31 December 2010

Bad Pants

Such a crap run today.  And I am blaming it partly on the pants.

It is cold here today.  As in below 50ºF!  We live near the water, and there is a light wind blowing.  Adding in the windchill factor, I'd say it feels possibly as cold as 45ºF!  Ah-ha-ha-ha!  I crack myself up!  I know some of you are out there in the snow, and some are in Minnesota (for crying out loud, do you know how freakin' frosty it is in Minnesota?!) which is worse than being in the snow.  But this is cold for us wimpy California folk ;-)

I needed to dress accordingly.  I tend to get warm very quickly but hate being cold while I am warming up.  If it were to be a long run, I would have headed out in a short-sleeved shirt and my favorite lightweight stretchy-fleecy running pants.  But today called for a short run.  Long-sleeves.  I would have worn my favorite pants... but they were in the wash (having helped me through my abysmal "threshold" run on Wednesday night... belly-achin' for real... hard to run when you are literally doubled over... I kept thinking it was just gas and would soon pass... but it wasn't and it didn't).

Not really sure why I decided to wear my 26-year old nylon Adidas track pants... other than they look really cool and the fabric is sort of wind-resistant... but I did.  The elastic waist no longer works.  The pants slid down almost immediately.  And the nylon fabric is not stretchy at all.  So the way they clung to my hips, thighs and bum was nearly immobilizing.  I seriously felt like I was running with one of my kids clinging to my legs, crying "no, mommy, don't run, don't run"  the whole. dang. way.

But I finished the three miles in the allotted time.

This is what greeted me as I walked up to the front door...

yet another fun thing about having "all those kids"... random weaponry in the shrubbery.

And when I came inside it was noted aloud that I really stank.  After three measly miles.  And in Bad Pants.

For the love of pie...

I present to you ....

A pie made with love.

(You can tell because I carved little hearts into the crust).

This is another turkey potpie.  I did things a little differently this time compared to that time.  But this time, the whole turkey dinner that preceded this pie was made entirely by me... except the gravy.  And it was made with love, too.  And mmmmmm...mmmmmmm... good.
*****        *****       *****
Thank you for tolerating my self-indulgence as I pat my own back regarding my pie-making.  Remember... I am surprised every time something turns out well.  What you don't know is that between that last pie and this one, I burned at least 4 pans of oatmeal, forgot to turn off the boiling water for the pasta... and forgot to put the pasta in... thereby boiling away an entire pan of water and burning the pan, broiled some sausages until they resembled charred matchsticks... maybe it's not a cooking issue but a memory issue?  hmmmm.  Though I did make an ugly yet delicious Bûche de Noël!  lol 

29 December 2010


When people ask that really important question...
the one all moms with three or more children hear more often than they care to keep track of...
you know, the one that's usually asked in a really incredulous, almost disdainful and contemptuous tone of voice but occasionally expressed in a tone of fantastical wonderment and adulation (we like those people!)...
this question:

Why do you have all those kids?

The latter category knows why, and for them it is simply a rhetorical question.  But to the former group, my wish for you is that one day you can get lost in the joy that is this...

My fourth baby.  

I needed this in my life.

28 December 2010

The Hunt

Santa does things a little differently at our house.  He makes the kids work for their Merry Christmas.  He does do the stockings, too, which are easy and all right out there in the open and everything.  But the good stuff... he hides that.  And leaves little clues.

He always leaves a nice letter indicating the whereabouts of the first clue and apologizes ahead of time for clues that are too hard to figure out and thanks us for the snacks we left out for him and his reindeer (we always help feed the reindeer).  That Santa, he's a-okay in my book ;-)  even if I did wait up for him until after 2 a.m. on Christmas Eve... just in case he needed some help.

The troops were up at Oh-six-hundred.  For real.  That is why it looks kind of dark in the pictures... because even at 7 a.m. it is still not fully daylight.

