I'll make something with them, but we're about to mark 6 years in our house and 6 years they've been sitting in the closet.

Read the Classics - High School was a tumultuous time for me, and I may have faked my way through a decent portion of the required reading lists. I read a lot, just not what they wanted me to. Think Jane Eyre and Tale of Two Cities. I've never even read Pride & Prejudice or Gone With the Wind. I'm going to make a list of 12 and read one every month. Bonus, because Barnes and Nobles has a ton of free classic books available for free on the Nook.

Learn how to Dance (Anything!) - My supreme Dance Central talents aside, I can't dance. I'd like to take a dance lesson. Just one, just to say I've done it and tried it. I've always wanted to try swing dancing, but I just don't think I'm coordinated enough for all of that foot-moving.

Start to Re-Learn Conversational French - Once upon a time, I spoke fluent French. I even minored in French in college. Years later, and I remember enough to get by if I have to, but boy, do I miss just knowing exactly what words to use and how to use them.

Learn to Crochet - I've had a few failed go-rounds with learning to knit, and I've been assured that crocheting is much easier.

** Cleaning and Organizing Goals **

Commission a T-Shirt Quilt - Along the same lines as the tote bags, I've got a giant bag of Yankee shirts that are either too old or too large (XXLs) to wear in public. I want to have them made into a t-shirt quilt for Toddler Charlie. Again, 6 years they've been sitting there. Time to get off the pot.

Purge Some of the Crap in the Basement - Enough said.

** Personal Goals **

Call the Fashion Police - Last fall I did a makeup lesson with Nancy of FACEing and it was the BEST thing ever. I need to do the same thing, but with the clothes in my closet.

Wear a Skirt (or something other than my black pants/solid shirt collection) to Work Once a Week - This is going to be difficult because it's going to require shopping. I hate shopping, but I need to step up my wardrobe a little bit.

Wear Makeup More Often - This has more to do with getting up early enough than anything else.

Accessorize - Actually wear the jewelry and scarves and stuff that people have given me over the years.

Start Family Histories - I want to interview both of my grandmothers. One is very interesting because of her Italian heritage and her Brooklyn upbringing, and the other is interesting because she was a swinger. True story. She's also a super cool woman, aside from that ;)

Start Scanning Old Pictures - This is almost definitely a bigger project than I have time for in a year, but it would be nice to get started on digitizing the gigantic box of pictures in the office closet.

Make a Wedding Photo Album - It's only been 6 years.

Create Photobooks - I have thousands of non-wedding digital pictures that I'd like to organize into photobooks of years and vacations.

Take Steps Toward Finishing my PhD - Hopefully this will involve re-taking a class this winter and preparing for an exam next summer.

Have a Boudoir Photo Session - So that when I'm old, grey, and wrinkly, I can remember what it was like to be a smokin' hot babe ;)

** Other Stuff I Want to Do **

Cincinnati Brewery Tour

Take a Friday Afternoon Off Every Month for Lunch and Date with Husband C

Visit the Contemporary Arts Center

Visit and Hike in Red River Gorge

Go to a Concert (it's been a long time!)

Learn how to Climb Trees

Go to an Astronomy Night at the Cincinnati Observatory

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Wishful Thinking Thursday with Nota!

My buddy Nota has a new blog meme starting today, called Wishful Thinking Thursday. She even made a fancy shmancy button for it.

As she explains, Wishful Thinking Thursday is about crafting your perfect day in your head. How your morning would have gone and how your afternoon and evening will be - what would have made you happy. No limitations.

So here we go!

First of all, I check the ESPN Scoreguide on my phone every morning while I brush my teeth. I would have woken up to find that the Yankees had mounted a huge come-from-behind victory in the top of the 9th after I turned it off - beating the red sox and taking the lead in the AL East.

Actually, back up. First of all, I would have remembered that I had a morning meeting off-site and I would have set the alarm clock a little bit later so that I could have slept in (although, if I had done that, I wouldn't be able to write this post. things that make you go hmmmmmmmmm).

In that case, back up again - since "anything goes," I wish I hadn't had a morning meeting, at all. Heck, I wish I didn't even have to get up and go to work today.

So let's go back, shall we?

I would have slept in until 7. That's a good time for me, I wake up rested but not overtired. Then add in the thing about the Yankees miraculous comeback. Toddler Charlie would sleep in until 9, so that I could go out for a run. I would do my 15 mile long run and get it over with so I that I don't have to worry about drinking too much or eating the wrong things when we go out for our anniversary dinner tomorrow night. It would be a 100% enjoyable run, 60 degrees and dry, and leave me feeling confident about the Air Force Marathon coming up in 17 days.

Then I would come home and find that Husband and Toddler Charlie were both up and ready for the day, and had decided to go on adventure together, leaving me at home with an entire day to myself.

I would take a long shower, put on a tank top and my gray yoga pants, and plant my ass in a chair on the deck with Bossypants, by Tina Fey, which I've been carrying around since Saturday waiting for a chance to start.

I would take a break from reading around lunchtime, when I would have some walnut-grape chicken salad with a thick slice of cheddar cheese on a rosemary olive oil bagel from Bruegger's.

Then I would resume my deck-sitting and finish my book. The Charlies would return home after stopping for Adriatico's Pizza on the way home from their adventure. We would sit on the deck and eat pizza and drink Pumpkin Ale (or milk, for Toddler Charlie).

After dinner, we would ride bikes outside and make chalk drawings in the street.

Charlie would go to bed with only one trip to the potty, and then Husband Charlie and I would watch X-Files reruns on the couch while we drank our wine.

Mmmmm, David Duchovny....

That sounds pretty awesome.


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