Here is live footage of the stocking action (as always, I don't know when to turn the camera off so it's pretty long.  The excited scream in the beginning is priceless, though):
and if I sound really tired and my husband looks exhausted, well, it's because we ARE.

Some of the favorite stocking stuffers:

 Q-man got a big dreidel... the Fat Man has a sense of humor.
 Big G got an Unidentified Flying Mater from Mater's Tall Tales... and his Liters
(get it? take me to your liter)
Baby X got some rad Peace shades... the girl can wear anything well.

Then we moved on the the under-the-tree stuff...

Clearly, this gift was a major hit!

After that The Hunt went quick.  

Q-man was running from the living room to the upstairs bathroom and down into the garage and then into the family room to find his new helmet and skateboard (not exactly sure what the Fat Man was thinking when he chose to give a real skateboard to a 5-year old.  I'm sure I'll be asking myself him that at some point during that first ER visit).

Baby X was in seventh heaven!  She was whipping around from the dining room to my bedroom to the garage while finding her little figure skater bonanza of tights, a dress, and a very nice skate bag.  She said she couldn't believe Santa gave her exactly what she wanted... almost.  I did not and will not ask for clarification... Santa busted his behind to get her what she got.

Big G was the only one who got a super cryptic clue... "five times with music makes one hundred times the fun".  The present was five $20 bills hidden in musical things throughout the house.  He did figure it out eventually with a little bit of 'direction' when it came to locating that last bill in that last musical thing (it was crammed into a crack in a musical snail pull-toy in the very bottom of Miss C's over-flowingly full toy bucket).

Even the grown-ups got great gifts.  My husband got underpants and Whoppers (I thought they kind of went together).  He was really needing those undies.  (The ones currently in use I think I had gotten for him for Christmas about 5 years ago).

As for me, I got an iPod nano.  Which I really needed.  Now my poor hand won't cramp up and my stride won't be so terrifically lop-sided from carrying that huge cellphone when I run ;-)  I am sure my runs will be so much improved now.  And that's what's important :P

I think utilitarian gifts are the best.  Don't you?

We'll get to Christmas soon... I promise

But first I want you to see how close to getting a lump of coal I came this year...

Definitely not one of my parenting highlights.

I really wish I didn't have a story to tell on Worlds Worst Moms... but I do.  Lots of them, actually.  But one particular tale sticks in my craw like ...  I don't know... what's the worst thing you can think of sticking in your craw?

You can read about my stellar handling of a bit of Mothers Day disappointment here.

26 December 2010

What moron shops on Christmas Eve?

Ummmm... yeah...

I was there.  

Toys R Us on December 24, baby.  Be there or be square.  All the happenin' folk were in the house groovin' on the sweet and relaxing holiday vibes... well, for me it was like that ;-)

I hate rushed, last-minute Christmas preparations.  Almost as much as I hate low-flow toilets and waste-free lunches.  I try to do things ahead of time when it comes to Christmas... even though I am, by nature, a procrastinator.  That said, there is something about going shopping on that final day.  Out in the world the adrenaline is high and the patience-threshold is low... people are FREAKING out.

Every couple of years I will venture out just to see the 'show'.  Once I even went to Toys R Us after 7 p.m. on Christmas Eve... it was pretty empty... of people AND toys.  My day-before-Christmas shopping is always just extras (I know the must-haves are long gone by that point) and the nice thing is that I can just bail if the scene gets too scary.  I can be super nice to the cashiers and stock people and other shoppers and assholes in the parking lot.  I smile a lot at everyone and try to spread some Holiday Cheer.  Some people like that, but I think it really bugs most (kinda like that nearly neon shade of green).

So I got my two things at TRU and headed over to Target.  It was around lunch time.  Miss C was getting testy.  We had already been across town at the skating rink getting Baby X her Big Present From Santa (which I had totally forgotten about.  Kept looking at the small bag of gifts for her, knowing something was missing but unable to determine what... then she read me her 'secret Santa list' on Thursday night... *doh* right! not supposed to keep that stuff secret, honey).  Thankfully they had what I was looking for.

One can see the Target parking lot from the freeway.  One can even see the access road.

Bumper to bumper.

Skipped it.  Went home.  Nap time for Miss C and wrapping fest for mommy.

My Cheer was tapped out.

And I knew I would be needing some at about 1 a.m.

I ended up still needing some at 2.

23 December 2010

Automated Training Program...

(Thinking I should warn all readers that this is REALLY long and running-heavy... might be good before-bed reading... help you close those eyes and nod off...)

So I signed up for this thing called Focus N Fly.  I really would like to break an hour when I run the Bay to Breakers in May, so I decided to do this online training program.  I know that I could should have searched the garage for my awesome Galloway's Book of Running (I KNOW it's in there... KNOW it... just don't know where... and this is where following through on my Great Garage Clean-Up would have been nice,  know what I'm sayin'?) and probably gotten at least as much, if not more, from that but I'm going to try this Focus N Fly thing.  Under 60 minutes is a bit ambitious, and I fully recognize that and won't hurt myself trying to get there... just playing the running game like I play the card game Hearts and shootin' the moon like I always do ;-)

I can squeeze in a run about 3 times a week... sometimes 4.  I can only do every other day or I tend to get hurt.  And most of the time I need to run after my kids are all in bed... you know... when my energy-level is its highest ;-)  I've been just going out and doing 2-3ish miles twice a week at whatever pace feels tolerable (usually very slow... 11 min/miles or slower) and once on the weekend doing about 5-6ish at whatever seems to be working (often right at 10 min/mile or a tad faster).  It's been do-able and enjoyable and sort of stagnating.

This training program calls for "work".  Threshold "work", track "work", interval "work",  speed "work"... that sort of thing.  I am no longer used to this "work" business.  It requires actually timing sort of closely... and remember I'm usually in the dark.  And I need to be able to do it inside The Gate, so I have to drive around or Googlemaps the streets to figure out the distances pretty accurately.  Ugh.  So much hassle...


Tuesday was my first "work"day... Threshold.  Little warm-up (half mile), then these 25-second things.... sheesh!  10x 25 seconds of fast running with a little 25 seconds jogging easy in between.  What's fast?  I don't know anymore.  And I couldn't keep my timer handy (see below).  So I winged it.  Figured that if it was to hard to maintain beyond 25 seconds, that would be fast enough.  Then after that the schedule called for "2 miles @ threshold" which they defined as my 10K pace as calculated off of my most recent race which was a 5K... thanks, Anne Marie, for having that race so I could run in it and have an "official" race time!  lol  So I was supposed to run these 2 miles at a 9:38 pace.  Okay, I thought.  I can do that for sure.  No problemo.  I didn't bank on not being able to see a bloody thing out there that night.  It was pouring rain and I needed to keep my calculator-sized phone/music device in a plastic bag so that it wouldn't get wet and no longer work.  And it has a touch screen so I wouldn't be able to operate it with wet hands in the rain on the fly anyway.

*sigh*  What's a girl to do?

I did the jog and the quickies and then went onto my porch, stripped down to a short-sleeved tee and dried off my hands, started up the little stopwatch function on my phone (I am sooooo hi-tech), and away I went.  I decided to just hit something that felt a little quicker than I wanted and that would probably be exactly on pace.  I needed to finish the 2 miles in 19:16.  No splits or anything fancy like that.

As I chugged around my last turn, all I could think of was how glad I was that it wasn't snowy or icy or too windy and how glad I was that it was almost over and how it #@%* better be under 19:30!

Ummmmm.... yeah..... so about that pace thing.... need to work on that.... (said like the boss-guy from Office Space... one of my favorite movies and I've never even had a cubicle-job).



must not have gotten the memo...

I am sore in a good way for the first time since I started running again in August.  Not achy joints or stiff and tight tendons and ligaments from long-term disuse due to injury.  Soreness from "work"...

I like this!

XLMIC... is it 1,059?

What does it mean?

A follower recently wondered if I am roman numerals.  And continued with pointing out that if I am roman numerals, I really butchered the rules!

Let's see... the X before the L would make it 40....  And the 40 then before the M would make that 960? And that IC... wouldn't that be 99?  So 960 + 99 = 1,059.

So at long last I will uncover the meaning behind the secret code that is me...

The important note here is that I am very concerned about internet privacy and safety and really endeavor to guard mine in the best way my luddite self knows how.  I know that showing pics of my kids and family and home kinda blows my cover a little... but no names, no specific places we frequent, stuff like that... so I can only go so far in exposing certain XLMIC mysteries!

It mostly started here.  And it just got worse.

I used to row.  While I am not by normal standards a small person (5'7", 125 lbs.), I was miniscule in the rowing world.  Even in the smaller person category (lightweights), I was considered small (mostly because of my skinniness and just a little because of the height).  So it was a huge joke.  Large Marge.  Get it?

And then my hilarious best friend got the wise idea to make that EXTRA Large Marge... because that summer I was EXTRA small... trying to be a coxswain and weighing as little as 105 lbs.  Yes, scary-looking but it was only temporary... don't worry ;-)  And because I was the coxswain (who is the person who gets to yell at everyone and tell them what to do while sitting in the boat and hopefully steering and motivating) I was "in charge."  Hence, I became...

EXtra Large Marge In Charge...

but some of them took to just calling me XL.


They thought they were so funny.

22 December 2010

Ghosts of Christmas Trees Past

I needed to share my favorite Christmas Tree I ever had...  needed to... to remind me that it won't always be and hasn't always been a scraggly, plastic, 4-foot tall Charlie Brown special in my life...

And this is how good that lil' fakie can look (yes, it's the same one)... when properly and adequately gussied up!

which is not happening this year!

21 December 2010

How did you know that *TAG* is one of my favorite games!??

How fun!  I've been tagged by Lee ... a similarly-aged running mom with a similarly-sized blended family!  You have no idea how exciting it is to find that all that similar-ness in another one person! (as opposed to a composite)

I was tagged once before... but that one was pretty unstructured and just 7 random things about myself.  If you missed it, you can read it here.  And I still need to give you all the story on the picture.  I haven't forgotten... all in due time, my pretty, all in due time....

So Lee's tag is a wee bit more running-related.  So if you aren't a runner and you are reading this, you still might learn a thing or two ;-)  And if you are a runner, it will be at least minimally interesting.

Here we go:

1) What are you most fond of accomplishing in 2010?

  • Successfully moving (as in houses) last year over the holidays and immediately after.
  • Learning how to ask for help when I need it.
  • Implementing significant dietary changes that have improved my health and overall well-being (and truly understanding that those changes are not deprivation).
  • Learning how to cook... kind of!  lol    Did you see my pie?
  • Recommencing running!  And doing it sanely and safely.

2) What are your running goals for 2011?

I just submitted my entry for the Bay to Breakers... not exactly a race you enter for time... lol.  But I want to do it in under an hour.  That's a tall order, given where I am now, but not impossible.  So that's in May.  I think the bigger goal is to keep my hip healthy.  After 8 years of pain and hobbling and limping, I need to keep some perspective here... just keep that hip working pain-free.  (Did you know that a limp is NOT sexy?)

3) What is your favorite race?

My favorite race is the Schyulkill Navy Turkey Trot.  The most fun I've ever had training and racing.  The highest I ever finished was 2nd.  Made me love cross-country running and wish I had known about it in my youth.

4) What is your favorite holiday guilty pleasure? 

Wanton wasting of electricity through the use of crazy amounts of CHRISTMAS LIGHTS!!!!!

5) What was your most embarrassing running moment?

Could be my stellar performance in my first marathon, where at the 25th mile my sweet fiancé was waiting to encourage me homeward.  I rewarded his loving, supportive kindness with expletives.  But my most embarrassing sports moment would probably be one hot summer back in 1989 at a a rowing regatta where I had stripped down my upper body under a big t-shirt (sports bra, uni, the works... topless... but I had on this big shirt, okay?) after my last race while I was wiping down my boat, which was strategically located in a very central and highly visible spot.  I turned my back to the water (and hence was facing all the people watching) and reached down the the hem of my shirt and, in one quick, über-sexy move, pulled it off over my head... the "breeze" of the hot, stagnant air instantly was detected by my entirely naked torso and said shirt was instantaneously and exceedingly rapidly lowered back down.  But not before A LOT a few people caught a glimpse. ( º ) ( º )  hello!

I know I'm supposed to tag someone or someones else...

Let's try:

  • Catey... 'cuz she is one of my heroes (even if she doesn't know it)... 8 kids, gorgeous, sense of humor, and works out.
  • Danny... since he followed me over from Lee's and approves of my "loose" parenting.  
  • Caroline was recently tagged with a different tag (you can see it by clicking her name) but maybe she'll play tag with me, too?
Whadya say, people?  Give it a try?

19 December 2010

Fakie, fakie.... NO mistakie!

I swore I wouldn't make them do it.  I promised my husband... never again.  I should have gotten rid of it last January when we moved just to make sure I kept that promise.

But right now I am sooooooo glad I still have it.  Sometimes being the Master Procrastinator has an upside ;-)

I've gone back on my word.  I wish it weren't so, but having spent the last week feeling like utter crap and then having all the kids wind up sick with something or other this weekend (of course!  it's vacation!) combined with having heavy rain and wind in the forecast from now until Christmas, well....

When I made the proposal in this way…

"So who wants to go out today in the pouring rain to go to the sopping muddy Christmas Tree Lot?  We can pick out a soaking, dripping tree and bring it home to surprise daddy!  Whaddya say?  Who's in?  We can put on Hefty bags to stay dry like we did that one time... remember?"

"Can we go tomorrow?"

"Well, it'll be the same tomorrow... the weather is supposed to be like this all week.  C'mon... you guys are so wimpy!"  (honestly, I had zero interest in going... I had been pushing the fake tree since right before I got sick... so much easier... I was using some kind of psychology on them, I think)

"Uhhhhhh.... do we still have the fake tree, mom?"

"I thought you guys hated that thing?  We have it.  It's in the garage."

"Can we just use THAT?  It would be a lot better ... and easier.  And we could do it today."

"No problem."

So even though I went back on my word, it was with full cooperation from the troops!

In the beginning, there was a bush...

The bush would be met with a top...

And attended to by a Tinsel Bearer with a smile...

They would form a tree...

Throw a few lights on that bad boy...

Get that Tinsel Bearer into the mix...

Have the requisite toddler messing playing with the lights...

Truth be told, the little person in that last picture had me on the fence about doing a tree at all this year!   Miss C is quite a monkey.  There will be only unbreakable and ugly ornaments on the tree this year... nothing that would appeal to a toddler (or probably anyone else, for that matter!).

18 December 2010

The Secret Message

Baby X is pretty darn creative.

This is what she came up with to wish daddy a Happy Birthday.  (I know it was back in October... but I have only recently figured out how to easily get the pictures from my phone onto the computer).

15 December 2010

The Great Santa Rip-Off

So I took my kids to see Santa yesterday.  I think only the middle two are believers.  Big G hasn't talked about it, but I think he is on to the Real Deal.  Planning on opening up that conversation in the next few days...  And Miss C is not really old enough to care about a fake fat guy in a red and white suit.

So we get there.  It is sort of rainy.  Late afternoon bordering on evening.  It's an outdoor mall... a very nice one at that.  We find the Santa Cabin.  I get my phone-camera ready to go.


"We ask that visitors refrain from using their own photographic devices" says the sign at the door.


Seventeen freaking dollars for ONE stinkin' picture... the sign also says.

Jaw. Dropped.

"Visiting Santa is free.  As are hugs and cuddles and reading of wish lists."

We took the free route.  No pics with The Fat Man.  He was kind of pervy anyway.  My husband said, "Aren't they all?  At least kind of?"  Yeah, he's right.

But I did take this shot at the mall's tree:

Yes, this is a typical pose for the offspring of XLMIC.  One kid's backside, one kid screaming, one kid trying unsuccessfully to soothe screaming kid, and the other kid smirking at the chaos.  (You'd never know their daddy is a professional photographer).

The really odd thing was that aside from the "reality" photo and the rip-off-ness of the Santa Cabin, we had an amazing and fun time!  The kids were really up and cooperative mostly.  We went out for pizza.  All of it got eaten, no water got spilled, no whining happened... Given how they always are when I take them out all together, I was blown away with delight!

I think that might have been my Christmas present ;-)


My eight-year old daughter (aka Baby X) shows up to the car after school the other day... sporting only one sock.  

Me:  Where's your sock?
She:  Right here.  (holds up sock full of rocks and tied in a knot to close it up)
Me:  Great... (rolling eyes)... is there some sort of plan that goes along with ruining a sock?  I hope you are not planning on using that to hurt one of your brothers?  (not out of the realm of possibilities... ever)
She:  Ummm... I'm not sure yet what it is.  Not a weapon.  Not sure....

First of all, where did she find the rocks on the school's grounds?  Secondly, didn't any yard teacher notice that she was making an inner-city weapon?  The yard teachers at our school notice precious little, but that is a topic for a different day.

Thankfully, we visited a playground while waiting for Big G to have his piano lesson and there was a long piece of twine hanging from a tree!  PERFECT!  

Rock sock + twine hanging from tree = TetherSock!

Just need to make sure the game doesn't get too spirited... or dental work might be necessary.

And watch out for the eager-to-play-too toddler.  

12 December 2010

Startin' 'em young...

This is mostly for Janae over at The Hungry Runner Girl.  She posted an instructional video on how to use a foam roller the other day.  The girl has some awesome legs!

Anyway, I've been using a foam roller for awhile... since before I started running in September.  But now that I am running, I use it more.  And my little girl is totally into it, too!

Here we are, rolling away before yesterday's run... warning: it's a little over a minute and, while she is super cute, I understand that other people's kids doing boring stuff gets boring fast.  A bonus:  you get to hear my fake-sounding voice and my really obnoxious 11-year old in the background.

And here is Miss C working out with daddy while he does P90X... the girl is hardcore already.  Again, this is over a minute and a half... I recommend only watching the first 30 seconds at the most.  lol  This is to primarily avoid hearing my voice (really don't like the way I sound... pretty sure I am not alone in that!) AND to avoid hearing my other obnoxious son (this one is 5 years old).  And I will be sparing you the other videos of this workout when she tries to do the Kenpo part and daddy's wacky jacks.

Hope that wasn't too boring for y'all!

The Box Baby

Miss C just LOVES boxes!  She LOVES to be in boxes!

Doesn't matter if someone is already in it:

Doesn't matter the size:

And if I'd let her sleep in one, I know she would!

That's a wrap! ;-)

11 December 2010

Beauty and the Struggle

Today's run was lame.  Even though it started out on a good foot (ha ha), I really struggled to stay with it.  I did the hour I wanted... and went a bit over 6 miles... but it was really sloggy, which is a step above shuffly.  And the biggest bummer of all was that not a single great song was played by Pandora during that WHOLE HOUR!  What is with that chick?  Usually she really sets me up with awesome tunes, but not today...

I would love a device that plays the songs I want to hear all the time and is smaller than a large calculator.

A device like an iPod shuffle, perhaps.  Or maybe a nano.  And it would sound best if it were pink ;-)

There was an amazing thing going on while I was running, however.  And it was impossible to ignore.  Blew my socks off and kept me smiling through that whole hour of annoyance...

My large calculator-sized phone took this picture which, while lovely and kind of spectacular, like most amateur photos of a sunset, does not even come close to truly doing it justice.  You can just make out the two towers of the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance, mid picture.  This looks almost pastel and somewhat subdued, but it is pretty.  The actual colors were ultra-vivid... bright red and orange and magenta and yellow.  But this is pretty.

It helped me stay focused on finishing my run, and appreciating that I can run and get to run in such a gorgeous place.

Hope everyone else is having a great weekend, too!

10 December 2010


"Mommy, I said the eff word today... by accident."

By accident?  The eff word?  How does the eff word just slip out of the mouth of a five-year old?

And don't say, "well, he probably learned it from you!"  because I do not swear in front of my kids.

I grew up in a swearing house.  I went to kindergarten with a pottymouth and didn't even know it was a bad thing.  I remember my disbelief at getting in trouble for using some choice language.  Choice.

The situation worsened as I grew older.  I did get wiser about when to not curse... like not in front of my father or my paternal grandparents, not at school where teachers or administrators could hear, not in front of customers at work, etc.  But my peer group was full of pottymouths.  Full.

By the time I met my husband, I talked like the proverbial sailor.  Every fifth word was probably an expletive... and most likely the eff word in some form.  Well, the deal was he had kids.  He did not want that kind of language around his children.  I had to clean up my mouth if I wanted to meet his kids.  So I did.

I do not swear in front of kids... his, mine, yours, any.  Okay... I have slipped a very few times.  The word "crap" has started creeping in ... "I am tired of this crap!"  "I am tired of your crappy attitude!"  And the expression "pissed off" has also surfaced... "I am really pissed off about this!"  "Your crap attitude is really pissing me off right now!"  (Feeling pretty good that I have been so clean for 15 years!) And these little outbursts are not commonplace occurrences, so the impact of the fairly mild curse word is pretty dramatic... the kids really sit up and take notice.  Big G thought that "stupid" was a bad word until he was about 9.  Then I let him watch "Spaceballs."

Not too sure what I was thinking there.  I remembered my stepkids watching it and loving it and I thought they were about 9 or 10 when they saw it.  So I actually bought the movie (it was on sale for $5... hard to not buy it) and watched it with him.  Whoa.  As we watched, I realized that my stepkids were middle schoolers when they saw it.  And I had completely blanked on the amount of swearing.

Big G enjoyed the movie but was puzzled by some of the words.  Finally, after one scene in which the word in question is said about 20 times, he asked me,
"Mom, what's an a**hole?"  
"Well, technically it's the hole in your bottom where the poop comes out..." 
"EEEEWWWWWWWWW!!!!  why would you call someone that?"  
"But it can also be what someone might call someone else when he can't think of a worse thing to call them... like when they are just such a totally bad person and really mean... sort of like that.  But it is a word that you never say at school.  Ever.  And if I hear you use it, you will be spending a whole lot of time in your room.  If you feel like you need to say it, say it to yourself in your room.  You have a very good vocabulary and I am sure you would be able to find a more appropriate word to use."  
"Oh, I know, mom.  Okay."  
No problem.

So yesterday when Q-man told me he had used the eff word, the very first thing I could think of was "Where in the heck did he pick that up?!!?"  Then, of course, I was wondering to whom he said it and who might have heard and what did they think I was teaching my kids!  Still trying to get the the truthful bottom of this.  I know they do hear stuff at school... so it must be someone else's kid ;-)  right?

And then I remembered something that happened over the summer...

You know the Name Game song?

Julie, Julie bo boolie,
Banana fanna fo foolie,
Me my mo moolie,

The kids were having a blast singing that song and Big G remarks, "You can do it with ANY name!"  And I made the huge mistake of saying to him... and only him... "Yeah, just don't do 'Chuck'."

He looked puzzled for about 2 seconds (while he sang it in his head, I am sure) and then his eyes got opened up really wide and he made that "oooooo" face.  He looked up at me and started laughing really hard and said, "yeah... you're right!"  

I think he may have said something to Q-man.

Frugaluser Wins the Puppies!!!!

The Robeez Santa Puppies go to Frugaluser!  Let me know where they are going by emailing me at:  the(underscore)missus(at)sbcglobal(dot)net .  I'd love to get them to you before they become seasonally obsolete!

Happy holidays to all, and thanks so much for playing the giveaway game!

08 December 2010

Words from the Sage

This is will be my best bit of running advice that I am sending out to all the fellow running bloggers who are training to run in a first marathon or hope to one day run in a marathon.  I learned this the hard way.  It was told to me by a seasoned runner, and I just up and ignored it.  Perhaps if I had been shown pictures of how things can turn out when good advice is ignored, I might have heeded it.  But words... yeah, words fell on deaf ears.

I am not an amazing runner.  I am just kind of average-ish, slow-ish.  When I was younger I was a little better than average-ish and more medium-ish in terms of speed.  Running was cross-training for my rowing.  Then I left my rowing town and didn't know what to do with myself.  I decided I needed to run a marathon, mostly because it sounded really hard (and I am all about taking on challenges... remember the name of the blog?)  and one can pretty much run anywhere.  So I hooked up with Team In Training and did the California International Marathon.  I had set out to do it in under 4 hours (9 min/mile pace)  and had no idea what to expect.

So here is the advice... and you know, honestly, this advice could kind of apply to life...

 Don't go out too fast... no matter how great it feels. 

If you have been training well for your first marathon, you have a good sense of your pace.  You kind of already know what is a realistic goal.  Then you just need to do the math and figure out what minutes per mile you'll need to be hitting to realize that goal.  Pay attention to this!

I am going to provide you with pictures of my first marathon so you can SEE the wisdom of this advice.  SEE IT.  You are probably going to laugh.  You will probably wince.  And you will probably be wondering "what the heck does that woman have on her hands?"  Socks.  And you will probably be wondering "didn't that massive, long braid drive her INSANE whipping around like that for 26.2 miles?"  Yes.

So here you go... XLMIC circa 1996... CIM... just a couple days more than 14 years ago (wow... I am getting old):

This is me looking pretty speedy and happy... at the halfway picture station, clipping along at 7:30/mile... yes, you read that correctly... 7:30... danger!  warning!  I was INSANE...

And then 13 miles later, I was totally paying that ol' piper... OMGosh... my then-fiancé came up to cheer me on and I was so nasty to him at the 25-mile mark... I kind of can't believe he still married me... I was in that Bataan Death March mindspace... hurtin' for certain...

and this is what it looked like...

THAT, my friends, is the visual of going out too fast.  I still did finish in under 4... 3:49 and something... but it was a miserable experience.

Incidentally, my second (and last) marathon was the same one a year later.  I went out at 8:45/mile and hit within 5 seconds of that per mile for the duration.  Only one potty break.  Finished in 3:53 and something.  And it was SO FUN!!!!  Wish I could find those pictures!

That's what it's all about, right?  

FUN.  :)

06 December 2010


This is old.

But how can I not share it now that I have a blog?

Big G was about 3 and a half in these (roughly 8 years ago).  The backstory is I had gone to a yoga class, my husband was home with the then-only-two kids.

For some reason, Big G decided that the potty chair would make an excellent necklace... or something... and slipped his head in through the hole where you put the bowl.  
And then he was stuck.

My husband went across the street to enlist a neighbor's help... they tried soaping the ears and head... didn't work.

Here is daddy trying to calm him down once he realized he could not get the darn thing off!

Daddy and neighbor assessing the situation closely... hmmmm.... what to do?

Tin snips!  Cut the sucker off!

And it was all over before I got home.  I still don't know who was recording this for all posterity... but I sure am glad they were.  

Big G used this in his Third Grade ME Collage in the section for "What was the worst thing that ever happened to you?"  I'd say it was a traumatic experience for him.  But he is now able to laugh about it. 


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